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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. 😉

So I was reading my Math-U-See Primer Teacher’s guide that I forgot I had, and thought I’d play around with a few of their ideas. Introducing “Decimal Street”, the MUS way of making the Place Value concept come alive. Satori already “gets” this concept (they make it soo easy!), so I didn’t want to get too elaborate, but maybe it will come in handy for (hopefully) future children. You can use their glossy insert, or you can make your own colorful one! They give dimensions to make your own.

MUS Decimal Street

MUS Decimal Street

This will fold up in a file folder neatly when done. I then copied the numbers they offer in the teacher’s guide on colorful red, blue and green cardstock, and laminated them. Only 9 of each place value will fit in our Red Hundreds Castle, or Blue Tens Townhome, or Green Units Apartment. 🙂 Now, I hope I get more minute’s use out of this then the time it took to make it! These early learning concepts go by so quickly.

I admired a few different versions of Decimal Street other homeschoolers had made, and then found this cool idea for the blocks! This is not our real phone number, but Satori did make our home phone number and this should help her memorize it. 🙂

MUS blocks telephone style

MUS blocks telephone style

Thank you Kellie from Blue House Academy for this idea!

I also learned about the StartWrite software, and promptly downloaded it to print the phone number out. It is an AMAZINGLY cool handwriting software that utilized Handwriting Without Tears fonts, in almost any way imaginable! How cool is that. If you like it, and want to continue using it past the trial (one-time use), then you can purchase a license for $39.95. I think I will invest in that.