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Handwriting: cursive or...?


desertmum
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Hello, I am a newbie to homeschooling as this will be out first year! According to the UK national curriculum by the end of reception year (pre-k) my son should be able to write letter and numbers, etc.

 

My problem with this is that I've noticed that most youngsters who are taught to write in "book print" lettering because it is "easier" end up with no knowledge of cursive writing and unable to make the transition.

 

When I was a kid our teacher used to make us do circles and zig-zag strokes to get us used to the movements required for cursive writing, but apparently this has gone out of style. Any thoughts of this, please? :bigear:

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If you google "Tracing pages" you'll find a lot of the circles, zig-zags and so on. They're not out of style at all in US preschool programs.

 

I think the reason kids who learn book print first have trouble making the transition has more to do with teachers not teaching cursive much at all when they learn it. My DD went to a parochial school where cursive was explicitly taught starting in the 2nd half of 2nd grade, and by 4th grade, the kids had beautiful script. But they spent a LOT of 3rd grade doing copywork in cursive. I don't see that in most schools here.

 

As far as standards go, unless you have to have your child evaluated on them this year, I wouldn't worry about it. Kids develop at their own rate and time, and when they're 18, no one cares which one learned to write at 4 and which one did at 6, or whether they learned manuscript first or cursive first, YKWIM?

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When my dd was 4, I started her on Abeka Phonics and handwriting. Abeka gives you the option of getting the workbooks in cursive or manuscript, but the program recommends cursive for the following reasons:

1. children learn to write in cursive from the beginning and so do not need to "relearn" writing at a later age.

2. when children learn to read and write in cursive, it helps them to "see" the blends of the letters. The letters literally flow together so it helps them transition from reading individual letter sounds to blending them together into words.

Here's a link to their philosophy:

http://www.abeka.com/resources/pdfs/cursivefly.pdf

 

Now, I'm not a huge fan of Abeka, and as my daughter has gotten older, we have gotten away from it. She is starting 2nd this year, and we are doing a mix of things, none of which include Abeka,. However, she learned how to write in cursive as a 4 year old, and she has done all of her schoolwork in cursive ever since.

 

A child will learn to write in whatever format you teach them - whether it's print, italics, or cursive. An added benefit to teaching cursive early is that they learn to read both forms of writing. My dd has no problems reading printed words (in books or handwriting) and she can easily read cards and letters from grandparents. As she learned to read, I wrote in both styles so that she could easily go between them. It's probably similar to a child who grows up hearing two languages - both become equally familiar and easy to him/her. My son is 4 and we have been teaching him to write in cursive as well.

 

BTW, both of my dc have picked up writing in print on their own. They can print all their letters as well as writing them in cursive, so when they are just drawing at the table or making cards, they will sometimes write in print "just because."

 

Like the previous poster said, if you're not being evaluated on it, then it's up to you to decide if you want your child to learn now or later or even never. Learning to write in cursive in pre-k is not something I feel like a child HAS to do. However, I wanted to give you encouragement that it IS very doable.

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I have the same concerns. I wish I had them before dd5 started writing in manuscript 2 yrs ago. Now we are doing the transition, and it is very hard for me to watch her. She is a trooper and quite determined to make the transition, thank goodness. But I can see how hard she is working. If you want your child to learn cursive at some point, I would encourage you to do it now. I find it painful to watch her try to relearn something that she has already learned.

 

The reality is that cursive is easier. When a child gets old enough to have to start taking notes, you want them to use the fastest means of getting them down. Cursive is unarguably faster than manuscript. But in order to be good at cursive, you have to start young. If you wait until 2nd or 3rd grade to teach cursive, you are asking a child to make the transition at the same time you are raising the bar on their other work. A child is more likely to want to do it at 5-6 years old, because they still want to be "like the big kids." Additionally, a person will likely be best at the writing that they start with.

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Just to point out the other side, there are some real concerns with starting cursive first as well. Reading and writing are frequently linked in the brain and one often reinforces the other. Some children who learn to write cursive first have added problems learning to simultaneously read manuscript writing. There is an actual educational rationale behind waiting for cursive. It is not just an arbitrary choice for some :).

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Some children who learn to write cursive first have added problems learning to simultaneously read manuscript writing.

 

I had never heard that. Thanks for sharing. I would be interested in reading more about that. Do you have any recommendations?

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If you google "Tracing pages" you'll find a lot of the circles, zig-zags and so on.

 

I agree. Also, I googled "prewriting worksheets" for you and found lots of tracing pages for curves, slants, mmm, uuuu, etc.

 

This page also gives some good info about introducing handwriting to receptiona-age children. It also provides a step-by-step method of transitioning to joined-up handwriting. However, this page by itself would be inadequate to teach a child, so they recommend using Nelson Handwriting workbooks, which are produced in the UK.

 

Personally I too would suggest you to use these workbooks, because the handwriting style is based on Italics, which is an easy and beautiful style.

 

HTH

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I haven't heard of Nelson handwriting but I will look it up (or google it if you prefer).

 

I have to say I learn cursive first and I don't remember having problems with reading, but each child is different. I wouldn't teach something complicated like copperplate, just something legible that makes dictation and note taking in class easier. I've actually looked at Peterson Directed Handwriting and looks easy. I also liked Cursive First but the company is in the US and the shipping is far more than the cost of the materials :confused:

 

I also notice most people start when the child is 5, but mine is 4 and he wants to do it NOW (he wants to read and write, and drive daddy's car, too :auto: ).

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...but the company is in the US and the shipping is far more than the cost of the materials.

 

If shipping from Australia is cheaper, you may consider purchasing books from there. Each Oz state has its own handwriting style (all of which are based on Italics) and two of them (Victoria & Queensland) offer free fonts for creating your own handwriting practice pages and copywork. See my earlier post for the info. As for workbooks, I found the Modern Cursive Writing Series very cute. They are created for the various Oz font styles, so be sure to choose the font style you like best.

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The website doesn't supply enough samples of the font. You have to google the Nelson handwriting books to see more. Also a tad on the expensive side. After you buy the teacher's guide and workbooks you won't have a lot of money left for ice cream.

 

The font looks very much like italics -pretty but not so fluid and no slant. My hand would get very tired in about 15 min. because of the vertical approach. If you go for italic there are plenty of books out there though.

 

So many options!

(I think I need some caffeine at this point and a :chillpill: )

 

p.s. I was taught the Palmer method but some letter like the old fashioned Q and F can be confusing for both children and adults IMHO

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The font looks very much like italics -pretty but not so fluid and no slant. My hand would get very tired in about 15 min. because of the vertical approach.

 

 

I rekon. I managed to dig far enough in to actually find the samples this time, not that they are very good samples, as you said. They changed styles about four times when I was learning to write, so I have a pretty good idea what I don't want :glare: Upright italics is one of those things, but not even the worst they inflicted on us. THEN, they made us learn cursive, THEN they made us learn to join. Small wonder my handwriting is ugly...

 

Rosie

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...but the company is in the US and the shipping is far more than the cost of the materials.

 

If shipping from Australia is cheaper, you may consider purchasing books from there. Each Oz state has its own handwriting style (all of which are based on Italics) and two of them (Victoria & Queensland) offer free fonts for creating your own handwriting practice pages and copywork. See my earlier post for the info. As for workbooks, I found the Modern Cursive Writing Series very cute. They are created for the various Oz font styles, so be sure to choose the font style you like best.

 

Thank you for the link. I will follow it up!

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