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    The Great Penmanship Triumph

    June 26, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    I am in the midst, as many homeschooling parents currently are, of planning for the upcoming year of school. Though school is technically always in session around here, there is definitely something significant that begins with the coming of Autumn. And this beginning requires some planning.

    Most of our learning, especially at this age, we plan to have come from simply reading aloud. We spend at least an hour a day reading during the summer, and I plan to double it when the new session begins. Toddlers are free to roam at will during Reading Time. Little boys have been known to play with toy cars and trucks during Reading Time. But somehow even the two-year-old is memorizing her Catechism, so the play-a-bit-while-reading approach seems to be working for us.

    One of my goals for the new year was to find a way to generate custom handwriting worksheets. For at least a year now, and maybe two, I have been hand-making worksheets using manuscript paper I purchased for a dollar. This was economical with money, but not necessarily time. Now that I have three kids, I prefer not to make these by hand.

    The reason I desired customized sheets is because I wanted this activity to serve a few purposes. First, and most importantly, to hone the skill of writing clearly. The ability to communicate well is of great importance, and communcation does not occur if no one else can read the child’s handwriting. Secondly, I wanted this to serve as a precursor to copywork. I have read many accounts of copywork improving a child’s knowledge of spelling and sentence structure, long before the child is officially introduced to formal grammar. I see the value in this. Thirdly, I wanted to be able to have tracing worksheets that reinforced other lessons. I was thinking that I wanted my student to write out his Catechism questions and answers, his memory verses, and anything else that was being memorized. Sometimes, memory work gets sloppy. We all know kids who sang hymns with mixed up words in them because they heard it wrong. Writing it out clears some of this up.

    The question is, where can a mom go and make a handwriting worksheet? Is this possible? Is it economical?

    Let me share my triumph! I found the perfect place out there in the void we call the Internet, a handwriting generator powered by Did I mention it is free of charge?

    Let me give a couple pointers before I leave off. The worksheet does not generate question marks or apostrophes. I am unsure about commas. I have found it beneficial to leave off apostrophes and simply add them manually. Type a period instead of a question mark so that there is room to add that later as well. It is much faster to add a couple punctuation marks rather than generate the whole worksheet by hand.

    I just generated a Catechism question one worksheet. The sheet was six lines long (landscape rather than portrait). The first four lines contained the question and answer, the fifth line was my son’s full name, and the sixth line was the numbers 0 to 9. Once I figured out the program, it was simple. And I saved the worsheet to my hard drive so that I can reprint it at a later date if needed.

    Voila! Triumph.

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  • Reply Brandy June 28, 2007 at 4:10 am

    Thanks, Diane!

    I must say I really admire your generation, who had to fight for the legal ability to homeschool in the first place, and then do a good job with very few resources available.

  • Reply Diane @ Candid Reflections June 28, 2007 at 2:13 am

    You have posted some great tips for homeschooling moms. You gals have a great resource via the internet that those of us homeschooling in the 80’s did not have. Enjoy those little ones this summer!! Blessings, Diane

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