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Cursive Article...discuss!!


PachiSusan
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I wish the author had taken a stronger stance in favor of cursive. I think it is detrimental to students to take away cursive. Cursive helps train the brain and focus and hand dexterity. Cursive facilities note taking. Cursive helps cements knowledge in our brains. Honestly, it is shame that some educators do not see the value of cursive today.

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I think part of the problem is that not enough time is put into making sure the students write legibly. Cursive lends itself to being a huge mess more easily than printing and if you have to grade tons of handwritten work, slogging through poor handwriting is something I would not want to do. I learned cursive in school and was told we'd use it every day, never used it again after 5th grade, all teachers required work to be typed if it wasn't a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. I don't feel it's faster for me to write notes in cursive than printing. OTOH, I do think it's important for being able to read historical type books and resources that have cursive sections, much like the old-fashioned typeface used in a lot of German language books where some of the letters look much different.

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I really go around and around with this cursive thing.

 

I was teaching cursive first. I've developed a remedial plan that gets LD and left-handed students who thought themselves unable to ever learn, able to write in a neat and consistent cursive hand. The problem that arose though, was that their peers and families couldn't read cursive, and because I hadn't taught them to print, they were right back to square one when trying to communicate with their loved ones.

 

But something I have learned with cursive, that is pointed out on this article, is that cursive writing is soothing. I am constantly suffering fresh brain damage from my seizures. Some things are just fried out and have to be specifically remediated, but worse is that connections gets severed which are impossible to directly remediate. But studies and my own experience have shown that certain activities heal the connections in the brain. Drawing circles and loops is one of them. Knitting and walking and other rhythmic activities that use both sides of the body equally are others, but the very simple act of writing in cursive heals the brain. My brain has been wonky this week, letting me down at some important moments. Other times it's just been annoying and unsettling. But, after planning to change to manuscript first, I have decided to return to cursive first as my default tutoring plan.

 

Handwriting is a form of communication, but it is also a form of self-expression and a way to self-soothe. All 3 of these forms are equally important. I do need to teach students manuscript to communicate, but as for their default handwriting, I think it needs to be the one that is nourishing to their brain and is beautiful.

 

It's hard. It's just hard choosing either manuscript or cursive as the default handwriting style. There can only be one primary or default hand.

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I think part of the problem is that not enough time is put into making sure the students write legibly. Cursive lends itself to being a huge mess more easily than printing and if you have to grade tons of handwritten work, slogging through poor handwriting is something I would not want to do. I learned cursive in school and was told we'd use it every day, never used it again after 5th grade, all teachers required work to be typed if it wasn't a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. I don't feel it's faster for me to write notes in cursive than printing. OTOH, I do think it's important for being able to read historical type books and resources that have cursive sections, much like the old-fashioned typeface used in a lot of German language books where some of the letters look much different.

 

I agree with all of this (except I have not used cursive since tests in college). I think reading cursive is more important than being able to write it!

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Handwriting is a form of communication, but it is also a form of self-expression and a way to self-soothe. All 3 of these forms are equally important. I do need to teach students manuscript to communicate, but as for their default handwriting, I think it needs to be the one that is nourishing to their brain and is beautiful.

 

 

 

 

I really like this - thank you!!!

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I agree with all of this (except I have not used cursive since tests in college). I think reading cursive is more important than being able to write it!

 

 

And I would agree: ensuring our children can read it is of great importance for the timeline.

 

Man, I sound all Star Trekkian there. LOL

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It is pitiful the amount of time I have spent studying cursive curricula and obsessing over them. I only have one constant. I abhor the practice of teaching special needs students italic cursive. The fact that it is easier to read because it is closer to manuscript is the worst reason for teaching it. AND it's harder for them to write, because it's rules are so inconsistent.

 

EDIT: If a family has adopted italic as whole, then I wouldn't single out the LD student for another hand. I just don't follow the idea that italic is a good first choice for remedial instruction.

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It is pitiful the amount of time I have spent studying cursive curricula and obsessing over them. I only have one constant. I abhor the practice of teaching special needs students italic cursive. The fact that it is easier to read because it is closer to manuscript is the worst reason for teaching it. AND it's harder for them to write, because it's rules are so inconsistent.

 

EDIT: If a family has adopted italic as whole, then I wouldn't single out the LD student for another hand. I just don't follow the idea that italic is a good first choice for remedial instruction.

