I don’t know how cursive can be going out of style. I mean, it’s what makes writing fun, fluid, faster, and fancy! See what I did there? I wasn’t even trying! I believe cursive is a must. Not that Emma would have let me get away with not teaching her. This girl was eager to learn cursive the first time she saw me writing in cursive, and demanded to be taught at 5 years old.
But which cursive curriculum to buy? There are so many options out there! Not only are there different programs, there are different cursive fonts to choose from. I’ve looked at samples of them all and really wasn’t sure which to try out. So when I was given the opportunity to review Memoria Press’ New American Cursive Penmanship Program (Workbook 1), I did my research. I read about Memoria Press‘ philosophy of education and discovered that they are a classical Christian curriculum. Then I looked at the samples of their cursive curriculum and really liked what I saw. More than that, I believed Emma would like it, so I checked the box saying I was very interested in reviewing it… and here I am!
Each lesson goes over a letter of the alphabet. First, letter formation is shown in a fun way with Mr. Meerkat (who makes my daughter giggle and look forward to seeing him on each page) demonstrating how to write the letter with illustrations and arrows. The child is encouraged to say the letter, follow the arrows to “feel” the letter with his or her finger, and trace the letter.
Next, space is given to trace one letter, then write two letters independently, repeated over and over. There is also a word that goes along with the sound and a picture to color. As a teacher, I really appreciate the fact that it doesn’t give you a bunch of blank lines, but combines tracing with practicing writing the letter by oneself. It isn’t overwhelming this way, and I have always felt tracing was important for the beginning writer. I also like that the child is told to circle his or her best letter. That’s one of Emma’s favorite parts and it keeps her encouraged to do her best work.
The next page is where the child practices connecting the letters. At first it starts with easy letters like a string of e’s and c’s, but soon bigger words are added. This is also where the child can draw anything they like in the provided blank spot.
Other features of the curriculum:
Here’s a view of the contents so you can see exactly what you’re getting. As you can see, there is an introduction, a guide to teaching cursive, and some pages you go over with your child where Mr. Meerkat introduces himself and shows the child some basics.
With this curriculum you are encouraged to use the StartWrite software (which I already own and love) to make extra practice pages for your child should he or she need it. This is worth doing as you will be able to make and use handwriting pages throughout the years as your child improves, changing the size of the font to a smaller version over time.
Is It Working For Us?
To be completely honest, after I received the book I wasn’t sure if Emma would like it. I thought she might be bored by the fact it wasn’t colorful, but she surprised me by loving it. This is the only subject she actually tells me she is excited about. She is tickled by the cute Mr. Meerkat, doesn’t get overwhelmed by the writing, enjoys finding her best letters, and loves art time. Not only that, but she has done extremely well and is flying through her lessons!
The flow of the lessons and repetition really are perfect for a first grader (ages 6-7). By the time the student reaches Workbook 2, they should be more than ready for it.
What if my child is still learning print?
Emma is really just getting to the point where she can write nicely and fluently when she concentrates on it. She still has to look at the letter chart on the wall to remember which way a letter should be facing every once in awhile, though. Despite this, she isn’t overwhelmed by the fact she is learning cursive and still having to practice printing, not the way this is laid out. Oddly enough, her printing improved dramatically after we started this cursive program. I honestly think it could have been related to this!
Price-wise, I think this is reasonable at around $20.00 per book.
I hope this review helps you make a decision about either starting cursive early or choosing a cursive curriculum! Please head over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew via the banner below to read more reviews on Memoria Press’ cursive curriculum, as well as their beginning phonics curriculum.
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