"Knowledge is more than an accumulation of information. It involves the ability to view that information with the right perspective and to use it for its proper end... It is the fear of the Lord that gives us the right perspective and prompts us to use it for the right end...Our main goal should be to glorify God. That is the ultimate goal to which all knowledge should be directed. Regardless of how helpful an item or body of knowledge may be to society, if it does not have as its final purpose the glory of God, it remains defective."
- Jerry Bridges The Joy of Fearing God
Before we even begin trying to form letters, we spend a huge amount of time in what some would call "pre-writing". Mainly, this has been nearly accidental in our home and more a part of playtime, although I now see how beneficial it has been. It's simply scribbling at first, gradually developing into drawing and doodling. I keep a drawer accessible for the "older" children with paper, various pencils, erasers, Ferbies, and such for them to use whenever they want (except right before a meal - we need to set the table!). Magna-Doodles have been invaluable for this purpose, too, especially for toddlers that don't necessarily get free Ferby access! :) We have large Magna-Doodles in several rooms of the house and one or two small ones in the van.
I gently encourage making circles and tracing simple lines as a game of sorts fairly early on (about 2 and 1/2). As the children get older, I keep on the lookout for attempts at letter formation. I do not want them forming letters incorrectly - even for playtime. An attempt to make an "H" turns into an impromptu two minute lesson in handwriting :) I really think this kind of daily "play" has been instrumental in preparing the children to write... it hasn't hurt at least. Beginning at around age 4, we have also used Ready Writer and have enjoyed it very much. Although, I'm not sure it has been any more beneficial than the stylus practice we've had through doodling and drawing. Shug, in particular, seems to be beyond it already and it hasn't been as helpful for her. Others have recommended inexpensive activity books with mazes for pre-writing. I haven't found these to be as profitable as good old-fashioned scribbling and tracing, though.
With a little encouragement and some materials, doodling and pre-writing can be a natural part of the day - one the children may even ask you for! :)
... that this is just a blog. It's not real life. Because I want the posts and photos I share to encourage and inspire our readers, I don't often write about the negative, discouraging times. Believe me, though, they are there. Every day. By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are sinful people striving to live lives of obedience that glorify Him and to love one another. Anything good is all of His grace and all of His work in us. Let God Almighty have the glory.