Uphill From Here, Cursive in Grade 3

Cursive on the wall.  (command clips hold ALL THE THINGS)

Cursive on the wall. (command clips hold ALL THE THINGS)

I’m pretty sure I mentioned that we were going to work on cursive over the summer rather than waiting for the new school year? Oak Meadow Grade 3 jumps right in with copywork, and it felt like cursive was one of those skills that would work better for Ellie if we took a slower, more deliberate approach. I ordered two cursive workbooks (I needed to brush up on my cursive too) and a teacher’s manual from Handwriting Without Tears.

Things I like and Why I Picked “Cursive Without Tears” (in case you Googled for a review):

  • examples are clearly visible no matter what-handed the student is
  • clean, straight-forward, easy-to-read script (room for personalized embellishment later)
  • examples are straight up and down, allowing for a personal decision about the way to slant later
  • if you use unlined writing paper (Waldorf style), you’ll be happy with the double lines to guide letter formation
  • lesson progression makes sense
  • because of the way letters are introduced, students practice real words early in the program

It was everything I’d hoped. We completed a lesson a day (mostly just on weekdays) and she was writing letters to Gran by the end of the summer.

Since we’re just beginning the writing assignments in Grade 3 and have just started to write on paper without guiding lines, I am still supporting her writing practice. I’ve had her dictate her sentences/paragraphs to me (at the end of last year, she was writing rough drafts on her own), I write them out in cursive, and she copies them over into her Main Lesson Book. This way, not only does she have a reference, she can see how the whole word/sentence looks compared to the whole. We’ll do this for another week or so in order to build a little confidence (and stamina) with unlined paper. Main Lesson Books can be intimidating when they are brand new and empty.

Ellie notes that when she was printing, her lines of handwriting tended to “go downhill” on the page. With cursive, the lines go uphill. This tickles us.

Have I talked about Main Lesson Books? If I haven’t, I’ll do that soon. It’s a neat idea.

Grade 3: Lesson 1

our classroom (part of it)

our classroom (part of it)

hard at work

hard at work

we're going to work with chalk all year (not OM, we just want to)

Sea Scape. we’re going to work with chalk all year (not OM, we just want to)

I’ve got a blue bear that’s been sitting on my desk all week waiting to be photographed and yarn for two special orders has arrived.

Maybe Grade 3 will be more productive for me – it’s really too soon to tell.

Always Forward

The first new stuff in the shop in ages.

Rabbit.

Rabbit.

Elephant.

Elephant.

I’m still trying to find a balance and constantly reminding myself that everything is fine if I don’t produce as much as in years past.

I also finally got pictures of the in-progress mermaid! She needs hair and the pattern needs attention, but she’s moving forward.

Always forward.

School starts the 15th. I very much badly want the Mermaid to be ready for a test knitter or two by then.

Experience Level

Current events are discouraging, disheartening, frustrating.

I’ve turned to fiction for happy endings and characters with empathy.

This was a good read.

Yup. That’s a cat on the kitchen table. I moved her before she got in my coffee.

I’ve added that one to Ellie’s future reading list.

I’ve been pre-reading loads of “middle grade” fiction lately since Ellie has hit an interest-level/reading-level conflict (meaning: her reading level is higher than the books written for her eight-year-old interest level). It’s becoming difficult to find material that challenges her reading skills (because sometimes you need a challenge and not another book about fairies) without challenging her experience.

My Rule of Thumb for Picking Books for an 8 Year Old (based on anecdotal evidence not science)
If the main character is 11, it’s almost always OK about Age Appropriate Topics and Situations.
If the main character is 13, it might be OK.
If the main character is older than 13, forget it. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good book. It’s just not a good book for the moment.