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Handwriting Without Tears is a handwriting curriculum that is part of the Learning Without Tears group of resources. It’s intended for use in a school setting, but it’s become popular in the homeschool community. I was drawn to the curriculum because it was created by occupational therapists and I had a student that was extremely resistant to adopting the correct pencil grip in pre-k. It worked so well for him that I decided to use Handwriting Without Tears to teach cursive to my oldest.
Handwriting Without Tears Review for Fourth Grade
Cursive Success, the fourth-grade level workbook, reviews the cursive skills (using Handwriting Without Tear‘s vertical style rather than the more traditional slanted style) learned in the previous workbook (Cursive Handwriting), but focuses more on connecting letters while adding more language arts topics. Some of the additional language arts topic include writing activities focusing on topics like poems, synonyms/antonyms, letter writing, etc. But I would say that the focus of the workbook is writing words in cursive, and that this workbook is not sufficient to also serve as a grammar or writing curriculum for a fourth grader.
The Cursive Success Teacher’s Guide includes ideas for multi-sensory activities. Reluctant writers or students that struggle with workbook work would benefit from these ideas. But if your student just needs practice, the workbook should be sufficient. The parent/instructor can simply sit with their student and talk through the letter formations as described on the page, then monitor the child’s work.
The version of the book we used had about 88 pages of student work, most of which can be done in one sitting. The first page of student work is dedicated to cursive warm-ups. Rather than do this page in one sitting, I would recommend either doing one line a day – finishing the page before moving on to the next – or doing one line a day and working on the next page that has not been completed. There’s also a couple of pages toward the end of the workbook where the student completes paragraphs, but we found it to be rather clunky and probably should have skipped them. The teacher’s guide, which I did not use, may have given more instruction about those pages.
What Should You Buy?
Cursive Success – student workbook
- Cursive Success Teacher’s Guide – teacher’s manual
- The teacher’s guide may recommend other supplies for the multi-sensory activities
- Writing Journal E
- Cursive Alphabet Desk Strips – The desk strip was very useful to my son when he would forget how to form certain letters when working toward the back of the workbook.
If you plan to use the teacher’s guide, you’ll want to spend some time with it and plan out the activities you do in addition to the workbook. You will likely also have to make additional purchases.
But if you’re using just the workbook, most pages should be open and go. There are several “Spelling to Cursive” sections interspersed throughout the workbook that will require you to dictate and verbally spell words using letters that have been covered so far, so you may want to have words prepared in advance so that you don’t have to come up with them on-the-spot.
Most of the pages should take less than 15 minutes to complete, but some students may want to complete pages towards the back of the workbook over two days if experiencing frustration.
If using just the workbook, you can do handwriting three times a week and complete it in less than a school year. If using multi-sensory activities from the teacher’s guide, you may want to do handwriting more often.
To whom would I recommend Handwriting Without Tears?
(Based on Learning Preferences and Three D’s I describe in earlier posts.)
- Students that do well with the Written Word, Spoken Word, and Visual learning methods should do well with just the workbook. But students that need more Interactive or Physical methods of learning may need multi-sensory activities as described in the teacher’s guide.
- Like most early-learning curricula, Handwriting Without Tears requires One-on-One teaching.
I would NOT recommend for…
Children that have not yet learned how to write in cursive or learned in a different style than taught in Handwriting Without Tears since familiarity with this style of cursive is assumed.
My Best Tips for Using Handwriting Without Tears
- Keep a close eye on your student’s letter formation and connections between letters since it’s important to correct your student before they create bad habits.
- Keep the lessons short, no more than 15 minutes.
Common Questions/FAQ About Handwriting Without Tears
Do I need the teacher’s manual/guide?
Yes, if your student needs multi-sensory activities as part of his/her handwriting curriculum.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Handwriting Without Tears
This is one of my favorite of all the curricula we’ve used because it shows parents that have never taught handwriting how to teach this subject in a logical, stepwise manner that truly helps her child. I’m grateful that I found it!
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