Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: Zeezok - Presidential Penmanship AB Style

Good penmanship is truly a lost art...

While I try to stress the importance of legible handwriting, my words often fall on deaf ears thanks to that oh-so-handy invention: the computer. In fact, my son once asked me, "Why do I have to learn how to write neatly when I can just type instead?" (Ahem) "Well son," I replied, "You have to learn to write neatly because I freakin' said so so that when you become famous, you'll have no trouble signing all those autographs." :)

Then perhaps a month or so ago, this same son o' mine developed an interest in President Washington and President Lincoln. Hmm...

So needless to say, when this next review product from Zeezok arrived, I was doing a total Snoopy dance.

Presidential Penmanship: AB Style from Zeezok is an effective supplemental handwriting course for grades 1-12, designed to"reinforce our nation's founding principals and character qualities of good citizenship." The program CD contains both manuscript (grades 1-2) and cursive (grades 3 & up) copy work based on famous quotes and speeches from Presidents past and America's founding fathers.

I primarily used the fourth grade section for Ethan and Abby, and the junior high section for Sierra.

The fourth grade section contains 108 lessons, with a suggested use of 3 lessons per week. The quotes are taken from speeches from the likes of Patrick Henry, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and others. Printable lined notebook paper is included for additional practice.

The junior high section also contains 108 lessons which start out with short quotes, then progress to full, beefy paragraphs by year's end. (Or if you're like me, you begin with a beefy paragraph just to watch your child's eyes bug out. Hee hee.) Lined copy paper is also included, only this time the lines are closer together (think "college rule" vs. "wide rule").

My Opinion

What I really liked about this program was that it's comprised of 100% printable PDF files. Simply print the pages you need and you're done. No muss, no fuss. I also enjoyed the fact that the quotes doubled as excellent character builders and incorporated the Biblical dimension of these great historical men's lives.

What I wasn't too keen on, was the fact that it doesn't *teach* handwriting per se; rather it's simply copy work. But then, it's not meant to teach handwriting but rather reinforce the proper skills of such. For this reason, I highly recommend that your younger students have the basics down before attempting the cursive copy pages. Otherwise they'll have no idea what those swirly, loopy letters mean.

Presidential Penmanship: AB Style (the AB stands for A Beka) is available from Zeezok for $39.99. Not a bad investment considering it's reusable, works for all grade levels, and provides additional benefits such as character building, speech practice (Gettysburg Address or Declaration of Independence, anyone?), and opens up some great history discussions.

I was really impressed with this program and give it two thumbs up! :)

To read what my fellow TOS Crew Mates had to say about this and other programs from Zeezok, please click here.

(*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of this program CD for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. No additional compensation was provided and the thoughts/opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.*)


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