Friday, July 5, 2013

PreScripts Cursive Passages and Illuminations - a Review

Most Moms and Dads realize that their children need practice with handwriting in order to improve. While there are many, many options out there for beginning handwriting, there are not nearly as many available for older students. (I have also found that my older students don't necessarily think they need practice, even when they do!) Thus, I was excited to be able to review the new PreScripts Cursive Passages and Illuminations  book from Classical Conversations.

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This new book includes more than 130 pages of cursive practice, and lessons on making Illuminated letters (think Medieval texts.) While Classical Conversations (CC) recommends this copybook for students aged 9 thru High School, I would recommend it for students 12 and up. The cursive style presented in the book is not difficult to copy, but I think most younger students would struggle with the Illuminated letters exercises.

In our house, Emily (age 15) was the tester. I gave her the book and told her to work in it every morning we were at home (about 4 days a week.) She usually worked for about 45 minutes a day. That was usually enough time to either copy a page of text, or do an illuminated letter, but not both. The point of the book is to improve your handwriting, not hurry through just to check off a box.

The text sources for this level of PreScript are American Documents, so Emily has copied sections from  Christopher Columbus's 'Apologia,' the 'Mayflower Compact,' and several sections from 'The Declaration of Independence." At a retail price of $12.99, this book should last Emily most of the school year. She will have principals of American history reinforced as she copies sections from John C. Calhoun, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and even Ronald Reagan's 'Speech at Brandenburg Gate.' I am hoping that we will have discussions along the way about what was happening during each time period as she writes. How many of us parents remember Reagan's statement: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!!"?

Emily has enjoyed the illuminated letters, although she admits, some styles are rather difficult to replicate. But, she has soldiered on, and attempted them...she just didn't want me to show you the ones she struggled with. The ones she found most difficult look more like a fancy typeface, while she enjoyed the ones that look more like a work of art. She even got out her own drawing book and Illuminated the first line to some of her favorite books!

If your student is struggling with cursive... or they attend a school where cursive is no longer being taught... you will want to make a careful study of the earlier levels of PreScripts. There are 4 levels in all, each progressing in difficulty. The Passages and Illuminations text we reviewed is the most difficult. If your student is capable of cursive, but just needs more practice, than this might be the book for you. 

The book has the documents printed out on every other line, so the students can copy directly under the text. I think if I had given this book to our 13 year old, she would have struggled, because her fine motor skills in handwriting have always been slower than normal. She would probably do well with the third book, "Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons." If you go to CC's website, you can view sample pages and choose the correct level for your student.

Families from the Crew reviewed all 4 levels, so click the banner below to read all about them!


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  1. This review is so helpful! I am in the process of planning our rising 8th grader's school year at home. This is exactly what I was looking for! As a side note, you might find it interesting that our 17 year old recently took the SAT for the first time. When completing the test, the students are told to print then sign their name in cursive. The test was delayed as more than half of the 70 or so kids in attendance did not know how to sign their name. The test moderator had to write the alphabet in cursive on the board for the kids to have a quick lesson on signing their name! I'm thankful our children know cursive writing. I appreciate that these books you reviewed, thanks again!

  2. She did a lovely job! I think I'll look in to this later, for my 13 yo. I think a previous level will be a better fit for him, for now. :)