Welcome to The Educating Parent Beverley Paine's archive of articles about homeschooling and unschooling written over a period of 30 plus years

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An Introduction to Developing Handwriting

© Beverley Paine

[an excerpt from Developing Children's Handwriting, a Practical Homeschooling Booklet, by Beverley Paine, available from Always Learning Books.]

Handwriting is one of the vehicles of expression of written language. Other methods of recording written language include typing, drawing or printing graphic images and icons. The articles in this series are concerned with the development of handwriting, especially in young children in the homeschool environment.

The major purpose in helping children learn handwriting skills is to develop legibility so that whatever they write will be readable. The purpose of writing is communicate ideas and it's important that whatever the writer wishes to convey can be conveyed coherently to the reader. Legibility is a key factor in this process. The development of handwriting, however, cannot, and should not, occur in isolation from the general process of learning to write.

Developing fast, efficient and legible handwriting styles needs to progress naturally in a steady continuum as your children’s writing skills expand. It is advantageous for your child to develop his or her keyboarding skills at the same time and the two - handwriting and keyboarding - can be learned side by side without detracting from either. Both are essential skills, the absence of which will hamper their ability to communicate effectively as adults.

In any writing activity in the home school both the parent and child must:

  • feel the need to write
  • want to write
  • have something to write about
  • and have some physical ability to engage in handwriting. For children unable to do this yet, scribing is a valuable technique for recording written communications.

Children learn naturally by emulating the actions and behaviours of others. We encourage our children to learn different by setting examples. By writing (and typing) frequently we set a potent message that writing is a valued and useful part of everyday life; a desirable skill. This creates a natural want to write.

To encourage my children to write I went out of my way to be a writer. Instead of keeping mental lists or reminders I wrote them down. I began to write out recipes and menus. I created labels for different items in the house - this also helped the children learn to read. Wherever I could I used different writing styles and forms. We made and played 'paper chase' games. Later, I began a family homeschooling newsletter. And I encouraged the children to tell me about their drawings and asked if they'd like me to scribe for them.

It is natural and easy for a young child to make the connection between the words I write as they speak them, especially they speak and the wordsAs I wrote the words the children spoke they

It is possible to identify four major influences on handwriting.

  • purpose and audience,
  • the writing process,
  • handwriting technique,
  • handwriting style.

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
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Welcome to the World of Home Education
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since 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. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

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