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Printing and Cursive:


To teach printing, I sat down with paper and colored markers in front of us.  A marker takes less effort and provides more fun to the learning.  Hand over hand, we wrote the alphabet, while I described how each letter was written.  (For instance, the “a” is “circle with a stick”).  I let John choose the colors he wanted.  I taught lower case letters first, upper case as needed in proper names.  After the alphabet was written, we wrote his name, Dad’s and Bubba’s and “Mom”.  Then we wrote a sentence of his choosing.  Usually it was “I love Dad” or “I love Bubba”.   Each day I worked with John I could feel his grip get stronger, and feel him doing more and more the of writing himself.  As I felt more and more, I would help less and less, until he was totally independent.  I never “tested “ him by asking him to write before he was ready, which made his success totally stress-free.


In second grade the children were being taught cursive.  Since the teacher decided that John might not have the fine motor skills needed, I decided to teach him at home.  I used the same approach I’d used teaching printing.  We practiced hand over hand writing the alphabet, and then writing names and sentences of his choosing.   As I felt him doing more and more on his own, I weaned my hand away.




I learned to put everything on flash cards.  I used index cards and a black magic marker, putting all spelling words on these.  John is very visual, and can memorize things he sees quite well.  He has rarely in his 13 years EVER missed a spelling word.  At one point John was fascinating everyone by spelling backward about as quickly as he could do it forward.




I used flash cards to teach math facts.  This is the single most important key to succeeding in all levels of math.  Flash cards with the large problem on front and equally large problem with answer on the back can be bought at  “Education World”.  John’s visual memory helped him learn his facts so well he was winning many of the games they played at school against all of his same-age peers.  We taught him the facts in the same order as he was being taught at school.  I would present him with 4 new facts each day, and then review all learned ones as well.  I’d work on facts no longer than 10 minutes 4 times a day.  He was also able to sit down and do fact sheets in no time flat.  It must be the parent who is vigilant about teaching the facts at home.