I was forever making substandard grades in penmanship way back in elementary school. It took me a sweet forever to figure out that it was because I was left handed, and the pencil marks would smudge across the page as my left hand drug across my own writing.
This was before the invention of non-smearing #2 pencils. You know, right after the quill & ink period of American education. Some years later, my mother confided to me that the nuns requested that she make me switch from writing with my left hand to the right one. She had the good sense to say no, as she felt that would permanently scar me.
Of course she didn’t think twice before taking me to see Bonnie & Clyde when I was EIGHT, as she didn’t want to go alone. I still have nightmares. Of course, I’ve already begun a therapy fund for my own children to assuage the guilt over parenting decisions that I’m making now.
Anyhoo. My first born is also left handed. As is her father. I don’t know why it’s so difficult to get a left handed child to hold the pencil correctly. It has been a constant battle. Which I would never have waged, because you should see the way I hold a pencil. Fiddledaddy is rather fastidious with regards to pencil holding, so as chief penmanship officer in our little homeschool, I have to follow correct pencil holding protocol.
But really, if it’s fairly legible, WHO CARES? Just don’t tell my students.
Mom’s Homeroom recently tackled the subject of Handwriting Help for Kids. And the article I read addressed my WHO CARES attitude about the tripod pencil grip. And why an incorrect grip can cause problems down the road. Great. More therapy. There is a lot of terrific information to help guide a weary parent if they feel their child needs help in this area.
My 7 year old was off to a rocky writing start this year. This is the child that will spontaneously fall to the floor from his chair with no provocation whatsoever. I’ve had to think outside of the box while encouraging his fine motor skills and keeping his ever wandering attention. One tip that I hit on by accident was to give the child a pad of tracing paper. He found that he loved to trace all of his favorite cartoon characters from beloved coloring books, even more so than actually coloring them. I would watch him painstakingly trace each line until the entire picture was completed. Shortly afterward, I noticed a huge improvement in his handwriting.
Mom’s Homeroom also has some other creative ways to improve a child’s handwriting. None of which will invoke hand wringing and tears. I’ve actually used the shaving cream on the shower door idea.
Any other out-of-the-box ideas for fine tuning those all important fine motor skills?
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