Monday, February 2, 2015

Why I Teach Cursive



A couple years ago I was teaching a class of high schoolers who had received most of their education up to that point from the public school system. Before class started, I had written some vocabulary words and important notes on the board at the front of the class. As is my natural habit, I had written the information in my best cursive handwriting. I was working with teenagers after all, not preschoolers.

So I was completely shocked when the students came into the room and immediately began complaining about the writing on the board. There were choruses of, "What does that say?" and "I can't read that!" and "Is that cursive or something?"

These students had never been taught cursive handwriting, and worse they were unable to even read it!

Sadly I had to erase the entire board and rewrite the day's lesson in manuscript in order for my students to be able to read it.

These teens are definitely at a disadvantage in my opinion.

Apparently there is a huge push to eliminate cursive handwriting instruction in favor of keyboarding and computer skills. While I agree that in our time at least basic computer and typing skills are a must, failing to teach children to write is also a great disservice to them!

As homeschoolers, we do not have to worry as much about time constraints or dealing with all the pressures of having a large class size, so we can give our children the best of both handwriting and computer instruction!

So why do I teach cursive in my homeschool?

*Signatures on checks and legal documents are done in cursive. We are known by our signatures. I want my boy's to be proud of their "John Hancock's"! ;)

*The Declaration of Independance, Constitution, and countless other important documents and letters from bygone days are written in cursive. Yes, I know we can get print versions of these documents or read them online, I want my boys to be able to go straight to the original source and read it just fine! Up until the 1940's, cursive handwriting was actually taught first in public schools before manuscript! Many family heirlooms, recipes, letters, etc. from our grandparents are going to be written in cursive. I want my children to be able to enjoy these things, not just see them as meaningless loops and squiggles!

*It has been claimed that learning cursive actually aids in children's early reading skills. Carefully connecting the letters in a word together can help the child in the process of blending the letter sounds together in reading.

*A person's handwriting is nearly as unique as his or her fingerprint! There are handwriting analysts who can discern many things about a person just from a simple handwriting sample. You just loose so much personality when everything is typed. I want my boys to have strong, healthy character, and that can shine through their handwriting!

Last year Big Brother started begging to learn cursive! He sees it as "grown up" writing, and in my opinion it is. He is diligently learning the correct formation of all his cursive letters, and is looking forward to the day when he can write all his lessons in cursive. He can already read anything I write for him in cursive, and he's very proud of that.

I learned cursive writing in public school in 3rd grade...almost 20 years ago now. :) When my mother began homeschooling me after 4th grade, all my schoolwork was required to be done in cursive. (This used to be normal!) Now cursive is what I write without even thinking about it.

So I will teach cursive in my homeschool, if for no other reason than so my boys can read my writing! :)

What is your opinion on this issue? Do you use cursive handwriting much yourself? Were you taught cursive in school? Will or do you teach your children to write and read cursive? Why or why not?

Linked Up at: From House to Home, Friday Fellowship, The Homeschool Mother's Journal

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