 

 

So which cursive curriculum do you prefer? :p

 

OP, I think the decline of cursive is sad, but unsurprising. :(

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So which cursive curriculum do you prefer? :p

 

OP, I think the decline of cursive is sad, but unsurprising. :(

 

My eyes are getting old and I'm on a tiny screen right now. I can't see the smilie properly, so don't know what it means. I'm not sure if you are joking because you have heard me say the same thing so many times or is you are asking. :lol:

 

I like the explicit letter formation scripts in Writing Road to Reading 6th edition, and the systematic instruction sequence in How to Tutor/AlphaPhonics. I have found regular ball and stick uppercase letters to work just fine with vertical cursive hands like Spalding's WRTR. Here is a writing sample from a left-handed LD adult after a few hours of instruction. She literally cried after completing this page she was so awed by her quick progress.

 

3edd9415.jpg

 

 

Don Potter is the only person I know of that is more obsessed with handwriting than I am. He teaches a slanted hand to adult prisoners and ESL children.

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I use cursive occasionally for fast personal notes. I wouldn't use it to communicate with others because the style taught in new Zealand schools seems to change more frequently than print - my brother who is 4 years younger can't read my cursive. I have always printed for tests, essays etc - it is a little slower but at least it can be easily read. I do think at least one form of handwriting to a good standard is necessary. Our doctors use computer generated A5 prescriptions but shopping lists, notes, experiment notes, Christmas cards etc will have to be done by hand for the foreseeable future.

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It appears I am in the minority, but DH and I decided to let cursive slide by with a cursory mention. The bottom line for me is that I spent years coaxing children through tears over manuscript (I was admittedly too hard on them). Our spirits (mine and theirs) are scarred and the thought of going through it again makes us all want to give up on school. Ok, that's probably exaggerating, but I would suffer some pretty terrible stuff to avoid the nightmare of teaching yet another form of writing, when I haven't used it myself in a dozen years. It isn't a soothing practice for me and it slows my thought significantly. I grew up on computers and think in tippy-tappy, editable fashion.

 

I will spend some time (minimal) teaching my students to read cursive writing, but I will not risk my relationship with them further in battles of handwriting. Our cursive lessons consist of signing our names, which I feel will likely be obsolete by the time my grandchildren are old enough to "sign" contracts. Afterall, I already e-sign 50% of my documents.

 

I appreciate the argument of reading old fashioned documents, like our Constitution, but I must assert that most of these documents are already nearly illegible, not only from fading, but because the writing style has changed. I agree that it is a beautiful art, but I believe that was lost before my generation. Which is more important, the art of the writing or the content in these documents? In the name of preservation, these documents are all scanned and digitized. I don't doubt my children will be able to read the content digitally.

 

Instead of dragging them through cursive, we've begun typing lessons. I honestly feel it will serve them better in the long term. I don't disagree with the merits of cursive, but I can't justify the practicality. And...we have deliberately kept this information from my mother-in-law, as she can not handle the ramifications of our decision. ;-)

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I very much enjoy writing in cursive myself, not because it's faster or practical or "better" than print or manuscript, but because of the deep satisfaction that I feel when I see that I have created something beautiful. Even if it's just writing a note on my dry erase board in the kitchen, it gives me a pleasant sense of accomplishment. I want to pass that ability to take pleasure in small things on to my kids and while cursive is definitely not the only way to do that, it is one way and I will take advantage of that. :)

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I start with cursive. I don't teach manuscript. I can easily tell which children I have done this with and have not for many reasons previously stated by other posters.

 

The biggest problem isn't cursive. It's that most wait until 3/4th grade to teach it. Just when they have finally mastered print, they get tossed cursive for maybe 2 years and it's usually dink or swim learning and quickly ditched for typing

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I start with cursive. I don't teach manuscript. I can easily tell which children I have done this with and have not for many reasons previously stated by other posters.

 

The biggest problem isn't cursive. It's that most wait until 3/4th grade to teach it. Just when they have finally mastered print, they get tossed cursive for maybe 2 years and it's usually dink or swim learning and quickly ditched for typing

 

You are exactly right. I have a fondness in my heart for manuscript - I see order in it and have a sentimentality around it. If I didn't have this, I probably would have started my children with cursive because I do see the benefits of learning it early.

 

When I was taught cursive in the 3rd grade, it was exactly like you said. Within a year we were tracked to the computer lab for typing lessons. I never had to write a paper in my own hand, they were always typed. I suspect I might feel differently if I had grown up even 5 years earlier. I might also feel differently if my cursive were pretty in any way. Alas, it still looks like 3rd grade cursive.

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I grew up on computers and think in tippy-tappy, editable fashion.

 

One of my grown sons is "tippy-tappy". I didn't know what I know now about teaching cursive. I did my best to teach the Italic hand that was suggested to me, failed, and then let him do whatever he wanted to do.

 

I don't worry about reading old writing. We don't still write out Ss life Fs, just so people can read old original texts. I worry about about all the aspects of the here and now, though.

