The United States has never ranked at the top of international education tests, since we began comparing countries in 1964, yet has been the dominant economic and innovative force in the world the entire time. Despite this fact, a popular annual education report has once again stoked fears of America’s impending economic mediocrity with fresh stats on how far the U.S. “lags” behind the world in college attainment, pre-school enrollment, and high school graduation.
There are few people who really know what they’re getting into when it comes to getting married. We all have an idea of what marriage is all about. We have hopes, dreams and expectations of what it will look like. We watch movies, TV shows and even observe marriages in the world around us to try and get a glimpse of this thing we call holy matrimony. But we don’t really know until we’re there, do we?
My middle son will be graduating in the spring and we took advantage of obtaining dual credits to fulfill both his high school requirements and accumulate some college credits as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time or money to continue with his private piano lessons. He loves playing, and was a bit heartbroken to give up his weekly private lessons with his favorite teacher.
We’ve tried some different things to keep him challenged and playing and when eMedia offered us a free copy of their Piano and Keyboard Method software to try, we thought it perfect timing. This would be my son Benny’s first experience with a “virtual” instructor.
Benny has been playing for six years so we chose to review the Intermediate level CD ROM that works on both Win/Mac (he has a MacBook Pro). The software is initially installed on the computer taking up 534.5 Mb, after which the discs are not needed. If first impressions were a prediction of how well Benny would do with eMedia, we were golden! He liked it immediately. He got started right away with the first lesson (there are 150+) and was playing Rachmaninoff beautifully. eMedia selected to teach some wonderful pieces by many of music’s elite composers: Liszt, Beethoven, Chopin, Berlin, and Mozart.
Here’s Benny’s thoughts:
This program is very easy to use, and extremely informative. Everything is broken down in to simple terms and phrases, so even those with only basic piano knowledge will be able to understand. The pieces are just the right difficulty for the recommended level (intermediate), and I never found the selections boring to play.
If a student is having trouble with a piece, sections can be highlighted and played at a normal or slower tempo to help master the troublesome areas. Everything from the theory to the tonal shading is well explained. I found the instructor Vadim Ghin (a graduate of Juilliard) to be insightful and a great teacher. This has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with piano, and I would eagerly recommend eMedia’s Intermediate Piano and Keyboard Method to anyone wanting to continue with piano instruction using a non-conventional method.
I would add that the ideal student for this type of instruction is one who is relatively independent and doesn’t need constant reminders to do his lesson or practice. Although Benny did enjoy his experience, he is more driven to play pieces of his own choosing. If he hears a song he likes he will find the music and teach himself. We will hear him play the piano for an hour or more, tirelessly practicing till he gets it perfect. I guess we learned he is not really at intermediate level after all, but something more.
He is advanced. He is passionate about music, and happy he learned in elementary school to play the piano.
You will be impressed with the amount of material that is included in this program. It has digital recording capabilities, a digital metronome, orchestral accompaniment, and other cool add-ons. The price is very reasonable ($59.95). That was what 2.5 lessons with our private instructor cost me. Let me send you now to eMedia to find out more about what, and how your student will learn using the Intermediate Piano and Keyboard Method.
Alert! eMedia is offering my readers a special 25% off discount now through 12/31/13. Just use coupon code EMD-HM1 when checking out to receive 25% off your order. Some restrictions apply. Valid on all eMedia branded products.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for this, my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed here are my own, and my son’s own. We disclose this to you in accordance with the FTC regulations.
The Huffington post has an interesting piece by Sarah Stewart Holland: I Might Not Send My Kids to College. Our own kids are reaching college age and yes, the potenital for life-crippling debt (for them, not us) is huge. See our 2 part post on Affording Homeschool to College.
