Laurelwood Books has a ton of great looking products, and I’m pleased to bring you this review of their Patriotic Penmanship – Grade 3 (cursive) copywork student workbook. The Patriotic Penmanship books cover everything from grades 1 through high school, but the Grade 3 book is the first cursive book. We chose that option because my 11-year-old has never learned cursive and has been asking to do so for quite a while now. I recently learned that learning cursive is good for the dyslexic brain, so I wanted to start at the beginning to avoid overwhelming him.
The sentences are all quotes from or pertaining to American history, and they are all fantastic quotes! They appear at the top, right corner of the left page of each lesson. Written in cursive at the top, my son hasn’t been able to actually read the quotes. This is the one major thing I wish they’d change; I do wish it appeared on the page somewhere in manuscript so that my son could read it on his own. As it is, I’m reading it to him every time he starts a new lesson.
Brandon likes the way it’s set up, in that each page has dotted letters to trace first. You trace it, and then you practice writing it on your own. Each lesson has the student do a capital letter several times, and then a lowercase letter. It then has the student practice a key word from the quotation. The second page has the student practice “word pairs,” or basically phrases, from the quotation before having them write the full quote.
I like that it does have the letter practice; the first two pages of the book are actually letter practice, and I did have my student do that first. I also have enjoyed the quotes; some of them are Bible verses or faith related, which we also appreciate. Not all of them are, though, as many are quotes from people who lived in the varying stages of American history and development.
Brandon’s only complaints have to do with it hurting his hand and having trouble concentrating long enough to finish the page. These are the things I hope to actually help him improve upon by doing the pages, in addition to helping his brain register the correct formation of letters. I’m not sure if this methodology is what is right and fitting for him or not, but we have really enjoyed reading the quotes and the fact that they first have you trace before trying it yourself. I do think that’s helpful for him.
Our plan at this time is to have him continue with this book to the finish. There are 26 lessons, one for each letter of the alphabet and including 26 quotes. Since he’s only doing one page per day instead of a full lesson, it will take him 52 sittings – but he’s been doing it twice weekly so it’s still only 26 weeks. Once he finishes, I think we’ll be able to tell if it’s made a difference for him or if we should find a different method. All in all we like this program and are looking forward to keeping this in our schedule!
You can connect with Laurelwood Books on Facebook and don’t forget to check out the other Crew reviews! Others reviewed other levels of this same program, but there were also 4 or 6 other products available to us this round as well. Go check them out!