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View Full Version : Cursive - yea or nay?



Misha
01-30-2015, 09:26 PM
I'd like my children to learn how to write cursive, but, honestly, there are other things I'm placing more importance on.


1. Yea
2. Nay
3. Other

CrazyMom
01-31-2015, 12:50 AM
We never taught Elle to write in cursive. Taught her keyboarding skills very young instead, and it served her very well.

In eighth grade, when she started public school...she had a teacher who wanted reports turned in...in cursive.

Figured it was his class....his rules. Elle elected to join his class...so she had to play by his rules.

So...one weekend....she learned to write cursive well enough to do reports for his class. Wasn't any big deal.

Truthfully, the little rat typed her report, changed the font to lucidia handwriting....and used it as a cheat sheet to write the report in cursive. LOL.

But it was good enough.

Just seems like a non-issue to me. Sort of a dead script. If you need it, you can learn it in a weekend. If you don't, why bother?

That said...to each their own. It's kinda pretty....but obsolete.

PoppinFresh
01-31-2015, 08:38 AM
My son never learned it...it wasn't required when he was in K - 6 in the public schools here. I'm left handed, so while I can write in cursive, my cursive writing sucks. I usually print.

aspiecat
01-31-2015, 08:54 AM
DS (15) has always had issues with handwriting as a whole. He has hypermobility problems in most of his joints so writing really strains him, hence he prefers using a keyboard. When schools were insistent he do things longhand, then complained he "wasn't trying" or "takes far too long over something that other children can do faster", I would treat them with the disdain they deserved.

TL; DR - Printing was hard enough...cursive didn't get a look-in.

murphs_mom
01-31-2015, 10:14 AM
Voted 'other' only because, like many things, I think it's totally a preference now. Communication is happening in many formats these days. In the past, it was primarily through handwritten missives. Good handwriting used to be critical...not so much anymore. DD wanted to learn it early on and did so with no drama/trauma. Some kids will struggle w/it and/or have no interest. Why force them when there's zero interest? Why avoid it when it's something they want to learn? I vote 'go with the flow'.

FWIW, this topic was debated a few times on this site. I think this thread (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/homeschool-curriculum/14946-i-am-thinking-dropping-subjects-focus-only-3-rs.html) is one of the more recent.

Norm Deplume
01-31-2015, 10:18 AM
Both my kids were in public school in the primary years, so they were both taught cursive. But neither of them uses it now. The HS 10-yo prints very poorly, and honestly his cursive is much more legible. I wish he'd use it more just for that reason but he's resistant to it and it's a battle I'm not willing to fight.

Older daughter is still in public school and hasn't written anything in cursive in years. Most teachers want papers typed, and the others don't care. I wish she wrote in cursive as well, because she doesn't put enough space between words when she prints, so it all runs together. Why her primary grade teachers didn't force better word spacing, I don't know, but that's neither here nor there.

To sum up: most schools don't care anymore if kids have decent handwriting. I still think cursive has its place but it's small potatoes, educationally speaking.

Mariam
01-31-2015, 10:36 AM
I selected "other" because it depends on the child and if they can handle it. There are studies suggesting that writing information and typing information leads to different brain processes. DS has problems writing though, so I don't know, but I would like to. If I think that he can handle it, I will try it later.

For example, taking notes by hand has shown to have better retention than typing. Also, when creating text there are different thinking processes that are being accessed. Mixing the two, typing and writing, seems to help with things like writer's block and improved editing.

Accidental Homeschooler
01-31-2015, 10:48 AM
We do it, a little bit every day. DD was excited to learn and really wants to be able to do it.

Misha
01-31-2015, 11:03 AM
Voted 'other' only because, like many things, I think it's totally a preference now. Communication is happening in many formats these days. In the past, it was primarily through handwritten missives. Good handwriting used to be critical...not so much anymore. DD wanted to learn it early on and did so with no drama/trauma. Some kids will struggle w/it and/or have no interest. Why force them when there's zero interest? Why avoid it when it's something they want to learn? I vote 'go with the flow'.

FWIW, this topic was debated a few times on this site. I think this thread (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/homeschool-curriculum/14946-i-am-thinking-dropping-subjects-focus-only-3-rs.html) is one of the more recent.

Thanks Carolyn, I will definitely have to read through this!

