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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Children Learn to Write with 'PreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring' by Classical Conversations

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 My six-year-old daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing PreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring: Medieval to Modern World History from Classical Conversations.  Who knew that a six-year-old would choose a handwriting book over the beach, when offered the choice.

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The book was sent to me as a paperback, 121-page spiral-bound workbook. It is intended to be used with children, ages 3 to 7. My daughter is 6, so she fit in perfectly with this age range.

This book is designed to correspond with the Classical education model of teaching the trivium, which asserts that children learn in three stages: Grammar, Dialectic and finally, Rhetoric. Learning first by copying is part of Classical education, and Latin is part of what is stressed as part of learning.

The word, “Prescript” also means “a command, rule or moral guideline”. The name of the book is derived from Latin. The Latin word, “prae” means “before”, and the Latin word, “scribere” means to write. With this in mind, the book is to be used for instruction before extensive writing begins and is the first in a series of other levels of handwriting books.

This book introduces children to the steps that lead up to cursive writing and drawing. It presents pages that allow the child to conduct finger tracing, pencil tracing and copying. These pages are intended to build confidence while also building fine motor skills.



There are also coloring pages that are images from medieval through modern history, creating a launching pad for discussions and learning of a well-rounded curriculum, all wrapped up inside the covers of a handwriting book.





The paperback spiral-bound workbook sells for $11.99.

When I received the book in the mail, I was packing to leave on one of the several trips we had planned for this summer. I tucked it away in my bag of books to take along with the plan of introducing it to my daughter during downtime in a hotel or at the beach house. However, after several hours on the road, including an hour stuck on a several-mile-long bridge in Alabama, my daughter’s need to have something to keep her hands busy took over, and I broke out the book.





To my delight, she was more than thrilled to plunge in and see what the book had to offer. It then became my go-to book for on-the-road time, and she even asked if she could have the book to work on more while we were staying at a beach house with family celebrating my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary on the Alabama Gulf Shores. Who knew that a cursive writing book would hold my daughter’s interest more than a beach?

I really like how the book presents learning cursive. It is anything but boring. It goes a step beyond the typical cursive writing books by providing pre-cursive activities of tracing and copying and then throws in a picture from history in the mix of it all.





In our homeschool, we follow a loosely taught (if there is such a thing) Classical education style. I completely agree that a lot of what a child learns at first is done so by copying, mimicking or imitating those who influence the child. So, the idea behind this precursive book fit right into my line of teaching thought.

Cons:

My one and only problem was getting an excited little girl to slow down and not finish the entire book in one afternoon.  Trying to get her to stop working on the book for the day was like trying to hold back the wind.

Pros:

I love how the book presents cursive letters properly formed and then allows the child to finger trace, pencil trace, and integrate it into his or her learning through a fun way to learn.







I also really loved that the book included drawing as part of learning to write cursive. My daughter loved this as well. She absolutely loves to draw.








 

It is a complete bonus that there is also a complete history curriculum waiting to happen with the coloring pages in this book. They allow for casual conversations about who or what is in the picture, which opens up doors and lays the foundation to further learning about important parts of Medieval through modern day history. 

I pointed out each picture and briefly explained who or what they represented. I didn’t talk extensively about any of them, but a few of them I happened to know more about, off the cuff, to discuss than others. For instance, we talked about the steam engine picture and how the two transcontinental railway lines joined on the same date as my son’s birthday, years earlier. We also talked about Viet Nam war when I pointed out the picture of a soldier from that era.

The historical pictures include 23 pages of coloring pictures, as follows:


  1. Charlemagne being crowned emporer
  2. Charlemagne Basilica roof 
  3. Eastern-Orthodox cupola 
  4. The Nandorfehervar Battle 
  5. King John Signs the Magna Carta 
  6. Jeanne D’Arc at the Siege of Orleans 
  7. Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of a flying machine 
  8. Detail from New Testament translation by Martin Luther 
  9. Spanish Conquistadors in the Americas 
  10. Imperial Crown of Austria 
  11. Ivan the Great Tearing the Khan’s Letter to pieces 
  12. An execution, Place de la Revolution 
  13. Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne 
  14. Steam locomotive 
  15. Belgian policeman and French policeman, World War I 
  16. USS Bunker Hill at Okinawa 
  17. Josef Stalin 
  18. United Nations Headquarters 
  19. Korean girl carrying brother in Haengju 
  20. US Soldier of the Vietnam War 
  21. First launch of a Trident missile 
  22. Graffiti from the Berlin Wall 
  23. Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg 














I found the book to be so much more than a precursor to learning cursive. It encompassed:


  • Art 
  • Religious Studies
  • Language Arts/Writing 
  • History 
  • And, it saved us hours of time spent in a car, hotel and beach house with a restless child.


Please read what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of this and the other books in this handwriting series by Classical Conversations, here, or by clicking on the picture below:


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2 comments:

  1. you make it sound like a fantastic resource. :) Makes me consider looking into it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is my favorite review so far!

    ReplyDelete

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