Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our first cursive lesson

We finally began working with the Peterson Handwriting Program. I received the materials a week-and-a-half ago, late on a Thursday, as I was preparing to leave for a Friday/Saturday conference. With church and small group on Sunday, vision check-up and grocery shopping on Tuesday, and playing catch-up the rest of the week, I spent some time over the past weekend familiarizing myself with the materials and planning a strategy on how I would begin with my daughter.

I discovered a presentation on-line that explains the Peterson Handwriting Program. It is approximately 20 minutes long and explains why Peterson Handwriting uses an exaggerated gross motor movement component and "air writing" that is different from other programs. Check out the internet presentation and take a look for yourself. I'm glad I discovered the presentation and took the time to watch it.

I hope the emphasis on movement as the early steps (and de-emphasis on making the letters wtih pencil and paper in the beginning) will provide both the framework and the scaffolding for my daughter to develop the foundations for cursive.

The lessons are supposed to be 10 minutes long--and, as we begin, ours are going to be shorter, *much* shorter. Ours are going to be approximately two minutes long, and we may sit down five times to get a 10 minute lesson. Over time, we'll do more and more "work" at one sitting.

My daughter's anxiety is our biggest obstacle--she, I suspect, is afraid that what I'm showing her will be too difficult for her. Her anxiety is a sign of stress--and who can actually LEARN when he/she is under stress? So, we will break the early sessions down, to allow her to discover for herself that a) the Peterson handwriting program is broken down into tiny managable steps and b) that she is competent to manage those steps. I know she can handle them, but she does not, and that's a discovery she will have to make for herself, and I must use myself as a trustworthy guide, not only in the instruction of the handwriting program, but also, as a guide to setting the stage so that she can make her own discovery. My challenge, today, is that she's got a sore, red throat, and her anxiety and resistance surface more quickly when she's not feeling her best.

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