 

I too would avoid opening up recently healed wounds over handwriting. Handwriting is a BIG deal here to me and to my students who failed for so many years, but their wounds are not fresh. They are motivated to FINALLY tackle this. It's healing for them, not traumatic. You will know if and when the time is right.

 

If you get a chance, see if your library can get you a copy of Writing Road to Reading 6th edition. Skip all the spelling and integrated language arts information. Just read the handwriting. One of my students was over 50 when I introduced her to the Spalding hand, and she took to it like a duck to water, after giving up decades earlier. It's worth just reading.

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When I was taught cursive in the 3rd grade, it was exactly like you said. Within a year we were tracked to the computer lab for typing lessons. I never had to write a paper in my own hand, they were always typed. I suspect I might feel differently if I had grown up even 5 years earlier. I might also feel differently if my cursive were pretty in any way. Alas, it still looks like 3rd grade cursive.

 

I did write papers in cursive for several years (didn't use a computer to type them until middle school, and I still wrote rough drafts by hand in cursive). My cursive looked like a 3rd grader's as an adult, too. :tongue_smilie: I've fixed it now, and I finally am able to write notes to people in cursive without being embarrassed. I used to just use manuscript for notes.

 

I also have to think too much with cursive (despite writing only in cursive for 5+ years). It is NOT faster for me. If I try to write it fast, it quickly becomes completely illegible. If I want to take notes that I can read later, I use manuscript. It might be partially connected (as everyone does when writing manuscript fast), but it's still manuscript and still readable.

 

My boys are learning cursive. I agree that waiting until 3rd grade is the wrong time. My oldest started it in 3rd, and that was right when manuscript was finally getting easier and he could sit down and write without freaking out or having to think about letter formation. He still has to think about b/d (reverses them a lot), but he notices it most of the time. In cursive, he isn't far enough along to write that way for school work, and I don't want to pause his writing progression to let cursive catch up, nor do I want to deal with a fight about it. He'll be typing his papers as he gets older, so I'm not concerned. (and unfortunately, he's not ready to type a lot yet either - we tried typing a paragraph, and I think writing it in cursive would have been easier :lol: ).

 

My middle son will learn cursive earlier. He's doing manuscript now in K, but will probably switch to cursive sometime in 1st. I did try teaching him cursive first, but he didn't have the hand control to make the letters look much like letters, and his manuscript is quite readable (for a K'er). My goal for my boys is legible handwriting. I don't care if it's manuscript or cursive, as long as it is legible. When I worked as an engineer, I never saw any men use cursive. In my personal life, I don't know any men that use cursive. So I'm completely good with my kids writing in manuscript just as most men in our culture do. Andrew Pudewa (of IEW) says you should teach your boys cursive so they can read their wife's handwriting. :lol: (and yes, I know some men do write in cursive... I just don't personally know any in real life!)

 

I am finding that in 3rd grade, my oldest has the hand control to do nice cursive, and he can do the Pentime workbook on his own, for the most part. That's been pretty handy. I'm not CM-like in handwriting instruction though. No practicing until it's absolutely perfect. That would scar my kids for life, I'm sure. I want it nice looking, but not perfect. I will erase and have them redo it if it's really messy, but if it's just a little part is off, we'll discuss that and move on. I point out and praise any near-perfect letters.

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I think many people need to learn cursive handwriting and phonics at the same time. I teach cursive by copying charts of words broken up by syllables. I think the act of writing each type of syllable needs to be practiced until it becomes automatic. Manuscript can be taught letter by letter, but cursive needs to be taught syllable by syllable.

 

Just like we do algebra slowly if we don't know our addition fact, I don't think cursive handwriting becomes automatic without explicit syllable writing practice.

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If your kids can't read cursive, then don't bother going to the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. Many of those documents (not just the Declaration of Independence and "old fashioned" Constitution) are written in cursive. They are not all faded like the Declaration of Independence, by the way. We have a small reproduction of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which I pull out from time to time. My kids have fun finding the parts that we have memorized and finding the names of the some of the signers. I am glad that they can read those documents rather than think they are just nice looking pieces of artwork.

 

Even if your kids don't need to write in cursive, someday their (old) boss may hand them a note written in cursive. How embarrassing will it be if they can't read it and have to ask someone else what it says? If I were the boss in that situation, I wouldn't necessarily think so highly of that kid.

 

I teach my kids to write in cursive not because I care if they will use it for their own writing or not, but because I definitely want them to be able to read it well. If they can write in cursive, then they will be able to read cursive.

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I think it is important to know how to read and write in cursive. Knowing how to write in cursive means you can read it. 2 birds-1 stone. All the old documents are in cursive. Mushy, lovey dovey birthday cards are in cursive. And at some point in time you need to at least know how to sign your name to sign legal documents and write a check.

