Neat Little Boxes: Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Review (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

Monday, October 28, 2019

I've been feeling more confident about our math this school year after several weeks of more intensive practice. But it gradually became evident that even when math problems were being answered correctly, they were... Not exactly legible.

If I'm grading math worksheets, I shouldn't have to ask a child multiple times which number each squiggle actually represents! So Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks, with their neat, color-coded boxes looked right up our alley. Cecilia is in 3rd grade and has just started with more complicated multiplication, so their One Page A Day 2 Digit Multiplication practice was just what she needed for a little extra drilling. And in the hopes of preventing this from becoming an issue later on, Peter tried out the Neat Numbers workbook.

When the workbooks arrived, both children were delighted by the colorful appearance and the logo. Peter (age 4) was especially delighted to get his own workbook to use during school time! He showed it off to anyone who would listen, pointing out the pictures inside and showing how he would be learning real math. The squares are nice and large, so it's easy for him to use pencil, pen, or crayon to do his tracing and writing.

When it came time to actually use the book, though, he balked. He's almost 5, and Channie's recommends this product for ages 3-5. But for us, it seemed like something he just wasn't ready for yet. We're still having trouble with proper pencil grip, and he was overwhelmed by the number of lines on each page. Even on the easier numbers, he only wanted to trace one and be done. Part of this is age, and the other part is inexperience. For a child with more writing practice, I don't think this would be an issue.

He did a better job when I only asked him to do a line at a time, but since I don't require him to do school every day, it was often incredibly difficult to get him to use this once he got over his initial excitement. That's a reflection of his temperament more than the product, though, because I think in 6-12 months he'll be in a better place and will thrive working on his Neat Numbers practice. He was very pleased with some of the numbers he traced, and there was plenty of room for him to try again if he didn't form a number well on the first try.

Cecilia's multiplication practice was a better fit - the boxes helped her keep track of where each number belonged, and while her writing wasn't beautiful, it was definitely neater than it has been. It starts out with easier problems that gradually get more difficult, and there aren't so many problems on each page that it gets overwhelming. I appreciated that the layout was neat and uncluttered, which is something I look for in the math we do.

We still have work to do when it comes to number neatness, but this is much better than what her math usually looks like! I think I just need to figure out some sort of incentive for consistently neat numbers, because her handwriting isn't an issue, just her math...

It will be a while before she's ready for more complicated multiplication, but the later pages of the book have more complex problems for when we eventually reach that point.

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Alphabet, Number & Sight Word Dry Erase, Neat Numbers & Page a Day 2 Didgit Multiplication. {Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks Reviews}
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  1. My 5 1/2 year old son would have the same reaction as Peter - way too many lines for a boy that age! Question for you: what did you do as "intensive practice" at the beginning of the year? I have a 3rd grade boy. We're doing MUS Gamma and he needs something more to nail down the multiplication. I also use an online program called XtraMath, but I'm always happy to see what other people use to mix it up.

    1. The smartick app that I reviewed last week! They just needed a ton of drilling, we also use our math shark sometimes :)

    2. Thanks! I missed that review.


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