The Rhythm of Handwriting cursive writing curriculum from Logic of English is a good example of how we sometimes have an idea of the way something will work in our homeschool, but when we actually start using it, it turns out to be much more than we ever expected. Rhythm of Handwriting has been just such a treasure. Although I originally wanted to try it for my younger girls, I found it to be a great fit for my older son who has always struggled with handwriting in general and cursive in particular.
The book is structured very reasonably. Instead of teaching the letters in alphabetical order or by groups of sounds—as I’ve seen some phonics-based programs do—it teaches the letters by grouping together letters of like strokes. The book includes a cursive letter chart, and the letters on the included chart are also grouped by stroke. In the front of the book is a recommended schedule based on the age of the child and previous exposure to cursive handwriting.
The book was not too childish for my son, who was eleven at the time. For ages seven and up the first suggestion is to learn two letters each day and practice them. We followed that schedule.
Each day two letters were introduced. The formation is explained and the student is given large lines on which to practice the strokes using a finger. Then there is a practice page for writing the letter which contains eight lines with the lines increasing in size from top to bottom. This gives an option for line size so that appropriate widths can be chosen, resulting in the most legible handwriting. Younger children often need bigger lines because of their underdeveloped fine motor skills. But I do have a child who has always written more neatly on smaller lines. The book provides the four options in line size.
After all of the letters from a particular group of similar strokes are introduced, there are practice pages that review all the letters learned so far with words to copy using all of those letters. After the lowercase letters are introduced, the uppercase letters are introduced in the same way, grouped by strokes and spaced by the reviews.
The way the letters are introduced makes sense. Having the differently sized lines to choose from is helpful. The manner in which the letters are taught, showing the strokes in a numbered fashion, and having a place to practice the strokes with a finger first, makes the letter easy to learn. There is a reasonable amount of writing each day. Practicing two letters on several lines isn’t so much that it seems tedious. Even the review sections don’t have so much writing that it is difficult. The amount of writing is a good balance of enough to practice but not enough to be burdensome.
I have high praise for Rhythm of Handwriting. My son, who has greatly disliked any handwriting practice up until this point, probably still wouldn’t say this is his favorite subject, but this book has been a really good fit for him. And the structure of the book is one that has helped him to like handwriting practice a bit more.
Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. Her days are filled with being a mom, homemaker, and teacher. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. These days she’s learning the joys of being a mom of teens. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.