Monday, August 30, 2010

Peterson Directed Handwriting


What is Peterson Directed Handwriting? To start, it is a handwriting program like no other. Founded in 1908, Peterson Directed approaches handwriting not as a PICTURE to learn, but rather a MOVEMENT to memorize. I found the idea very tantalizing- instead of forcing a certain SHAPE, you could instead learn to write using muscle memory; and thus develop your own unique yet beautiful and very personal handwriting style.

This is the way many of our grandparents learned to write. I can never understand why our school systems take something that is working (movement-centered handwriting, phonics) and replace it with something new and untried (tracing letters, whole-language reading).

I had read about Peterson in the Rainbow Resources catalog, and I thought it sounded intriguing.
So I was excited to learn we would be reviewing it this year! We received PDF copies of the print versions to review, and you can get each level for yourself for $19.99 at Peterson Directed's online shop.

The basic idea behind this system is that you train the muscles to make
the movements instead of training the eyes to copy a picture. To do that, you start with air-writing, move on to finger tracing, and then you go to actually writing. The children are NEVER to trace a model, for this means the eyes are drawing a picture, rather then the muscles working on memory. Each motion has a chant which the children say out loud as they move. When the movements work with the mouth, then you know the muscles have it memorized, and you move on to the next step. Each lesson is supposed to take less then 10 minutes, and I found that to be true. Which is awesome, what a time-saver!

( I did not receive the wall cards to review, but they show you the letter strokes and look fun, too! Perfect for air writing.) :)

If you are a person who likes a lesson all planned out and textbooks to follow, this may not be the best program for you. There is very little in the way of directions in the front of the book, but in my opinion, very little is needed. It is a very simple program, but there is much that is left up to you to figure out. You can teach the motions first, or start right off with a letter. You can teach the letters in alphabetical order or however you want. So if you are relying on directions planned out for you, you will not find that here.

They are VERY helpful, however, with any problems or questions you might have, and they have a lot of helpful articles and videos on their website. You should also check out their online shop, where they have bound copies of the worksheets, large wall letters, digital versions, and much more!

BUT, the real question- does it work??? I can answer with a loud YES! YES IT WORKS!! We really love this program. The children have enjoyed it, and even CJ will do a whole page. And he HATED writing. I had to tell him several times to keep using his mouth. It is hard for him to make the motions and say it at the same time, at first. When he can do it together smoothly, I know he has mastered it.

Bop is starting to (FINALLY) recognize the difference between 'b' and 'd', and I credit thisprogram completely. There is a very noticeable difference in her writing skills since we started this, mainly in the letters we have covered. I can't wait to get all of them done.

aaa by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

Our biggest breakthrough? Halfway through working on the lowercase 'b', Bop looked up at me with wide eyes and said: "They all face the same way, Mom?" What a revelation! :)

Don't forget to go over the the TOS Crew blog to read more reviews!

I received this product free of charge
as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,
for review purposes. I promise to be honest
and fair in my reviews, and I received no
other compensation in exchange for my review.
You can visit The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog
to read more reviews on this product.

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