I'd like to teach my two cursive, but I have atrocious handwriting as does my DH.

I want them to be able to read it, certainly, and know the basics, if nothing else, so they can sign their names, etc.

alexsmom
01-31-2015, 11:48 AM
Voted other as well. I told DS he didnt need to learn it. This fall, he said he wanted to, so I picked up the HWT book and we are making our way through it. Sometimes his cursive is amazingly nice, othertimes I remind myself that this is something he wanted to learn.
We also collected all the holiday cards Grandma got this year and look at how the writers made their cursive letters.
DS2's OT told me that cursive *increases brain skills*.... personally, Im putting this in the pile of *antiquated wisdom of the elders*. I can believe it increases fine motor skills, but cognitive ability?

Or ah-hah! thats what went wrong with public schools! If only they taught cursive again all test scores would be higher! LOL. Or not.

CrazyMom
01-31-2015, 12:31 PM
"DS2's OT told me that cursive *increases brain skills*.... personally, Im putting this in the pile of *antiquated wisdom of the elders*. I can believe it increases fine motor skills, but cognitive ability?"

And why would it do any of this any better than printing?

Oksana
01-31-2015, 12:59 PM
My take is "go with the flow." I read that there are cognitive benefits to learning cursive, but it would not be a battle that I would pick. Surprisingly, my DD5 begged me to buy her cursive workbooks and she had been doing a little bit of practice (a page a day) some days as her choice for LA. My DD6 has a lot of issues with fine motor skills, so I do not think cursive will ever be for her.

BatDad
01-31-2015, 01:08 PM
My 9yo wants to learn it, so we occasionally do copywork in cursive. He has interest because he sees the historical documents that he wants to read, and of all things, a few comics use cursive in thought bubbles. He also sees me use cursive for my journal writing, so he thinks he should do the same because "it looks more like a journal-y." I guess I would not make too big of a deal unless the child is motivated. I'd love to say it is important, but that is only because I use it so much. In the scheme of things, legible printing and keyboard skills will go a long way.

It is funny, because we just watched an episode of ST Voyager. Captain Janeway went back to the 80s. She had to use a keyboard, and was henpecking. When asked about her typing skills, she replied that it was such a primitive form of data entry that she never bothered with it. Yes, times change.

Out of curiosity, those who choose not to teach it at all, will you teach just enough for a child to make a signature? Or will signatures change as well?

PoppinFresh
01-31-2015, 02:13 PM
It's interesting....my son can't write in cursive, but he can read it. As for teaching him to make a signature, we've discovered that banks and other places happily take printing or even a squiggle for a signature.

CrazyMom
01-31-2015, 02:20 PM
Elle has both a printed signature and a cursive signature. She tends to use her printed signature on official documents...driver's license...ect. It's kinda stylized and pretty....but it's printed.

Have never heard a compelling reason why a "signature" must be in cursive.

Also...the kid journals by hand like a maniac. She prints every bit as fast as I can write in cursive.

That would be a cool Mythbusters....is cursive writing really faster for people who have had equal years experience?

dbsam
01-31-2015, 02:29 PM
I'll start by saying, I am old. Maybe that is why I like the idea of learning cursive;). Or maybe I am turning into my mother - ugh. My mom has perfect handwriting; it looks like the cursive letter cards they used to hang on the school walls. She was always very particular about our handwriting. My handwriting now is a hybrid between cursive and printing but I can write proper cursive when I want to.

My children learned cursive while still in Montessori school. They started teaching it in 2nd grade and the kids were very excited to learn it; it was like a right of passage. My son always writes in cursive and my daughter usually prints.

One value that I see (and this may just be with my son) - My son is a horrible speller. But, he spells better when he writes in cursive rather than manuscript. Maybe it is the flow of the writing. His handwriting has become very messy over the years, but he can write beautifully when he wants to. Every once in a while I ask my daughter to write in cursive to see if she remembers - she does. (I ask her to write in cursive when she is sending her grandmother a thank-you card. This way she covers two of my mom's requirements - cursive and a TY card!)

BatDad
01-31-2015, 03:05 PM
Maybe the signature thing just depends on what institution you are at. My boy was 7 when we opened his own savings account. The lady told me I had to sign since he could not write cursive for a signature. I am sure that will change, as the public schools in this area no longer teach cursive.

alexsmom
01-31-2015, 04:21 PM
That would be a cool Mythbusters....is cursive writing really faster for people who have had equal years experience?

