Crossing Your T’s

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post and a LOT has happened in the interim. I will probably write about all that later in a series that I’m thinking I’ll call “September Saga”. It was full of challenges, obstacles, God dropping things right in front of us, opportunities, grief, stress, answers to prayer and everything expected and unexpected, but all at the same time.

Seriously. It’s been intense.

At any rate, I’m going to ease myself back into blogging with an easy post before I deal with all that.

As you may know, I do English (the subject, as compared to the language) homeschooling with my kids before they head off to school. I’m doing 2nd grade English with my oldest and kindergarten letters/phonics and beginning to read with my next kiddo.

I’ve learned through the process that I am not a professional in this area. It’s been a learning curve.

One of the things that I did not expect would be some of the challenges in letter formation.

I remember many years ago looking at my Japanese friend’s handwriting. It was cute and pretty, but definitely distinct. I couldn’t put my finger on what made it unique until I watched her writing.

It was then that I realized that she wrote her letters the way that she would write kanji– in the kanji stroke order. It was just natural for her, but it made me realize why it looked different.

Japanese has a specific stroke order to write in– and it’s opposite to the way I was taught as a child to write.


  • Left to Right
  • Top to Bottom
  • Horizontal First
  • Vertical Second

And then a whole host of the correct way to write diagonal lines, boxes, enclosures and how to manage it when there are a whole bunch intersecting lines. Check this website if you’re interested in the details. If you do write your kanji in a different stroke order, the kanji looks a little funky.

Of course, English letters are not that complicated.

But, since my daughter spends a much larger portion of her day at school reading, writing and now practicing kanji, I’ve noticed some changes.

For example, I’ve been noticing that she’s been writing her t’s horizontal line first.

And believe it or not, you can see the difference.

Is it a big deal? Probably not. I’m thinking it’s not going to make a big difference in the long run (or maybe it will??), but…

But it’s fascinating to me to see the change!

Her teacher also differentiates the way that they write 0’s versus how they circle things (teachers circle correct answers here, so there are hopefully lots of them!)

With 0’s, Japanese start at the top center. With circles, they start at the bottom.

Apparently the teacher can see the difference, because she has taught my kid to make circles from the bottom and corrected it when she’s see it done differently.

(On a side note, when I have to grade and mark my kid’s papers to send back to school with her, I think the teacher must realize that I often write “one o-clock” circles unconsciously)

But getting my kid to write her O’s from one o’clock backward is a challenge. And that often influences the way a’s, etc., are written.

There are a few other things that I’ve noticed transitioning to a Japanese-style writing. Again, I’m thinking that it may not be a big deal (I guess we’ll find out!), but I didn’t expect to see this kind of detailed difference in my child between the way that I do things and she does things.


2 thoughts on “Crossing Your T’s

  1. Thanks for the update.  Japanese is definitely not the easiest language to master.  My hat is off to you and your family.  Keep pressing on towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

    David Mooberry, Realtor  Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 22800 Savi Ranch Parkway, Suite 100Yorba Linda, CA 92887 Cell: 714-931-4600 (Call orText Me) Lic# 01829329


  2. What an interesting post! I can see that writing in both languages can get confusing.

    And, taking advantage of this post – We wish both Vicente and you a very happy birthday! How special that yours are so close together.

    With love, Ruth and Jim


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