Recently, I was at dinner with a group of friends, several of whom were mothers. As is often the case, the conversation had turned to the education system. We were discussing testing and home schooling and teachers, when another friend — who does not yet have children — asked me a question that caught me off-guard: “Let me ask you a question. Will you tell your children they have to go to college?” My response surprised me almost as much as the question. I told her five, even two years ago, I would have said “absolutely.” I wouldn’t have hesitated. Yet, here I was hesitating and giving a different answer. “I don’t know.”
Homeschoolbuzz had the opportunity to review IXL‘s online math membership program, where math practice is neither a bore nor a chore but productive fun. This has been such a wonderful experience for my 7th grader Will – he looks forward to his time on IXL and has developed definite math confidence since he started on the site. I think IXL is brilliant for creating a program that is easy to use, eye catching, rewarding, comprehensive, and enjoyable. IXL Math has been available since 2007, though this is our first time using it. They offer K–12 math education that covers 2,500+ math topics. Family Memberships cost $9.95 per month or $79.00 for the year. This price covers both the math (PreK – 12) and language (2nd – 4th grade), and allows access to all levels for all your children. IXL will give each child their own account and reports. In the seventh grade section there are 254 skills available to practice. Each grade has the same set up: a list of all the main math categories for that grade broken down into specific skills. For example, one of the seventh grade categories is decimals. Under decimals are the skills:
- Add and subtract decimals
- Multiply decimals and whole numbers
- Divide decimals
- Word problems
- Estimate sums, differences and products of decimals
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals
- Multi-step inequalities with word problems
- Multi-step inequalities with decimals
- Maps with decimal distances
- Simplify expressions involving decimals
Divide. Give the exact answer, written as a decimal 891.8 ÷ 7 =
Hit submit and if correct you see a giant green check mark with a positive statement like Keep it up! or Great job! Get the question wrong and you see:
Sorry, incorrect… The correct answer is:
IXL then step by step reviews with you how to solve the problem. IXL will keep generating a new, unique question for whatever skill your student is practicing, for as long as the student stays on that skill. They track the student’s score, and will automatically generate increasingly more difficult questions. Every week IXL emails a status report indicating the time your student spent practicing and what his score was. Log into the parent section of the site for a more detailed report: pie chart, bar graph, performance, skills mastered, progress, and identification of trouble spots. Also, IXL math conforms to the 2010 common core standards and indicates which practice sets are part of those standards. There was nothing Will or Gary and I didn’t like about IXL. I especially appreciated:
- no annoying sound effects
- optional games/incentives to unlock rewards
- cheers for right answers
- review for incorrect
- unlimited practice
- independence for student
- weekly email reports
At first Will was reluctant to try another “math” program, and appeased us and just seemed to be guessing at answers. But as he saw his score going down, he started to take interest in getting the answers right.
Once he analyzed why he got an answer wrong and paid attention to the explanation IXL provided he began learning new concepts he never quite understood. He also was driven by the running tally of his score on the screen. This makes it very game-like and he was proud of his achievements. He used to get terribly frustrated and give up on math. Now he actually looks forward to the challenge. IXL is a fantastic find for us, and is a phenomenal tool to use for review or remedial learning.
What Government Schools Can Teach Us About Government Health Care via Laissez-Faire Bookstore
A common argument made in favor of government-financed health care is that it is inherently cheaper than a private system. Strangely, however, the people who celebrate the government’s ability to hold down health care spending would be horrified at the same argument applied to other public-sector functions. It’s a seriously inconsistent position held by advocates of bigger government.
I selected to review Bridgeway Academy’s English series (for use with grades 7-12) because my son had disdain for every grammar and writing program we have tried to use. Considering he is now in seventh grade and his objections started in third grade, our rejection pile is big. He’s a bright kid, he just gets bored quickly with English fundamentals. When I read that The Bridgeway English books 1 and 2 are self instructional and remedial, I had a feeling this approach might work. My son loves to be independent in learning, and that proved a key factor that led to his success with this curriculum. Yes, it was a success! He’s been working through both books for two months now and not a single complaint. I am happy.