John Holt already proved to my satisfaction that it wasnt faster. ;)

aspiecat
01-31-2015, 04:21 PM
I probably should have chosen "Other" as I am NOT against cursive...it's more it wasn't for DS and TBH I only see the point in teaching it if the child wants to learn. Most kids these days revert to printing in their high school years, or solely use a keyboard. And the alleged reason to teach it "so children can read it" is a misnomer in most cases. DS can read cursive and he's never written in that form.

Personally - for me, that is - I love calligraphy and wrote in cursive from age eight to age 10, when my class teacher taught us italics and I never looked back. I'd have loved it if DS have cottoned onto handwriting, but it's a no-go for him, hence me choosing "Nay".

banjobaby
01-31-2015, 05:15 PM
My eldest wanted to learn, so I taught her. My middle child had problems with letter reversals, and cursive helped with that. Will I teach my third? Maybe, but it's not on my list of things I think a kid needs to know.

dbsam
01-31-2015, 05:34 PM
My DD6 has a lot of issues with fine motor skills, so I do not think cursive will ever be for her.

For some children with fine motor skills issues, cursive is easier.
Both of my children had issues with fine motor skills (each had different issues - my son as a result of his cerebral palsy and my daughter a result of her epilepsy). Anyway, cursive was/is easier for my son. For him, I sort of wished we skipped printing and went directly to cursive. My daughter never printed 'properly'. She starts a lot of her letters from the bottom instead of the top. It works for her and she prints quickly and neatly so I never made it an issue. (She switched from learning D'Nealian print in Montessori Kindy to ball & stick print in public 1st grade, where they did make it an issue. She absolutely hated using the ball & stick method and refused. We switched back to Montessori in 2nd grade so it became a non-issue.)

crunchynerd
01-31-2015, 08:08 PM
I found out that everything I thought I knew about cursive was wrong. Here's an article from a man who is old enough to remember when cursive first was the norm, before they started the experiment of teaching ball-and-stick manuscript instead, in the 1930's.

I was also surprised to find that France apparently tried out that newfangled notion after the US started it, but saw drops in literacy because of it, and went back to cursive first, and never looked back..but the US stayed with manuscript.

Peterson Directed Handwriting teaches the Rhythmic Motion method, designed to produce ease and fluency by preventing the student from relying on eyes to guide the pencil or pen and recommends never having a student trace letter models, because that reinforces drawing letters, which works against speed, ease, and fluency later. Instead, it uses a chanting/air writing/gross motor pattern internalization method first, and advises against reducing size too quickly, because then the student will tend to abandon the motor patterns so important to speed and fluency later.

I know the Rhythmic Motion method was what my mother was taught, and her penmanship is gorgeous, legible, and she could write blindfolded and really fast, and it's still nice. It's not because she has some hidden natural talent that skipped my generation; it is the method she was taught with, that I was not.

So we're doing that, with the kids.

RTB
01-31-2015, 09:18 PM
I'd like to teach it eventually. Honestly it is not at the top of my list. This year, we are doing grammar this year, so we are busy with that. Maybe a year from now, when I don't have grammar on the plate.

I'm not sure I should not place more of a priority on typing honestly.

halfpint
01-31-2015, 11:27 PM
I am left-handed, and so was not taught cursive (except my signature). It sucks! I long to be able to write beautiful cards and poems and treasure maps and...

Anyhow.

I can print legibly, even do a kind of cursive-italic thing. It's nice enough for a grocery list, but it ain't beautiful.

I am teaching all the kids cursive and print, because I want them to be able to choose what they want their writing to look like. They don't have to write essays in cursive, but they do need to be able to write a nice thank-you card.

Ramble Bend Brainery
02-01-2015, 10:02 AM
We do because DD(7) asked to learn it.

Blue Ipsy
02-01-2015, 10:52 AM
Cursive has improved my DD printing.

fastweedpuller
02-01-2015, 12:09 PM
Did learned cursive first in Montessori. It helped SO MUCH with letter reversals and speed. When she does her schoolwork (reports, etc.) she prints for legibility and clarity. I think it slows her down too much.

