About a year ago I was quite surprised to learn that the public school system was no longer teaching cursive handwriting to the students. I can understand this on some levels due to high schools and colleges almost exclusively using technology to hand in any assignments. On the other hand, not teaching cursive to our children will hinder them in other areas; such as reading old letters and historical documents, signatures in cursive, and reading books written in cursive. Not to mention it is truly an art form that will eventually die out.
One great advantage of working with the TOS Review Crew is being introduced to educational products and curriculum you didn't even know existed. That is the case here with reviewing Writing Through Early Modern History Level 1 Cursive from Brookdale House. We were sent a digital download of the product to review. It is recommended for grades 1 - 3 (although I am using it with 6th graders which I will explain later in this post) and it retails at $22.95 (ebook) or $30.95 (printed book). This book is so huge with 351 pages of short stories, historical narratives, narration pages, cursive copy work, grammar guide, and so much more.
Brookdale House has put together a truly unique product. Using Charlotte Mason principles of copy work, narration, and dictation - they have created a multifaceted product to teach elementary students writing, cursive, and history. The Writing Through History Series has been set up to accommodate a four year history cycle which also brings in a little classical teaching as well. The four year cycle includes 2 levels of manuscript and two levels of cursive for Ancient History, Medieval History, Early Modern History, and Modern History. Brookdale House also sells products in grammar, geography, and Spanish.
The Early Modern History Writing program contains narratives, poetry, folk and cultural tales found in the years of 1600 AD - 1850 AD with a focus on American History. In history this year my tutoring students are working their way through this time period, so I was very pleased to be chosen to review this particular product. I choose level 1 for my 5-6th graders due to the fact that one student (from a public school background) had never learned cursive and another was left handed and found it harder than manuscript. Basically I was starting from ground zero.
Each week I printed a packet to give to each student. Day one they would read the story then narrate it in their own words on the provided narration page. Day two they would focus on copying the copy work/cursive pages. Most weeks we were able to get through two packets. One packet at my home and another sent home to be completed.
The first section of the downloaded book contains historical narratives. The second section is Grimm Fairy Tales while the third section is poetry. The last section is folk tales. Included in the beginning of the book are many pages of detailed instruction on how to use the materials and different options for scheduling.
We have thoroughly enjoyed this product. The kids definitely need the cursive practice and all the historical narratives fit in wonderfully with our current history studies. I love Charlotte Mason methods and think that the way these methods are woven throughout the material is genius. Some of my favorite aspects of the product are:
Copies for multiple students with digital download purchase
Historical video links on the Brookdale website to help enhance your studies
Easy to understand directions, different scheduling options, and easy to implement
Economical price for all you get
More than one subject area covered
Go to Brookdale House and see what may work for your home. Also visit the TOS Crew site and read reviews on this and other products from Brookdale House.