English Book 1: Focus on Grammar: (Price $23.33) Grades 7-12
This is a skills development course with each skill building on the previous one learned. Book one is meant to be used first, followed by the writing book. The student is brought right back to basics: identifying subject and predicate, noun, verb. What makes a sentence, what are the four types of sentences, and how do you differentiate between a fragment, run-on, complete, and compounds. Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, and more. The book is spiral bound and divided into six 35-paged PAKS (Unit). Each PAK has three sections, review, a self test, and then a final test. It is important to follow the order in which the material is presented as the goal is mastery. If everything was completed in order, after the self-test you review it with your student, have him go back and review any questions missed, you can expect the desired passing grade of 80%.
English Book 2: Focus on Writing (Price $23.33) Grades 7-12. This book is not a writing program, so if you are looking for how to write essays or other types of fiction and non fiction writing this is not it. Only Letter and business writing are taught. The other lessons are on clauses, sentence variety, subject/verb agreement, writing skills, rules of capitalization/punctuation, proofreading, editing, study skills, and critical reasoning. Book 2 has twelve PAKS and also has the lesson followed by practice, review, self-test, verbal review with teacher, and unit test.
The books are black and white with some clip art type graphics and other “doodley” illustrations sprinkled throughout the pages. You’ll see some inspirational quotes here and there too:
Compassion is an attribute to be prized-Fred Rogers
Honesty is not the best policy; it is the only policy. Donald R. Howard
Bridgeway English Answer Key (Price $23.33) Finally, you will want the companion teacher answer key. It is simply a smaller version of the student’s book with the answers filled in. This is a must-have to verify the answers and correctly grade the unit tests.
It was hard to “pull” any information from my son as to what he wanted to add to this review. He said to tell you he likes this English program, and he feels confident he is learning.
I am especially pleased with the remedial factor of this program and the emphasis on mastery. If you worry (like me) that your student has not yet mastered the basics on English grammar and writing, Bridgeway is a viable option. I see now that I rushed my son too quickly on to writing assignments and reports. I’m sure that when he finishes both book 1 and 2, he will have no trouble transitioning on to high school writing.
Zondervan is a well recognized name in the Christian publishing industry. They have many different devotional bibles available, such as a Homeschool Mom’s Bible which I received for this TOS crew review. It is a hardcover edition containing the full bible text in the NIV translation, with a KJV version also available (both retail for $34.99).
365 meditations/devotions each incorporating a scripture selection and a short concluding prayer are sprinkled from Genesis to Revelation. No matter which book of the bible you wish to read, you will find a devotion, and be directed to the page of the next. Vicki Farris writes a motivating forward introducing Janet, this amazing mom with twenty-five years of homeschooling experience, as an unmet friend who knows the hearts of homeschooling moms
My husband and I have a tradition of starting our day together with a devotion. Devotions or meditations with select themes provide a starting point for further applications and discussions. When it comes to daily bible reading, I flounder without direction. I have always been in awe of others who can combine their experiences and personal insights into scripture and somehow shower me with encouragement. In this bible specifically designed for the Homeschooling mom, Janet Tatmen understands homeschooling. The joys, and delights as well as the doubts and trials. She gets it. And she’s honest. She elegantly weaves her knowledge of God’s word with her inspirational thoughts and empathetic stories, conveying a kindred spirit to the sisterhood of homeschool moms.
So many of Janet’s devotions resonated with me. Like this excerpt from one entitled Fueling the Flame.
Sadly, sometimes homeschool parents’ passion to teach their child begin to fade. The daily demands of caring for a household and the intense effort required drain even the most dedicated parent. When the homeschooling fire begins to die out, many may choose a half-hearted approach….Others may stop homeschooling…The wise homeschooling parent, however, will see the coals growing dim and find the fuel necessary to rekindle the flame of passion first given by God.
Beautiful. Timely. Inspirational.
