Like most offerings from Veritas Press, the Classically Cursive series takes a traditional approach, emphasizing review and practice as the best method for improving penmanship skills. With a minimum of distraction (small black and white drawings are the only illustration), students are free to write and re-write each letter and word formation till they have it down. The Modern Cursive taught throughout the series is similar to D'Nealian.
How Do These Work?
Book I begins with nine pages of manuscript review. Next is a series of one-page drills for each letter, first 26 pages of lowercase (tracing a letter, writing the letter without tracing, practicing connections by writing the letter twice, and then using the letters in other words), and then 26 more pages going over the alphabet again in uppercase (where the letters are first traced, written without tracing, and then used at the beginnings of names). Finally, students write the names of the books of the Bible, and learn the Greatest Commandment and the Lord's Prayer. The book concludes with several pages of instruction on forming letters, both in manuscript and cursive.
The first two thirds of Book II are again focused on practicing basics, lowercase and uppercase, working with connections and using letters in words. Following this drill, the book introduces and practices the ten commandments found in Exodus 20. First trace each line, then write it on the line below without tracing.
Book III could be more appropriately called a copy book. It does not spend any time practicing letter forms, jumping right to having students copy down the 107 question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism in sections below the text. Using a program like StartWrite, you could make sheets like these very easily on your own.
Book IV should be called a copy book. It concludes the series with questions and answers regarding the attributes of God—His existence, omnipresence, immutability, holiness, power, wisdom, dominion, love, goodness, and patience are all discussed. The fourth book no longer uses dotted lines, and would take a lot more thought to create on your own than Book III.
Lines in Books I and II are 7/16" and 11/32" in Book III; in Book IV there are no middle or upper lines. All texts are reproducible for school or homeschool use, so even though Book III may not be as useful as the others, it doesn't hurt to buy it for continuity's sake, especially since you'll only need to buy it once. There are no bells and whistles here, and no teacher materials—limited instructional information is included in the texts themselves, though the trace-copy method is intuitive and shouldn't lead to too much confusion.
Our Honest Opinion:
These are straightforward and easy-to-implement texts. While Books I and II have plenty of room for practice, Books III and IV have considerably less, though this may not be a problem since students will ostensibly be well advanced by then. If you're wanting to teach your kids a traditional handwriting method this is as good a course as any. The downside is that there isn't enough manuscript instruction, though you could easily start your students with the first books of a similar series (like the first two volumes of CLP's handwriting series) and switch over to Classically Cursive for handwriting.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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