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Deep questions about handwriting/penmanship.

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My DD has started writing letters herself, with no input or instruction from me. She is resisting my attempts to help, with all her little might. As I've read here many times regarding other children, she likes to form her letters from the bottom up.


What I'm really interested in is WHY we print top to bottom. Is bottom up more likely to tear the paper or smudge? Does it make your hand cramp or is it just more likely to be ugly? If so, why don't we have those problems with cursive? And why do so many kids have the urge to write the "wrong" way?

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Google isn't being very helpful. I'm getting lots of "why to teach handwriting" pages. I'm pretty sold on that, I do want her to have good penmanship, and practicing with supervision is probably the best way to achieve that. But I want to know why we teach handwriting the way we do.


This is the only place where I thought someone might know! :001_smile:

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I took a calligraphy class a few years ago and the teacher talked all about this. It was fascinating how the writing tools themselves really dictated how the letters are formed. The use of ink and a stylus makes you start from the top to get the ink flowing. The ink will not flow from bottom up. The reason calligraphy manuscript looks that way it does is not because the monks were trying to write "fancy" but because that is the easiest, best way to actually get the ink on the page.


I'm sure our current manuscript prescriptions, like starting top to bottom, are based on this. Pens are different now, though, so the real need for top to bottom in manuscript seems unnecessary. My kids are all bottom to top writers. I do work with them on it, but don't freak out about it as long as it is neat and legible.

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