My present day favorite bible is a lovely soft green leather one, its cover adorned with an pink elegant flower. I’ve had many others through my Christian life. It doesn’t matter if your cover is muddy brown, ripped, or absent. What does matter is that you read what lies within. The bible does you no good if it sits on your shelf camouflaged by other books and the piling mail. Your bible should be like your shoes. An essential part of your wardrobe, that provides protection, comfort, and the support to walk painlessly through your busy days.
To read my bible with a daily meditation geared specifically for me – does it get any better than that? A bible designed especially for me? No one knows the ups and downs and inner thoughts we have but feel too ashamed to voice to anyone else but God. Am I cut out for this? Am I doing it right? Why do my kids fight with me about doing their work? Surely none of my friends have a disheveled house with beds unmade, laundry heaped on the floor, toys strewn on the carpet, and the dining room table covered with curriculum and bottles of glue. Ah, but they do. I do. Embrace your homeschool journey, and if you have doubts, feel discouraged or overwhelmed, go to God, and enlist the wisdom of others like Janet Tatmen. God’s word+ Janet Tatmen’s devotions=treasure trove.
Read more reviews at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog
Another reason to keep homeschooling. How Common Core is Slowly Changing My Child | mrsmomblog
Today, things got really personal. Today I saw just how this Common Core business is affecting kids. Not my kids in my classroom; I know how it’s affecting them and I am doing the best that I can to make this as painless as possible on them. Today, my third grade son came home an angry, discouraged kid because of school. On the contrary, my oldest son is doing pretty well with the Common Core. He’s had some difficulties, but for the most part he’s just rolling with it and we’re doing OK. But my younger son is not my older son; which just proves that this one-size-fits-all curriculum that you are throwing at these elementary kids is bull.
Kathy ran across this great collection of articles compiled by iHomeschool Network: Our Top Must Haves for Homeschooling.
When you decide to homeschool, one of your first considerations is what you will need to do the job: curriculum, school supplies, furniture, paper, technology, learning aids, and so on. There are thousands of options for a homeschool mom, so we asked the bloggers of iHN to share what they would consider their must haves for homeschool. Their top picks should narrow the decisions for you as they direct you to what you really need.
The press is finally starting to notice, Home school no longer just for the deeply religious via Long Beach Press Telegram
Once primarily the domain of the Christian right or the far left, home schooling is increasingly appealing to families that don’t consider themselves deeply religious or ideological. The practice instead appears to be entering a new phase of mainstream attention, attracting greater numbers of people who are most concerned about subjecting their kids to the pitfalls of the traditional school environment: standardized testing, peer pressure, bullying and even violence. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education released its five-year report on home schooling. Among its findings: the number of home-schooled students ages 5 to 17 in the United States has jumped 17 percent since the last study in 2007 — to a record 1.77 million students. That represents about 3.4 percent of all the nation’s K-12 students.
The Foodie Army Wife is hosting this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling: Science Experiments and a Printable Slime Recipe
This week, I am hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling. I thought I would take a bit of a trip down memory lane. Many moons ago I share this post on my old blog – it was actually one of my very first blog posts! I came across this and thought I would re-share it here, since it had a great recipe for SLIME – plus I can’t believe how much my kids have grown since then!
The Presidential Game, recommended for ages 11 to adult is a whirlwind of fun that simulates the electoral process for the Presidential office of the United States of America. For this TOS Crew Review review, two of my boys (ages 18 and 16), my husband, and I played it, and immersed ourselves into the tricky game of politics.
The object of the game is to earn the most electoral college votes and thereby win the presidential election. Two teams, Democrats and Republicans compete against each other by making strategic decisions on their turn. Campaign or Fundraise? Go for smaller states or focus on the big ones? Divide available money across many states, or build up a reserve on a high electoral vote state?
Your opponent is in perfect position to take the lead and steal a state you thought you were sure to win.
