Nan Jay Barchowsky updates handwriting instruction with this new method called Barchowsky Fluent Hand™ (BFH). Her models are similar to BJUP and D'Nealian in their initial forms, but unlike the others, the Barchowsky forms incorporate a design that allows separate, basic letters to join for flowing, truly cursive writing. In other systems, some of the capital letters change from their printed to cursive forms, while the BFH capitals retain the same forms.
With BFH, no particular slant is required. While recommendations are made for right- and left-handed writers, this is an individual decision. Unlike other forms of handwriting, more letters are left "unjoined." For example, the "r" is not joined to a following "e" or "f".
The program's presentation is also quite different. A single, ungraded teacher manual, BFH Fluent Handwriting, is the heart of the BFH program for all grade levels. It comes with a CD-ROM that has more than 280 printable student pages as well as supplemental instructional material and aids. It includes video footage in the "Getting Started" section that illustrates how to present handwriting instruction. Students pages can also be edited or personalized. The specialized BFH fonts are included for you to create your own pages. For younger students, there are picture pages that incorporate letter formation practice. Samples can be viewed on the Swansbury website. (The BFH fonts are also available separately as a download at the publisher's website.)
The book comes with a letter and alphabet strip that can be used for easy reference. The manual itself is printed in color and has a covered spiral binding so that it will lie flat.
You won't need to purchase anything else, although if you have young children, you might want to purchase Beginners' Handwriting, a large, 11" x 17" book of sheets. These sheets are to be placed on an easel for tracing and copying. Beginners' Handwriting comes with a teacher's guide.
The focus of this program is upon development of fluid, legible penmanship, rather than picture perfect replication of models. Students are encouraged to develop their own unique style and forms as they reach upper levels. Barchowsky offers many hints for posture, grip, and skill development that reflect her thorough familiarity with common problems.
Some advance work by the parent/teacher is required to prepare the lesson and select pages from the CD-ROM.
Older students or adults who struggle with fluency in their handwriting might find Fix It... Write useful. This is a packet of pages, already three-hole punched. Place them in a binder, and add practice pages as you work through the lessons. Fix It... Write has two sections. The first section is for those who rely on a form of printing and need to develop a more fluid cursive style that allows them to write more quickly and efficiently. The second section might be used by those who need to either improve their cursive skill or who might wish to change their style of writing.