Lots of parents want handwriting improvement for their children. A lot of them are concerned with bad handwriting. I was one of them with the handwriting of my kids that looked like chicken scratch so I understand the struggle. I also had really bad handwriting when I was a child. However, when I was 16, I went to the university and studied engineering. One of the subjects that we had was Drafting and it was there that I experienced a lot of practice in handwriting. In the first few weeks of that class all that we did was practice writing letters and numbers. Later on we had to draw lines and shapes and some other figures that would be used later on for making working drawing plans for building structures. It was a really wonderful experience that after a year of Drafting, yes I had it for 2 semesters, my handwriting has improved a lot.
I had a pen friend who actually thought that my handwriting looked like a machine printed it. Then, I had a lot of family and friends asking me to do some writing for them in their presentations so I knew that my handwriting has really improved. Now, if my chicken scratch handwriting as a child has improved when I was a teenager, I know that other kids can also do the same with practice and lots of it.
Just a few years ago, I also had a problem with my sons handwriting. One of the things that we did for handwriting improvement was writing journals everyday. I can say that after a few years, his handwriting has improved a lot. It didn't come overnight but a consistent habit of a few minutes each day has greatly helped him and that has developed his self-confidence, too.
If you feel that your child's poor handwriting is affecting their academics, I think that a half an hour of practice of handwriting each day can help a child improve their handwriting. You can start with five minutes and gradually increase the time since handwriting is like physical exercise. You need them to start slow and gradually increase the time each day. We actually spent an hour writing in my Drafting class so a 5 minute to a half an hour practice is not that bad.
The fine motor skills of a child need to be strengthened and increasing the hand strength and finger dexterity can help your child have more control over the pen and by doing so it will gradually improve handwriting. When fine motor skills are strengthened, it would also improve the endurance in writing.
One of the things that you can do as a parent is to encourage your child to get involved with some general household chores that will use hand and finger muscles. It can help strengthen the hands - tasks like cutting with a pair of scissors, washing the dishes, cleaning, sewing, crocheting, knitting and such things trying to also consider the interests of your child.
For older kids, it is also important to encourage them to build upper body strength. This can be done through sports like swimming, lifting weights, climbing, and other upper body exercises. These upper body exercises can help strengthen shoulder muscles thereby freeing up the hand muscles for handwriting.
If a child tires easily with handwriting exercises or becomes distracted with some other things, then by all means, let them have a quick break when this happens. They might go and have a snack or have a drink of water. This is a good and beneficial use of a break time since it will free up the hand muscles used in handwriting and get it ready to start over again.
You might want to check this page for some Free Homeschool Worksheets that you can use for your kids for their handwriting improvement and also journaling.