Friday, February 22, 2008


Jessica asked me about StartWrite, so I thought I would just answer it here as a blog post.

First of all... let me just say that I just bought this program this school year but I wish I would have purchased it two years ago when I first started school with Alex. It would have saved us a lot of frustration with handwriting.

Overview: StartWrite is a computer program (mac or pc) that allows you to create your own handwriting worksheets. It includes a nice selection of handwriting fonts to choose from. It can include arrows on the letters to show which way and order to make the strokes and it can include the lines like regular handwriting paper. Lots of customizing options.

Now... this doesn't sound terribly exciting, does it? Well... it really is! See, Alex HATED handwriting and would cry when assigned handwriting worksheets. I finally wimped out and let him go it alone.... but it made me crazy that his handwriting was so bad. Now, enter Clara, who had major trouble forming letters. Due to her issues, we decided to go with Handwriting Without Tears for her.... but it is not your typical handwriting font so there were no additional worksheets for it (like all of those printables on the internet).

Then finally this year I broke down and ordered StartWrite. What a difference it has made! Alex's handwriting is finally becoming somewhat presentable (well... at least he's not starting his b's and e's at the bottom anymore... lol). The main reason why is that he doesn't hate handwriting assignments anymore... in fact he looks forward to them! Alex loves jokes and riddles, so I type out the joke using StartWrite, leaving a blank line for the answer (I also leave some open space at the bottom of the page). I started with the arrows, but now I don't have to use them. He traces the joke neatly, and then guesses at the answer to the joke/riddle. I give him the answer which he writes neatly on his own on the blank line. He uses the space at the bottom to illustrate the joke. After that we three hole punch it and put it in binder which is his own personal joke book! We went from crying over handwriting assignments to begging to do them.... what a great change!

For Clara we just do the typical stuff since she likes her handwriting workbooks. But we use StartWrite any time she wants to write something more. For example, I typed out all of the Thank You notes from her birthday party for her to "write". She "writes" letters to the grandparents too. Can you believe that for Alex I hand dotted all of the letters when he wanted to write something? What was I thinking?

And like I posted yesterday, I will use StartWrite to type up my own worksheets for the kids. I can use their own fonts (Alex just uses the basic manuscript font and Clara uses Handwriting Without Tears) and customize the font size to their level as well. I sneak in more handwriting practice this way since I have them trace the question before answering it. And instead of just a blank line to answer like a typical worksheet, the ones I make have the three lines.

The options with StartWrite seem to be endless. Besides jokes, thank you notes, letters and worksheets, you could also do journal pages or text for a book they want to write. I seem to find a new use for it all of the time.

Okay... I've rambled on enough about it! LOL! If you use StartWrite and have any cool ideas that you have used it for, I would love to know!

(oh... totally unrelated... but Jessica, Homeschoolestore is an online store where everything is in a downloadable format. I get lapbooks from them. They also have great weekly freebies... so sign up for their newsletter.)

1 comment:

A Family On Fire said...

Thanks so much for the detailed post! I've looked at it again a couple times and am really excited. Things seem to be really coming together again - so once again I'm feeling like I CAN DO THIS! I can't believe there is the end of this school year (Pre-K) to get through and a whole summer before we can start using some of these projects and resources. Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience with this program and resources.