Handwriting, History & Art Hand-in-Hand ~ Classical Conversations #review
All last school year, I was grumbling about Cheyenne’s handwriting. She was in the 5th grade; isn’t it about time she starts making her writing “cute”, if not “pretty”? Even Chris’ handwriting was better than hers. But she just plain did NOT care. If she could read it, I ought to be able to, and that’s what counts, in her opinion.
I finally resorted to threatening her with adding handwriting practice back into her regular schoolwork. She took issue with that idea – and she’s already done several cursive writing books – and so I stalled a bit, figuring summer, or maybe the start of school was soon enough. And then we received PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons from Classical Conversations for review.
She grumped around the house for a few days after it arrived, ignoring it… and then curiosity got the better of her. Fun art lessons… in a handwriting book? That was weird. (I just laughed to myself. No way am I going to tell her that it’s sure to focus a lot of energy – unbeknownst to her – on fine motor control!)
PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons integrates handwriting, art, and history, all in one book. Crafted for 7-12 year-olds, students will write longer sentences about medieval through modern history, highlighting facts that they should remember. Each of the sentences in the book is followed by a related piece of artwork that is used to teach various elements of composition, including depth, point of view, and light and shadow. Sample pages. $12.99.
As you can see by the before and after examples, she almost immediately improved once she was putting some time and effort into her handwriting – and then, as time went by it gradually increased in consistency.
Chey told me that she was doing better than she expected to at the handwriting, though she found the topic boring, because it was history – and not the time period that we’re currently working on. She added, “I guess it doesn’t have anything else to say.” I was a bit puzzled by this, but she elaborated: “I’d prefer horse facts or computer technology, or maybe a story about a little girl. It could even be about returning pop bottles.” (Nope, am not sure if the little girl would be returning the pop bottles, or if was a totally random comment. She just smiled her Mona Lisa smile and moved on.)
I realized something, though – rather than sentences that feel disconnected and random, even if they’re about the same general topic – what she wishes it had is continuity, something to keep her interested and curious about what is coming next. Definitely something to think about.
“The art part is fun. Mine haven’t gone as well as I thought they would, but I’m getting better.” (Mom begs to differ. I was seriously impressed at her grid-drawing, as it’s something I am absolutely terrible at. She even deliberately changed the picture up a bit, and all-in-all, it displayed a much greater skill with simple paper and pencil than I knew she had.)
She also said, “I think some of the lessons that I haven’t gotten to yet will be interesting, too. They could have made the instructions a little bit simpler. On a couple of them, I was confused about what I was supposed to do, and had to read the directions over a few times. At the start of the first one, I was using the wrong kind of pencil (soft rather than hard) and so my picture doesn’t look as good as it could because I switched in the middle.”
Classical Conversations has prepared a video introduction to the PreScripts handwriting series:
Schoolhouse Crew members reviewed all the titles in the PreScripts series. Click the button below to read more about the following titles:
PreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring is for ages 3-7. Designed to introduce children to the building blocks of cursive and drawing, finger tracing, tracing with a pencil, and copying, plus coloring pages, aid students in mastering fine motor skills while building confidence. Sample pages. $11.99.
PreScripts Cursive Words and Drawing is for ages 5-10. It progresses from letters, to words, and then on to simple sentences. The handwriting lessons focus on the bible books Proverbs and James, while the art pages cover drawing with simple shapes. Sample pages. $12.99.
PreScripts Cursive Passages and Illuminations is for ages 9 – high school. It includes longer sections of writing to allow students to perfect their handwriting ability. The art portion covers “illuminations”, which are the enlarged, highly decorated letters seen at the start of medieval manuscripts. Sample pages. $12.99.