And speaking of handwriting....

I thought I'd show you some comparisons.  Take note that the reason for this comparison exercise is not what you think.

Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:
Let me just say that every homeschool forum I've ever participated in has a plethora of posts that come round cyclically about handwriting woes.  I used to post them myself years ago.  'Til I realized I really didn't give a hoot.

Can you guess which son did which handwriting?  In looking at the samples above, do you automatically make a judgement about what a good student the owner of Exhibit A is?  Were you already shaking your head in pity at the thought that I have to teach the child of Exhibit B with handwriting 'as big as a circus tent' (his words)?

Let me fill you in on something.  Good or bad handwriting do indicate ANYTHING.  Nada, zip, zero.  Let me say it again.....handwriting determines NOTHING.  Lovely penmanship has zilch to do with smarts, laziness, rebellion, or Little Debbie Oatmeal Cakes.  Seriously.  Of my 6 offspring, exactly ONE has beautiful penmanship (see exhibit A) and one other has fairly nice writing.  The others all write in some form of chicken-scratch, and I'm just okie-dokie with it.  They are all smart, doing well in college/high school, and are cute to boot.

Having said that, let me tell you that in reality, really messy handwriting from a child who gets easily frustrated and tearful CAN clue you into his learning style.  Exhibit B above belongs to my 11 year old son Ben who is a Visual Spatial Learner.  He has enormous difficulty with handwriting, which is not only nearly impossible to read, but takes him a super long time to do.  VSL's are notorious for atrocious handwriting.  So I don't sweat it. As we get more and more into our school routine, I hope to write about some techniques I'll use to teach him skills in non-traditional ways. Typical auditory-sequential (ie: traditional public school methods) don't work for VSLs because they are whole-to-parts, right brained, picture thinkers.  Because they have messy writing, they are sometimes labeled in negative ways in school and by parents.  Don't do it!

Then why do I make him do cursive practice, you ask?  Well, first of all he's doing a 1st grade level handwriting book. This means he only needs to copy 2 short sentences a day.  Secondly, it gives him practice in copywork a la WTM...seeing proper sentence structure and learning to focus on the details of commas, spelling, grammar, etc.  Thirdly, as I mentioned in the linked post, it's a mini-art appreciation lesson.  Lastly, I want to continue to train his hand muscles because like it or not, he will need to do some handwriting as an adult.  Even if it's to sign his name on a credit slip.  Also, had I known way back when that he was a VSL as he started kindergarten, I would've used Handwriting without Tears.  Would've saved us many, well, tears.

This child who writes like a 3 year old, is actually extremely intelligent, thinks easily 'outside the box', and has a quick wit.  Though he's easily distractable, he can hyper-focus on something he's really into...like LEGOs.
So, whether he ever nails down a fluid, fabulous hand just isn't a concern.  His brilliancy shows up in other ways....ways that are sometimes (or oftentimes) disregarded or misjudged as 'problems'.  Pshaw.

For those of you with kids who struggle with penmanship, don't hyperventilate over it.  Some kids just won't be great at handwriting.  And you might just have a VSL....if you do, see my resources tab for info sites about this kind of learning style. I also have books listed over yonder in the side bar that have helped me tremendously in leaning methods of teaching to this learning style.  They also work with kinesthetic kids and can be good for the regular 'school-y' types too...everyone needs practice in visual-spatial methods, regardless of brain-dominance due to our highly visual culture....the global job market is leaning heavily to those with spatial skills.

Another time I may introduce you to another personality-typing program I use to help teach to each of my kids' strengths based on their natures.  My VSL son Ben  is also a 'Type 1', which is represented as airy and light, random, fun, and bouncy.  He's never gonna sit for a long time doing rote memorywork.  Ain't gonna happen. Not even going there.


The Week.

One of the things I'd like to do on this blog is incorporate a weekly round up of stuff that we did or interesting stuff that happened to us. After all, the tag line around here is 'stuff we do'. This is, of course,  for the purpose of keeping family up to speed (and for sheer bragging.... duh).  If that kinda thing weirds you out, just avoid Sundays at the harvey files.  Actually, I will prolly need to do some venting and complaining and scratching where it itches too....so if *that* kinda thing weirds you out, just move along to the next blog in the webring.  No harm, no foul.  See ya on Monday.

This past week was full of ups and downs due to my hubs and 16 yo DD Gracie being outta town.  They were on a youth service trip in Chicago.

One day they sorted clothes for a clothing bank.

Another day they filled huge bags of dry cereal for the food bank.

Another couple days they handed out pop ice and cold water in some neighborhoods and a vacant lot used by the homeless.

Met some very interesting folks....for instance, one fella who sold single cigarettes for .50 with his bouncer side kick holding a tire iron.

They also had an opportunity to visit Willow Creek and hear Rob Bell speak on 'The Third Way'.

The kids were really taken with his message, but not with the church.  No offense.  I'm sure it's a lovely church, but it was quite a paradigm shift for them coming from working with the poor in the inner-city, showering at the Y, sleeping in pews or on the church floor, eating homecooked meals by local church members (fried chicken, collards and cornbread biscuits....don't get not better than that!)...
.....to the sanitized auditorium of Willow Creek in the 'burbs.  They definitely caught the difference.  Which is awesomeness because they all live in the 'burbs themselves here in NE Indiana.  With the corn and soy beans.

On the home front, I was doing my part serving God by attempting not to sell my boys to the circus in 90 degree muggy heat as they picked at each other over Every. Stinkin'. Thing.  That was a joke.  Kinda.  I also worked on revamping our screened in porch with paint, refurbished furniture and fabric.  Little Debbie Oatmeal Cakes played a supporting role, as did our plastic, snap-together pool.  Don't hate. 

I also did some more cooking and photo-snapping of the finished recipes for the online family cookbook.


We did a touch of school each day.  Sam the Younger polished off Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and Ben the Older picked up an Artemis Fowl and a Charlie Bone.  Since dad came home, we got the next Percy Jackson and Sam began devouring that as well, whilst Ben started the first.  They wantto go see the movie, but I told them they had to read the book first.  That's 'cause I'm a mean mom. Most days.

Ben built a game board with his LEGO's including rules.  It was pretty incredible.  I mean, Parker Bros can start working on signing him on.  Seriously.

I joined up at a couple new homeschooling forums.  Check out Secular Homeschool and The Homeschool Lounge.  Don't get whiplash.  *grin*  I haven't left my beloved Well Trained Mind Forums, though, have no fear.  Anyone know if there's a button/gadget/widget for WTM  I can snag to add to my bar over thar----> ?

Well, if you've made it this far, I have a wee request:  there are a million and one homeschooling blogs, and just one less than a zillion online resources for homeschoolers, but I'm wondering if there's anything I can add to my spot on the web to add to the fray?  Anything you're wondering about me or my homeschool or Little Debbie Cakes?  Leave a comment.  I'm all about listening to myself type, but I'd like this to be an interactive place too.  I'm not *that* self-centered.  I turn the me-meter down sometimes.  I only have 5 blogs, ya know.