May 25, 2007
Rhiannon was interested in learning cursive this year so I agreed. Having read and heard wonderful reviews of Handwriting without Tears we purchased the Grade 3 Cursive books. I purchased the teachers edition which I would not do again as it really is unneccesary and not very useful other than for a few word lists which you could easily create on your own.
Two things about this program as described that we found inaccurate. First the name lies, there are still tears, at least for us there were. The first few times there were tears and general unhappiness. I pulled back for awhile and then started again and still the tears - I was ready to throw in the towel and then I tried a different approach. I stopped doing what they recommended - I stopped trying to teach it on a board and with all the steps and showed her once in her book and then left her alone to do it herself (which they recommend to not do), reviewed it with her and then she stopped crying and started enjoying it - go figure.
So all in all it was a great program for us once we adapted it to fit Rhia's learning style better. The structure of the letters is different than a traditional cursive program and that takes getting used to and you still need to help your child understand the letters in traditional cursive even if they do not write it so they can read it. This adds in an extra step I suppose but it is worth it. I like the style of HWT and the letters are easier to understand and look more like their print counterparts, they are also easier to write.
Nearly the whole program focuses on lower case letters with just the last few lessons bringing in capitol letters. We did this program thorugh the whole year but at a pretty slow pace and I would recommend it. Rhia misses the curly and prettiness of the traditional letters but likes the way she writes these.
So as long as you don't expect this to be a magic pill, of handwriting without any tears, and don't mind the different style of lettering this is a great program. We will continue using the next level for her next year and bringing Ciaran into this program in 1st grade. We have heard it is especially useful for lefties which he is, so we will look forward to evaluating that.