These days it’s more common to use a computer for writing projects, but knowing how to print or write by hand is still a necessary skill. Whether it’s filling out forms or jotting a quick note, people still need to write by hand, many on a daily basis—having a clear script is essential to clear communication. Horizons Penmanship covers both manuscript and cursive, guiding students from simple letters to sentences and even paragraphs to ensure they write well.
How Do These Work?
For grades 1-5 there is a consumable student worktext and a teacher’s guide for each level. Each book contains 160 lessons to be taught over 32 weeks, with five lessons per week. Lessons are one page long (about 10-15 minutes a day) and are for the most part self-explanatory; some of them require the teacher’s guide for completion because the text to be printed by students is included there.
Grades 1 and 2 teach manuscript printing in the traditional style, while grades 3-5 cover cursive in a simplified Zaner-Bloser. There are two solid lines above and below a dotted line, wide in the early grades and narrower as students progress. Most of the sentences and paragraphs to be copied/written by students relate to Bible stories or to American history. Weekly Bible verses are taken from the NIV, and many of the American history stories are taken from actual source documents such as George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation.
The teacher’s guides include a lot of information and tips for guiding students in their handwriting exercises, including how they should hold their paper and pencil, why learning to write well is important, and how to integrate Bible truth into lessons. Similar information is included in the student workbook introductions, but it is simplified and there is less of it. Teacher’s guides also include reduced student pages with notes in the margins and reproducible practice pages.
Student books aren’t terribly appealing—mostly just lined pages with a few cartoony illustrations—but they aren’t intended to be used for more than a few minutes a day. The Biblical emphasis will be appreciated by most parents, as will the character-building phrases included in the exercises. Students will likely appreciate not spending inordinate amounts of time with a not-too-exciting subject.
Our Honest Opinion:
First of all, you don’t need the teacher guides. While there is some useful information in them, none of it’s earth-shattering and most parents won’t even pay it much attention. A few exercises will have to be skipped since the text is only included in the teacher guide, but you could easily procure copies elsewhere as they are for the most part well-known texts, or you could just skip those assignments. The student books are reasonably priced and offer a good source of instruction and practice for students to hone their script.
Samples: (click to enlarge)
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