As a Canadian, I was surprised to receive Presidential Penmanship (Handwritting Without Tears style) from Zeezok publications to review as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I groaned at the thought of my son having to copy quotes from speeches that are not relevant to him as a Canadian. Thankfully, the earlier grade levels of this program contain mostly uplifting or thought provoking quotes from various American presidents which focus mainly on character traits and leadership. As you progress through the levels there gets to be more and more quotations from speeches and the Declaration of Independence but that is not until several years into the program. It is important to note that this is not a penmanship program in that it does not teach penmanship but rather gives children material to copy in a specific style (there are 6 different styles available).
While I had been planning to start Liam on cursive writing this year, I decided to keep him working on his printing with this program. I am not a fan of the Handwriting Without Tears cursive style (it just looks so different to me) and without the proper instruction on how to use Handwriting Without Tears I felt it in Liam’s best interest to stick to printing. I choose to print out the quotes that I felt most appropriate for Liam (from the grades 1 and 2 level) and he worked on those and then we discussed the quotes a little when he was finished. It led to some thought provoking discussions and for that I am grateful. One improvement in the actual copy work that I think could be made would be for the company to use a more traditional trace over the dots to practice the letters as opposed to writing inside an outline of the letters. Despite repeated instruction, Liam still felt inclined to colour in the outline instead of making one smooth line in the outline. After several lessons he finally did get it but I am sure that many students do the same thing that he did and that could be avoided with the more typical method of instruction.
As a Canadian, I would not be interesting in purchasing this product. I am not a huge fan of copy work and if my son is going to have to copy material I would rather it be something of my choosing that is also relevant to what we are studying. I’d rather purchase a complete penmanship program with instruction if I were to find my children struggling to print/write. I can see that this would be a nice addition to a study on the presidents or American history so I would be more inclined to purchase this product if that was an area that we would be studying. It is nice that you can purchase the complete product as either an e-book or on CD for $39.99US allowing you to print whatever pages you’d like as many times as you would like to (especially a plus for a large family with children at various levels). You can also choose to purchase one level at at time as an e-book for $9.99US which would be great if you wanted to test this product out before committing to it. You can also choose from 6 different styles of writing which you can view on their site here.
While this program would not work well for my family I encourage you to read some reviews from other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew here if this product interests you.
***Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.