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French Handwriting Copywork Books Review by Laurie GaugerIncludes:
French Style Cursive
Heritage Grove Academy
Hello, my name is Laurie, and I am a handwriting and copywork geek. (Hello, Laurie). I kid, but in all honesty, I truly do love copywork. I hear the words handwriting, and/or copywork, and my ears perk up. The subjects that encompass grammar, spelling, vocabulary, writing, and yes, copywork have been my strengths, and therefore, my favorites. Happily, my daughters tend to lean in that same direction, so that has been one area of our studies that brings few, if any, hassles and headaches. Back in my college days, I also studied the French language a bit, and that quickly became another beloved subject. Homework is often a tedious task, but when it came to my French work, I was too happy to complete it. I kept many of my textbooks from those classes, and as we began homeschooling, I was thrilled that my daughters selected French as their language elective. Now, wouldn't it be great if there was a curriculum resource that combined both French and copywork?
I have fantastic news, and that is that there is indeed such a product available, and my daughters and I have been blessed to be reviewing it over the past month. The three of us have been enjoying the French Copywork series of books, and conveniently, as there are three of us, there are three titles:
French Style Cursive
I'll begin with a synopsis of the French philosophy, as it relates to handwriting. They believe in the importance of developing the fine motor skills necessary to producing beautiful penmanship. As such, schooling begins at age three, when they engage in various, fun games that refine those muscles. Research has confirmed the importance of handwriting, and the connection that it has to brain growth. Speaking for myself, I never understood why so many schools have all but abandoned this part of education, but that's a discussion for another day. Suffice it to say, I have always kept copywork in our studies.
Before beginning these books, I spent time on the website, reading the helpful information about the French style of education, and determining how these books are meant to be used. According to the site, these will pair well with the Memoria Press First Start French Series, but they are perfectly wonderful for using as a standalone resource, which is how we used them. Here is what you can expect to work on in all three titles, as you perfect your penmanship:
-Days, Months, Seasons
-Greetings, Well Wishes
- Ordinal Numbers
-Various Phrases and Sayings
-Extra Blank Pages
-Puzzles, Word Searches
All three workbooks are paperback, with a whimsical illustration of Monsieur le Canard, a jaunty Mallard duck, who is sporting a top hat and cane. He accentuates many of the pages within. The words, numbers, and phrases that you will practice are perfect for beginning students of the French language. You will not need an extensive understanding of the language to work on your handwriting, as the translations for each word follow each French phrase. The website does offer a teacher answer key for the longer prayers, and you can download it right on the site. I liked that, as my French is fairly rusty.
Each of these copywork versions follows the same Table of Contents, with very slight differences, mainly relating to what page each of the series of words are found. The only significant difference is the handwriting style. We were pleased to sample all three, and you may do the same, or select your favorite. They are all beautiful. The work becomes increasingly challenging as you work through the books. You will begin with the easier, shorter words and phrases. By the time you come to the end, as you begin the crossword puzzles, and word searches, you will be reading a word in English, and then either writing out or searching for the translation in French. The extra pages provide an opportunity to either practice previous word learned, or to add your own words and sentences to write out.
As I mentioned, my daughters and I each used one of these workbooks. Being beginning students, this has been an enjoyable and relaxing way to reinforce our French words while tweaking our handwriting. I also like to have us say the words aloud as we write, which helps with perfecting our accent. With roughly seventy-six pages per book, we practiced, on average, five days each week. If we had not been reviewing these, our pace would have been slightly slower. This is easily used as a semester long workbook, but can be adjusted either faster or slower to suit your lessons, and pace. Our consensus is a very positive one. These books are a wonderful addition to our French program, and we would recommend them for basically any program that you are working with. Visit their website to acquire one or more for your homeschool.
-Product review by Laurie Gauger, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2018