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Guest Edition: Top 3 Ways to Improve Handwriting in the Homeschool... (may not actually include writing)

As homeschooling becomes an increasingly popular choice for families, addressing handwriting skills at home is crucial for a child's overall development. However, many of the ways we promote handwriting aren’t actually writing.  Positioning for correct posture, practicing visual scanning across all activities, and strengthening the core through games and recreation are all promoting handwriting without picking up the pencil!

1. Positioning for Correct Posture:

One of the fundamental elements in handwriting development is ensuring your child maintains the correct posture while writing. Poor posture can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and inefficient motor skills. To address this, create a dedicated and ergonomic workspace for your child.

   a. Chair and Desk Setup: Choose a

chair and desk that allow your child to sit comfortably with their feet flat on the floor. The desk should be at a height that allows their arms to rest comfortably, forming a 90-degree angle when writing.

  b. Lighting: Ensure there is ample natural or artificial light in the workspace to reduce

eye strain and provide optimal visibility of the writing surface.

  c. Materials: Provide your child with comfortable writing tools that suit their grip.

Experiment with different pens, pencils, or grips until you find the one that promotes a

relaxed and efficient writing style.

2. Visual Scanning Techniques:

Enhancing visual scanning skills is crucial for developing handwriting fluency. Visual scanning involves the ability to smoothly and accurately move the eyes in all directions. Here are some strategies to improve visual scanning:

 a. Tracking Exercises: Engage your child in activities that require tracking, such as following lines with their eyes, reading books, or playing games that involve looking from left to right to find specific objects in a picture. Take your child to the grocery store with you and scan the shelves for the items on your list.  Order your games in a closet from left to right rather than stacking.

b. Convergence Activities: These activities require eyes to look far away at an object

and then follow it until that same object is close.  Following a ball until it hits a bat is an


c. **Copying Activities:* This involves looking far away and then close up.  Think about copying from a board onto paper. This can also be looking at nature and then drawing and journaling onto paper.

3. Climbing for Core Strength:

Believe it or not, core strength plays a significant role in handwriting development. A strong core provides stability and control, allowing your child to maintain proper posture and execute fine motor movements with greater precision. Here's how you can integrate core-strengthening activities into your homeschool routine:

 a. Indoor Obstacle Courses: Set up simple obstacle courses at home that involve crawling, climbing, and balancing. These activities not only enhance core strength but also contribute to overall gross motor development.

 b. Yoga and Stretching: Incorporate yoga or stretching exercises into your daily routine. These activities engage core muscles while promoting flexibility and balance.

  c. Outdoor Play: Encourage outdoor activities like climbing on playground equipment, swinging, or playing sports that involve running and jumping. These activities contribute to the development of core strength and coordination.

By addressing correct posture, visual scanning, and core strength in your homeschooling environment, you are laying a strong foundation for your child's handwriting success.

Remember, every child is unique, so feel free to adapt these strategies to suit your child's individual needs and preferences.

In addition, HomeschoolOT is available to consult with your homeschool on how to build these skills into your homeschool day considering your specific child, your specific homeschool environment, and the specific activities your child your child needs and wants to do.  With consistent effort and a supportive environment, you can help your child develop confident and legible handwriting skills that will benefit them throughout their academic journey.

Sarah Collins, MSOT, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with a background in both pediatrics and home health, and a homeschooling parent. Sarah was first introduced to homeschooling in 2016 while working as an OT in a client’s home; she was amazed at the learning atmosphere and opportunities within the home. Then, once homeschooling her own family, she noticed that parents, though experts on their own children, were invariably asking many of same questions; most wanting to further their own understanding so they could use the homeschool to help their children in what they specifically needed and wanted to do. As a result, HomeschoolOT was established in 2019. She now focuses on helping parents make the match between the homeschool and their children’s current skill set all while working towards what their children specifically need and want to do to occupy their time (hello occupation!). She does this by consulting with parents around the world, teaching month long classes on specific topics, building community in an online membership, and communicating nationally at conferences.



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