Handwriting Without Tears was started in 1977 by Jan Olsen. She wanted to help her son, John. He was struggling to learn how to write. Jan was an occupational therapist and used that training to help her son. His teacher noticed the progress he was making and asked Jan to help others in their struggle with learning to write. The remedies and strategies she developed are what we now know as Handwriting Without Tears.
The following is from the Handwriting Without Tears website. At Handwriting Without Tears®, our mission is to make learning and teaching easy and fun by providing superior educational products, training, and materials to educators and parents.
When I started homeschooling my first son 6 years ago I used the same curriculum that was used to teach me to write. For us it worked pretty well. I figured we would be good to use the same curriculum with any other children we had in the future.
Enter Jordan Matthew Gideon. He was born 5 years after our 1st son. He also was the baby who was born when we started our adventure of homeschooling. Little did we know what an active, sweet child he would be as he has grown up. He turns 6 this May and also shares a birthday with his daddy.
Something that I was not prepared for with him was the fact that he was going to be the child who would do things with his left hand. He was about 2 years old when I discovered him doing more and more with his left hand.
My dilemma had now become how to teach a child who does things with his left hand how to write. And this was a problem because I am a right handed person. I felt so ill-equipped to teach my son to write since he used a different hand than I did. My husband is also a righty. I even thought of sending him to my Mother-in-Law (she’s a lefty) or to have a good friend of the family (another lefty) teach him how to write left-handed.
Over the 5 years he has been alive, we have invested in several things to help him write. Toys, games, etc, but I still hadn’t found a curriculum that I felt comfortable with to teach him how to write.
When I saw that the Review Crew would have an opportunity to review the Handwriting Without Tears program I literally JUMPED with joy! I had wanted to try it but things didn’t work out. Add to my joy when I saw my name on the list of those reviewing HWT K!!
I received the Kindergarten program and Teachers Guide to use. So the past few weeks we have been working through the curriculum. It is great for a busy body like my Jordan. The teachers guide has so many ideas to help your child. But it isn’t just about writing, it’s more than that. I have been teaching Jordan concepts that will help him grasp writing better. And the past 4 weeks have seen such an improvement! He is literally asking me to do the writing.
Now you may be asking, is that all from just the books. No, I did go to the Handwriting Without Tears website to purchase some select manipulatives that I felt Jordan would benefit from using. We got the slate chalk board, the blue mat, the shapes (which if you want you can search for a template and make your own), and the sponge erasers. I did not get the CD which has the songs that are recommended in the Teachers Guide. However, since I play piano, we did sing several of them. 🙂
When we start our writing class, I usually choose a couple of the Foundation Skills (found in the teachers guide). Jordan loves the song “Where do you start your letters” and we typically sing that several times. We vary it by singing loud, soft, jumping and sitting. Then we use the shapes and mat to practice creating the letters. We also use a foundation skill that teaches concepts such as above, below, behind, in front, up and down. Jordan also loves making Mat Man. 🙂 This is probably his favorite skill to practice.
Then we start our writing portion. He loves to get his pencil and sit and show me how he is writing. It makes me smile to see him enjoy learning. Especially since I was so worried about teaching him due to our differences.
I think it is very important as a parent (and teacher to your child) to know your child and how they learn. Not everything will work the same for every person. But for us, Handwriting Without Tears has been quite the success! So much so that I plan on using it through the next few years as he improves his handwriting.
I am also planning on using it for our 3rd son, Josef, who is just as active and would enjoy the manipulatives and foundation skills as much as his brother. He already shows an interest and joins in on the songs and concepts.
Handwriting Without Tears is a great program for children. I think it is really good for those who need the extra help with concepts and skills. Those concepts that Jan used with her son really do work! I highly recommend this program and it will be one we continue to use with our children.
Handwriting Without Tears Samples
Handwriting Without Tears Pricing
Student Book – $9.25
Teachers Guide – $8.25