There is an online webmap to record states won, or you can keep track with a paper score board.
Garrison’s feedback: The game was very tense. Your own turns went by very fast and your opponents turns seemed to take forever. Of course, I dislike the chance aspect of the game but it keeps it simple for being able to engage whatever group or family you play with without much confusion on the rules. It was an especially good simulation of the election and will definitely help younger children understand it. I would recommend it.
Dad’s take: I felt all the same exhilaration and disappointment that I feel every four years on election night as I watch my candidate gain, and then lose, all-important swing states. The online scoreboard looks just like an election map with red and blue states. You find yourself playing this much like the real candidates, focusing most of your efforts and resources on the few states with the big votes and callously ignoring “fly-over” states. I can see this helping kids to make sense of, and even be excited by election night as they recognize the similarity to this fun game.
Benny’s thoughts: The game was fun. It represented real life politics in the sense that you watched a state go from Democrat to Republican all game long until the end. There was a lot of luck involved, but that makes it fair for first time players. The rules sounded complicated but it was really easy to pick up. I was surprised how quickly the hour went by. It will be fun to play again during a presidential elect year.
The Presidential Game is a entertaining way to grasp our electoral voting system. It is certain to stir some enlightening discussions. Both our teams focused on the states with the highest number of electoral votes such as Texas, New York, Florida, and California. We had no interest in the little guys like Delaware, Vermont, and Wyoming. We felt bad we neglected those states, but if we wanted to win, we had to get those high population states!
Anything can happen in the presidential game: when we played my team (Republicans) won by a landslide, winning California, Florida and New York. It felt good to win the election, but unfortunately the democratic team did not enjoy being defeated. They tried hard but once we pulled ahead it was just too hard for them to catch up. The game sells for $35. Families will love it, as well as classes or groups studying government. And, it can be simply enjoyed as a board game. Head over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read more reviews of The Presidential Game.
A word-cloud is typographic artwork, generated by a computer algorythm, based upon a given text. The more times a word is in the text, the larger it appears. I created word clouds for some of the contributed posts to this week’s carnival of homeschooling. I used tagul.com to create these but there are many other free services out there. A quick glance should give you the feel, then read the article to see if it resembles the graphic.
Jana presents How To Tell Your Kids NO In A Loving Way: posted at Wisdom-Ink Magazine.
Mystie shares Switching Key Habits in the Home & Homeschool: Cultivate a Growth Mindset: When we try to make changes in our homes and in ourselves, the resistance is often rooted in an assumption that life is supposed to be easy, so we refuse to do what will seem to make life harder. via Simply Convivial
Melissa is Schooling without a schoolroom: Contributing at the Homeschool Classroom, Melissa gives tips on how she schools her tribe without a designated school space. via The Cork Board
Shelby presents 20 Blogs Explaining How to Have a Successful School Picture Day posted at GoNannies.com Blog.
Barbara explains Raising Stars: Some schools encourage kids to think of themselves as stars, but this writer disagrees. via Barbara Frank Online
Rebecca goes Back to (Un)School! As unschoolers, the question of when we “start school” doesn’t have as easy an answer as an upcoming date on the calendar. It’s a bit more complex than that…and yet for us, delightfully simple.
Saron sings a Song for Safety I share the words to a lovely little song my daughter taught me when she was 4yrs old. She learnt it in playschool as part of the programme to help protect children. It’s fun, catchy, easy to learn and I still find myself humming it. But it tells our children an important message! via Reading-Writing-Learning
I hope you enjoyed this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling. Be sure and contribute your own post for next week, and every week.
One snafoo after another held up this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling- my deepest apologies! My tech crew gets home late on Tuesdays, but I think everything is finally fixed, working and raring to go! Click to Tweet Fall is kick-off season, whether you homeschool year-round or seasonally, in a relaxed or more traditional manner. Do you have any traditions for starting the season right?
