Teach Your Kids to Write - Free and Frugal Resources for Handwriting

Summary: A frugal approach to handwriting curriculum for homeschoolers and early elementary kids using these inexpensive handwriting resources.  Teach your homeschooled preschoolers or kindergarten kids to write their letters when they are ready. This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our  own homeschool. Please see my disclosure policy.

Do you have young ones who are eager to learn how to write?  

Do they show signs like playing a lot with crayons, noticing letters and signs, or making lots of marks and shapes on paper?  Do they already know the alphabet?

Today, I'd like to share my guide to handwriting, using simple frugal resources for the basics of handwriting, including:

- Introducing the A,B,C's
- Learning to write the letters 
- Simple copywork activities using your child's own words
- Practicing handwriting with Draw, Write, Now, link below.

You don't have to use an established or expensive handwriting program.  We didn't.  Instead we found two frugal resources for teaching handwriting, which I will discuss below.

TIP - Make writing meaningful to your child by using her own words whenever possible.  

Here's how we approach handwriting, starting with the A, B, C's.

1.  Introducing the A,B,C's

Using the Library - We introduced the ABC's through fun alphabet books from the library.  You know, those books that start with "A is for Apple", etc, with lovely photos to go with them.

The Big Book of Alpha Tales - This book has very funny stories for each letter of the alphabet, with mini books to make for each one. (Approximately $5.00)

Using Clay or Magnets - Sometimes we made the letters out of clay.  I also got my daughter a set of magnet letters for the frig.  These are readily available at the drug store.

I just put them down low on our frig, and my daughter loved rearranging them into little designs.  And through her play, she learned the shapes of the letters.

Next, she was ready to learn how to write her letters.

2.  Writing the ABC's with this Frugal Handwriting Curriculum

from MelissaAndDoug Storytelling Paper

We used a variety of activities to help her learn to form her letters....including:

- copying large letters onto the chalkboard
- practicing writing the letters in the air
- making letter shapes in fingerpainting
- even using pudding!  

I gave my daughter a lot of time to explore the shapes and learn her letters.  When they are ready start with the capital letters first, using this chart above as to how to shape the letters.  

But if your child decides to write them a different way, starting at the bottom instead of at the top, let it go if their letters are legible.

Once she could write the letters of the alphabet, we went on to copywork, using storytelling papers, see below.  This frugal packet goes for about 6 dollars and has 50 heavy weight handwriting paper for your use.  Or just goggle handwriting paper, and chose a free one with wide lines.

3.  Frugal Handwriting Homemade Copywork

Once my daughter could write her letters, I looked for some very wide lined paper, which had a blank space on half of it, for coloring.  

I found Storytelling Paper from MelissaAndDoug at my local teacher's store, but it can also be ordered online for just a few dollars.

We always started with drawing first, then I asked my daughter about the picture.


So first, I would ask my daughter to draw a picture.  Often it was something that she had done the day before, or a favorite animal, or two.  Then she would tell me about it.  Drawing is a great way to build fine motor skills, of course.


I listened to her words, then I would write down a few of her 
words, so she could then copy them onto the lines on her paper.  

And there you have it - Homemade copywork.

My goal was just that the letters be legible. The important thing is that my daughter was using her own written works to communicate. 

Neatness and goals:  Neatness and staying in the lines will come, but often it takes a lot of practice.

I suggest not focusing much on that, but instead on helping your child practice writing, using her own words for copy work.  

The writing sample above is excellent work for a young handwriter who is not struggling with handwriting.  It is going to be a messy thing for quite a while, and that is more than ok.

Our last step was to practice handwriting, using frugal books from Draw, Write, Now, which involved copywork with short stories.

4. Building Handwriting Skills 

I was delighted when I found 
Draw Write Now. Each writing lesson included a shape or animal to draw, and a very short story to copy. 

Drawing first helped her to relax.  The more relaxed your child is, the better they will write.

The Draw, Write, Now series is a homeschool handwriting curriculum that consists of eight books, each with a different theme, and all written at the same reading level, around 2nd grade.

I took my daughter to the nearby children’s book store and she chose Book 1 - On the Farm, Kids, Critters. It was full of her favorite animals to draw.

My daughter's handwriting greatly improved from doing this easy to teach program.....Click here to read more of my review.....of Draw, Write Now.

If you have been following my series on handwriting, you already are probably familiar with my post on fun fine motor activities 

These activities help to develop the small muscles of the hand, key for little writers.   If your child has trouble grasping her pencil, you might like to check out Fun Ways to a Mature Grasp, or Grasping Aids and Devices and the other posts I have on handwriting struggles.  Just click on "handwriting" and scroll down. 

This year my daughter is now in college, writing essays, etc. But it all started with these simple, frugal resources for handwriting.

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is a former O.T, preschool teacher and published author of children's stories.  She is mom to her 2e college grad whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool about the early yearshigh schoolcollegeand is the author of "Homeschooling High School with College in Mind".  She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting.

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  1. Another great post to inspire us in our homeschool journey! I admit, this program looks like fun :)
    Glad you were able to link up on last week's "Inspired By Me Mondays"; please come & link up some more posts on this week's (Monday to Friday) www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com We'd love to have you!!

    1. Thanks for the kind comments, +Rachael DeBruin! I enjoy linking up to the Inspired By Me Mondays blog hop! We loved doing the Draw Write Now writing/art books.

  2. I really appreciate this post! My two oldest are in public school right now, but we are working towards a possible transition to homeschooling. I have really struggled with the way the girls are learning to form their letters in school. Some of it is completely different than when I was in school. I am excited to look around your site some more!

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Stephanie K, and I am glad that this post was helpful to you. I have a page, called the Early Years, that you might like to check out. I so enjoyed homeschooling my daughter, especially during the early years. Have a good week,

  3. Perfect post to show how the natural progression of writing should be.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Autismland Penny! I hope that this post on early writing will be an encouragement to those who are struggling with handwriting. I hope that you have a wonderful week!

  5. I love this post! Fantastic! I am a big proponent of writing, and writing well. I think it develops so many important skills - and also expectations (of what is neat and so forth). I love that you started with Read, Write, Now, and now she is in college writing.

    What a great post!

    Thanks so much for sharing, Betsy!

  6. Thanks Lisa Nelson, for stopping by! I hope that this post will encourage others to help their children to learn to write and love it! And thanks to you for hositng the #homeschoollinkup!

  7. Definitely helpful for those just starting out! Featured you on Mom's Library this week!

  8. Thanks, Ashley, for your kind comments! And for featuring me on Mom's Library - which always has so many helpful resources and ideas to share!


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