I am glad that she knows it and is good at it; she uses it when she's copying and when she takes notes. I have stressed with her that cursive is great, and quick, and as long as she can read her own writing it is a skill she'll have forever.
We,ve also done keyboarding with her, starting in 3rd grade, and repeated once a year...also for speed. Mainly because with everything, she is so not speedy!
If I had homeschooled her from day one, I would definitely have taught her cursive. But I am also old as dirt and cannot imagine life without handwritten letters!

Free Thinker
02-01-2015, 02:48 PM
ODD's is horrible, and I wish she would neaten it up. DD2 wants hers to be very pretty, so she works on it each week. I want my others to know how to read it and write it if needed, but I guess they can choose if they want to perfect it or not. I do want them all to have great keyboarding skills, and to be able to write neatly in print or cursive.

I thought it was supposed to be great for left-handed kids, so I will definitely teach both of my lefties how to write in cursive. Something about less stops and starts? Flowing smoothly? I don't remember what I Read, just that it said cursive might be a better place to start w left-handed kids.

ikslo
02-02-2015, 01:22 PM
DS's daily writing practice was converted to cursive this year, and he is doing well. I don't force him to write his other work in cursive, though. I do given him "extra credit" if he chooses to write in cursive, which he can convert to extra Minecraft/iPad time. :) Next year we are going to do daily typing practice. Learn, yes. Force the use of outside of the designated learning time? No.

halfpint
02-02-2015, 05:18 PM
FreeThinker, I had issues with the ink smearing as I pushed the pen (and my hand) over the letters I'd just written. It was easier to hold my hand out of the way while printing. But I think that my mom just didn't know how to teach a lefty cursive, not that it can't be done.

I'm not teaching any lefties yet, but we've got enough cousins here that one is bound to pop up sooner or later. I've been thinking that when that happens I should teach myself as I teach him/her (if not sooner!)

IEF
02-02-2015, 07:10 PM
I voted "other" because mondo dual consciousness: my adult homeschoolers never learned (although we tried) and I'm not beating myself up over that but I do hope that the new sprout will enjoy learning.

murphs_mom
02-02-2015, 07:16 PM
FreeThinker, I had issues with the ink smearing as I pushed the pen (and my hand) over the letters I'd just written. It was easier to hold my hand out of the way while printing. But I think that my mom just didn't know how to teach a lefty cursive, not that it can't be done.


As the keeper of a lefty, I can say that (when teaching any handwriting or drawing):

-pencil works well but gets a bit smudgy if the lead is too soft
-Pentel pens are awesome, dry quickly and have wonderful flow
-gel pens are for the masochistic

Norm Deplume
02-03-2015, 09:06 AM
-gel pens are for the masochistic
that's true even for righties. Gel pens are horrifically messy. The newest ones are better than the first generation ones (which left little blops of ink here and there), but still, I avoid them.

ScienceGeek
02-03-2015, 09:53 AM
I think its important that they can read it. But they don't really write using it. Every once in a while I make them do some - their handwriting is awful but they can type! I do genealogy sometimes and if I couldn't read cursive it would be damn near impossible to do.

jenblackwell2
02-03-2015, 01:30 PM
I wanted to begin with cursive, but I was recreating to much material to make it consistent. My daughter would have been learning print and cursive together, and although she could probably have handled it, I couldn't...

We will do cursive, I think that it is important for creating you own personal hand writing style. My husband and I talked about it and realized that we both write with kind of a hybrid of print and cursive. Also, I want my girls to be able to read cursive, soooo there it is.

bibiche
02-03-2015, 01:42 PM
We did cursive from the beginning. It was (is) easier and we never had a problem with letter reversals, etc that plague children learning to print. It is also faster for DS to take notes in cursive. Plus he likes it because it is "elegant." ;P

PoppinFresh
02-03-2015, 01:49 PM
My mother-in-law always hated watching me write anything because when she was a kid in Germany her teacher put her in charge of making sure the lefties didn't use their left hand to write so, since I'm a leftie, it always bugged her when I wrote.

dbsam
02-03-2015, 04:24 PM
My mother-in-law always hated watching me write anything because when she was a kid in Germany her teacher put her in charge of making sure the lefties didn't use their left hand to write so, since I'm a leftie, it always bugged her when I wrote.

Wow, that's a horrible 'job' to give a student!

My husband was a leftie who was forced to write right-handed by his teachers. He still writes right-handed and his handwriting is horrible. He golfs, bats, etc. left-handed.

