Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lefties Are Cool

Every once in a while on our SWR yahoo list, someone will post asking for help in teaching handwriting to a lefty. I know these are well meaning mothers and teachers that take their calling very seriously, but it breaks my heart to think of the 'stigma' lefties still face in the 21st century.

I am a lefty. And I found WRTR and SWR through the back door of precise handwriting- a friend had this book on 'clockface' print and cursive and it was a REAL aha moment for me. What a concept! It literally changed my life and the course of my homeschooling. What a divine hand leading me to SWR. I am so thankful.

I think that poor lefties get a bad rap. They are not inherently messier or more difficult handwriting learners than righties. It's simply they've been taught wrong or not at all. I can still remember the 3rd grade teacher passing by my desk during the start of 'cursive,' looking down at my left handed writing she derisively commented something like 'ugh, I can't teach a lefty.' Imagine my little 8yo self having to deal with that attitude! And how powerful those words that I still remember them decades later. On the one hand, I was raised very secure, so I felt it more her problem than mine, but on the other, I immaturely thought that refusing to learn cursive would 'get her back.' Of course, it affected me way more than her and probably only confirmed her bias.

Teaching a lefty is the same as a righty, only mirror image. Sit across from a lefty to model writing and to give directions- so it's easier for a righty teacher to see that her lefty student is modeling her example. And please never give the child the impression that they are somehow 'deficient,' more difficult with writing or doomed to messiness. For the best handwriting in all writers, I'd recommend:

Cursive First; first
Proper pencil grip
Continual practice through-out k-12: don't drop this subject!

Out of my 6 writers [I also have a 2yo] my Cursive First taught Lefty [9yo] has the best handwriting over all the non-CF righties AND his fellow CF-taught righty sister (7yo) And my lefty artist mother also has gorgeous handwriting! If only SHE had taught me to write! Amazingly, my handwriting has significantly improved with CF.

I have a dream that one day lefties will no longer have a stigma associated with their handwriting!
To see my mom's art click on this
Click on this to learn more about the importance of proper handwriting instruction

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SWR progress

On a really good note, my younger 2 students are making real progress in SWR. It took us a few weeks to get back to 40 words a week, but we did it this week!! yay. Also, we are well under 20 minutes for 20 words as long as the toddler doesn't interrupt too badly, so that's great news too. That means we have time for enrichments or just to keep up with reference pages, lol. I am finally learning how to 'add in' the enrichment during the dictation or quizzing time. For instance, today we briefly discussed prepositions since many of today's words fell in that category. I also looked up the term palindrome during 'class.' I noticed that the spelling word 'noon' was one, but couldn't remember the name. A word that is spelled the same forward and backward. So, I googled it on my iphone as the kids wrote it in their logs- then I was able to read the blurb I found on it. very cool. In addition to getting faster, they are getting better at remembering the words. Usually, the quiz is practically another dictation with the number of hints required and the Friday tests had been hovering in the 50% range. Lately, though, I have noticed that they are doing much better on both quizzing and testing; getting between 70-90% on recent tests. I'm looking forward to this week's test to see if the trend continues.

Oh where oh where has my school day gone?

Well, I've been delaying another post, waiting to actually 'do something' to post about. As it seems it will never happen, I'd better post anyway. Ocean City was great. Two weeks was perfect. We had perfect weather for 12 days and then it rained the last 2! We ended up listening to HP 6 AND 7. [ Yay, Library across the street from our Hotel!! How cool was that?] And didn't do any reading. Probably because I bragged about it in advance. That'll teach me.

I thought I'd be really ready to jump right in and be so organized, but it's taking me forever to get into a groove. We are doing a little bit every day, just not much more than that or what I had planned. I think we are improving this week though, so hope springs eternal. It's a short week as we are taking Friday off to socialize with some good friends. Then I'm sure we'll do an extra good 'push' before the holidays get here and we have another break.