A few months ago, my mom called me to tell me that they weren’t teaching handwriting (cursive) in elementary schools in her area. She was very upset to learn that my nephew wouldn’t be taught how to write in cursive and wanted me to weigh in on the subject.
My son is a grade behind my nephew so I wasn’t sure what to think. It never occurred to me that some schools would choose not to teach cursive at all and perfect penmanship might go the way of the dinosaur!
So I investigated a little further. Looking back my son had a smallish introduction to handwriting toward the end of fourth grade but no handwritten pages have made their way home since.
When I talked to him, he said they just weren’t focusing on it.
My initial reaction was….How could this be? Handwriting is necessary isn’t it? I mean I spent hours writing papers in cursive in grade school and penmanship was graded. Even today, I write everything in cursive, everything! Cursive has allowed me to take notes quickly and makes cards and letters more personalized.
Will they just take “sign your name here” off of legal documents in the future? How will this affect future generations?
Well, when I calmed myself down and thought more about it, maybe cursive handwriting is more of an art than a necessary life skill.
Stay with me and hear me out. I know, I’m still a little worked-up about it but let me play devils advocate. Is cursive a necessary life skill that our children will need to function in society? By that I mean get a job and move out of the house so we can turn their room into a yoga or craft room?
Just go with my thought path for a moment. I love handwriting. I heart handwriting. Really. I’m a graphic designer and graphic designers love everything typography and related.
I love reading old letters my grandmother wrote to me and my father (who went to Catholic School) has the most beautiful penmanship I’ve ever seen. Mine is pretty good but the point is, handwriting is an art and some people are better at it than others. I had to separate my love for art from practicality.
The only practical application I can see to learn cursive is to take notes quickly. And I’m not even sure that applies anymore since everyone brings their computer to meetings. So, the emphasis on teaching good typing skills is really more valid today.
My son has been learning how to type since the first grade so I’ve seen the shift. I’m not saying I like it, I’m just saying I get it! I would love my kids to become fluent in Spanish too, but there’s only so many hours in a school day. Handwriting takes a very long time to master. It requires practice and repetition to even get comfortable with it.
Still very sad though. I’ve worked a little bit on handwriting at home with him but he will probably never gravitate toward writing in cursive like I do. Let’s face it, most kids would rather be outside tossing the football than doing penmanship exercises!
So what do you think? Is handwriting becoming extinct in schools where you live and should it be? These are my thoughts but feel free to weigh in in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.