Cursive Writing: A Nod To The Past

Family GeekMom
Image via Flickr user Angel

How many people actually write letters anymore? Letter writing along with cursive script is going the way of the dinosaurs if it is not extinct already. With so many alternative and quicker ways to communicate, what is the point of writing something down with a pen on paper?

Fellow GeekMom Kathy questioned teaching “script” to her homeschooled children and it is beginning to occur to school districts too that there is no point in teaching this arcane method of communication. Starting this fall, schools in Indiana will no longer be required to teach cursive writing. Replacing cursive writing will be keyboarding, which makes sense given the way most of us communicate this days. Keyboarding is an essential skill in today’s world, not just for work either. Even if you do a job that doesn’t involve computers, people send email, write documents, and reports  for personal use.

However, if you don’t learn cursive writing how will you sign a document? If you don’t learn cursive writing, how will you keep a personal journal in one of those cute little lockable diaries? If you don’t learn cursive, how can you write longer documents when there are no computers after the alien invasion? I can see a use for it, even though it is a small one. So while schools may be leaning toward not teaching it, I would probably go ahead and teach my child at home. After all, to her, it is a right of passage. She has been trying to write her name in cursive since she started kindergarten.

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9 thoughts on “Cursive Writing: A Nod To The Past

  1. I made that decision too. We’ll be starting 3rd Grade Handwriting Without Tears, which I highly recommend. It teaches cursive without the slant, which I learned was only because old quill pens won’t make bottom-to-top lines and had to be slanted.

    1. Handwriting Without Tears is a great program from what I have heard. Many of my Occupational Therapist friends have used that to teach handwriting.

      Good point too about using different neural pathways.

  2. In talking with some friends who teach at my son’s school a couple years ago when I first heard some school board’s were abandoning cursive training, they assured me that our school still teaches cursive in grade 3. Further, it’s known that the act of cursive writing activates different areas of the brain and therefore teaching cursive is only partly about developing the skill of handwriting and partly making new and different neural connections that wouldn’t be made otherwise.

    I know for myself, I think differently when I write by hand than when I write by keyboard. The act of writing in cursive is soothing, too.

    My son, now 8 and about to learn cursive, is pretty excited about it. He started trying to make his printing cursive this year when writing his name 🙂 It was pretty cute!

  3. This summer I’ve gotten on to a Proper Handwritten Letter kick, sending them out to my friends in other states, sending out fan letters, even sticking handwritten letters in my husband’s lunch box. My friends all eventually write back, too, flattered by the personal touch of it, and inclined to get more personal, nostalgic, in-depth, and thought-out than they do on Facebook. Also, we can send dumb gifts through the mail, like freebie bookmarks and stickers!

    Anyway, another point I saw someone bring up recently is that it’s still important to still be able to READ script, because you’re bound to come across it at some point.

  4. We homeschool too and started working on cursive this year (2nd grade for my little geek girl). Handwriting is her biggest struggle. Since she mentioned likening the way ‘fancy’ writing looks, we thought we’d try it out to see if we could improve interest in writing. Not only does she like her cursive lessons, but her printing has improved dramatically since we started. I didn’t expect that, but I’m happy.
    We use Handwriting Without Tears too.

  5. I still write quite a bit by hand (more specifically it’s closer to taking notes), but the only thing I write in pure cursive is my signature. Even in the days before email, I never wrote in pure cursive when I wrote letters or journaled. I never took class notes in pure cursive in school either.

    I say “pure cursive” because my writing style is closer to printing than cursive, but I’ll still connect some the letters at times if I’m writing quickly. Generally though it’s only the cursive letters that look like their print versions and flow together well, so you won’t ever see me writing a cursive b, f, r, s or z. And no upper case cursive either.

    While I think it would be beneficial to continue to teach it in school, I honestly can’t think of anyone I know that writes in cursive.

  6. I LOVE writing in cursive! I have a large number of friends who absolutely hated learning it, and abandoned it as soon as they could. For me though, the letters are beautiful and very artistic. I also agree with Leanne that it is very soothing seeing the words unfurl in gentle swoops and curls.

  7. I’m not impressed with the handwriting program at my daughter’s school, so I have started working with her on the Getty-Dubay Handwriting Series.
    It was developed by two calligraphers and teachers and I love that it emphasizes legibility and a logical transition to cursive.

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