Hi, just wondered what more experienced HE-ers have done about handwriting. DD (4.2) tries a little writing now and again but a lot of her letters are formed starting in the wrong place or doing the strokes in the wrong order etc, which I worry will become a habit which slows down the flow of her eventual handwriting. Is this anything to worry about do you think? Try to correct it now or will she just start doing it more efficiently later anyway? Thanks
i would say your DD is still very young. The ideal would be that the more exposure she has to letters means she will eventually self-correct. If shes interested in forming letters, then do it in lots of different ways: in sand, on each others backs, collage letters, clay letters etc
Not HEdder, but I had children interested in "writing" and writing before they started school
I think picnicinthewoods is right about making letter shapes other than with a pen. But unlearning a bad habit is hard and I think it is something to be avoided if you can. So after a few of her own experiments, start showing her the flow of the letter and getting her to copy the movement as a whole sweeping action. Getting the big, fat Chinese calligraphy brushes is good for this: try it with water on a path because you need to move a sopping wet dripping brush in the right sort of flow to avoid a dreadful mess. She can start by practising the basic lines and curves before trying to join as letters.
For the fine motor skills which lead to good pencil control, things like colouring in and join the dots puzzles are helpful.
Try a salt box: take the front off of a cereal box, spray the back of it black and add a small layer of salt and have her draw shapes and have fun with her finger. Once the novelty wears off, work towards proper letter formation with her finger before moving back onto paper. Other fine motor skill activities will help, as will getting a small golf pencil (can be bought in batches on eBay) to fit in the hands better.
Proper formation won't come automatically, but it tends to come easier to older children. As bad habits can be hard to break (my husband finds writing painful due to bad habits he was taught as a child no matter how much he now works at it - this is why it's one of my focus topics!), I waited until older with my eldest to begin teaching writing, but my DC2 much like your DD was very eager to write so worked on lots of Salt Box and painting to help her.
I adapted the Cursive First system which has worked well for us at both an early and later ages and it gives all the steps to easy, fluid handwriting habits and good gentle ways of helping children gain them. I would really recommend it.