Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Curriculum Review: Handwriting Without Tears

Hi, folks! I'm kinda-sorta back in the blogosphere, getting ready to post my 2014-2015 curriculum round-up. To start, I thought I'd spend this week posting curriculum reviews for the curriculum we've used these past two years. I'll be reviewing:

  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • Singapore Math
  • Galloping the Globe
  • Modern Curriculum Press Maps Books

Today, let's start off with Handwriting Without Tears!


This first review will be quick, because what I have to say about Handwriting Without Tears can be summed up very simply:

I love it!

End of review.

In all seriousness, there's really nothing not to love. The curriculum is simple, inexpensive, easy to use, and visually attractive. I plan to use it with all of our children through sixth grade.

The Good

- The price: Very inexpensive, about $10 per workbook. That's the price for me! Best price will be found buying it directly from HWT at your local homeschool convention.

- Uncomplicated. Clear. Basic. Everything a handwriting curriculum should be.

The Less-Than-Perfect

- This year I sprang for the instructor's guide. It was 100% completely pointless, like all other instructor's guides I've seen. I won't waste time (and money!) on that again. However, I know they mean well. I'm sure it's an excellent guide. I just haven't found instructor's guides to be necessary or helpful for home education programs.

- It would be nice if each page was one day's lesson. But as it's set up, some pages are insufficient for a lesson, and some pages are too much for one lesson. Thus, I often find myself assigning something like "Monday - page 80 and 81a." It would be easier just to have a page per day. But this is a minor complaint.

Other Points

- There are many other "extras" you can add that will really rack up the price. Examples: blackboard and chalk, wooden letter set, practice paper. The sky's the limit. I tend to shy away from extras - they really bog me down emotionally and are never used around here. (If a curriculum advertises a huge amount of extras - CD's, songs, games, booklets, practices, quizzes, answer manuals, teacher handbooks - I have already mentally tossed it before I've even read the description.) However, buying the workbook alone works beautifully for us, and that's what we'll be doing from here on out.

- With our current student, I started handwriting in kindergarten. I will not do that again (unless a student really wants to). It was just a big headache. Next time I will skip handwriting in kinder and use the kinder book in first grade. Forcing boys to write early is not worth the torture - for either of us.

Would I Buy It Again?

YES. This is our standard handwriting curriculum, and I'm so thankful that I don't have to keep looking. Highly recommended.

Want other options to look at? Try: