Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
I never imagined I would be teaching my children the art of Italics, and in all honesty, I didn’t even consider it to be a thing. I am so pleased we decided to try Everyday Education, LLC‘s program Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook. I have seen the benefits of only 5-10 minutes of instruction every day spread across all areas of study in my three older kids who used this program.
Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting takes the Charlotte Mason approach to learning with short focused lessons no more than 5-10 minutes a day. It is an e-book so you download a PDF format and print out the lessons as you need them. This is great if you have multiple children you are teaching.
Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting claims there are four ways to use this book:
(1) Teaching kids to read and write
(2) Teaching children with reading difficulties to read effectively
(3) Teach children to have fast, legible, attractive handwriting
(4) Teach yourself beautiful handwriting
The curriculum is broken up into six chapters. The first chapter equips the parent or teacher with tricks and tips to teaching your child to read and write as well as answers common questions such as, “why phonics?” or “At what age should I teach my child to read?”. This chapter also gives a brief history of handwriting and how it evolved throughout history.
Chapter Two is dedicated to learning the alphabet. In this chapter, the pages are committed to each letter instructing in the phonetic sound of the letter as well as the correct way to write it and some room for practice.
Chapters 3, 4, and 5 go over basic phonic sounds that make up most of the English language. These include lists of words for reading practice as well as several pages of writing the same words and sounds being studied. Some of the lessons have short lessons expounding on some of the “rules” found in the English language such as “to” sounding like “two” or “you” having a silent “o” in the middle of it. These three chapters cover lessons 2-60 and make up the majority of the curriculum. It is quite extensive and covers, in my opinion, almost all phonetic lessons that are needed for a very sound reader.
Chapter 6 is labeled “Handwriting Practice”. If a student already knows how to read, this chapter can be used independently of the rest of the curriculum. It opens with a lesson on how each individual can take the basics of Italics and make it their own by illustrating different styles and techniques. The alphabet is reviewed and then many practice exercises follow such as writing out the whole “Night Before Christmas” story, slanted writing exercises, stories to copy and finish writing, joining letters together, famous quotes, edged pen practice and more.
I did some of the beginning lessons with my 6 year old, but my older girls took off with Chapter Six and loved it so much, I focused on them. They immediately were intrigued at the beautiful handwriting they saw in front of them and took upon themselves the challenge of gaining that ability themselves. When I told them that Chapter Six ended with calligraphy, they started giggling and leaping for joy! Every single day for weeks they ask to do their handwriting practice and enjoy every moment of it. I only require a half page a day from them as I would rather quality work than quantity.
One of my 9 year olds is a story teller at heart and she took the challenge to “copy and finish” the story literally. She is up to 7 pages in her story and writes more and more each day, in her best Italics hand. My other 9 year old is very girly and does all her handwriting in every subject in Italics now. My 8 year old enjoys writing, but only does the bare minimum requirement. I have, however, noticed the most amazing improvement with her short hand. Where her hand writing was quite indecipherable, it is now neatly spaced out and legible! I cannot wait to see her handwriting progress as she continues this program through the summer.
The phonics teaching in this program is fantastic and thorough. I have taught phonics several times since 4 of my 7 kids can currently read, and I can tell you that this program covers more than all the basis. The beginning instructions of this curriculum urge the parent to make many books accessible to your child to read as well as books that you can read aloud to them. This is key to making this program work since the phonics lessons do not have very long instruction or exhaustive practice in the concepts being taught. Supplementing with beginner readers and chapter books would be very beneficial in putting the tools they learn through this curriculum into practical application.