Okay, confession time. I've been cheating at this homeschooling thing for a while now. The reason, mainly, is that my son is a very independent learner. I don't know how he knows half of what he knows (although I'm certain I can't take credit for most of it). When people ask me what his learning style is, I usually answer "osmosis".
Honestly, I have no idea how he learned to read or write (he just did it) and I can only take a small amount of credit for his in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and his recent explosion of multiplication and division skills. In other words, I've been riding his coattails through this homeschooling venture.
Silly to say, but it took me a while to realize that not all kids were like that. But I finally realized that Ava has been sitting around waiting for me to teach her (and all the while, I've been sitting around waiting for her to spontaneously learn). So recently we've gone back to the basics and with a little guidance, she is blossoming with skills like letters and numbers that I took for granted she'd just automatically know.
While her recognition of letters and their sounds has led to some beginning reading, I recently noticed that her handwriting was not . . . well, it was just not. I remember buying Noah a Handwriting Without Tears kit at my first FPEA conference, but we never really used it since he just started writing on his own. Man, do I wish I'd kept all the pieces to that thing in one place; it would really come in handy right about now!
So in the HWT spirit, I've started working with Ava on fun ways to use long, short, straight and curved lines to make her letters. First, she used pieces of string to form the letters, then made the lines with pieces of cereal. Next, she traced the letter with her finger several times before finger painting it. Finally, she glued down some pom-poms to form the letter shape.
We tackled A and B last week, and the results were really cute. As an added bonus, she's writing her name all over the place now. And, of course, her bonus was eating the cereal when we were done!