Teaching Tools

Wooden Letter Pieces

This is one of the other elements of the Handwriting Without Tears system that I loved.  This lovely little box includes several long lines, short lines, small curves, and big curves.  With just those four elements, you can create any capital letter that your little heart desires.  You can actually create many of the lowercase letters as well, but there is also a lowercase supplement which allows you to make the entire lowercase alphabet properly.

I know that the actual HWT curriculum has some specific activities for these including some kind of blue mat and laminated letter cards that show them how to build them.  To be perfectly honest, I just saw them and thought – hey, that’s cool!  It seemed that making the letters would come pretty naturally to my kiddos and when I saw a used set for less than $20, I snatched it up.  Thus far when we use the wooden letter pieces, I give one of my girls a word to spell out while I’m working on a reading lesson with the other one.  They love it and we’re reinforcing the reading/spelling work we’ve been doing.

One of the other reasons I love this set is that it packs so neatly into the box.  Not because I’m a neat person in general (I’m not… at all.) but because it fits in with one of the habits we’re working on this term.  If you’ve never read about Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy, find some good reads on her thoughts about instilling good habits in your children.  Maybe I’ll write about it someday, but until then – find something somebody else has written.  Or better yet, read Charlotte’s own writings on the matter.  Brilliant stuff.  So the habit we’re working on is “order” – the concept that “there’s a place for everything and everything is in it’s place”.  Tools like this that have such a logical place for everything make it easy to let them practice that!

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