Getting Magnus to write has always been a struggle. The physical act of holding the pencil, forming letters, and spacing the words proves to be too daunting for him. He gets frustrated. I get frustrated. It goes downhill quickly.
I spoke to Ms. Judy, our advisor at our charter school, about it and she helped me to see the issue. For instance...when he was working in his grammar book, he was asked to rewrite this sentence, the sled went down the hill, starting it with a capital letter and ending it with a period. He rewrote the sentence correctly, but I was not pleased with his letter formation, the spacing, and the fact that it was not on the line but gravitating up hill. He had a complete melt down when I had him rewrite it. We are talking an h.o.u.r.
Her encouraging words were this..."he is having to remember too many steps".
1. Capital letter at the beginning of a sentence
2. Period at the end
3. Correct letter formation
4. Proper spacing between the letters
5. Proper spacing between the words
6. Copying/spelling the words correctly
7. Keeping the letters even on the line
She asked me what the objective of the assignment was. I told her it was to capitalize the first word in the sentence and to punctuate it with a period. She asked me if he did that correctly and I told her he had. "Then he is done". She told me to focus on the objective. Focus. on. the. objective. If I feel at a later time that I can add an objective like, "make sure your word spacing is correct", then to do that too. He is obviously not ready for all of that right now and that is okay. I also give him a peice of paper that has larger line spacing with the dotted line in the middle and the top line when he has to write sentences. He told me he likes having that structure.
So, as far as his handwriting goes, I started having him do coywork again. He knows that when he is working on that, his objective is to concentrate on letter formation, letter spacing, or word spacing. I tell him ahead of time what I am going to be looking for.
It's been working. I think he just needed to know that the pressure was off because even though I am not looking for proper handwriting in his assignments, he is not being lazy and turning in sloppy work.