Horizons is known for their well-constructed, colorful elementary courses, and this one is no exception. Traditional handwriting models are paired with attention to pencil grip, paper position, posture, stroke, letter height, spacing, capitalization and punctuation. Quality copy material including children's poetry (gr. 2), Bible stories (gr. 3), parables (gr. 4), and historical documents (gr. 5) often coupled with Bible verses (NIV) is used at all levels. Line size varies with the grade level. Grades 1 & 2 have ½" lines with dotted midline; Grade 3 lines are 3/8" with dotted midline; Grade 4 has 5/16" lines with a dotted midline which is dropped starting in Lesson 137. Grade 5 has ¼" lines with dotted midlines at the start of the book which morph into single lines dropping the upper line about Lesson 40 and the dotted midline about Lesson 81. Grade 6 provides copywork for students in order to strengthen and maintain cursive skills. Passages are taken from Aesop, Proverbs, epigrams, riddles, prayers, and more - essentially words of wisdom from around the world. An added feature is students writing letters in other languages (such as Latin and Chinese) and eve composing their own words of wisdom.
Lessons are organized into 32 units of five one-page lessons concentrating on a particular skill or letter group each week. The weekly fifth lesson is a decorative picture page on which the student writes (in his best handwriting) a selected Bible verse or copywork passage. Cursive is introduced halfway into 2nd grade but could be delayed until 3rd grade because reproducible alternative manuscript lessons are provided in the 2nd Grade Teacher's Guide. As mentioned before, the Student Books are colorful with age-appropriate graphics. Teacher's Guides have reduced student pages with teaching tips for each lesson and a scope and sequence for the course. The TGs also include reproducible extra practice pages along with other reproducible pages that differ at each grade level - penmanship performance pages for grades 4 & 5, and reproducible quotations (copywork models) for grades 3, 4, & 5. At these upper levels (grades 3-6), it will be very difficult to do the program without using the TGs because copywork models are only partially included in the Student Books. Although a print (manuscript) model is provided for practice during the week, the Teacher's Guide provides another version (usually cursive) of the model for the student to work from for the final "penmanship performance" of the week. In Grade 5 there is an optional additional copywork activity for each week - an excerpt from a Presidential inaugural address. These excerpts are in chronological order through George Bush and are only available in the TG. Grade 6 provides copywork for students in order to strengthen and maintain cursive skills. Passages are taken from Aesop, Proverbs, epigrams, riddles, prayers, and more - essentially words of wisdom from around the world. An added feature is students writing letters in other languages (such as Latin and Chinese) and eve composing their own words of wisdom. One of the nice features of this program is that students are expected not only to copy sentences and questions but also to write out complete answers, many of which require some thinking on the student's part. These questions sometimes require teacher-student interaction, and these talking points and possible answers are provided in the TGs. Enjoyable and comprehensive as handwriting instruction, this is a multi-faceted program that provides much more. Janice