My son is a great reader - but has terrible hand-writing

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
My son Noah is in 4th grade. He is a great reader (97th percentile overall in reading + vocab + comprehension, per standardized state tests).

However, we can hardly read his handwriting. His writing assignments are horrendously sloppy. He is also awful at punctuation when writing, but knows his stuff on multiple choice tests. He will score 100% on a test on punctuation and grammar and then go and make all the mistakes when he actually writes out a story long-hand.


Any advice, or programs, books, suggestions to help him become a better writer?
 

jandrusk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Get the kid a keyboard to use and have him learn Emacs. Handwriting is already obsolete in the business world and I doubt there will be much use for it in 10 - 20 years if not today.

EmacsWiki: Site Map
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
Get the kid a keyboard to use and have him learn Emacs. Handwriting is already obsolete in the business world and I doubt there will be much use for it in 10 - 20 years if not today.
Nonsense! There is still a widespread appreciation for pen/pencil and paper,. Many folks prefer the simplicity and aesthetic qualities of this tool. Some would suggest that this aesthetic aspect fosters the development of ideas in a way that is not possible with electronics. Also, a handwritten note still goes a long way to make a much appreciated personal gesture.

I hope you were being facetious, brother. :eek:
 

jandrusk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Get the kid a keyboard to use and have him learn Emacs. Handwriting is already obsolete in the business world and I doubt there will be much use for it in 10 - 20 years if not today.
Nonsense! There is still a widespread appreciation for pen/pencil and paper,. Many folks prefer the simplicity and aesthetic qualities of this tool. Some would suggest that this aesthetic aspect fosters the development of ideas in a way that is not possible with electronics. Also, a handwritten note still goes a long way to make a much appreciated personal gesture.

I hope you were being facetious, brother. :eek:
Yes and no. Obvious for practical reasons you will need to work with him so the handwriting is legible for the work he will be required to turn in that requires handwriting. As to the aesthetic qualities it sounds like a similar argument I have with those who have an emotional attachment to their tools. For example, some people are against e-books, because of their attachment to the physical medium of books. To me it's about the content over medium along with efficiency. The reference to Emacs was more on a jovial note than serious, although with that tool, I can write the content for the book, typeset it, spell check it, and exchange it more efficiently with a publishing company than I could doing it by hand. Similar note on e-books, I'm no longer limited to the physical constraints that physical books provide along with being able to port hundreds of books on a device that's less than a pound. Just food for thought.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Get the kid a keyboard to use and have him learn Emacs. Handwriting is already obsolete in the business world and I doubt there will be much use for it in 10 - 20 years if not today.
Let's see how well your keyboard works when your electronics get fried by an EMP.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
Get the kid a keyboard to use and have him learn Emacs. Handwriting is already obsolete in the business world and I doubt there will be much use for it in 10 - 20 years if not today.
Nonsense! There is still a widespread appreciation for pen/pencil and paper,. Many folks prefer the simplicity and aesthetic qualities of this tool. Some would suggest that this aesthetic aspect fosters the development of ideas in a way that is not possible with electronics. Also, a handwritten note still goes a long way to make a much appreciated personal gesture.

I hope you were being facetious, brother. :eek:
Yes and no. Obvious for practical reasons you will need to work with him so the handwriting is legible for the work he will be required to turn in that requires handwriting. As to the aesthetic qualities it sounds like a similar argument I have with those who have an emotional attachment to their tools. For example, some people are against e-books, because of their attachment to the physical medium of books. To me it's about the content over medium along with efficiency. The reference to Emacs was more on a jovial note than serious, although with that tool, I can write the content for the book, typeset it, spell check it, and exchange it more efficiently with a publishing company than I could doing it by hand. Similar note on e-books, I'm no longer limited to the physical constraints that physical books provide along with being able to port hundreds of books on a device that's less than a pound. Just food for thought.
Not to derail the thread, but efficiency is far from the only value worth consideration. :2cents:
 

jandrusk

Puritan Board Sophomore
EMP? Possible, but most improbable captain. Watching too much of Revolution.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
 

jandrusk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Get the kid a keyboard to use and have him learn Emacs. Handwriting is already obsolete in the business world and I doubt there will be much use for it in 10 - 20 years if not today.
Nonsense! There is still a widespread appreciation for pen/pencil and paper,. Many folks prefer the simplicity and aesthetic qualities of this tool. Some would suggest that this aesthetic aspect fosters the development of ideas in a way that is not possible with electronics. Also, a handwritten note still goes a long way to make a much appreciated personal gesture.

I hope you were being facetious, brother. :eek:
Yes and no. Obvious for practical reasons you will need to work with him so the handwriting is legible for the work he will be required to turn in that requires handwriting. As to the aesthetic qualities it sounds like a similar argument I have with those who have an emotional attachment to their tools. For example, some people are against e-books, because of their attachment to the physical medium of books. To me it's about the content over medium along with efficiency. The reference to Emacs was more on a jovial note than serious, although with that tool, I can write the content for the book, typeset it, spell check it, and exchange it more efficiently with a publishing company than I could doing it by hand. Similar note on e-books, I'm no longer limited to the physical constraints that physical books provide along with being able to port hundreds of books on a device that's less than a pound. Just food for thought.
Not to derail the thread, but efficiency is far from the only value worth consideration. :2cents:
True, if you view it as an art form.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
True, if you view it as an art form.
Well, you go by "PuritanGeek", so I shall assume you have a bias for technology. :) But you are also a fellow RP'er, so I will give you a pass on this one, brother!
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Ha ha, hilarious..... this thread escalated quickly. Instead of practicing handwriting, I will now be building a bomb-shelter and preparing for a dystopian future.
 

jandrusk

Puritan Board Sophomore
True, if you view it as an art form.
Well, you go by "PuritanGeek", so I shall assume you have a bias for technology. :) But you are also a fellow RP'er, so I will give you a pass on this one, brother!
Yes, I do have have a bias for technology and according Pergamum this most likely will be my downfall :) It's all good brother, as far as the handwriting question goes, repetition is probably the best remedy. That and a lot of patience. I have a son that's on the autism spectrum and we have had similar challenges, but the old maxim seems to hold true, "Practice makes perfect". Sorry to derail this into a "Mad Max" scenario.
 

jandrusk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ha ha, hilarious..... this thread escalated quickly. Instead of practicing handwriting, I will now be building a bomb-shelter and preparing for a dystopian future.
I'll have to keep my eye out for you on Doomsday Preppers.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Get the kid a keyboard to use and have him learn Emacs. Handwriting is already obsolete in the business world and I doubt there will be much use for it in 10 - 20 years if not today.
Nonsense! There is still a widespread appreciation for pen/pencil and paper,. Many folks prefer the simplicity and aesthetic qualities of this tool. Some would suggest that this aesthetic aspect fosters the development of ideas in a way that is not possible with electronics. Also, a handwritten note still goes a long way to make a much appreciated personal gesture.

I hope you were being facetious, brother. :eek:
The hammer-n-chisel guys felt the same way about the introduction of the quill pen and ink, I'm sure. A piece of new-fangled paper with scribbles on it could never say "I love you" like a stone tablet...
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Next year we are getting Noah a laptop for himself with his own typing program. However, I do have a keyboard now that connects wirelessly with my ipad if I can find a typing program app for an Ipad (that annoying ipad touch-screen keyboard don't do it for me, but we have a keyboard we can use. Any apps?
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
The hammer-n-chisel guys felt the same way about the introduction of the quill pen and ink, I'm sure. A piece of new-fangled paper with scribbles on it could never say "I love you" like a stone tablet...
Ha, I was going to say something similar. I worked on my handwriting for a little while but eventually valued typing skills over handwriting skills, mostly for efficiency. I can write reasonable looking script if I need to but those are rare and I take a lot of time to make it look right.

If I write something by hand for someone, I just write it in print, not script, for clarity's sake, and I find I pick up a pen or pencil perhaps once or twice a week as opposed to being on the keyboard probably 10 hours a day. I am not sentimental about older, less efficient ways of doing things. If it helps someone think or they prefer the tactile or visual feedback of putting notes down on a particular section of a piece of paper, that's great.

As for me, perhaps I lean in the direction that as long as my children can print legibly when they need to, it's sufficient. I don't even think I'm sacrificing aesthetics or beauty since I plan on teaching them at least the basics of typography when they compose letters and such!
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
opposed to being on the keyboard probably 10 hours a day
Yikes! I hope you take breaks. RSS/RSI (repetitive stress syndrome or injury) can be a real problem.

