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Category: Handwriting

Here’s a few photos from Sunday morning. The first thing Satori wants to do in the morning is write a letter to Daddy. She’s the little speck in the middle of this photo. We never used this area in our house until just the past few weeks. A few tables and chairs with art/writing supplies make a big difference. We’re calling this room our Atelier.

Satori is eager to learn cursive and even though she’s only learned 6 letters so far, she tries her best to write some of her notes in cursive.

It’s interesting to see what she’s picked up just by examining random cursive examples she’ll find on packaging, books, etc… She would fly through her handwriting book if I let her, but I want it to last a bit longer!

We set a few extra tables and inexpensive rolling office chairs so Daddy and I can join in on the fun. Here we did another of our family puzzles. This is the kind with three different size pieces I mentioned earlier. Satori finished the huge and the medium size parts of the puzzles before Daddy and I could finish the one tiny piece section!

This spring Satori noticed cursive writing somewhere. I don’t know where, but all of a sudden her handwriting was looking strange and she was touting about her new “writing”. Finally it dawned on me what she was trying to do – write cursive! I wrote her name neatly in cursive and she copied it. This page was from over a month ago.

She continues to try to write cursive, although I haven’t given her any instruction except to write her name that one time and explain that it is cursive. Here she wrote what I’m assuming to be “grocery store”.

I promised we would start her Cursive Handwriting (HWT) book once she’s finished her HWT Grade Two Printing Power. At our rate, we should finish this book in August, so we’ll be starting Cursive way sooner than I originally planned. We always went fast through these workbooks, Satori couldn’t wait to learn how to write.

She also mimics calligraphy or serif print sometimes.

Our Grade 2 book covers helpful concepts in Language Arts, such as this mini-lesson in word spacing.

And this lesson yesterday about apostrophes, which thankfully we covered last week in our reading program.

It also inserts mini-lessons in science and art. Today she copied a paragraph on art.

My first real “homeschooling” post in a month and a half! We’ve been quietly continuing on in about half of our subjects. I’ve uploaded a few photos of Satori’s spelling lesson she did today, as they show multiple progress on various things – spelling, handwriting, and writing.

Today we hit the middle lesson in our Level 2 AAS book. These lessons (when we do them) just fly by, she learns certain things so quickly and some spelling things she picks up on her own. Today’s lesson was the double-e “ee” vowel pair making the long-e sound. The only word she spelled wrong was “dere” instead of “deer”. But she does correctly spells the word that doesn’t follow the rule, which is “been”.

You can see she understands sentence structure and sentences with capital letters and ends them appropriately. We do need to work on doing this in her random journal entries and letters to people though. Her letters are pretty much all formed correctly. But I have failed in getting her to use a correct tripod grip. She doesn’t think she writes as neat when she uses a proper grip. Frustrating, but I think I will move on from that.

I love it that Satori loves to write letters to people. If I remember to take photos of them, it is a great way to document how her handwriting, spelling, and writing/grammar are coming along. These letters are completely of Satori’s own initiative and I did not help at all with content or spelling. We sent out a bunch this week. Here’s a few that I especially liked.

This one was to an old pen-pal that Satori still remembers. David is embarassed that he got called out for watching TV all day.

She enjoys drawing maps now and then.

She writes so much better when it is  on lined paper appropriate for her age. We are just beginning to learn writing and grammar this year, so sometimes she forgets to capitalize beginnings of sentences and put periods on her sentences, but we’ll be working more on that this year.

Here she is talking about what she learned about Ancient China from our Story of the World studies.

Phonics rocks! It enables Satori to write about whatever she wants without worrying about appropriate spelling. She is completely empowered to put all her thoughts down on paper. Spelling isn’t 100% correct, but anyone can read her letters. I love seeing her thoughts and reading what she is excited (or “isdided”) about. As for  learning the correct spellings, we are halfway through Level 2 All-About-Spelling now and are totally whizzing through it. We have 6 more levels to go total, but by then I am confident she’ll be spelling better every month!

Mom will be at her relaxing retreat for a week starting tomorrow. Good organic food, yoga/meditation, hikes and more… I expect to come back rejuvenated and strong and calm…

I leave you now with a little Mountain Chickadee. These guys are common at our 9000 feet altitude mountain house and are distinguished from all other chickadees by their little white eyebrow stripe.

We’ve taken a step back in our handwriting progress, but it should help out in the long run. This year I’ve noticed that Satori doesn’t have extremely neat handwriting, especially at a point where I thought she’d be improving. This became apparent to me after having local girls her age over, who demonstrated very neat and in control handwriting. Then I saw in one of the photos I took that Satori’s grip was all wonky.

