In early January I felt that saying 2020 was like quoting from a science fiction book, but the lockdown has me feeling like I’m living in a science fiction movie! The past month has upended our lives and the novelty factor of no school & homeschooling has definitely worn off. We are in the Easter holidays so naturally kids are shying away from anything remotely resembling schoolwork and with schools unlikely to open, parents worry that skills such as handwriting could decline.
Leaving Cert students need to stay match fit with their handwriting. So much work is being done online that typing may be overtaking handwriting. The exams will still be written so it is important that when studying and revising, they are spending part of the time writing.
Kids love getting messy so writing with shaving foam is always popular. There are 2 ways – spraying out a letter/word or writing the word on the foam. The first way, spraying out the word is excellent to strengthen the index finger because the nozzle must be kept pressed down. The second method is just a foamy whiteboard where kids can write what they like inadvertently practising letter formation or cursive writing.
In the age of Snapchat & Instagram, not to mention ‘old school’ Facebook and Twitter, writing a postcard is so retro that it is almost back in fashion. To help ease isolation during the Lockdown, An Post has sent every household 2 free postcards. So, get the kids to write to someone. We don’t really get postcards anymore, so when we do it is a real treat. It means that someone was thinking of us. The kids/teenagers can plan out what they want to say, practise their writing, including the address. Don’t expect perfection – if they make a mistake what of it? Whoever gets the card will treasure it. It might even become an historical heirloom of the 2020 Lockdown!
Another fantastic way to build dexterity and strengthen fingers and wrists is to play with Lego. Throw away the instructions and get creative. Encourage new designs. The kids will learn so much without even knowing that they are learning about maths, engineering and physics. They are also developing their creative side, and this will benefit them when writing because it will help with flow – writing while thinking.
This is very similar to the saving foam but a lot less messy. Just put hair gel into a clear Ziplock bag with a drop of food colouring. Get rid of all the air then zip up the bag. Squelch the gel & colour together and you are done. To use; place on a flat surface and use a finger or cotton bud to write on it.
If they are going to be around the house, we as parents may as well get some benefit from the lockdown. Set your kids household jobs to do. Putting clothes on the line is fantastic for dexterity which in turn improves handwriting. Using clothes pegs is a super way to develop the pincer movement needed for a correct pencil grip. If you can get flour (who has all the brown flour??) kneading dough or making homemade meatloaf or burgers is another way to strengthen little and not so little hands.
Ok, let’s keep the water fights strictly as outside activities! Spray bottles, water guns and water balloons are brilliant fun and again promote dexterity. The index fingers get a workout on the spray bottles and water guns while the pincer grip is needed to manipulate the balloons to fill them with water. Pinterest can be a great place to find ways to create homemade water fight weapons.
The Weekly Observer has put a call out asking for photos and articles. Why not write your story about how the lockdown has impacted on you? Handwrite your plan then type your story. This could be the start of a glittering career as a journalist or novelist!
There is a debate going on which queries if handwriting should even be taught in schools. Many parents think that keyboard skills are more important in the modern world. I believe that both are important. Keyboards are great but not always necessary. People still need to be able to handwrite well. Like it or not, our handwriting gives people an impression of us and poor handwriting may give an impression of lack of education or poor attention to detail, even though the opposite may be the truth. Physically writing something down has been proven to aid memory. Cursive/joined writing allows for thought processes to flow more easily.
I firmly believe that handwriting and keyboard skills should be taught (and taught well) to everyone. That is why Handwriting is one of the skills we teach in our programs at Hummingbird Learning Centre Adare & Tralee.
We are excited to announce now offer our programs through a secure online platform. Our client’s security and privacy are paramount to us which is why we have resisted using Zoom or similar. To find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 087-2996054