The writing on the wall... or window.
By Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
For many of us, clear handwriting didn’t emerge until well past our elementary school years, if ever. If your child struggles with cursive handwriting or hates to write at all, you can back off and allow some time for normal development to work some magic. During this waiting time, pursue drawing (with pencils, colored pencils, or fine tipped markers) or coloring (dover has a wonderful collection of very detailed coloring books) to help encourage the development of the fine motor skills and attention to detail that’s needed for pen/pencil control when we write.
Cursive handwriting is certainly not a necessity in our world of typed/keyboard communication. Most everywhere that we are asked to actually write, the form will say PLEASE PRINT. So clear printing might be the more useful skill.
I did, ultimately, require my reluctant writers to complete a cursive handwriting workbook in about 5th grade so they could decipher other people’s handwriting. I never insisted that they use it in their writing assignments. And we spent some time practicing a signature so they could comfortably sign their names (in case they got famous, I said).
For children who seem uncomfortable with pencils or even fine tipped markers, let them draw and write with fatter tipped wipe off or dry erase markers on a white board or on windows/sliding glass doors. Writing on windows has the added allure of feeling naughty. Kids can’t resist. It works for math problem practice, too. Suddenly, they’re asking for more problems to solve.
Sidewalk chalk can be another activity that helps a child transition between large motor and small motor skill sets. No one expects a novice woodcarver to jump right in with detailed carvings. Ease your child into their writing with practice on simple work and gradually increase the difficulty.