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I think a lot of teachers don't know how to teach cursive to people who struggle with it. It goes farther than handwriting and dips in to the areas of multitasking and spelling. Cursive is MUCH harder for some people to write, because they have to think ahead while still writing the letter they are currently writing.

 

Also some teacher are just not given the time to teach cursive.

 

The reality is that we have a whole generation that is going through college now that cannot read and write cursive. I no longer expect educated people, never mind LD and poorly educated people to be able to read cursive. If I want to be read, I know I need to use manuscript for many of the people I write for, including authority figures. I've been specifically practicing manuscript because I need to use it so often.

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As for teachers, again, if cursive were taught as it used to in days forgotten this wouldn't be an issue. They would learn the cursive format when they learn the letter.

 

Again, the bigger problem is the waiting until 3rd or 4th grade. Right when the school work is typically ramping up for the kids, they zap the poor things with also demanding it be written in a new form. This tends to be doubly hard for kids, more boys than girls, who have late blooming fine motor skills. It's much harder to do manuscript than cursive for them. For example, little ones make circles much easier than they connect straight lines. In fact, most love making circles, waves and squiggles for fun over say triangles and boxes.

 

But aside from a literate perspective and aside from what is IMO a more developmentally age appropriate perspective, I do cursive mostly for the brain growth factor. Fascinating stuff to read about actually.

 

I could wax on but I won't. ;p

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As for teachers, again, if cursive were taught as it used to in days forgotten this wouldn't be an issue. They would learn the cursive format when they learn the letter.

 

Again, the bigger problem is the waiting until 3rd or 4th grade. Right when the school work is typically ramping up for the kids, they zap the poor things with also demanding it be written in a new form. This tends to be doubly hard for kids, more boys than girls, who have late blooming fine motor skills. It's much harder to do manuscript than cursive for them. For example, little ones make circles much easier than they connect straight lines. In fact, most love making circles, waves and squiggles for fun over say triangles and boxes.

 

But aside from a literate perspective and aside from what is IMO a more developmentally age appropriate perspective, I do cursive mostly for the brain growth factor. Fascinating stuff to read about actually.

 

I could wax on but I won't. ;p

 

We started in first Grade. She just did her hand in for a grade:

404829_10200564073446497_1175256729_n.jpg

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Why not learn cursive as a mark of a well educated individual.

 

To me saying they can read and write, but not in cursive or worse, not if it isn't typed, is like saying they can do math, but only with a calculator.

 

Typing and calculators have their place, but not has replacements for actual brain growth and development and knowledge. Personally, I forbid both until high school. Even then, it's rare to need them.

 

 

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Honestly? I don't get the big fuss over cursive. I learned in 3rd, had a decent hand through 6th ( cursive was required in elementary school) then promptly reverted to printing. By the End of high school, I was writing so little cursive That I could not manage to write in cursive for the signed statement in my SATs. Now that I am in my 30s, I Have no idea if I could even write in cursive if I had to.

 

My printing is clear and fast. I can certainly print as fast as my mother can write. My mother uses only cursive. I can read cursive quite well. I don't follow that argument. Cursive letters look very much like their printed counterparts. I don't understand why people would have trouble reading cursive unless it is very sloppy or they have literally never seen cursive before. I think a child could be taught to read cursive very easily, without necessarily learning to write in cursive neatly. After all, I can't write in cursive anymore, but I can easily read old documents written in cursive. Besides, the cursive taught today does not really resemble the cursive that was in use at the time the documents were written. In addition, any document, Even as old as the Constitution, let alone older documents, will have spellings and language that will be very difficult for modern children to understand Language changes, and so does writing style. There will always be a demand for those who can understand old documents, but I don't know that elementary age children all need to learn that scale.

 

I do understand that cursive is soothing to some, and that it can calm and focus the mind. I can also list a dozen other topics that would meet those two criteria, including running, mandala making, knitting, meditation, and a host of other practices. I'm sure many people include those topics in their school, but I don't hear anyone arguing that they must all be mandatory. Cursive writing is also pretty, but I don't see that as a reason to require it of all children.

 

I haven't decided yet if we will include cursive writing in our school. I don't think it is a bad thing to teach, and I know many people enjoy it. However, I also don't understand the angst when some choose not to teach it.

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Personally, I think keyboarding CORRECTLY is more important than learning to write beautiful cursive. If kids develop bad typing habits, they're hard to break when they finally take a keyboarding class in middle or high school. Hunt and peck can cripple your communication skills for life. Plus, an interested student can learn to read cursive very quickly (like study a handwriting chart and notice the differences quick) and it doesn't take long to learn to write if you apply yourself and don't have any OT issues. Trinqueta literally learned to write Italic cursive in a week when she decided she wanted to write connected text like the ps kids she saw. Typing required a lot more time and effort on her part and she's still not at a really fluent wpm yet.

