Barchowsky Handwriting

Like most kids, my son (and daughter, too) love to spend time on an iPad, so we have tried to incorporate it into our schooling.  There are so many great education apps available that it is not difficult to find a way to work the iPad in.  As part of the TOS Crew, I was given the opportunity to review…

PhotobucketI want to first point out that this app is just for lower case letters, and an app for capital letters and numbers will come out later.  This app does NOT teach your basic printing or cursive.  This app teaches a writing style that is more of an italics style of writing.

When you start the app, you can either listen to an overview, or you can go right to the “choose a letter” feature.  According to the information about this approach to writing with this method, the goal is to start with letters that are similarly made.  For instance, the app starts with letters that start with a counter-clockwise motion.

PhotobucketAfter picking a letter…  Yes, we started at the very beginning with “u”.  After picking the letter “u”, we were greeted by a pleasant female voice instructing DS8 in making a pattern of…

DS8 was instructed to start with the hole on the left and trace following the speaker’s instructions.  If he traced correctly, the pattern would change to the orange color you see above, and a chime with what I though looked like small fireworks off the tail on the right occurred when he reached the end.  Note:  He didn’t have to stay totally on the lines to make it look like he had done it correctly.  Then, the voice asked what letter would fit in the pattern.

Then, the graphic showed how the “u” fit.  Next, we were shown a graphic with the word “hug”.  The voice said the word a few times and had DS8 repeat the word with her and then trace the word.  When we got to the next graphic…

there was no voice.  No one to lead DS8 through the words like the previous graphic.  No instruction to trace the 3 words…just holes in each letter alluding to the fact that these words should be traced.  It seemed that maybe something had been left out, but later in the same “u” tutorial, we ran into the same thing.  At the bottom of this graphic, there is a sentence with the instruction to write the sentence on paper and then click the next button.

I think that this italic style of writing would be nice if the student started with it, but DS8 found it to be confusing to make the switch.  The other problems that we ran into is that DS8 had a hard time keeping on the lines when using his finger.  We transitioned to a stylus made for iPads.  The main problem that we had was that each letter’s lesson was too long for DS8 to handle in one sitting.  He went into sensory overload.  What I found when I clicked out of the app was that it did NOT hold in place where you left off.  A while back, Apple put the ability to leave an app running in the background so that you could use a different app while holding the place where you were in the first app.  Not all apps do this, but I hope that the developers of this app consider making it so that the place is held.  We found that if we left the app and then came back later, our place was lost, and we had to do everything over again.

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FTC Disclosure:  I was given a free copy of the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting app to review as a part of the TOS Crew. Although I was given this product free of charge, my opinions stated above are my own and not influenced by anyone.

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