The chat today is about handwriting with High Schoolers. Except – that it isn’t. I thought it would be about cursive writing, until I actually received my review copy of PreScripts Cursive Passages and Illuminations from Classical Conversations. First –
The Company ~
First, I should clarify, that this was my first known dip into Classical Conversations (CC). Many of my friends in Central Oregon are part of co-ops where they hold Classical Conversation classes. I was excited to view the catalog of products for CC and surprised when many of their products have been used in our homeschool.
I enjoyed reading the catalog as it had wonderful articles that cover overviews of Classical Christian Education, Advantages to Participating in a Licensed Community, The Program and the Resource, the Purpose of Education, and so much more. In fact, out of an 80 page document, I’d estimate fewer than 10 pages are devoted to the resources. You may request a catalog or view it online.
I’m not saying I’m going to completely shift gears with how we learn and achieve our goals here at Petra School. CC seems to be largely memory based, and this review is not to discuss my educational philosophies, just to share that I was actually surprised at what I gleaned from their company’s ‘catalog’.
The Product ~
Cursive Passages and Illuminations, American Documents.
Spiral Bound, 146 pages, black and white. $12.99(Sample Pages)
Why we Asked For It~
Embarrassingly enough, my boys have a hard time reading cursive writing. They receive notes in the mail and pick up shopping lists, and give the excuse that they can’t read it. I think that they are to lazy to try to decipher the notes. Granted, my mom’s hand writing is a mixture of shorthand, cursive and Portuguese, (just kidding on that last one). I couldn’t fake a note at school to save my life. Or get me out of class. But after a couple of days of reading notes aloud to them, I was wondering how to teach them to read cursive, and then this book from CC came up on the Vendor’s list. Answer to an unspoken prayer. Again.
It lines up with our Narration Goals too! ~
In the Sample Pages link above, you may browse their introduction. I enjoyed reading their description of PreScript. In the Latin it means before you write, or before you learn to write. A friend challenged me as to why a high school student would need to use this book.
We had both taught our boys to write with italics for their thank you notes and beautiful handwriting instead of cursive. When they want to, both of my boys have beautiful manuscript penmanship. We’ve spent many hours learning to create circles, ovals, lines, diagonals, etc. with ease and uniform stokes. So – why call the High School level PreScript?
Consider what they are reading. American Documents starting in 1501 with Christopher Columbus and spanning through to Ronald Regan in 1987. Speeches and documents that formed, shaped, reformed, and created America. Established freedoms. Is my 9th grade son ready to write such documents to proclaim his opinions in such a way as to sway an audience of Congressional leaders? Of Kings and Courts? He might talk me into a Blizzard but that’s about it for now. What better source of words to use to practice penmanship – before they are ready to write in such a fashion?
Isn’t his about teaching Cursive? ~
Yes. And on that front – If that is the only reason for purchasing this resource, I’m not sure they’ve done a great job. Maybe if you have focused on cursive throughout all of the years, this would be great practice for your older students. We found the printed cursive to be difficult to copy. We write with more of a slant having spent years with italics.
The directions in the beginning suggest that you may use the book as a consumable, or copy the work on another page. We tried a page in the book – writing over their typed script, copying the cursive on the lines below, and then finally just writing in our italic below.
Since our goal, stated above, was to ‘learn to read cursive’ we had Nathan read the pages, and then copy work them on a separate page in his best desired handwriting.
The Illuminations ~
There are two or three paragraphs in the introduction about Illuminations, the history and use of the art form. Another page is dedicated to sharing resources, copyright free resources available in e-books along with books to purchase. If you goal for your child is to learn and practice Illuminations, this would be a wonderful resource.
In Closing ~
Classical Conversation shares their goal of the PreScripts series:
“To master the skills of copying and writing in the context of a biblical worldview.”
CC shares that a prescript can mean a command, rule or moral guideline. Reminding us of the passage many of us live by – Deuteronomy 6:6-9 encouraging us to keep the word in our heart and talk of it as we live throughout our day – each day. “Writing, drawing, memorizing, and reciting are all forms of worship that we model for our students.”
Priced at $12.99, less than a quick meal in town for the four of us, I see this book as an incredible value. Although this book is aimed at the High School years, they have several volumes aimed at different age ranges. The Homeschool Review Crew were able to use the different level and I encourage you to click on the banner below to see how other families used this great resource.