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We started in first Grade. She just did her hand in for a grade:

404829_10200564073446497_1175256729_n.jpg

Her handwriting is lovely. I showed it to my four-year-old, who cannot read yet, and she could identify all of the letters except the capital I. I'm not sure if she has ever seen cursive before, it is definitely not been taught explicitly to her and neither of her parents use it.

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Hey, the OP asked for discussion. I'm just chiming in with the opinion I am smart enough to never utter out loud IRL. I'm not mandating anyone do anything. I'm not that powerful anyways. ;p

 

There are many things over the previous 18 years we have taught my children that they might never use as adults. Many things. The difference between African and Asian elephants. How to home brew beer. The proper way to fold a fitted sheet....

I don't base whether they should learn something on how much they will use it as an adult. How could I ever even know that of a 5 year old? Maybe I shouldn't teach American history. Most of the world doesn't even live here and probably lives just fine without knowing what it was like for pioneers conquering the prairie. Maybe one of my kids will go live elsewhere and think all the american history they learned was a total waste of their youth. One could say the same of poetry. Biology. Physics. Music. Anything really.

 

Over the years, what *I* think is vital to our home school has changed in many ways. One of the things I would change if I could go back with my older ones is mandating cursive from the start and doing much more art. Especially for the ones who hated it most.

 

Obviously other people's mileage might vary considerably from mine. :)

 

 

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Personally, I think keyboarding CORRECTLY is more important than learning to write beautiful cursive. If kids develop bad typing habits, they're hard to break when they finally take a keyboarding class in middle or high school. Hunt and peck can cripple your communication skills for life. Plus, an interested student can learn to read cursive very quickly (like study a handwriting chart and notice the differences quick) and it doesn't take long to learn to write if you apply yourself and don't have any OT issues. Trinqueta literally learned to write Italic cursive in a week when she decided she wanted to write connected text like the ps kids she saw. Typing required a lot more time and effort on her part and she's still not at a really fluent wpm yet.

 

My husband has trained people on computers and with computers for over 15 years and says people under 30/40ish rarely have communication problems because of hunt and peck keyboarding issues. For them it's an issue of typing like they text. They don't spell check. They don't edit at all. For those older, hunt and peck might lower the pace of their communication, but at least they are communicating with some level of literacy.

 

As for how long it takes... It doesn't take long to learn to type either. I had not had anyone until your post who would say typing was harder than writing cursive.

 

Just goes to show, there's an exception to every rule I suppose. :)

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PachiSusan, that is beautiful.

 

To others here, some students can learn to COPY cursive beautifully, but do not have brains that are constructed in such a way that allows them to easily COMPOSE in cursive, without at least being given explicit phonics instruction at the same time they are learning cursive. For some students even explicit instruction in phonics and spelling will not be enough to help them multitask enough to compose joined letters, even if they can easily copy them.

 

Writing in manuscript is just writing in manuscript. Cursive writing is a fuller brain and body activity, with added struggles and benefits.

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As for how long it takes... It doesn't take long to learn to type either. I had not had anyone until your post who would say typing was harder than writing cursive.

 

Just goes to show, there's an exception to every rule I suppose. :)

 

I think our definition of good typing skills might be a bit different.

 

My typing class was 60 minutes a day for an entire school year. At the end of it, we could all type at least 60 wpm. That's a skill that's stood me in good stead my entire adult life. I've gotten lots of comments about how amazing it is that I can type without looking at my fingers and can type from dictation. That only comes with a lot of practice and time spent working on the skill. Sure, you can get through life typing 30 wpm and needing to glance at the keyboard occasionally, but it will hinder your ability to crank out work under pressure.

 

OTOH, except for a signature, you can easily get through life without cursive or with your own personal hybrid manual/cursive. Almost no one uses standard Zaner Bloser cursive as an adult. And, now that I think about it, most signatures are not ZB cursive, most people personalize at least a few of the letters. It's much more important to have legible manuscript to fill out forms, because you'll be doing that a lot in your adult life.

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Personally, I think keyboarding CORRECTLY is more important than learning to write beautiful cursive. If kids develop bad typing habits, they're hard to break when they finally take a keyboarding class in middle or high school. Hunt and peck can cripple your communication skills for life. Plus, an interested student can learn to read cursive very quickly (like study a handwriting chart and notice the differences quick) and it doesn't take long to learn to write if you apply yourself and don't have any OT issues. Trinqueta literally learned to write Italic cursive in a week when she decided she wanted to write connected text like the ps kids she saw. Typing required a lot more time and effort on her part and she's still not at a really fluent wpm yet.

