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The Homeschool Minute – Why Should I Teach Cursive Writing?


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Why Should I Teach Cursive Writing? 
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The Wuehler Family

Until the 1970s, cursive was mandatory.
States now debate making cursive mandatory but it is not required in the new common core standards. Even though we have more technology and less need for handwriting, it is still important, and most people agree that
cursive should still be taught.

In the past, beautiful handwriting was taught and awards won. By the time I got to school, I had to learn cursive and use it whether it was beautiful or not. Today, if public school kids aren’t able to master cursive by 3rd grade (if it’s still taught at their school), they might be stuck with whatever scrawl they have for life. As home educators, we have more time, so we want to give our children the tools they need to be excellent in all they do, including handwriting.
I have read studies that teachers tend to
give students higher grades for those with nice handwriting and that they assume those kids are smarter than their hard to decipher counterparts. And, achievement tests and high school equivalency exams require written essays that need to be legible, so we need to make sure they are.
It’s a good thing our kids are home and can take a longer more relaxed approach to becoming legible. Here are some practical reasons and helpful products:
I don’t believe we should let our kids’ handwriting look like scrawl, but I don’t believe it needs to look like art either. I think we should teach our kids excellence in all they do, but not stress out if their handwriting is not a work of art by the time they are ten. Time is on our side. 

Here is the very best practice for handwriting: 
Scripture!
And, here’s a good one to start with:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. . . And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). 

~Deborah

 dwuehler@theoldschoolhouse.com

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Why a Tech Savvy Parent Wants His Kids to Learn Cursive    
 


Several years ago, Hal took a class with our son in conversational Mandarin. He was surprised to find a large number of young Asian professionals sitting alongside. Maybe they grew up in Taiwan speaking Cantonese and wanted to learn the mainland standard dialect? No, they said, they were all first-generation Americans, and their Chinese-born parents were so determined to assimilate into the American culture, they didn’t speak their native tongue at home. “I want to be able to talk with my grandparents,” one told him. 

It’s not a foreign language, but cursive handwriting is taking some criticism these days. A world dominated by computers, smart phones, and voice-actuated systems may look like no place for cursive. As a professional engineer married to a scientist, we might be expected to embrace that ourselves – but we don’t. Here’s why:  
  1. A clear cursive handwriting is the quickest way to take notes in class, in church, or in meetings. It has served me very well as a free-lance journalist, too.  
  2. Much academic work still requires rapid, readable handwriting. College tests including the AP exams and essay responses of all sort still expect the student to answer with pen or pencil, not a keyboard. 
  3. There is a beauty and an individuality to each person’s handwriting, and penmanship doesn’t have to look like the Declaration of Independence to teach a good eye for spacing and balance on a page – skills which help in many graphic design tasks! 

We learned the classic Zaner-Bloser forms in grade school, but we’ve adopted a simplified italic pattern to teach our kids. We liked the way the cursive letters mimicked the shape of the printed alphabet, and thought it might help our kids learn calligraphy easily later on. 

So by all means, teach the keyboarding skills early – the world of technology reaches nearly every part of our lives now. But don’t abandon cursive – it still has a lot going for it. And Grandma prefers handwritten thank you notes, anyway.

Yours in the Battle, 

Hal and Melanie

Hal & Melanie Young 

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Once upon a time, school children all over America sat at little wooden desks with pencils in hand and practiced cursive. They (We) practiced by making continuous circles and up and down straight lines. We copied pre-printed example letters and finally mastered the capital letter Q.


With pride, we would write our names and write reports. We boys were sloppy, and you could hardly read our writing, but girls … girls, would stylize their writing, adding embellishments and smiley faces to dot an ‘I’.

Over time, my cursive turned to “printsive” since I couldn’t remember how to make a capital Q anymore … or a Z and some of the other letters. I’m sure my mother is still disappointed that I don’t write F’s correctly (she was a school teacher after all). But hey, that’s just the way it is.

In fact, the world we live in today hardly needs us to write cursive at all. Ninety-five percent of all our communication is done with keyboards and touch pads. And the writing we do now is mostly done on post-it notes and the occasional fill-in-the-blank order form or application.

Is cursive dead? No, but it is not something to stress out over. If you want to teach your children to write in cursive, knock yourself out and have fun teaching your children that quaint art form.

BUT if you think it’s a waste of time and don’t have the time or energy to teach it, then DON’T, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for choosing that route. Truth is, your children will be just fine printing or writing in “printsive.” I am. This is of course assuming they at least know how to write their signature.

A little side note: if you’re experiencing some gorgeous spring weather like I am right now, forget about cursive, printing, or typing, and get outside and enjoy spring WITH your children.

Be real,

Todd

familyman@familymanweb.com

PS – With Resurrection Sunday this weekend, you might be scrambling to point your children to the cross. We now offer TWO original Easter stories as MP3 downloads so your family can listen to them on an iPod or computer. Your kids are going to love them as they listen and FEEL the cost of the Savior’s sacrifice. It’s super easy! Get them here: The Night Jesus Took My Place in the Easter Pageant and Malchus.

 

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The Reading Clinic will feature the following speakers and topics:

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What to Do When Mothering is a Mess – Christine Field

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