Ahhhh, to teach cursive or not to teach cursive? Is it really the question? Back when the monks were transcribing the Bible by hand, was that skill rendered obsolete by Gutenberg’s printing press?
No. Writing has never been replaced completely, even though this current technological age is delivering another blow. I have to admit that it is much easier to ask a friend how they are on Facebook than it is to pen a letter and mail it off. I don’t even have an address book anymore! The shame! I still keep in contact with people all over the place, but not with a pen.
I have to wonder though, could I ever completely drop the writing utensil all together and I don’t think so. I was born in 1970. My handwriting is good. I would call it typical “girl” handwriting. My brother’s, however, is just sad. It looks like he got to 3rd grade and never improved. Both of my parents write in a lovely cursive script. I asked my Dad about it once and he said that his teacher, Mrs. So-and-So, is responsible for that. At about 4th grade, she made his class practice writing page after page (hello, copywork!) That was in the 1950’s.
Fast-forward to my own children, Nick (17) and Adam (15). I would put their handwriting in the same category as my brother. They can read cursive. They can sign their names. Otherwise, it is all printing…or texting…or typing on a computer or tablet. While I don’t love it that their writing is not more elegant to look at, I conceded that it was fine (i.e. acceptable). They have other talents that I chose to foster and encourage.
So I started thinking about how important handwritten notes and lists are. If I don’t write myself one, I can’t remember diddlysquat. (Gotta love hitting your mid-40s!) I think that in the time it takes to write a few words, my brain is aided in retaining information. In college, I used what I knew — a pen and a spiral notebook. Sitting in class, I took copious notes. (I also did a lot of doodling.) Back in the dorm, I would read my notes, make more notes, highlight text, and that was how I studied. So, are kids that text and read on a device not retaining anything? I wonder. Perhaps they have adapted to the technology, whereas I come from a pencil-and-paper generation, so it is difficult not to be biased. It is practical, after all. I can write cursive much faster than I can print letters.
While I find it sad that schools have dropped cursive writing instruction, I love that homeschoolers are saving cursive! A day does not pass here at Rainbow without getting several calls about which handwriting book to choose. And as a consultant here at RRC, you learn that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to any question. Some parents want to start with cursive and skip printing. Some parents follow a traditional approach and start with printing, then introduce cursive in 2nd or 3rd grade. Sometimes we hear about students with processing issues which make writing difficult. Even when the student can give the parent an answer orally or draw a picture, they are unable to write a word on paper. Whatever your goal may be, I love that there are so many options available. Find some of our recommendations below!
- Handwriting Without Tears (Curriculum – Grades K-4)
- Pencil Grips (Utensil – PK+)
- Smencils (Utensil – PK+)
- American Cursive Handwriting (Book – Grade 2+)
- Italic Letters: Calligraphy (Book – Grade 6+)
- New American Cursive (Curriculum – Grades K-4)
- Handwriting Practice Dry Erase Lapboards (Supply – Grades K-3)
- Boogie Boards (Supply – PreK+)
- Magnetic Tablet & Magnetic Pens (Supply – PreK-5)
- Universal Handwriting (Curriculum – Grades PreK-6)
- Write Now! (Book – Grade 7+)
- Writing Paper with a Difference (Supply – Grades K-6)
- StartWrite (Software – PreK+)
- Draw-Write-Now (Curriculum – Grades K-6)
- Calligraphy for Kids (Book – Grades 3-9)