Monday, August 30, 2010

TOS Review: Peterson Handwriting

HSCrew468x60AnimatedPeterson Handwriting is a handwriting curriculum. According to their website “The Peterson Method curriculum uses a unique movement based strategy to teach skills for fluency and legibility.”


I was part of the crew that reviewed the print writing program as part of my review I received the Print Step E-Workbooks (1, 2 and 3) as well as some pre-writing practice pages, all immediate download, pdf files. I also was part of an on-line training web conference with Rand Nelson and other TOS Crew members, so I was able to get a good idea of the support offered to customers.

This handwriting program is unlike any other that I’ve ever personally used or tried to teach. There is NO pencil tracing involved at all (which after working with Treyton for the last 2 years I strongly agree with) simply finger tracing then directly to writing. The program focuses on 4 steps to teach writing:

  • Step 1. Illustrate and describe.
  • Step 2. Air Writing
  • Step 3. Finger Tracing
  • Step 4. Write and Say

Treyton used the Step 1 Workbook in his school.

What I Liked:

Peterson Handwriting is more than just a handwriting program, it is a handwriting philosophy. I learned more about handwriting and it’s importance preparing for this review, than I have in my entire life, and it was great information! Their teacher/parent support is AMAZING, the best I’ve seen. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference with Rand Nelson and was impressed friendliness and willingness to come along side the parent/teacher to help us get the most use from their product.

One of the aspects that I really enjoyed while using this program with Treyton was that it worked for him. After using it only the first week I noticed a great improvement in Treyton’s writing. Although we had been doing other handwriting prior to this, his writing while it wasn’t getting worse it wasn’t getting better either. When I used the Peterson Method and verbal cues, something just clicked for him. The letter S which was one of the ones he really struggled with, he started writing almost perfectly.

The electronic workbook allows  you to “print the pages as needed, and as often as needed, right from your computer using the free Acrobat Reader program. You simply purchase one book (with a license to print) and use it as often as needed to teach and provide practice”. This saves you on workbook costs in the long run which is great.

What I Didn’t Like:

I found their website more than a little confusing, it took me a long time to even figure out what exactly (in regards to their curriculum) I was reviewing. And even now, I’m having a hard time finding some of the things I need. Often times I would know that I had seen or read something before and it would take me a while to find what it was I was looking for, if I found it at all. The ordering process seems to be confusing to me as well, though I have not personally used it. This is a real shame because their website is filled with an OVER ABUNDANCE of valuable information.

My biggest struggle with the actual handwriting program (which is probably a silly one), was that I really didn’t like that once the child learned basic writing and proper paper position the child’s writing is at a VERY steep slant. Maybe this is correct….  but who writes like this? I found it strange. Even if it is a progressive step to cursive writing, I feel as though the students handwriting would seem odd too many during this writing stage. And any time they would print (rather than write cursive) it’s going to be strange and slanted.

Closing Thoughts

To be honest, this isn’t the easiest review to write, I had such mixed feelings. Though I enjoyed the program and think that it has a lot of positive aspects about it (it’s effective, well-rounded, informative and technical). I found many aspects of their program to be very confusing, particularly the electronic portions (their website is extremely confusing, and the training and even videos were “over me”). Maybe I’m a simple person, but I spent a lot of time being confused and this was frustrating to me. I feel as though the website (which is a large part of this program) and curriculum itself could be better organized and explained more simply. In saying that, once I would finally catch-on I enjoyed and agreed with most of what I was taught.

How to Purchase for Yourself

The E-Workbooks (which is what I used) can be previewed here . I love that Peterson Handwriting is so willing to let you see the product in it’s entirety before you make your purchase I REALLY wish other company’s would do this (it would save us all a lot of headaches). You can purchase them for yourself for $19.95. You can then reproduce your pages as needed (for multiple children), in addition to that, as part of your purchase you are also given access to Rand Nelson (a REAL person) to contact by phone, email or online conference, whenever you need him (and he is available).

To see more reviews on the Peterson Handwriting Method visit the TOS Crew Blog

Disclaimer: I reviewed this product for free for being a part of the TOS Crew for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

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