Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Alpha Omega Publications~ Horizons 2nd Grade Penmanship Set Review

Interesting times on the TOS Review Crew! This time around Little Brother got his turn with a handwriting set specific to his age/grade. Alpha Omega Publications sent us the Horizons 2nd Grade Penmanship Set for review (Other reviewers received different products for Pre-K to 2nd grade materials covering a variety of subjects including health, math, and spelling, among others~ be sure to click on the link at the end of my review to see their reviews).

I have not had a lot of experience with Alpha Omega I do know many people who have used LifePacs and Switched on Schoolhouse, as well as some of the Horizons products (I think I used a Horizons math book once when my oldest was in... maybe Kindergarten? Long enough that I don't remember for sure...). My youngest hasn't had a lot of practice with penmanship, so I thought this might be a good item to check out.

Included in this set is the consumable Workbook and the Teacher's Guide.

Alpha Omega tends to be a great choice for those who thrive on worksheets and the ease of boxed curriculum. It includes Bible verses and quotations for handwriting practice, which is always a nice feature for those who are looking for faith-based and/or moral character copy-work.  The teacher's guide is scripted, and very complete. The Cursive manuscript is taught upper and lowercase together. An example:

More samples can be found on the product page linked above and in my "nitty gritty" section

This appears to me to be more of a cursive readiness course than a full fledged cursive course, which makes sense if one follows a traditional schedule. Cursive is often taught in 3rd grade in a traditional classroom. In this penmanship set, the first 75 lessons focus on reviewing manuscript letter formation, words and sentences. The next 50 lessons introduce cursive alphabet formation, and the final 33 lessons are for cursive practice and manuscript review.

We did a little bit of skipping around in our use of this set, for the purposes of review, doing some manuscript review, and then working on a few cursive letters. As mentioned above, the approach is very traditional, and it might be confusing/overwhelming for a child to learn both the upper and the lower case formation of each letter on the same day.

I certainly saw that with my son, who may be something of a stereotypical boy. He is not fond of handwriting yet (He may also have some genetic hang-ups with penmanship.  As I may have mentioned once or twice in previous reviews... penmanship was the bane of my elementary education... sigh), and while he did the work, certainly showed that he isn't ready to be regularly confined to lines and consistent letter height/size.

One of the best aspects of this curriculum from his point of view is that the lessons are intended to be short and sweet, (ala Charlotte Mason...) funny boy...

As far as I can tell, Alpha Omega uses the Zaner-Bloser style of penmanship. I would like to see Alpha Omega offer a few different manuscript and cursive styles ( at least one italic and maybe even something fancy like the Palmer style I grew up with) in their Penmanship curricula, so that those who like the format/set-up of the Alpha Omega system could choose a style that suits their hands/eyes.

If you are looking for a curriculum that is intentional in its inclusion of Scripture, poetry, and character-building quotes for its copy-work, as well as a scripted teacher's guide to help you along, this would be perfect for you. Quite honestly, this product probably isn't the best fit for my youngest, but again, could be a great fit for someone else. If Zaner-Bloser isn't your style of choice, you may wish to look elsewhere.

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