Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Homeschooling Goodness with Handwriting Without Tears

Handwriting Without Tears is an excellent handwriting curriculum.  I've been using the kindergarten level this year with Joseph, Peter, and Maria.  They love the hands on approach, so this program is working well.  We're still working through the capitals using the wooden pieces and laminated alphabet cards.  This activity is always a favorite.  It's a no-fail way of making the letters.  I like that the cards have each "stroke" numbered so the child knows the order to construct the letter.  For example in the "L" below, the vertical line is #1 and the short horizontal line is #2.  So numbers and counting are reinforced as well.

I believe this program is working well for Joseph; he's getting a lot of practice forming the letters before even picking up the pencil.  Since holding the pencil properly requires significant focus on Joe's part, trying to hold the pencil and write the letters is nearly impossible at this point.  He can write an "o", "j", and "p", but that's it for now.

Today we also used another of my favorites, the Kumon workbooks.  He's working from the Animal Mazes book.  We complete the maze in pencil, hand over hand, first.  Then I let him pick either colored pencils or markers to retrace our line through the maze, independently.  Today he chose colored pencils.  He also uses a pencil grip.  This foam grip is my favorite.  There's no up or down or left hand/right hand positioning like the other grippers I've tried.  Just slip it onto the writing utensil and hold on.  After a few times, he figured out the most comfortable way of holding the pencil and it just so happens it's also the proper way of holding a pencil.

And whenever I'm engrossed working with the littlest ones, Sam takes advantage of the distraction to get out something fun, rather than doing Math or Grammar.  Today he made us balloon animals and hats using his balloon animal kit.  Even though he's not engaging in the core subjects, I'm glad to see him reading and following directions from the book and practicing generosity with his creations.

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  1. I found your blog thru a friend and am so encouraged by what you are doing with your son! I have 3 girls 7, 5, and 3. We added a boy last March and discovered after he was born that he has Down syndrome. I already homeschool my girls and its hard to find moms who homeschool their children with Ds. What good books or curriculum would you recommend?

    1. Well, you must be very busy!!!! That's quite a crew you're homeschooling/mothering. The good news is you can totally homeschool your son with Down syndrome. As I said in one of my posts, "it's not always pretty, but it's always rewarding." And just think, by the time he's a school age boy, you'll have 4 more years of homeschooling experience. In the early years, I read lots of books pertaining to DS. I don't have any particular recommendations at this moment, but I found helpful bits in every book. Since Joe is 7.5, we have a couple years of homeschooling under our belt and it's really not that much different. It's definitely more laid back. We're focusing on reading, speaking clearly, and general social skills/living skills. Most everything else comes from reading story books. How does Joe learn about rainbows? We read books. How does Joe learn about pilgrims? We read books. Sometimes he likes to make a craft, but not always. So it depends on the day if we do any extension projects. If you look through the blog under Down syndrome, you should find lots of posts with links to curriculum, books, and other things I use with Joseph. Your little guy must be almost 1 - Happy Birthday to him.


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