Monday, March 3, 2014

Handwriting Without Tears materials were a waste for us

Ever since Johnny was fairly young, he has wanted to write things down. It goes along with his enjoyment of writing little storybooks and sending cards to people.

I thought it would be helpful to teach him proper letter formation, so I bought some Handwriting Without Tears hands-on materials awhile back.

Many people love the curriculum and have had great success with reluctant writers, and it's supposed to be a lefty-friendly curriculum.

Unfortunately, some of the extras I purchased were a waste for us.

Specifically, the Stamp and See screen and the Roll-A-Dough letters thing.

The Stamp and See screen (basically a magnadoodle) broke, but I didn't realize it until a year after I purchased it so the company wasn't able to refund my money. I had it stored in a box with our other HWT materials and now I'm wondering if the screen was pressed? I'm not sure.

Though having magnetic sticks and curves can be a helpful tool, we would have been just as well using a regular magnadoodle instead of this specialized version.

The Roll-A-Dough was something we could have done without. Their clay is a bit odd, and it dried out (as dough can do) and I couldn't re-moisturize it. I could have had the same effect with Play-Doh.

However, the thing comes with cards and a small tray that you can create the letters on top of. That part is semi-handy and I think I might get some use out of it with Vivienne, but only because I already have it.

Their chalk slates are worthwhile. Cheap enough for me to get one for J&V, and a nice size for letter-forming. I would recommend a little slate for anyone.

I purchased the preschool workbook without thinking it through. To save money, I skipped the teacher's manual since I figured I could just wing it. False. The manual is needed. But, the price for the workbook + teacher's guide just doesn't seem like a good use of money, in my opinion.

Finally, the letters just look odd with HWT. Very neat and legible of course, but odd.

I'm sad to give a negative review of Handwriting Without Tears materials, but for my son it just wasn't needed after all.

I do own the K workbook and teacher's manual and I will use those since we have them. We also will have handwriting with my MFWK program. Perhaps the HWT could just be extra practice later on.

We've only done one lesson in the K book, so I can't give a complete review right now. I think the workbooks are pretty decent, though. It's just the extras that were too extra for me, but I can definitely see how they would appeal to some kids.

If I had to start over, I'd just purchase the chalk slates (and chalk and those little sponge cubes), a magnadoodle and start with the K-level workbook.

No idea what we'll use after he completes the K workbook and the MFWK handwriting. I'll need to evaluate our options then.

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