Origin of the SmithHand Method
Handwriting, like speaking and proper use of the English
language, is a form of communication. People whose handwriting is illegible are
crippled in their ability to communicate fully. At the same time, a beautifully
written page captures the attention of a reader and begs to be read.
Most American students struggle with cursive writing. As
a history student doing research with original documents written in the 1870s by
thousands of different people, I discovered a universally beautiful and legible
hand developed by the Spencer brothers and known as Spencerian. The Spencer
brothers insisted that students form their letters in a way which suited the
mechanical structure of the human hand.
Since 1900 the flowing Spencerian hand has been
abandoned in favor of various forms of the Palmer Method of Business Writing.
This hand was designed to be read, not written. Consequently, most students who
have been taught to write using the awkward Palmer alphabet spend years trying
to reinvent their handwriting. This has resulted in the present sorry state of
handwriting in America.
We at SmithHand believe it is dishonest and
counterproductive to introduce a child to a method of penmanship which cannot be
achieved or used in a practical fashion, leaving them with the task of creating
a workable means of writing over many wasted years after instruction ceases.
Most people fail at this effort and print or scrawl.
In order to correct the widespread problems with the
current methods, SmithHand has been developed based upon functional principles.
These principles include the natural action of the hand and wrist, correct
slant, and letter proportions. Because SmithHand is both achievable and
comfortable to write, it results in a legible and practical modern hand.
The entire course consists of ten lessons which have
been carefully designed to include proper letter formation, initial and terminal
connections, capitals, and numerals. One brief course gives the beginning writer
all the experience needed to write an attractive cursive hand.
Both students and teachers of SmithHand report the
method is easy to teach, learn, and write. We like to call it the "phonics" of
penmanship! Just as phonics opens the world of reading to a student, let
SmithHand open the world of handwritten communication.
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SmithHand Writing Methods
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