Patriotic Penmanship is a series of handwriting courses that can be used for kindergarten through high school. Very few options for penmanship are available past the elementary grades, yet many older students need to either learn cursive for the first time or need additional practice. This series should be especially helpful for those situations.
While there is one book for each grade level up through eighth grade, there are also additional books in the series that you might substitute or add as I will explain below.
The series begins with a traditional ball-and-stick style of manuscript printing for kindergarten and first grade. Patriotic Penmanship: Grade 2 introduces a slant print that includes upward swings at the ends of many letters that will serve as the joins when students learn cursive.
Patriotic Penmanship: Transition to Cursive can be used around second or third grade (or whenever you wish). It presents models in both slant print and cursive. Students will practice both to the same degree throughout the entire book rather than dropping the slant print in favor of cursive.
Courses for grades three and beyond teach cursive exclusively. All books have a few pages at the beginning that show how to form the letters. In addition, every book up through Patriotic Penmanship: Grade 6 includes practice forming individual letters as well as words and complete sentences. However, while kindergartners learn letters, phonograms (e.g., ba, be, and bi), and short words, first graders move quickly on to writing complete sentences as well. Year to year, the emphasis gradually shifts toward lengthier, more complex sentences.
After kindergarten, each week’s lesson is based on a quotation from Scripture, poetry, literature, a hymn, or a famous person. Many quotes are patriotic or character building.
The use of quoted material creates an odd limitation in many lessons. Students might be practicing the formation of a particular letter such as upper- and lower-case v. Yet, the selected quote for that lesson might include no words that begin with the upper-case V. This is not necessarily a problem, but some upper case letters do not occur very often in the quotes while others occur frequently.
There are two books each for junior high and high school. In these courses, students practice handwriting only with lengthy quoted material.
The size of the lines for handwriting gradually decreases as you would expect. However, to aid students not yet ready to write smaller, Patriotic Penmanship: Grade 6 Enlarged Script offers students the same content as the other sixth grade book but with larger lines.
Patriotic Penmanship combines both handwriting instruction and copywork in an unusual fashion. As far as handwriting instruction, students are shown how to form letters, but explicit instruction does not extend to joins. Instead, students learn joins through tracing and copywork. They will first trace every word or quotation, then they copy it one or more times. Since students always have models, they can see how joins are to be made.
Interestingly, the style of cursive taught in these courses often joins upper-case letters to the lower-case letters that follow, but sometimes it does not. For example, upper-case A, J, H, and W all connect to following letters, while B, G, I, and T do not. Of course, parents can show children how to connect those letters as well if they wish, but they are not joined in any of the tracing and copywork.
An unusual feature of these books is that tracing is presented as the first activity all the way through the high school books. Personally, I might have older students skip the tracing step and begin with copywork.
There are two additional books that might be used along with the Patriotic Penmanship series. These two review books do not use quoted material and are intended for reinforcement and additional practice. Dinosaurs from A to Z Review has students practice forming letters and writing names of types of dinosaurs using slant print. It makes the most sense to use this after Patriotic Penmanship: Grade 2 which introduces slant print. Jump Rope Review reinforces cursive with practice writing letters, proper nouns, and common nouns. This probably fits best after either the Transition or Grade 3 book.