My days of buying copywork books are officially over! Not because we're done with handwriting (I actually cannot even picture that day in my head) but because I have found a way to make my own sheets. Finally! And for free.
I'd been searching for a software program that had connected cursive fonts in the style of Getty-Dubay Italic and Modern Cursive/Zaner-Bloser (of course my two children couldn't possibly like writing in the same style... that would be way too easy). I found a few programs, each about $40 - $50 that would allow me to type in the connected cursive style, but when I did a trial run with one, I wasn't impressed. The pages could only be typed in that particular program, and nothing could be copied or pasted out of it. It was a hassle and not very user-friendly. The two I looked at were Educational Fontware, Inc. and StartWrite.
I gave up and started scouring the internet for free fonts that could be downloaded and used in my existing word processing programs. I found Fontspace, and was able to download several different styles of connected cursive, all for free. On the Fontspace site, there's a category list on the left. Click on the tag "connected" and you'll get all the connected scripts. Some are a bit flowery, but here were my favorites: discipuli britannica, ecolier, cursif, farewell, VA-Pe2, and LA-El 2.
One advantage that StartWrite has over the freebies is that you can add starting dots and/or arrows to letters. That would be particularly helpful for teaching early writers. Another plus with StartWrite was that you could easily insert blank lines at the end or in between lines for copying.
Educational Fontware sells a CD of traditional fonts, including Handwriting Without Tears, D'Nealian, Zaner-Bloser, Getty Dubay, and many others. When the fonts are installed, you can type within your word processor, but the letters are not connected. When you are done typing, you highlight your text, and run a program called LinkLetter, which then connects your script for you.
I've already made a few sheets with spring poems for the kids... and a couple of goofy ones, including this one called My Hamster Has a Skateboard.