Are Cursive and Copywork Archaic?
June 8, 2022
Learn God’s Word Through Copywork—It Will Help When Times Are Tough
Hal and Melanie Young
Cursive Is Worthwhile
Cursive and Copywork: Are they Archaic?
Printing Is for the . . . Printers!
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Learn God’s Word Through Copywork—It Will Help When Times Are Tough
God’s Word promises us trials. Some of us know a little too well what those are (or so we think). They are tests, spiritual ones, that God uses to grow us into Christ’s likeness, provided we don’t resist the lesson and avoid what He’s attempting to show us. If we do, we can “miss the bus” altogether, which may mean a repeat lesson later.
Having the mind of Christ is not something that happens overnight. We hope for it; it sounds good; and we surely say we want to be wise or be more like Christ. But there really is only one way to attain wisdom, Mama. It’s about Godly understanding, and this comes strictly from His Word, the Bible. Are you soaking it in? Do you study it in context, applying it daily? It’s your lifeline. It’s where you will find wisdom from God’s heart, pouring directly into your own. Do not miss it!
You can also help your children learn God’s word, using copywork. We already know copywork can be a great way to help with handwriting and discipline. So if you’re going to have your kids copy something anyway, why not have it be Scripture? The more they copy those beautiful verses, the more they will remember them.
These articles from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine reinforce the importance of copywork:
When your children write the word of God and hide it in their heart, they’ll be able to use it when trouble comes. Some trials hit us from behind—so unexpected. Some are completely unjust. Others are not surprising when they show up because of life choices that may have led to them. The time we have before Heaven is so short; it’s just a blink of an eye, and then we will be Home! Why the trials? Why the pain, here, first? God’s ways are so much higher than ours. They don’t always make sense to our finite minds. Our flesh reacts with anger and confusion, and we are tempted to recoil from the Lord. But don’t.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).
Do not be pulled into defensive deception. Use this short time to glorify God, to follow Him despite the pain, even amid absolute unjust treatment from would-be friends or family members. People will always disappoint. Sickness abounds. Death happens. We are left reeling. But we have a good, good Father, and He has a plan.
Stay soft, Mama. Turn your heart towards Him, no matter the circumstances. Remain in His Word. Your children are watching, even when you don’t realize it. Model Christ. Prove your growth. Practice grace. And hug your little ones close to you today. They are yet another reminder of God’s love for you—gifts from the Lord. These young ones are going to have trials of their own and will be tempted to resist and recoil too at times, but you will be a strong counselor, and they will learn from your example. Wise Mama. As for today, keep walking. His hand is on your head. That’s a promise.
Raising Real Men
Cursive Is Worthwhile
“I’m worried to death!” my friend wailed over coffee one morning many years ago. “Tommy keeps making his letters improperly no matter how many times I show him. What am I going to do?”
Let’s face it. Homeschoolers tend to freak out over stuff like this.
I told her that I hadn’t even realized I was making some cursive letters wrong until I was an adult teaching my own children. Why didn’t someone tell me? Because it really didn’t matter as long as you could read it.
Since then, my handwriting has deteriorated because I seldom write anything by hand anymore. Like the rest of the world, I use my laptop or phone for things I would have previously hand-written. It makes you wonder if penmanship is an archaic skill.
Yes and no, maybe. It’s certainly not as important as it was when we were children. You couldn’t carry a typewriter in your pocket like a phone!
Sometimes, though, trouble with handwriting is a sign of something deeper. One of our boys was a voracious reader, but his handwriting was awful! We didn’t realize until he got to college that he had dysgraphia. He was gifted enough to work around it until the work just got too hard. Since then, we’ve used Dianne Craft’s materials to help other children in our family with problems like this.
All that to say, don’t freak out like our friend did. Aim for decent handwriting and move on. It’s worthwhile, but perhaps more as a clue to what is going on in their brains than as something they have to learn perfectly to be successful in life.
If handwriting is harder than it ought to be, download our short course, “Bright Kids Who Struggle,” as our gift. https://www.raisingrealmen.com/brightkidsstruggle/
Hal & Melanie
About the author
Hal & Melanie Young are the award-winning, best-selling authors of Raising Real Men, No Longer Little, and Love, Honor, and Virtue. They are publishers, writers, bloggers, and popular conference speakers internationally, known for their Christ-centered focus and practical, real-life stories. They are the parents of six real boys (five grown!) and two real girls and live in noisy, messy happiness in North Carolina.
Cursive and Copywork: Are they Archaic?
Are cursive and copywork archaic? When you consider that archaic means “belonging to an early or formative period of culture, art, etc.” (Oxford Shorter English Dictionary), the answer is a resounding yes. Cursive and copywork have endured for centuries because they have a meaningful purpose and are effective tools for building communication skills.
