Saturday, August 22, 2009

Frugal homeschooling: make-your-own when possible

I think I've mentioned before that we're using all Abeka materials for homeschooling (except for Bible, for which I'm trying Alpha and Omega since it was just given to me).

If you've ever priced homeschool supplies from the manufacturer, they can be quite pricey. Not only that, but if you teach your child manuscript writing in Abeka K-2, there aren't many instructional visuals available from Abeka for handwriting. (They've been phasing them out the last few years.)

I said all that to say this: I wanted a set of alphabet wall cards that show formation of the manuscript letters the way Abeka teaches them. I searched eBay but couldn't find what I was looking for. Then it hit me: I can make my own!

Here I've used a set from Dollar Tree that I've had for several years now. It used to serve as a sort of border in my son's bedroom. Then we used it last year in homeschooling until he learned his ABCs.

So, what did I do to it? I just used a black permanent marker (ultra fine point) to trace the arrows, made sure they were going in the right direction (Abeka teaches a tiny bit different than these charts), and numbered each step. The arrows were already there in red; I just used contrasting black to trace over them and make them more visible. I also added black dots to indicate where each letter is started, just like in the Abeka handwriting books.

It is very important to make sure you put the arrows going in the right direction. I thought I should stress this because there were several letters that the arrows were going the wrong direction in the original arrow. I just added the arrowhead on the appropriate end, and it worked wonderfully!

And in case you're wondering why I'm adamant about teaching manuscript first, I think it's important that everybody learns to print. After all, there are some documents (like job applications) that require you to print. I learned cursive writing in 3rd grade, and it hasn't hurt me one bit. My handwriting is very legible, and it comes in handy to know both printing and cursive. Just my two cents on the issue ... :)


Esther said...

Glad to hear Ryan is excited about school! Makayla is too. We don't plan to start till after Labor Day though - want to enjoy these last few weeks of summer break!