Topic: Homeschool Product Review
I guess you've already heard about me being an educational therapist in the past. I worked with children who had learning problems. One of the many techniques that we used was called "Rhythmic Writing". Rhythmic Writing uses a series of rhythmic strokes to form cursive letters. The technique is used for so much more than learning how to write, but good cursive handwriting is a nice bi-product.
When I first saw Alphabet Beats from The TV Teacher, I was very intrigued because it looked very similar to Rhythmic Writing but for printing instead of cursive. When I finally got Alphabet Beats, I found that it was so much more! It not only teaches you how to write better, it also teaches you letter sounds and social skills. All in a very entertaining way! Take a look at this sample video for the letter p.
That's just a fraction of what you see when you watch the real video for each lesson. Isn't Ms. Marnie hilarious? You can see why Joshua likes watching so much. Let me describe how we work through each lesson.
- The first thing that we do is watch the video for a specific letter together. During that video we will trace the letter on the screen or in the air along with Ms. Marnie.
- Then I give Joshua a slate with some chalk, a pencil with a good eraser and a copy of the paper that you see Ms. Marnie using. You can find a link to download and copy the paper on the Alphabet Beat website.
- I then let Joshua go at it himself. I have already taught him the proper posture and way to hold the pencil, but I do check on him periodically. We use my laptop to watch the video, and he knows how to stop it if he needs to. He loves it!
- After he is through with each step, he will show me the slate or show me the paper and I will help him to make any corrections that are needed.
This is what I do for Joshua. Now, keep in mind that Joshua already knows how to basically make all of his letters but has a very difficult time remembering how to make them, and just plain old making them. With a child that is just learning how to write, you may have to stay in the same room with him the entire time.
I really like Alphabet Beats because it teaches your child how to make each letter in a very rhythmic way. Your brain likes rhythm. It helps you to learn. Remember how kids learn their letters? By singing the alphabet song. Do you recall how your child learned the days of the week or months of the year? By using poems or songs. All have rhythm and rhythm helps you to learn. I have read many studies on how beneficial learning is.
Another plus for me is that it is very visual and repetitive. You see the letter and draw the letter in many different ways - tracing it in the air or on top of a picture of the letter, using a piece of chalk on a chalk board, and using pencil and paper. If you have a child that is just learning his letters, but may not be ready to begin printing, you can just have them trace the letters with his finger as he watches the video. Or perhaps you have a child that has small motor problems. Have him trace the letters on the chalk board (small slates are easy to find and fairly inexpensive) before progressing to the pencil and paper.
That brings me to another reason I really like Alphabet Beats. It is a short five minute lesson on a CD. Believe me, the five minutes goes by quickly because it is so entertaining, but if it is too much for your child, watch it in two or three parts. If your child doesn't quite "get it" the first time, he can watch it over and over again or even repeat the lesson for several days. Is your child a quick learner? Do two or more letters in one sitting.
The program is very flexible and easy. You can use it as your regular curriculum or as a supplement to another curriculum. You can use it if your child goes to public/private school and just needs more help in his writing. They are very inexpensive as well. You can buy either the Lower Case DVD or the Upper Case DVD separately for just $35 or as a set for $64.99. If you would rather have workbook pages instead of the downloads, they are available as companions for either DVD at $4.49 for the Beginning Writer's Workbook or $4.99 for the Advanced Writer's Workbook. They also sell a DVD entitled "Strokes, Shapes and Scenes" that helps with pre-writing skills ($24.95 DVD, $4.99 Workbook). Several package deals are also available. To check out this fantastic program just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Some of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed the Upper-case letter CD and some reviewed the Lower-case CD. To find out what the other Crew members had to say, click here. Happy Home Educating!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of The TV Teacher's Alphabet Beats Lower Case Letters DVD in order to try out and review on my blog.