Monday, July 6, 2015

CursiveLogic {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

I was thrilled when my oldest son asked me if I would teach him how to write in cursive.  Happy is my heart whenever my children ask to learn something before I even introduce it!  It's important to me that my kids learn to read and write in cursive for other reasons too.  So that they can read historical documents, preserve the memories of ancestors through their letters and diaries, and also for the neurological development that it provides.  Since writing cursive is a proper stepping stone to fluently reading cursive, I was happy to review CursiveLogic.  I was intrigued by the logical and purposeful approach to teaching cursive that they apply to their program.  The entire curriculum is contained to the CursiveLogic Workbook, and you might choose to use colored pencils, at your own discretion.  (There are also some free e-books that I'll share with you later!)

CursiveLogic review

What is CursiveLogic?
CursiveLogic was created by Linda Shrewsbury, who was tutoring an older student that wanted to learn to sign his name.  Due to his age, and time constraints, she wanted to find a quick and effective way to teach the cursive alphabet, instead of teaching it through the traditional method of one letter at a time.  CursiveLogic was born out of that need.

The workbook is coil-bound across the top, which makes it effective for left and right-handed students.  It includes an introduction for the parent/teacher/tutor, four primary lessons, seven sections to help further the learning and practice, and a few dry erase pages at the end.  The dry erase pages are a nice touch, as we often use a personal-sized dry erase board in our various lessons anyway.

How Does it Work?
CursiveLogic focuses on teaching the student how to recognize the basic shapes of the alphabet.  It groups the letters by shape, and each letter group is assigned a specific color, "group name" and catch phrase to help the student master the alphabet.  Each group contains a string of 6-7 letters, based on their shape, and they are all taught together.

For example, students are first taught the Orange Ovals.  They are taught how to examine the letters for the oval shape, and given a simple rhythmic chant to say as they are learning to write each letter.  I let Elliott use erasable colored pencils during his lessons, so of course we used Orange for that specific lesson.  Each of the next three lessons cover the three remaining color-letter groups, to introduce the full lowercase alphabet.

CursiveLogic review

You can read more about How it Works, the letter groups, and how CursiveLogic uses visual and verbal cues to reinforce the shape patterns.

Since all of the letters in one group are taught together, students can immediately see how cursive letters connect, and can write real words quickly.  Even though one lesson covers several letters together, the lessons are broken down into shorter sections to make it manageable for all skill levels.  I've found that doing one subsection a day right now is great for us.  It's slow and the lessons could definitely be done at a faster pace, especially by older or remedial students, but it's effective for summer practice and review.

As you progress into the next lessons, the student should really begin to look at the structure of the alphabet, to see how letters begin and end, to see the shapes within the letters, and be able to visually connect the different groups, translating all that on to paper.

Lowercase letters are the only letters taught in the four main lessons, which makes sense, as they are the primary letters we read and write.  The seven sections that follow the lessons help cover capital letters and provide further practice.

CursiveLogic review

Final Thoughts
Elliott is a little unsure about this program.  He likes learning cursive, but I think because I switched him from his more traditional approach, it threw him off at first.  He's a creature of habit.  He doesn't like repeating the catch-phrase for the letter groups, but he's not an auditory learner, so that might be a factor.  He also told me he prefers learning one letter at a time, so there's not much I can do to tweak the program in that regard, but I will say he is very thorough and pays close attention while doing the lessons in this workbook.  For a typical boy who doesn't like writing, that's always a good sign!  I know he likes the visual reinforcement of the colors.

I like the premise of this program, and I love that it is multi-sensory.  I really do think it is logical, and I like how it encourages students to really visualize the alphabet.  Seeing only four basic shapes means it should be less intimidating overall to learn the cursive alphabet, since it is no longer about recalling the specific strokes for each and every letter.  I'm not sure how it would work for a beginner since we didn't start from scratch, and Elliott was "in the middle" of learning cursive, but I absolutely think this would be great for older students (or adults) who are out of practice and need a refresher course in cursive handwriting.

CursiveLogic has created a few e-books with free practice pages that compliment their curriculum, and they are graciously allowing us to share them with our readers.  These are high quality pages that you can use after their actual lessons in order to further practice.

More Information
Workbook Price:  $29.00
Age Range: 7 years to adult

You can find more information on their intuitive cursive program by checking out their website and social media provided above, and of course by reading more crew reviews!

CursiveLogic Review

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