REVIEW: PDF By Hand

PDF By Hand is an awesome digital product from Peterson Directed Handwriting. The Peterson Handwriting method is great for instruction in both print and cursive handwriting, and PDF By Hand brings handwriting instruction to the digital age – the kids work on a PC Tablet.

First off, what is a PC Tablet? It’s a nifty-difty gadget that connects to your PC and allows input through a pen device. Here’s a picture of the Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch Fun Small Tablet, which is the tablet we have. Tablets are terrific for artwork – and for handwriting. :) Basically, you draw on the tablet with a “pen” and it shows up on your computer.

PDF By Hand is easy to install and is a complete handwriting program for all grades. There are three levels of print instruction and four levels of cursive. In addition, there are two levels called “Word Masters” that are cursive models for over 1600 high-frequency words. Using the software, the kids work right on the screen through the tablet, which is great since they aren’t looking at their hands – they’re looking at the screen. This helps children with visual tracking, something we need to practice in our homeschool.

Peterson offers all of their instruction as individual ebooks. All of the ebooks, however, are incorporated into the PDF By Hand software. The software is easy to navigate. You just basically click on the book and the page that you want your student to complete then turn it over. You don’t have to print anything out, although you can print individual pages. PDF By Hand also allows the kids to save their work without overwriting the originals. If your student needs to practice page 53 in the print level 2 manual a dozen times, you can save each of the completed practice pages to guage improvement. You as the teacher can choose to print the pages out for your portfolio or just save the electronic copies in PDF. Below are two screenshots, one showing the original page in the PDF By Hand software, the other showing the page as it was completed by Wendy. Click on the second image to see the PDF as it was saved by the software.

Original Page

Wendy's Completed Page

Since you can print individual pages, you can even use PDF By Hand with those students who aren’t willing and/or able to use the PC tablet – you’ll have hard copies for them to use for practice.

PDF By Hand is offered in several bundles with the standard Peterson ebooks, but the base price for the software is only $29.95. It is offered as a download which you install after you have your tablet all set up. A tablet generally costs about $125, but it’s worth it for use with the PDF By Hand software, not to mention the other great things you can do with it – anyone else thinking ART?? I made a post several weeks ago about my beautiful daughter Hannah’s artwork – most of hers was done on a tablet, which is what she wanted for her birthday. I love the idea that we can use it in so many ways, including in our school – added value for our money.

The Peterson method of handwriting is easy to teach and easy to learn, and there is a wealth of helpful information on their website. Order PDF By Hand directly from Peterson Directed Handwriting through their web store.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of the product in exchange for my genuine and unbiased review.

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08 2010

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