Aug 302010

Recently I was blessed to receive a copy of Peterson Directed Handwriting’s Cursive prorgram to review for our homeschool.

Peterson Directed Handwriting is not a new company.  It has been around since 1908.  I like companies that are well established and are able to adapt to the current culture.  You have to be doing something correctly to be able to stay in business that long, right? 🙂

I received five PDF files to download, each with individual licenses so I can print for our use.  They were the Cursive First, Step 2 Cursive, Step 3 Cursive, Step 4 Cursive and the On Your Mark Game.  With these, I can go and find exactly the information I need to teach when I need it, and I can print and reprint pages (especially helpful if you need to go over the information repeatedly with your scholar).  The files I received are at about a second grade level, where most public schools will start to introduce cursive.

Peterson is different than any other program for handwriting I have ever seen.  This is the first handwriting program that is more auditory based.  As you learn the different strokes for each letter, you say what you are writing.  Such as Loop Top and Sharp Top.  The program also utilizes different colors for the strokes to help with those who are more visually oriented, but this is mainly an auditory program.

The website for Peterson Directed Handwriting is full of very helpful information.  Do you have a left-handed student?  There is a special section for them here.  You can also order the Left Handed Writer, E-Book from their online store.  I wish that when I was taught how to write, someone took the fact that I was a leftie into consideration.  I was taught to just reverse what the right handed students were doing.  I honestly believe that my handwriting would be much nicer today if I had been taught how to write according to which hand I use.  My husband is also a leftie, and I’m sure he could have also benefited as a child as he has the strangest grip on a pencil I have ever seen.  So far, Bugs is a leftie too.  This information has been quite helpful so hopefully I will be able to teach her how to write better than her dad and I were taught.

I attempted to use this program with the Bugs.  She is my oldest scholar and is doing well in her preschool studies (I believe that cursive should be taught first after having taught other children cursive in several different grades before now.  The children who learned cursive first had an easier time learning to write that way than those who printed first, and they had much nicer handwriting.  However, that was my experience with it).  Bugs had a hard time being able to say the strokes as she was writing them and she was getting extremely frustrated as her fine motor skills are not yet quite to where they need to be for this level of instruction.  After searching all over their website, I did find a preschool program.  I am in the process of “tweaking” what we have though and it should work.

This program is great as you don’t have to teach the letters in any particular order.  First you teach the basic strokes, and then you can teach the letters in any order you want.  I like this as I like to have my handwriting to correlate with our phonics lessons for extra reinforcement of those.  This program can also be adapted to move at a pace that you are comfortable with, either faster or slower.  I don’t know about you, but rarely do I use anything without adapting it for our specific needs.  Peterson is really adaptable.

The customer service I received was very good.  Mr. Nelson gave us instruction online on how to use the program and was very througough.  You will be able to find help for any problem that you may be finding in your endeavor to teach handwriting, either on the website, through a PDF, or with the live help options. I was very impressed and pleased with all the assistence that was available should I have needed it.

To purchase the files I got, you can go HERE.  The cost for each of the individual licesnes (which is all you would need for homeschooling) is 19.95 apeice.  You can also purchase other items like triangular pencils, grips and paper positioners through this site.  They have everything you might need to teach your child how to write fluently.

I received a copy of the Cursive First, Step 2 Cursive, Step 3 Cursive, Step 4 Cursive and the On Your Mark Game with individual licenses from Peterson Directed Handwriting as a part of The Old School House’s Crew. for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation was received and all views in this review are mine and mine alone..

Jul 222010

Yes, I realize that it is about the end of summer time, but there is still ample time to be getting out on a quick road trip or two.  If so, are you prepared?  Do you know how to make the trip a bit easier to tolerate and perhaps even curtail the dreaded question of “Are we there yet?”

The answer is in this E-Book called Travel Kits, A Simple Way to Bless Others by Donna Rees.  Travel Kits is an E-book the explains step by step how to put together a little traveling intervention, shall we say.  This great resource explains how to put together a nice goody bag (or box) full of presents to dole out to the inhabitants of the vehicle, and even gives some great ideas on what to get for whom and where to find the items.  However, for me, the absolute best part was chapter 13.  Chapter 13 was like an appendix of sort that has a list of hyperlinked websites for games you can play in the car, easy crafts you can do in the car and even the official state tourist information site for each of the states and U.S. Territories.  There is also a handy checklist for preparing your car for a long trip and even suggestions (and a few terrific looking recipes) to pack a great picnic lunch.  I don’t know about you, but the last lllllooooonnnnnnggggg road trip we took, well, the lunch didn’t survive as well as I thought it would (yeah, squashed bread, frozen egg salad, it wasn’t great).  I wish I had this book then for the incredible wrap recipes.

Travel kits

This book does not only have to apply to traveling with children.  You could put together a kit for newlyweds for their honeymoon, a kid going away to camp, or even for someone in the hospital.  This is a great springboard for growing other ideas to bless others.

Travel Kits is available from The Old Schoolhouse Store for a mere $12.45 that you can instantly download to your computer (yay!  No waiting for it to come in the mail!)   The Old Schoolhouse Store is chock full of wonderful resources for homeschooling and carry so many products that I can’t list them all for you.  You will just have to go on over and browse.  I will tell you that there you can get E-books for many different topics, instructions on how to make a wide variety of lapbooks and of course, the wonderful magazine The Old Schoolhouse.

I recieved a copy of Travel Kits, a Simple Way to Bless Others by Donna Rees from The Old Schoolhouse Store as a part of the TOS Crew in exchange for my honest opinion and posting of a review.  I received no other compensation.  All opinions in this review are mine and mine alone..