Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Review: Classical Conversations PreScripts

Many homeschoolers have heard of Classical Conversations.  They are best known for their communities across the country, where parents and children gather together to study and learn using a classical education model.  They've recently designed a series of four cursive books, called PreScripts, that combine art and penmanship.  We received PreScripts Cursive Passages and Illuminations, which is the 4th book in the series.

The PreScripts books increase with difficulty as you move through the four books.  The first book begins with letter formation and coloring, while the fourth book has your child copying passages from American documents and creating illuminated letters (using the Zaner-Bloser style of cursive).  These books are not labelled with grade levels, though there are general age guidelines for each book (Cursive Passages and Illuminations is recommended for ages 9 through high school).

We're starting our new school year, and we're studying American history this year. Cursive Passages and Illuminations was a wonderful fit for our family, since it uses passages from American documents as copywork.  Your child will copy the Declaration of Independence, the Monroe Doctrine, the Gettysburg Address, Reagan's Speech at Brandenburg Gate ("Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"), along with many other important and memorable writings and speeches from American history.  After each page of copywork, the facing page has an illuminated letter for your child to copy. You can check out sample pages here.

Priced at $12.99, this book is a bargain.  The quality is impressive:  a thick and shiny cover, heavyweight paper inside, and a spiral binding so the book lays flat.  It can be used as a consumable workbook, or your child can copy the passages and illuminations into their own notebook. 

I used this with all 5 of the boys.  In the preface of the book, it is stated that "The key to good writing is daily practice".  Keeping this in mind, I had my boys practice for 10 minutes a day (I knew some of my boys would balk at having to copy an entire passage--some are quite long).  The first thing I had them do when they began a new page was to read what they were copying, since reading cursive still requires them to think through the letters.  After they read, I had them copy the passage, in their best cursive, for 10 minutes.  I told them it didn't matter how far they got, as long as they were doing their best work.  After they finished the passage, they then spent their 10 minutes of penmanship practice time working on their illuminated letters.

The boys enjoyed this copybook.  The illuminated letters were a reward; they enjoyed the break of having to write.  I liked that even though they weren't writing, they were still using the same fine motor skills they need for penmanship.  It's nice having ready made copywork that coordinates with our studies as well.  If you're looking for a fun and creative way to practice and teach cursive, check out the line of PreScripts books from Classical Conversations.


For more reviews of Classical Conversations PreScripts books (all levels) , visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


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