My wife used to be able to type 120-130+ WPM (on Selectrics, even faster on word processors). Now she literally cannot type a sentence before having severe pain. She's also a writer and can still write by hand. As providence would have it, she now uses a tablet PC with handwriting recognition.
 
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Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Several things with handwriting:

1) it's still a practical skill for those times when the technology just isn't available.

2) For myself, handwriting is the only way to memorize certain things.

3) It's an essential skill for learning other alphabets. If he ever wants to learn Greek/Hebrew, he will need to have some rudimentary handwriting skills.

4) Most language classes still require handwritten work.

5) Pen/notebook is less weight to lug around all day and I don't have to worry, really, about someone making off with it.
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
[video=youtube;t2FeHf1juRc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2FeHf1juRc[/video]
 

Mindaboo

Puritan Board Graduate
The thing I've found Pergs, is just having them write daily helps. I use a program called Fix It by Institute for Excellence in Writing. I write a sentence, or some days I write a paragraph depending on the assignment, have my girls copy it and fix the mistakes. This does a couple of things. It helps them learn grammar, punctuation, when to indent, etc. But what I've seen with my kids is that every day we spend doing this the handwriting becomes better. It's taken time. I didn't do a lot of formal writing programs with my kids. I just had them write. I have very clear, nice handwriting. I believe I developed that, because I wrote a lot when I was a kid. My daughter that has struggled with very poor handwriting, spelling, and punctuation has improved greatly using this program. You can find it used on vegsource.com or homeschoolclassifieds.com. That's where I got mine. I paid $15. The cost of it new is around $30. It builds gradually. I like it a lot.
 

TexanRose

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think it's easier to write neatly using italics--more efficient than the old ball-and-stick printing. Check out Getty-Dubay Italics.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
I would imagine that copying Scripture or catechism questions would help to kill two birds with one stone.
 

Somerset

Puritan Board Junior
Back to Noah. Has his eyesight been comprehensively checked? I just picked up reading by the age of 4, but my handwriting is dreadful. I was found to have vision problems.
 
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Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
I would imagine that copying Scripture or catechism questions would help to kill two birds with one stone.
Reformation Heritage Books produces a hardcover book for this very purpose. On one side is the printed Biblical text; on the other side are lines for one to copy the text in their own handwriting. My pastor recently purchased one of these for his oldest son (~6 or 7 years old).

Journibles - Reformation Heritage Books
 

Mindaboo

Puritan Board Graduate
Classically Cursive is sold through Veritas Press, and they have a book that uses the catechism. I believe they also have one that uses The Ten Commandments.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
If you have any reason to suspect any difficulties with core strength or upper arm strength, address that first -- fine motor skills, which includes handwriting, cannot easily be fixed until other strength issues are resolved.

Handwriting Without Tears is a great program for people who have difficulties with writing or even for every day folks. I used it for the first four grades with my son who had a lot of challenges and am using it now with our youngest. The teachers behind the program see cursive as a good "reset" point for students who have difficulty with their handwriting so, don't worry about pushing forward with cursive using their stuff. (I was skeptical, but they proved to be right.) By simplifying the slant and connections between letters and eliminating some of the flourishes, they give someone with poor handwriting a shot at improving.

Make time everyday for handwriting, but don't make it a long, drawn-out ordeal.

As far as punctuation, have patience and continue to push along with grammar exercises. Composition skills -- applying those punctuation rules -- seem to catch up in the long run.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Noah's eyesight is great...he can spot a lizard at a hundred yards (and shot a pig in the head with his bb gun at 200 yards yesterday). His upper-arm strength is fine and motor skills are good enough to climb trees and play mud-football in the afternoons.

Starting this week, we are going to write two chapters of a book each week. He will write the rough draft, I will edit it, he will rewrite it and correct all mistakes, and then I will type it and put pictures in it. So, he is now writing about a goat-eating monster that he has to fight. His drafts are still messy, but I guess a lot of it is inattention and hurrying to much while writing.

Teresa uses "Handwriting without Tears" and she reports some improvement. I will also check out Journibles. I am not a fan of just copying texts and would rather have him create, but copying the Bible or catechism sounds better than copying other things.
 
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