IS IT WORTH A LOOK OR JUST A STUNT? Ron Paul is a familiar and polarizing name in American politics. While the longtime Congressman from Texas and former Presidential candidate is retired from politics, he continues to spread his libertarian message through education with the recent launch of the Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum. Many homeschool moms around the country have been patiently waiting for the launch of Ron Paul’s homeschool curriculum and now the wait is over… sort of. While the site is still a work in progress, libertarian-loving homeschoolers can find enough educational inspiration at RonPaulCurriculum.com to hold them over until the full roll-out is complete.
Learn or you’ll be made to learn. That’s old school. New school: unlock your potential. Determine your strengths, discover your learning style, and unleash your talents. For this TOS Crew Review of PeopleKeys, a company specializing in behavior analysis, I had my twelve year old son take their online Student Strength’s Report. In less than thirty minutes he had fill out the eDISC profile assessment, and I had instant access to a thirty-four paged report that interpreted his answers to multiple behavior questions. This report logically explained how my son learns best, and reinforced how I can maximize his learning and guide his education by focusing on his strengths.
This was easy to complete – with but little guidance from my husband or me, my son followed the clear directions provided in a userfriendly PDF, which took the user through a sample assessment step by step. Most of the questions were straightforward, Like What is your normal tone of voice? Rate from most to least in different areas. Results are immediately available after submission. I received a 34 page report that summarized my youngest son’s strengths. It was fascinating to read. My son (Will) was excited to hear what PeopleKeys had to say about him in these three areas they assess:
- Personality style: Dominant, Influencing, Steady or Conscientious
- Cognitive thinking: Literal, Intuitive, Theoretical, or Experiential
- Perceptual learning: Auditory, Visual or Kinesthetic
The first thing he read was style: LEADER
It was like he was thinking, yeah, someone finally gets me.
After several years of trying many curriculums, various teaching methods, group classes, clubs, and online programs, we found nothing that appealed to him. He rejected it all. We were sure the only option left for us was to send him to public school. We couldn’t teach him at home and we worried that he was not learning. Maybe we were the cause? At ten years old he declared he wouldn’t get on a bus, and if put in public school he would sit there and block out everyone and everything and simply refuse to do or learn anything. We researched, prayed, and listened (thank God!) to our son and kept him home. He is a very bright boy, he just learns differently. We went from eclectic, to relaxed, to unschooling, and now use a blended approach with his homeschool program. We chose to focusing on his interests and allow him to learn his way.
I wish I had known about PeopleKeys two years ago when we were struggling so terribly. This Student Strengths Report would have shed light on such critical aspects of our son’s personality and could have saved us money, time, and needless frustration. You can’t force a child to fit a curriculum, or make him learn in a way that is not natural for him. We were pretty sure Will was an auditory learner, and PeopleKeys agreed. The report offered tips for lectures, studying and test taking for his style of learning, such as:
Repeat things out loud, ask an instructor to (verbally) explain homework instructions in his own words, ask questions, sit near the front of the class, talk to yourself while problem solving, create songs of information, play an instrument while studying.
There is such a cache of information in this report and many suggestions to help our student seriously grow. One especially helpful insight they provided were ideas on how to design the learning environment. We let Will choose his workspace, decide on furniture, lighting, noise level. He loves having input in what and how he learns, and since we have been open and willing to bend, he has thrived.
I would encourage all homeschoolers to use an evaluation tool such as this Strengths Report. I would expect this would be helpful for those in grades 6+. PeopleKeys is generalized, and no one can be completely defined by an online assessment, but it is a tool you can use to…
Maximize Strengths; Minimize Weaknesses..It’s that simple. If you know where your thinking excels, you can capitalize on those aspects, use your mind to do what it enjoys doing most…Your mind has a distinctive skill set that it has sharpened over the years. Find out what that is, and use it. Once you pinpoint and appreciate your strengths and limits, you can minimize or maximize them in all types of learning situations.
