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Having Fun with Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears on a Budget


Handwriting sounds dry and awful. It brings up memories of the nuns in elementary school standing over my shoulder and poking my hand with a pencil. Back up off me, Sister!

We are trying to make it as fun as possible with a multi-sensory approach inspired by Handwriting Without Tears. I am customizing a program for the oldest to address his fine and gross motor challenges. It’s also saving us some serious dough.

HWT Kindergarten Program: Around $350. Whoa.
We spent: Under $50

Following the advice of some seasoned homeschoolers, my goal is to spend around 10 minutes per day on handwriting practice. Sometimes more or less, but I’m making it a priority.

Handwriting Without Tears TE and Workbook

This is the basis for our program. I like seeing a TE for many more ideas than what’s in the workbook. When you buy a TE you’ll also get access to online tools through HWT.


We complete the top line early in the week and the bottom line on Friday. Sometimes there is progress. I always have him evaluate his work by circling the Most Fantastic Letter. This keeps him on track a bit because he feels like he can do better each time.

Here I’m stabilizing his wrist as he writes – a tip from our OT to help him write using his hand and wrist instead of his whole arm.

Letter Exercises

This is how we begin EVERY time. It’s silly, but it gets him focused and he can really explore the letter shapes with his body.

Other kinesthetic activities: write letters on his forearm or back, practice writing in the air with your pointer finger, write imaginary letters with your toes – or go to the beach and write with your feet in the sand. Field Trip!

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Real-time video of Capital Letter Exercises A-Z

I showed my oldest the above video of our capital letter practice. He nearly knocked himself out trying to keep up. He is also mad at me because I did not include the letters A or E – both in his name. The outrage! Of course, this time I forgot his W and had to sub out for yesterdays video. Bad Mom.

You can slow it down if you’re playing along. To change the speed of the video:
1) Open the video in YouTube
2) Click on the cog for settings
3) Adjust speed to .5 or .25

Foam Pieces

The TE has a template for the wooden pieces which I traced onto $1.99 foam and cut out. It was incredibly simple. The pieces are fairly durable. The oldest loved building Mat Man and enjoys building letters – mostly his name over and over, but hey practice is practice.

Slate, Chalk, and Sponges

I did purchase the HWT slate because I wanted something durable. The chalk and sponges are from the grocery store – under $1. I broke the chalk into three pieces per stick and cut small squares of sponges. Easy. Really.

We take turns with this. I demo a letter, he erases. Then, he writes and I erase. The slate is two sided, which is nice because we are always writing on a dry side.


Dry Erase Practice

We use a white board and dry erase clear pockets for practice. On the white board, I demonstrate the letter in all different sizes. He uses the little marker eraser to go over what I did. The little eraser helps with his pincer grasp – just like the sponges and little pieces of chalk do.

I printed tons of tracing pages free from TPT. I put them in back-to-back, and he traces and doodles while listening to books or music.

Sensory Play

There are such great ideas for sensory play with handwriting. Use sand, rice, or sand paper for a new tactile experience. I really like using shaving creme. We sit across from each other and I demonstrate then he makes big letters, small letters, writes his name, and draws pictures. I let him play in it while he listens to books or music. It smells so good and cleans the table, too.


Free Printables – Thanks other bloggers!

Playdoh Mats – working on hand strengthening and letter building.

Do-a-Dot printables – to occupy him for two minutes while I use the bathroom.

Some Notes

Crayons – Our OT suggested breaking crayons in half to encourage proper grip. They LOVED breaking them. Also far less expensive than the double ended ones.

Pencils– I’ve been breaking these in half, but I’ll probably spring for golf pencils next time. HWT likes little pencils for little hands.

I hope this helps you customize your own handwriting program. Use what works for you. If you’ve got a great tip, I’d love to hear it. Leave a note in the comments so I can steal your ideas.

Hopefully our kids won’t have the same contempt for handwriting practice as we did!

Update: We’ve completed half of kindergarten! I have seen so much growth in his handwriting using these techniques. He has gone from being barely able to make contact with the paper to properly forming capital letters and legibly writing words! His newest obsession is dot-to-dots which is just perfect for pencil practice.



Don’t forget to grab your free printable!Free Printable Download: K-2 Enrichment and Curriculum Supplement Pack

Pleased to be included in iHomeschool Network’s
How to Homeschool Creatively link up!


13 thoughts on “Having Fun with Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears on a Budget

  1. Stacey says:

    I am a homeschool mom, and before quitting my job, I did school occupational therapy with kids. I just found your page, and I LOVE it!! I wish I had found it before I started homeschooling, when I was working, because I would have loved to have used your ideas! I’m glad I found you on Pinterest. You rock! Keep up the good work!😊 I can’t wait to show my five year old your alphabet video. She’s going to love it!

    • Some Random Lady says:

      That’s awesome! We made a LOT of progress using this stuff. I hope you guys have success! Mine thinks he’s mastered it and wants to try cursive next year! Lol!

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