Evaluation of Handwriting Skills
© Beverley Paine
[an excerpt from Developing Children's Handwriting, a Practical Homeschooling Booklet, by Beverley Paine, available from Always Learning Books.]
The nature of evaluation in the home school is one of continuous appraisal that the learning objectives of both the parent and child are achieved. Children are not left to learn alone in isolation, but are monitored and supported closely by you. Evaluation is not seen as a separate task, but as part of the overall activity in which the the children are engaged. Consequently correction and improvement are a natural part of the activity, with you noting in your home school records where further attention is required at a later date. This may include suggestions for further activities, or a comment about what you perceive the problem to be.
Evaluation also includes celebrating success, and often involves displaying finished activities or sharing results with others. Opportunities for having fun with developing handwriting skills abound, with experimentation of different styles of writing contributing an important part. Integrating handwriting development with art is an excellent way to remove the drudgery often remembered by parents of learning to write! Try practicing ancient writing forms, or those from other cultures.
You may like to keep dated samples of your children’s writings at various stages. As well as providing valuable information about what areas need attention, these become an enjoyable and permanent record of your children’s growth. It is very interesting to note the similarities and differences to other family members’ and relatives’ writing styles - you may be surprised!
Handwriting styles tend to change every decade or so. Most people continue to use the style they developed during childhood throughout life, with some modification. Trying to diligently reproduce the current, fashionable style is not absolutely necessary. It is probably better, and easier, to demonstrate your own.
This makes more sense than trying to change your own handwriting style, a difficult task for adults, for your children to emulate.
Remember, the most important aspect of developing handwriting skills is to encourage your children to be able to write fast, efficiently and in a legible manner.
A Writing Process Checklist
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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