 

 

I think there is an esoteric quality to cursive that is sad to lose. It's just another beautiful thing from our past gone. I feel the same way about band and the arts going away. We are losing the beautiful things and getting too much "get 'er done" attitude in our society.

 

I miss the beauty.

 

I agree that correct keyboarding is essential to this day and age. I don't think they are mutually exclusive. :)

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I think our definition of good typing skills might be a bit different.

 

My typing class was 60 minutes a day for an entire school year. At the end of it, we could all type at least 60 wpm. That's a skill that's stood me in good stead my entire adult life. I've gotten lots of comments about how amazing it is that I can type without looking at my fingers and can type from dictation. That only comes with a lot of practice and time spent working on the skill. Sure, you can get through life typing 30 wpm and needing to glance at the keyboard occasionally, but it will hinder your ability to crank out work under pressure.

 

Well our definition might be different if you think 60 WPM is somehow excellent. Everyone my dh works with has to type fast for most of every day. Newbies taking entry level jobs usually can't even get the job if they can't do 55 wpm on the proficiency tests that are part of the interview process. That is fairly typical of any job requiring lots of data entry and typing skills. It's not that hard to bring skill up to that wpm level. It certainly doesn't take a year to get there if typing is their primary form of communication and writing on a daily basis.

 

OTOH, except for a signature, you can easily get through life without cursive or with your own personal hybrid manual/cursive. Almost no one uses standard Zaner Bloser cursive as an adult. And, now that I think about it, most signatures are not ZB cursive, most people personalize at least a few of the letters. It's much more important to have legible manuscript to fill out forms, because you'll be doing that a lot in your adult life.

 

 

Again, I know many people base what they teach on what they think will be used most in work life as an adult. I never made any claims that a person can't live a productive life without cursive. I think there are many things taught in school that if omitted they will still go on to be productive adults with happy lives. We teach those things because we still feel strongly it is still valuable to teach them. For me, cursive is one of those things.:)

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I never made any claims that a person can't live a productive life without cursive. I think there are many things taught in school that if omitted they will still go on to be productive adults with happy lives. We teach those things because we still feel strongly it is still valuable to teach them. For me, cursive is one of those things. :)

 

 

Yes, this, Martha! I agree!

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I think there is an esoteric quality to cursive that is sad to lose. It's just another beautiful thing from our past gone. I feel the same way about band and the arts going away. We are losing the beautiful things and getting too much "get 'er done" attitude in our society.

 

I miss the beauty.

 

I agree that correct keyboarding is essential to this day and age. I don't think they are mutually exclusive. :)

 

 

Not only that it is beautiful, but that physical arts literally affects brain growth and development. It seems the main point of education has been reduced to nothing more than acquiring basic office job skills. Which certainly have as much value as any career skills, but I don't think it should be ellivated above all else to determine over all education. That closes a lot of doors a young person can explore and a considerable amount of diversity in brain development.

 

Just as with penmanship, I do agree that keyboarding should be done with proper posture and hand positioning. It aids with accuracy, neatness (for penmanship), adds endurance for long sessions, and reduces hand and back tension.

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I do teach cursive. It does have it's value but I don't see the big deal if you don't teach cursive. I'm 35 and have never had to use it with the exception of signing something (and when we learned it in elementary school). I usually end up writing so fast it's a print/cursive combination anyways, it hasn't ruined me. :tongue_smilie:

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And then, there are those who say we're not waiting long enough to teach cursive. ;)

 

I don't base whether they should learn something on how much they will use it as an adult.

 

This is an interesting point, and one of the distinctives between a classical and progressive education. I find that I'm selecting the scope and sequence of our school more and more for how it will help my DC develop as human beings, rather than just for utilitarian purposes. For instance, I would like my students to benefit from the fine motor skills and accompanying brain development that comes from practicing handwriting.

 

There are practical considerations of the real world as well, so I'm in the camp of teaching all three skills: printing, cursive, and typing.

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Not only that it is beautiful, but that physical arts literally affects brain growth and development.

 

Brain development/repair and self-soothing are not considered important here in the USA, even though they ARE as important here as in the rest of the world. The early 1900s were so much more enlightened about brain development than we are now. I love reading the vintage teacher's manuals.

 

Too many people think we can drug away the problems arising because of the new educational practices. Things are getting so out of balance that soon there will have to be some reversal. Things just have not gotten as bad as they can yet. It's coming though, and soon, because the trends are only picking up steam, not slowing down.

 

People think they cannot afford not to move forward as they are. The truth is that we cannot afford to do what we are doing. Mental health care costs are spiking uncontrollably, and as expensive as the drugs are, they are not alleviating the symptoms people are having that are making them less productive.