When my son was a toddler, someone from a Parents as Teachers class kept taking his pencil from his left hand and putting it in right hand. I asked her to stop doing it. I didn't think they forced lefties to be righties now-a-days. (Turned out my son decided to write right-handed anyway.)

PoppinFresh
02-03-2015, 04:44 PM
I agree, bad job for a kid. However, this was during World War 2 in communist Germany...things were weird.

I write left handed, eat with forks and spoons left handed, slice/chop/stir stuff (veggies, batter, coffee, etc) left handed, bowl left handed, throw left handed, play badminton and racquetball left handed, butter toast left handed, but I use scissors right handed, cut with a knife while eating right handed (fork in left, knife in right, eat with left, don't switch, golf and bat right handed.

Mariam
02-03-2015, 05:13 PM
I am the odd person out at home, as I am the only right-hander. I have had to learn how to do things left-handed so that I can help with writing. I have learned how to test things out with my left hand to see if the object will work that way. Though DS is pretty good at using his right hand too.

halfpint
02-03-2015, 11:41 PM
I'm left-handed but right eye dominant, so things that you do close up I tend to do left-handed, while more distance-ey things I do right handed. I'm also pretty good at using right-handed tools.

Left-handed: write, eat, use a knife, scissors, throw a ball.
Right-handed: shoot, kick, use a mouse, use can-opener, carry a child (I use my left arm, leaving the right free. I guess that's how most righties do it).

Hockey, golf and baseball I can do either way (badly, maybe I'd settle if I did them more). My left hand is much more coordinated, but my right arm is stronger.

When I was a kid, I experimented with learning cursive righty or with writing mirror image lefty. Neither one stuck for me, but my FIL writes his signature lefty in perfect, mirror-image cursive. Normally he prints righty - he was one of those kids who was forcibly switched. He also keeps his personal journal in that mirror cursive.

PoppinFresh
02-04-2015, 08:03 AM
I do mirror image printing, which nobody else I know seems to be able to do and they are always impressed. I'm not sure why, it seems very natural.

alexsmom
02-04-2015, 10:00 AM
Is mirror writig when you write backwards, from right to left? I remember doing that in high school on notes to my bestfriend.... I would put my head down on the right side of my paper and write *away* from me.
(Im also left handed.)
I also learned to play pool right-handed, and after I realzed I was using the wrong hand, I found I can switch fairly easily between them, so dont have to do those awkward shooting-behind-you shots.
Sometimes its frustrating that I cant model correct handedness for my kids, but on the other hand, they can mirror me perfectly well. ;)
We are finishing up HWT Cursive now (his choice), and the different handedness hasnt been an issue. Im not sure whether or not hes going to start writing his work in cursive or not. He definitely doesnt like how some of the letters look. A couple of the letters - I dont really like how HWT shows them either.... but we go along with it. I told him everyone writes cursive differently, if he practices he will develop his own style. :p

PoppinFresh
02-04-2015, 11:17 AM
Yes, right to left with perfectly formed backward letters that look normal when viewed in a mirror! :)

PoppinFresh
02-04-2015, 11:19 AM
I have heard it's easier for lefties to write like that.

LadyMondegreen
02-05-2015, 12:43 AM
I teach my kids cursive, but I don't think it's imperative that every child learn cursive in 2nd grade.

My oldest learned cursive in 2nd grade in public school, and struggled terribly. He got a 2 (on a scale of 5) in penmanship on his report card and nearly had a nervous breakdown. When we started homeschooling in 3rd grade, I let him go back to printing. When he was 10 or 11, I retaught him how to sign his name (I think he had to sign a contract for a sports team maybe?) and he decided to completely relearn cursive. It took just a couple weeks and he now has decent (neat and efficient, but not beautiful) cursive writing.

Ds12 asked to learn cursive not long after that, and was writing beautifully in cursive by his 8th birthday. Ds10 has no interest, but we will get around to it sometime in the next year or two.

Tanaqui
02-05-2015, 02:18 AM
I have heard it's easier for lefties to write like that.

Which is probably why da Vinci tended to. Lefties who mirror write are in great company :)

alexsmom
02-05-2015, 10:48 AM
I have heard it's easier for lefties to write like that.

Maybe because they (we) can look from right to left across the page without their hand being in the way?