Homeschooling High School doesn’t have to be dull. In fact, my goal is to help you design a custom high school education for your teens that connects them to their learning and helps them to engage their out of the box, neurodivergent brains to the things they need to do to achieve their goals. Sometimes that goal requires accommodations and out of the box thinking. Best Handwriting Tool for Homeschooling High School is a close look at the world of fountain pens and how they can help teens who struggle with fine motor skills and handwriting. Plus, they’re just plain fun for everyone!
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I love pens.
Truth be told, I adore all school and office supplies.
What’s not to love?!
I’ve collected lots of different pens and pencils over the years and I still have my favorites (I’m looking at you fruit flavored pop a point pencils) from middle school on.
A few years ago, I entered the world of the ultimate pen experience.
The fountain pen.
They’re sort of magical because the right nib can make anyone’s handwriting look amazing.
Fountain Pen Features for Homeschooling High School
What’s so great about fountain pens?
- Refillable ink– gel pens are a lot of fun, but they aren’t a sustainable practice. They run out quickly and they are disposable.
- Wider barrel– because the ink or the cartridge and the ink go inside
- Different sized nibs– from extra fine to a stub nib (a wide nib with a flat edge) that is 1.1mm across
- Ink filling mechanism– you can have prefilled cartridges, converters you have to fill, piston fillers, and vacuum fillers. My personal favorites are the last two.
- Some are disposable– and make great entry level pens
- Weight is variable– so you can choose a heavy or a light pen
- Ink flow is variable– with so many factors that influence how the ink flows onto the page
Why Fountain Pens Help Homeschooling High Schoolers with ADHD
True story: When I was in 5th grade I had a set of lollipop pens. They had narrow white barrels with lids that looked like lollipops.
I loved them.
One day during class, I was “too much” with them (I assume.), so the teacher confiscated them.
I didn’t see them again until the end of the school year.
Moments like this one, along with the bus referral I got in first grade for being too loud, should have been at the top of the list that gave me an ADHD diagnosis when I was still in school.
That diagnosis would have to wait a long time.
I would have loved a fountain pen when I was younger!
So, what does a fountain pen do for teens with ADHD?
Here’s our experience:
- They make excellent fidgets- whether it’s the cap or the maintenance exercises
- The weight of the pen can be a significant sensory experience- some people like heavy pens and others like lighter ones
- The nib make it easy to write neatly- especiall the broad and stub nib sizes which are bigger
- The barrel of a fountain pen is typically wider than a non- fountain pen which is appropriate for people who lack fine motor skills (and moms who suffer from carpel tunnel will like them too!)
- There’s no fear of a pen going dry to ruin a writing session- just refill with your favorite ink
- They provide a super sweet writing experience- a sensory dream! They stimulate the writing experience in a practical way.
- They remove one barrier to writing by making it easier to enjoy the physical aspect of writing- moms, don’t under estimate how much this is a factor for your out of the box and neurodivergent teens.
- They make a practical thing to collect- and ADHD people love to collect (see previous reference to my love of pens!)
Best Fountain Pens for Homeschooling High School Beginners
Have I convinced you to try fountain pens yet?
Maybe you are ready to dip your foot into the vast pool that makes up the fountain pen world.
Here are my recommendations for beginner pens:
- Pilot Varsity– you can find these where they sell school supplies and you’ll find them in multipacks.
- Shark Fountain Pens– these sweet little pens are a lot of fun and you can use refillable converters or cartridges with them.
- Platinum Preppy Pens– these can be refilled as well. The color of the pen is the color of the ink
- Pilot Metropolitan– a classic fountain pen style that comes in many colors and nib sizes. It uses cartridges or converters.
- TWSBI Go– the most inexpensive piston filler and Joshua, our youngest’s favorite is the stub nib (wide and flat edged)
- TWSBI Eco– these are among my favorite pens and the only brand I really use. I love the piston mechanism on this brand. This one is sold as a single and they come in different nib sizes.
I find converters to be tricky, so I exclusively use piston and vacuum fillers. The ink goes directly into the pen itself, either by a piston or a vacuum mechanism.
Fountain Pen Paper for Homeschooling High School
Does the paper really matter?
Cheap paper can be really unfriendly to fountain pens.
Here are a few paper options that are fountain pen friendly:
- Mead Reinforced Filler Paper College Rule– this is thick paper with some fun techy functions. If you get the free Mead app, you can make flash cards when you fill in the triangles in the margin and take a picture through the app
- Mead Reinforced Filler Paper Wide Ruled– one accommodation for neurodivergence is use wide ruled paper, so your teen has room to write. It comes with the same tech feature as the college ruled paper.
- Mead Five Star Advance Spiral– in 3 or 5 subject. I love these notebooks! The dividers have a pocket which is super convenient and the spiral binding means not losing any papers.
These are the best papers for school type work, but there are others with an art purpose.
Don’t skimp on paper. The cheaper the paper, the more the ink will bleed, feather, and ghost. I don’t mind ghosting, but feathering is no good!
Homeschooling High School with Fountain Pen Inks
I’ll be honest.
Ink is just so much fun!
I have a color called Unicorn Blood.
Or how about Writer’s Blood?
There are so many brilliant types of fountain pen ink, which is not the same as calligraphy ink. Calligraphy ink is what you find in big box and craft stores.
Fountain pen ink is for fountain pens.
Here’s a few of our favorite brands:
- Parker– a classic, traditional ink that’s been around for a long time. Joshua uses Parker in his pen.
- Waterman– another conservative fountain pen ink used in vintage pens
- Diamine– a British ink maker, this company has a lot of fun and shimmery inks
- Robert Oster– is an Australian ink maker and they make my most favorite ink called Tranquility. It’s a very Blog, She Wrote sort of ink! Don’t you think?
- Platinum Carbon Black– a non water soluble ink for use in art and on documents
Don’t be discouraged about the price of ink bottles. I bought my bottle of carbon black two years ago and it’s still going strong refilling my extra fine pen.
Pro tip: Shimmer inks are super fun, but make sure you get a pen that can handle the shimmer like a TWSBI Eco in a larger nib size.
Using Fountain Pens for Homeschooling High School Art
If you teach creative teens, fountain pens are wonderful to use in drawings.
Here’s how we use them:
- use a range of nib sizes
- use water soluble ink and a water brush to make ink paintings and drawings
- Extra fine nibs and permanent black in make great art liner pens. The nib hardly wears compared to artist markers (if you use Microns you know how fast those nibs wear out!)
If you use a nib so much that it wears out, you can replace just the nib (on pens above the entry level design).
My extra fine with black ink is my favorite for nature journaling and using with watercolors.