*Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.*

Monday, August 30, 2010

TOS Review/ Peterson Directed Handwriting



Peterson Directed Handwriting uses a 4 step process to teach handwriting.

Step 1. is Illustrate and Describe.

In this step you show your child the colored strokes and movement, and describe how they will make that letter.

Step 2. is Air Writing.

In this step you will bring up your e-book on your computer, and bring up the letter you are working on.
Enlarge the screen so that just the letter is showing. Now you have a large model to work with.
Ask your child to look at the letter and trace in the air with his finger the strokes of the letter.
As you are Air tracing the letter, say the words that are associated with the strokes.
So, for a lowercase a, it would go something like this...

As you are Air Tracing you would say..Hook Around, Small Down.
You would practice this a few times until they know how to write the letter in the air.
You can make a fun game out of this by using different body parts to Air Trace!

Step 3. is Finger-Tracing.

In this step you will turn the paper to it's proper slant, and your child will use his/her pointer finger to trace the color/rhythm strokes, while saying the associated words. You only need to do this for a minute or two.

Step 4. is Write and Say.

In this step you have the child write the letters on the workbook pages.
It is recommended that your child practice on blank paper first to get the hang of it before practicing on lines.

I used the e-book form of PDH, and what I liked about having it as an e-book, is that you can print out as many of the same page as your child needs, and you can't do that with a pre-bound workbook.
Also, it is easier to position your page properly when it is one page only, and not a whole book.
The pages are in color, as that helps the child to see the different strokes.
I printed mine in draft so that I could still get the color, but save money on ink at the same time.
There are e-books for Kindergarten through grades 4 and up.

Theses e-books are pretty large.
The Print Step 1 has 68 pages, and the Cursive Step 4 has 64!
Also, if you have more than one child, you can use the same e-book, and just print off more pages, so you can look at it as an investment. 

I think PDH is a good handwriting program, but it was hard for us to switch midstream, when we were used to another handwriting program already.
My son really likes his other program, so it was difficult to get him to do this one. 
My daughter tried the cursive program, and it was hard for her because some of the letters were so different from the way she had already learned to make them.
My kindergartner did not want to say the words out loud, and it was too much on one page for him to do in one day, so we split each letter into two days.
An older child should not have this problem.

I hope I am not making PDH sound like a bad handwriting program, because it is a good one, I just highly recommend that if you want to use this program, that you begin with it, and stick with it.
I think no matter which handwriting program you use, it is probably the same. It is difficult to switch handwriting programs once you have already started with another program.
If you are looking for a straight forward, no frills type of handwriting program, then this is for you. 
There is really no teacher preparation involved, except for printing out the pages.

There are not a lot of instructions included with this e-book, but there is a lot of information on the website.
I have to admit though, that the website is a little confusing. It seems as if it could be simplified a lot, and it could much more user friendly. 
Also, Rand told me that he was considering putting together a manual for homeschoolers that need more detailed instructions.
I definitely think that would be a big help.
Rand also offers one on one help with the parents, if you need it.
The company is very nice and very helpful.

You can find the e-books here.
The prices for the e-books that I used are:
Print Step 1- Kindergarten Print E-Book $19.95
Cursive Step 4 - E-Book $19.95
They also sell Homeschool Kits for each grade, if you prefer a physical book.
You can find the Kits here.

Click here to see what others had to say about Peterson Directed Handwriting. 

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*I have received Peterson Directed Handwriting, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

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