Peterson Directed Handwriting should appeal to home educators since it is both inexpensive and thorough. Homeschool handwriting kits include the teacher and pupil books plus a self-adhesive Position Guide and pencils for some levels.
The teacher’s handbooks offer step-by-step teaching instruction as well as extra strategy helps and explanations about some of the research and theories behind the methodology. It covers types of pencils, how to hold them, desks and sitting positions, tips for teaching left-handed students, and more. This is one of the few handwriting programs where the teacher’s handbook is a necessity because it contains so much useful information.
The methodology is standard ball-and-stick, based on learning basic movement patterns to reinforce left-to-right tracking. “Printwriting” begins with the traditional one-stroke-at-a-time process. In second grade, slant print is introduced using a “no-lift” rhythm called “threading” to encourage mastery of good paper holding. It also introduces all cursive forms with gross-motor readiness lessons. Transition to a traditional cursive takes place in third grade. Form, slant, size, spacing, smoothness, and control are continually emphasized. Songs and rhythms that assist in teaching handwriting skills are available free upon request in MP3 format. An optional CD-ROM (included in the “complete” kit) offers animations for all letters—print, slant print and cursive. Your student can see the strokes written by an invisible hand on your computer screen. Peterson has materials for preschool through eighth grade, but I expect that the courses for kindergarten through fourth grade will be of primary interest.
In addition, Peterson Directed Handwriting offers printable e-workbooks, reproducible lesson-sheets, wall alphabets, pencil grips, and special education materials. Of particular interest might be Shirley’s Books ($4.95 each), a four-book series of reproducible practice books in your choice of ball-and-stick print, two versions of slant print, or cursive. The Left-Handed Writer (ebook for $9.95) might be of interest to those with left-handed students.
The Peterson Directed Handwriting website has many free how-to videos and an extensive resource library with research information and practical ideas for teaching handwriting. They also offer free online support.