July 6, 2016

Patriotic Penmanship from Laurelwood Books~ A Copywork Book for Cursive Writing {Product Review}

We believe that copywork and penmanship are very important aspects of education, and provide daily copywork exercises for Little Britches to complete. He is also working in cursive, so I try to find copywork that lets him see and then practice his skills. We were recently given the chance to review Patriotic Penmanship: Grade 4 from Laurelwood Books, which combines copywork and cursive practice in one book. I was curious to see how he liked this book compared to his current copywork book--would he like this one more?
Patriotic Penmanship from Laurelwood Books~ A Review

Product Information

Patriotic Penmanship, is a series of copywork books from Laurelwood Books. The series is a collection of penmanship books that incorporate everything from A-Z dinosaur names (for the lowest level) to famous quotes and scripture (high school level). Level K-2 is designed to practice manuscript, while 3rd-high school is in cursive. The books even include the transition stage from manuscript to cursive at the 2/3 grade levels. The books are paperback and retail for $13.95.

We were given the Patriotic Penmanship: Grade 4 (cursive) to use with Little Britches, age 10.

How Did We Use the Product?

The book arrived, and because it was just a workbook this time, I was able to add it in with little effort. I decided that with our summer schedule he would complete just 1 page a day, two lessons a week. This is a good speed for us and lets him break down the two page lesson into one per day. The two page lessons are broken down as such (using Lesson 9 as an example):

Letter Practice: practicing particular strokes of letters for the first 26 lessons, one letter per lesson. (ie. I and i)

Key Words: focused attention to words from the quote usually about three of them (ie. Nothing, politically, right)

Word Pairs: as it says, they practice word pairs from the quote (ie. politically right, Nothing is)

Full Quote: focused attention to a full phrase from the quote (ie. Nothing is politically right)

After the first 26 lessons, there is no more Letter Practice as part of the lesson.

What Were Our Thoughts on the Product?

Little Britches says that since he's only ever required to do a page a day, it's not too bad. He also says he likes the quotes and reads them even if he doesn't copy them all the way yet. He recognized some of the hymn lyrics like Amazing Grace when he got to those lessons.

My thoughts:
This is a quick and painless (though he might disagree!LOL) product for him to work on for practicing cursive and copywork. The quotes and phrases are quite meaningful and lovely, and I like that he's practicing "real" words and phrases taken straight from them. The pages are very easy to assign, and I think that the lessons are kept concise which is perfect for Little Britches attention span and hatred of copywork. LOL. I also like that these lines are smaller than other lines we have written on, helping him bring down the size of his letters. With our background in cursive, this book has been a very very good review and has brought to my attention letters and cursive strokes we should review.

I will note that because the quotations for each lesson are relatively short (2-8 lines), I wish there was the portion where they copy a full quote, was indeed the FULL QUOTE, not just one phrase. By grade 4, I think they should easily be able to copy a full quote down without issues. Perhaps the next level (grade 5) has more comprehensive quotes for copywork.

I will also note, that though I missed it the first few lessons, I discovered that at the bottom of the first page of each lesson, there is a vocabulary word and definition (for lesson 9, that word is political). I think this helps the student with expanding their knowledge as some of these quotes are older and not as known.

Oh, and as one last thing--I think it would be a great idea if the book listings on the website, gave at least a one lesson example (preferably one from the middle), so that a parent/teacher could look at the level they think they need, to see how difficult it is. I know that I would appreciate that. I also MAY have decided to request the next level up had I known this wasn't going to have full quotations in it.

Will I continue to use this product?
Oh yes. No-nonsense when it comes to a simple cursive assignment is the right style. His cursive has become more neat and legible, so I know it's working.

Would We Recommend the Product?

It is a very basic level 4 cursive book. I think that if someone is looking for a straight forward book for their child to continue to practice their cursive, this works great. All of the words in the writing comes straight from real quotes, hymns, scripture and more. There isn't any cutesy illustrations, and the writing space is smaller in the size of the lines. It's a more "grown up" copybook sort, something that I really don't mind.

If you want a fun, eye catching cursive book, you may want to pass on this. While the quotes included and style is excellent, it could be seem "dry" or "boring" without any illustrations, and being in black and white. If your child is ready for full length quotes, and not just phrases, you also may want to try a different level.

Want to Know More?

We reviewed the Patriotic Penmanship~ Grade 4 (Cursive) from Laurelwood Books. You have read about what we thought about it. But go check out the rest of the books that they sent the crew! There are some for Latin, states, and scriptures too.
Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}
It is easy to stay up to date on the latest news at Laurelwood Books, by following them on Facebook.

We now have two different cursive copywork books that we can use throughout the summer and into the next year. Since Little Britches feels the same about either book (he strongly DISLIKES copywork) I think I will let him choose whether or not he would like to get the grade 5 level in Patriotic Penmanship or his other book. One way or another, his penmanship is bound to continue to improve!
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