Although copywork has occasionally been maligned as uncreative, that’s a bit like criticizing a brick foundation because it is not a window. Copywork isn’t about copying sentences just for the sake of copying—it is a specific discipline for teaching and practicing language arts, including penmanship, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and more.
Copywork is also an aid to memorization and a means of contemplative study. When children (or adults) carefully copy well-crafted passages from good books, verses from scripture, and poems, they not only absorb the meaning of what they are copying, but they also begin to understand sentence structure and the art of clear expression. Once students are fluent in copywork, mechanics are no longer a barrier to creative expression.
Cursive is a style of penmanship with joined letters that is sometimes seen as obsolete because most modern communications are typed. A simple analogy might help to illustrate cursive’s place in communication skills: if printing is like walking, cursive is like riding a bike. It can be smoother, faster, and even more fun than printing. Typing might be more like driving a car, but no one would ever suggest that walking or bike riding was useless because many people have cars.
Studies of brain activity while writing show that writing by hand sparks significantly more brain activity than typing, and cursive engages more complex brain activity than printing. Writing in cursive eliminates the problem of letter reversals, and once it’s learned, it can be smooth, flowing, and even beautiful.
Copywork and cursive may be archaic, but they are also timeless. Copying for ten minutes a day can help a student absorb important ideas and sound writing principles. To copy carefully and beautifully in the best penmanship possible is to create an opportunity for spiritual truths to shape the heart and mind. Sometimes archaic is a very good thing.
About the author
Janice Campbell is the graduated homeschool mom of four sons. Inspired by Charlotte Mason and Classical education methods, she explores the art of learning with literature, living books, and learning journals. Janice is the author of the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8–12, Transcripts Made Easy, TimeFrame Timeline, etc. In addition to writing for magazines, occasionally podcasting, and speaking at homeschool conferences, Janice enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. You can find her online at EverydayEducation.com, Excellence-in-Literature.com, and DoingWhatMatters.com.
Pillar of Knowledge
Roger Smith – Printing Is for the . . . Printers!
“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” (loosely translated from Blaise Pascal’s Lettres Provinciales)
Briefly, I must say I believe cursive is essential to learn. Printing has its place, but it is not in the hands of a child. Children can and should learn cursive.
To my surprise, a few years ago I learned from Andrew Pudewa, the founder and director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, that there are “cursive only” schools. That is, they start with cursive, and they stay with it for all handwriting tasks. “Children learn it quite well, actually,” he said.
It was then I recalled my grandmother speaking of her school days when they learned to first make pushes, pulls, then loops. And then they began to write.
In some unspeakable way, cursive handwriting confers your personality and connects in ways that print does not. We have all received a note from someone special and were energized to see their script that we immediately recognized. It has more power than text, and we should train our children in the art of influential, handwritten communication that embodies their personal style. It may be that you will cherish seeing it one day from your nursing home bed.
About the author
Dr. Roger Smith is a family doctor in rural Louisiana, where he and his wife, Jan, raised four adventurous children who are all grown, making their own mark in the world. He speaks and writes on parenting issues and produces brief videos that can be found on Facebook @ParentingMattersNow.
Look What’s Happening in Virginia:
June 9–11, 2022
39th Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention
Greater Richmond Convention Center
Join Heather Vogler of The Old Schoolhouse® in Virginia this June. Currently homeschooling five children ranging in age from four to fifteen, Heather has over a decade of homeschooling experience, in addition to teaching in a preschool and running a church preschool program. She’ll share the secret to keeping little ones busy as bees while they gain an exceptional education. Heather will also share how you can successfully work from home, whether you only have a few hours to spare or are looking for a steady income. Come and learn a wide range of successful options perfect for the homeschooling parent, including what has worked for her as a homeschooling mom of five.
- Everything You Need to Know about Homeschooling Preschoolers
- Work from Home and Homeschool? Yes, You Can!
Look What’s Happening in Colorado:
June 16–18, 2022
Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference
The Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center
Attending the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference in Colorado this June? Look for two familiar faces from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine: Gena Suarez and Deborah Wuehler. Say “Hello” and hear Deborah’s Biblical worldview and family discipleship workshops:
- Why The Teacher Should be YOU!
- Womanhood and Discipleship: Our Influence and Ministry
Look What’s Happening in New Mexico:
June 24–25, 2022
2022 CAPE-NM Christian Homeschool Convention
Legacy Church of Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hey, Mama! How would you like to meet Gena Suarez and Deborah Wuehler of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine? Come to Albuquerque and meet them at the CAPE-NM Christian Homeschool Convention. Hear Deborah’s encouraging workshops too.
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Whether you are practicing print or cursive, it’s always good to practice often. Everyday Copywork at SchoolhouseTeachers.com includes almost 200 printable homeschool language arts worksheets, in print and cursive to trace and copy, providing handwriting practice across several themes.
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I Know It
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