I then discovered that I myself had an incorrect grip! Actually I have two different grips, both not good. I’m not too worried about myself, as I mostly use the keyboard now and the little handwriting I do is still neat and legible. But this is an opportunity to correct Satori’s grip. She is really working hard at it now. We used all of Handwriting Without Tears tips on using a correct grip. It got a little frustrating trying to get everything right. Poor girl might get turned off of writing at this stage if I push too hard though.

A few months ago I believed that pencil grips were unnecessary, but we need some kind of help! So I found these colorful pencil grips and got a bag of 6 – The Pencil Grip Crossover Grip Ergonomic Writing Aid. They have little flaps so your thumb and index finger stay in the right place. There’s a comfy spot for your middle finger to rest, and together, it all promotes a proper tripod grip. It is ergonomically correct for both right- or left-handed people.

Both Satori and I are using them. For me, my fingers just fall right into perfect place. My thumb won’t cross over anymore. For Satori, all I have to remind her is to keep her middle finger tucked under, as she used to keep it up on top. We’ve been using them for just over a week now, and they are fun and feel good! Time will tell if Satori can get this new grip ingrained in her head and use a correct tripod grip from now on.

We’re also working on tilting our paper up on the right side while writing. Here she is doing some copywork for Writing With Ease, a program we are growing to love.

Satori zoomed through her Handwriting Without Tears books and last fall we took a two month break (from everything actually). She continued to write letters and books, so I figured that her handwriting wouldn’t suffer too much. This month we started up Spring Semester and started only doing handwriting in our HWT Grade 1 book two times a week (we used to do it 3x a week). We’re doing one letter at a time, just a few pages.

However, I’ve noticed that her handwriting is not improving, perhaps getting sloppier, and showing some inverted letters. Lowercase letters are not on the proper line, they rarely descend below the line and sometimes aren’t tall. In HWT lowercase is either tall, small, or descending. I’m seeing this in our ETC workbook and all of Satori’s creative papers that she does on her own accord.

Time for some emergency practice! I’m using the StartWrite software which features HWT fonts to generate worksheets with all lowercase (we’ve actually never done this before). With this software I can specify not only the font, but the shading, letter type (dotted, dashed, or solid), starting dot, directional arrows, guide line options, and so much more. Our favorite is the lightest shading in solid, with a red starting dot, and only the middle and bottom lines. Just like HWT recommends.

This colorful worksheet Satori all the tall letters are circled in red, small are in blue, and descending are in green. I hope this will help her remember these if we do this worksheet now and then.

We will be adding these StartWrite worksheets everyday until her handwriting improves. We’ll also slowly go through Handwriting Without Tears, letter by letter this time to make sure we’re forming our letters correctly.

I’ll list a few examples of our worksheets generated this week. Below is Upper and Lowercase letters with directional  arrows.

Here’s an example of just the starting dot.

This day we covered “d” in our HWT book. They have clipart built-in to the software, how convenient! As you can see, Satori likes to add her own embellishements (nex tim sing wis me). We’ll be working on her pronunciation so she can spell correctly, lol!

Here’s some pages out of her HWT book, we’re reviewing the lowercase letters which we learned in the fall.

She’s pretty good at writing numbers, but 8 is a bit awkward. On these pages, Satori will make her own checkmark box and check it off if her HWT book “forgets” to include it. 😉

Satori learned all her lowercase this fall and after a quick review this past week on how to write them all correctly, we present to you, Satori’s very first penpal letter showing off her lowercase letter skills! Satori told me what she wanted to write to her new friend Aspen, and mama dictated the spelling.  Coincidentally, this was also our very first time we actually tried to “properly” use Handwriting Without Tears Wide Double Line Notebook Paper designed for K-1. For her first letter, not bad. You can see she sometimes wrote capital letters in the same small space. She’s also trying hard to write her “e” correctly, so she redid that a few times.


I didn’t realize until recently this was indeed the perfect paper for Satori’s level. I had all kinds of “beginner” lined sheets, but all the lines are confusing. Which one to start on? What’s that dotted line for? What about all the colors – blue, red, green, black… Confusing! She ended up just ignoring lines altogether. But with the HWT paper, there is only the bottom line and the midline, which is all she needed to start improving on her lowercase handwriting. Plus, it has lots of room to write.

After we finished our HWT Kindergarten book, and before we pulled out the above paper, Satori and I spent two days practicing lowercase on HWT’s Blackboard with Double Lines.  Some letters took a few tries, but eventually she did some pretty good work. Below is a quick word I just had her do, but she was distracted and wanted to work on her computer, so she didn’t focus on perfection. But I wanted to show this word in particular, with a tall letter, a small letter, and a descending letter.


We have one more week of review, and then a short Christmas vacation, and then we’ll start in on  our HWT First Grade book.