 

We have minds, bodies and souls. We are not merely brains attached to soulless expendable bodies.

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Again, the bigger problem is the waiting until 3rd or 4th grade. Right when the school work is typically ramping up for the kids, they zap the poor things with also demanding it be written in a new form.

 

Completely agree with this, as I'm seeing it in my own son, which is why I'm not requiring all his school work to be in cursive anytime soon. He *just* this year was finally able to write words on paper without having to think about how to form every letter, how to spell each little word, etc. At 8.5, he *still* reverses b/d sometimes (not every time, thankfully). He is still having to think to write. It's not quite automatic, but it's getting close. If I were to switch him to all cursive right now, he'd probably lose all confidence in writing, which he was finally starting to gain. :tongue_smilie:

 

This tends to be doubly hard for kids, more boys than girls, who have late blooming fine motor skills. It's much harder to do manuscript than cursive for them. For example, little ones make circles much easier than they connect straight lines. In fact, most love making circles, waves and squiggles for fun over say triangles and boxes.

 

This part I have a hard time believing. First, K'ers in school are typically taught capital manuscript letters first because they're straight lines and easy to write. Then they do lowercase. These kids then write in mostly caps until about 1st grade, when the teacher starts making them do lowercase like they're supposed to. There is a transition period. Now you might say, "Don't teach capitals first!", but here's my experience with my own kids... Kid #1: taught to write in school, wrote in all caps, then gradually went to lowercase when required, Kid #2: taught by me LOWERCASE FIRST, still prefers capital letters because they are easier for him, currently writes in a mix of mostly caps and some lowercase despite me having taught lowercase first (he copied the caps to learn them), Kid #3: hasn't been taught either one yet (he's 3.5), but he writes in mostly caps except for a few letters like 'i', finds capital letters very easy to write - with either hand. :D

 

I'm not sure where you're getting that circles and squiggles would be easier to control in a handwriting setting. Yes, these kids might like drawing circles and squiggles, but controlling them enough to make them letters and words? I highly doubt that that's easier for a young kid. My DS2 wanted to learn cursive at age 5, so I started to teach him... It was much harder for him than writing in manuscript, and it wasn't going to be readable anytime soon. He has a very hard time controlling a curve and keeping it smooth as cursive requires. He can do straight line capital letters all day long. Now maybe my 3 kids are an anomaly, but I'm doubting that, since I've seen the same thing with other people's kids.

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Some people here teach English grammar by first teaching Latin. I'm now having a VERY difficult time teaching English grammar to students with no Latin/Greek/Hebrew background, but I'm choosing to push through with learning new methods, for the group I am CURRENTLY working with. Often there is more than one way of doing things. Some ways are just time tested to be more efficient for large numbers of people. If I still had children of my own, I'd still be teaching English Grammar alongside an ancient inflected language.

 

Cursive is not the ONLY way to develop/repair the brain, but it's a GOOD one. It's been pulled out of the curriculum and not replaced with anything else. It's akin to pulling out the Latin, and not increasing the English grammar lessons; it leaves some holes.

 

As for speed, when cursive is taught RIGHT to people with neurotypical minds, MOST of them are able to write faster in cursive than manuscript. When Cursive is taught WRONG to people with atypical minds, MOST of them will write much slower in cursive. I honestly believe that I can predict which students will eventually write slower or faster in cursive before beginning to teach them. For some students with certain types of STEM minds, forcing cursive is like typing one of their hands behind their back. It might even be cruel.

 

I'm pro cursive first as a DEFAULT method of teaching handwriting, but defaults should never be adhered to for ALL students. Defaults are just a good place to start the masses.

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This part I have a hard time believing. First, K'ers in school are typically taught capital manuscript letters first because they're straight lines and easy to write. Then they do lowercase. These kids then write in mostly caps until about 1st grade, when the teacher starts making them do lowercase like they're supposed to. There is a transition period. Now you might say, "Don't teach capitals first!", but here's my experience with my own kids...

 

I don't know what I would do with an early writer. Straight lines ARE easier than curves. My gifted child was atypical and writing was not where he showed his precocity. Since my default method is to use uppercase manuscript with lowercase vertical cursive, I think I would let the child write in all caps first.

 

Adam had his weeds. Teacher's have their equivalent. No matter what methods we choose, there seems to be sweat, toil and tears. Yes, there is a harvest, but it seems like whatever plot we cultivate, there is some type of weed we must battle with. I think that's just the way life is, whether you believe in the early curse or not.

