(Note: This post was originally written in 2012 for an old blog I used to write.)
Despite what you might think, teaching handwriting to your seven year old isn’t as difficult as it might seem. (Ha!)
Just follow these eight easy steps . . .
Step 1: Decide to Start
Decide that your seven year old needs to learn how to correctly form her letters, despite her hesitancy to try anything new and hard. Determine that her resistance to handwriting is actually a product of fear–and not because she is incapable or unready. Determine that this is something you feel ready to require her to do.
Step 2: Search Your Shelves
Spend an afternoon looking through your boxes and shelves of curriculum for the handwriting workbooks you were given years ago. After a fruitless search, determine that you must have given away that curriculum at some point because you decided you didn’t believe in workbooks any more.
Step 3: Research Online
Use several days of free time to research handwriting curriculums online. Read reviews–both positive and negative–of several of the most popular. Ultimately decide that your money is better spent on other materials.
Step 4: Check out Free Handwriting Worksheets
Spend another evening searching for free internet resources for handwriting. Become intrigued by a website called Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker and play around with what it can do late into the night. Decide that it’s usefulness is limited by the fact that you don’t want to be tethered to the computer anytime you want your daughter to do handwriting AND you don’t want to waste a ton of ink and paper printing out disposable worksheets.
Step 5: Find the Easy Answer
Realize that you have a whiteboard with handwriting lines printed on it. Why didn’t you think of that before???
Use a Sharpie to write “permanent” letters that you want your daughter to practice. Start with dots that she can trace. Then just a starting dot. Then a blank space. Ask her to also do her work in Sharpie, so it doesn’t accidentally rub off. When she’s done, you can use rubbing alcohol and a rag to erase her work.
Step 6: Duck and (Re)Cover!
Duck . . . as the whiteboard comes flying at you from across the table.
Obviously, you underestimated how intensely your daughter feels about trying new things. Spend the rest of the day thinking up extra jobs for your daughter to do to work through her inability to control her temper.
Step 7: Settle In
Smile as your daughter settles into the new routine–trying one new letter a day–while reviewing the ones she has already learned. Praise profusely as she draws a smiley face on each letter she thinks looks the best.
Secretly pat yourself on the back for not giving up despite your daughter’s initial reactions. Realize that sometimes mom’s really do know best.
Step 8: Reflect
In a moment of self-reflection, ask yourself why you always have to make things so much more complicated than they actually have to be.