For this review we used Horizons 1st Grade Penmanship Set by Alpha Omega Publications. I used this with my 6 year old son who is entering first grade this new school year. We used this each school day (3-4 days a week), some days he would just do a line or two, other days he would do a page or two. I just let him do what he felt like doing.
What I liked about this curriculum was that the pages concentrate more on the finite strokes (at least in the beginning pages), then moves on to letters and words. It really focuses on getting the simple things right to improve overall handwriting.
I threw in a salt tray a few times for my son to practice the forms from the book to get some extra practice in a more hands on method.
This is the child that is VERY picky about curriculum; I often have a hard time doing review items with him because he is so picky. He has really enjoyed this book; just today he did like 4 pages in it (his own choosing). He liked that some of the things he worked on today were “like cursive”. They were squiqqly lines that connected to master the curved lines in letters like U.
There is a teacher’s manual that comes in the set, which I did have to reference a few times when I wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do on a certain page, so I would recommend it.
If you have a child who has difficulty forming letters, I think this would be a good choice in handwriting, because of its focus on the strokes, at first, as opposed to the actual letter formation. It does gradually work into letters, but it really works on the smaller picture first. I think this is why my son liked it so much.
Each page is set up with solid line tracing, dotted line tracing and then blank lines to make the marks on their own space.
The approach confused my son at first, because he was use to writing letters for handwriting, but he really embraced this method. The salt tray is just an extra add on for more practice, it gives it a sensory/hands on approach, it is not required nor recommended by the workbook. I do however, suggest it for children who have difficulty writing.
This workbook would be great for those that are struggling in handwriting, or for those that want to improve their handwriting, making it neater or more legible. Those who are already very proficient in writing may find the beginning tasks tedious, however.
The book starts with circles and lines, and continues into a wide variety of lines, curves and circles. By lesson 16, they are introducing lowercase letters (these are introduced first, which is different in my experience) as well as some small words, numbers and punctuation marks. Lesson 36 starts capital letters. Afterwards they gradually introduce sentences. Horizons is a Christian based program, sentences typically consist of scripture verses. Each lesson typically builds on the previous one, which is nice, because it is constantly reviewing and building upon skills.
Instruction is provided for both right and left handed individuals. They use a fun rocket diagram to help guide letter formation.
The Penmanship Set is $32.95 and includes the consumable Student Workbook and the Teacher’s Guide.
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