Know Yourself. To know yourself sometimes requires that you stand outside of yourself and observe, objectively in a critical way. Your report has indicated that you prefer one thinking style. It is up to you to decide if it is “like” you or it is “not like you”. (From Student Strengths Report)
There are many more reviews of PeopleKeys products at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog:
By Kathy and Benny
To teach cursive, or not to teach cursive. That is the question.
I did teach my three boys cursive, and they all defaulted to manuscript writing by middle school. Now sixteen, I asked my middle son to give cursive a second chance by reviewing with me The Rhythm of Handwriting: Cursive by The Logic of English. As of late he had been working on perfecting his “signature”, and agreed to revisit the mechanics of cursive.
This workbook is geared toward the student of any age who is first learning to write. The Logic of English recommends writing instruction begin with cursive rather than manuscript. WHY?
They suggest this approach is less motor intensive, the letters b and d are less likely to be reversed, and that if cursive is learned first, it will be a muscle memory that is lifelong.
Their technique starts with large motor movements/letter forms, and emphasizes combining all the senses:
- Show your student how to form the letter,
- Tell how to form the letter,
- Do have the student form the letter
- Student says aloud instructions as they form the letter.
I do agree-cursive is like riding a bike. I mastered it in my primary education, and I prefer cursive over manuscript for my own note taking and letter writing. Despite my perfectly formed letters and flowing sentences, my boys can’t read my writing. They read manuscript. They write manuscript. And revisiting it in highschool didn’t change my son’s preference – manuscript rules. Although using this 170 paged workbook did help him get his signature perfect.
Here is his review of the workbook:
Rhythm of Handrwiting is a good program for those students just learning to write cursive. Even though I had completed cursive handwriting instruction in my early elementary years, I prefer to print (manuscript) when I write. It is easier for me. I did enjoy going through this workbook as it refreshed my memory and encouraged me to try writing in cursive once again. It wasn’t too hard, and I was surprised at how quickly the information came back. I find myself now writing lists and more sentences in cursive. The reference chart was helpful to refer to as it contains all the letter formations. I don’t think I will write everything in cursive as I am so used to manuscript, but I’m glad I had this refresher.
Cursive appears to be a dying art in 21st century education. Today’s students need to master keyboard/texting skills, not cursive. It is a rare event for me to see my boys write anything. Reports, letters, fill-in-blanks are all done in manuscript or completed in some digital fashion. I didn’t even teach my youngest the correct hand positioning for “home row” – he just learned it. And he is way faster than me.
Who knows what the future holds for cursive handwriting. I’m glad I taught it to my boys. I didn’t start with cursive like The Logic of English advises. Perhaps if I did, it would have stuck with them. There are many methods of cursive instruction available, and this one seems reasonably priced and offers many extra helps on reinforcing and practicing what is taught. I’m glad to pass on the good feedback from my son, but he is likely a wee bit older than the majority of those who would be using this product. I agree with him in that I too liked the folding reference chart- it is a great summary of the instruction and something you will want to have at hand for quick reinforcement. Swing, drop, swoop, dot. Perhaps that’s all kids need to hear to get that motor recall when needed.
Oh, and because we like to include many members of our family for these reviews, Frodo wanted to share his thoughts:
While the new standards, which purport to emphasize critical thinking and problem solving, are meant for public schools only, opponents say they will affect all children – including those who are home-schooled, especially when it comes to taking state standardized tests that are aligned with the Common Core. It is up to each state whether home-schooled children must take standardized tests in grades three through eight, and once in high school. But all college-bound home-schooled students take the SAT, which is now being aligned with the new standards. The new head of the College Board, which is revamping the SAT, is David Coleman, the so-called architect of the Common Core. “We home-school our kids to make sure we can support and encourage their individual interests, gifts and talents,” said 42-year-old Finnerty Ricardo, who holds degrees in marketing, public relations and biology.