Friday, February 19, 2010

TOS Review: Presidential Penmanship

Surely I've spoken here before about Logan's almost obsessive fascination with the presidents? I had to have let you in on that little tidbit, I know. Because the truth is, it's such a part of who Logan is that to separate him from Woodrow Wilson or James K. Polk would be to only tell half the story of my fine American boy.

I can't pinpoint exactly when this love affair began, but I can tell you for certain that the fire was fueled in the 2007-2008 school year, when we studied American History with Sonlight. Being the supplementing kind of Momma that I am, I gathered together a whole pool of picture books, movies, and other resources designed to make the Core more inclusive to my tagalongs. Turns out, I needn't have worried. Logan was perhaps the most enthused, the most interested, and the most able to retain even the most minuscule facts that we uncovered that year. And he loved it.

Sometime around the middle of the year, however, I noticed something slightly disturbing. A large, laminated wheel that I had purchased was missing. The wheel had been on the pricey side, and it listed every U.S. president to have served, the years e served, his length of time in office, his VP, his party, and a few personal facts. I searched high and low in our schoolroom and yet could not locate it. Being the kind of scatterbrain who loses things with fair frequency, only to have them turn up the next day, I moved on.

And the wheel did turn up. In Logan's bed--right alongside his teddy bear, his blanket, a flashlight, and his AWANA book. Turns out he had been pouring over it every day at rest time, memorizing things that my brain has no room for.

I realized that he was in deep. At the time, I had no idea how far it would go. Today, Logan's most keen desire is to tour the White House. Well, that and to sleep on the couch in the Oval Office. I think he'd take either, no matter who was in office at the time.

The nice thing about Loan's particular interest is that it makes school on the large quite easy. As a mom, if I can link something to the presidents (or even just ONE president), I've got an active audience. Which is probably why I find the concept of Presidential Penmanship so fascinating.

Zeezok Publishing is an established house that specializes in the homeschool market. Their products are high quality, well-produced, and targeted. With the Presidential Penmanship series, they've opened the door to a whole array of options for homeschooling parents. This program could easily be incorporated into a unit study on American history, a study on a particular president, as a stand-alone program, or as a complement to break up the monotony of simple letter practice.

The cd I received for review is a complete curriculum for first grade through senior high. Retailing for $39.99, that's an incredible value, especially when you take into account that you can use this with as many children as you'd like by simply printing the appropriate pages as needed.

I received the italics option, which is not my favorite form of handwriting simply because I find its cursive form somewhat awkward in form. Several other options are available, however, from Zaner-Bloser to Handwriting Without Tears. If you're interested in the program, they most likely have a style that will suit your needs.

The contents of the pages are simple yet effective: a selected quote capitalizes on a lesson, and the child simple uses this as copywork. The quotes are enlightening as well as entertaining. For example, Calvin Coolidge's lesson 4 quote in the 6th grade book is: "Collecting more taxes than absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." Later, Ronald Reagan proclaims, "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat."

Logan has truly enjoyed simply reading the quotes as well as copying them. I don't think this program requires a fascination with the presidents to be a hit, though. It's a simple, focused handwriting program that doesn't require excessive practice, and keeps things light. Any child--regardless of their interests-can appreciate that.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this product for review purposes. Refer to my general disclaimer for more information on my policies regarding reviews.

No comments: