It may surprise a lot of people, but I advocate teaching students to write in cursive handwriting before they learn to print. I read a few articles on this (one here) and it makes sense to me. The strokes are easier, it re-inforces left-to-right reading and writing, looks nicer, and is also easier for a left-handed student.
Although I probably could teach my students with the font and some practice, I wanted some guidance. For an inexpensive amount, I purchased the "Cursive First" book/workbook. I have done some work with my son, and it is a nice program. (Because it was designed to go along with their reading program, which we didn't use, it mentions a few terms I wasn't familiar with - however this may be improved in future releases, as I gave feedback to the author.
Although some work needs to be done to learn each letter, Printing/Handwriting practice should not be rows and rows of repetative letters. It is better to have a few "perfect" strokes than pages of sloppy work. This does mean that you need to sit with the student while they are first learning, and help them attend to making those nice strokes. Once a few letters are known, practice should include short words, then phrases, with meaning for the student.
Once all the letters are known, short thoughts taken from readings should be made into a copybook. These thoughts and sayings should be short to begin with. Some should be chosen by the student, but some may also be chosen by the teacher/mother, either to practice certain letters, or for other reasons.