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Cursive is not the ONLY way to develop/repair the brain, but it's a GOOD one. It's been pulled out of the curriculum and not replaced with anything else. It's akin to pulling out the Latin, and not increasing the English grammar lessons; it leaves some holes.

 

Well stated!

 

As for not believing me about cursive being easier... *shrug* I can't make a believer out of you. Young children make controlled continuous movements easier than controlled disconnected and reconnected stick shapes. I have no reason to lie about it.

 

As for a neurotypical kid going all the way to first grade writing only in manuscript caps.... Sigh. There is no reason for that. *smh*

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As for not believing me about cursive being easier... *shrug* I can't make a believer out of you. Young children make controlled continuous movements easier than controlled disconnected and reconnected stick shapes. I have no reason to lie about it.

 

 

 

Waldorf teaches form drawing. The children are taught forms with both curved and straight lines. Teachers with experience teaching both neurotypical and atypical children will actually mention how hard it is for atypical children, at 7 and 8 years old, to make curved lines. On the other hand, some of the neurotypical children struggle with the straight lines.

 

Waldorf teaches all caps to the 7 year old first grade class. Lowercase letters are not introduced until the 8 year old second grade class. I think the introduction of cursive varies, but usually coincides with the introduction of the fountain pen. I think the all caps letter writing is done with stick crayons, and the mixed lowercase and uppercase are done with colored pencils.

 

I respect the Waldorf teachers experiences with documenting the ease and difficulty of writing straight and curved lines, more than any other source. I believe them that it varies from child to child.

 

I find this type of stuff fascinating. I hope i'm not sounding too preachy! I'm just a borderline Aspie and I'm writing about something that fascinates me. I know I need to remember to talk to people not at them, but sometimes that is hard. Please forgive me if I'm crossing over into rudeness.

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As for not believing me about cursive being easier... *shrug* I can't make a believer out of you. Young children make controlled continuous movements easier than controlled disconnected and reconnected stick shapes. I have no reason to lie about it.

 

I don't think you're lying. I just see no reason to believe you (one can believe something that is incorrect - they are not lying when they state that thing as fact). You've presented no evidence, and my own children have proven it to be incorrect as a general rule, so yeah... why should I believe that young children can make controlled continuous movements easier than controlled disconnected movements? My children have ALL found manuscript capital letters easier than lowercase manuscript or lowercase cursive, despite only ONE of them being taught capitals first.

 

As for a neurotypical kid going all the way to first grade writing only in manuscript caps.... Sigh. There is no reason for that. *smh*

 

I didn't say that. I said they write in a mix of mostly caps and some lowercase letters. In my son's private school, first grade was when they clamped down hard on the kids and made them write properly. Does it have to be done that way? No. I think they could have been writing in all lowercase by the end of K, or at least some of the kids could (my son probably could have if he'd been pushed harder). But again, the capital letters were easier for the kids. That's why they do that mix. Even my kids who was taught lowercase letters FIRST still uses mostly caps. My kid that hasn't been taught anything formal yet uses mostly caps. So why do my kids prefer caps if lowercase would be so much easier? I don't get it. They're mostly seeing lowercase. Their reading lessons are lowercase. So if what you say is true, they should be naturally defaulting to lowercase (and/or teaching DS2 cursive should have been easier than manuscript).

 

So no, I don't believe you. I don't think you're lying. You truly believe what you're saying. I just don't know where you got it from (possibly the makers of a cursive first type program?), but it doesn't at all match up to my experience with all 3 of my kids who were all very different from each other. And so far, no identifiable LD's are involved in my kids. One is "gifted", and the other two may also be, but they're otherwise neurotypical. My oldest has been slower with fine motor skills, but still "at grade level". We tried cursive last year in 2nd grade, and it was a no-go. This year in 3rd, he's able to do it. Again, manuscript is just plain easier for him (and his manuscript looks very nice as long as I give him small lines to write on). I'm trying to wrap my brain around curves being easier for young children, and I just don't see it, when all of my DS2's curves are so wobbly. He has a hard time doing curves. He can do straight lines no problem, and he doesn't have any issues connecting those straight lines to form capital letters. That's why he writes in mostly caps. I've been trying and trying to get him to write his name properly, and he still insists in putting in a couple extra capital letters, despite me NEVER teaching him to write his name in all caps. I wrote it properly from the start. Same goes for my 3 year old. I always write his name properly, and he does a mixture of caps and lowercase (and he has good fine motor skills - can draw a circle and have the ends touch perfectly... with either hand).

 

Really, I *wanted* to teach cursive first, but my kids have just not been ready for cursive at 5 years old. My 3rd grader is doing much better with cursive, and my experience seems to be falling more in line with what that Smith guy in the article posted above was saying about boys being ready for cursive as late as 5th grade. Now I don't necessarily believe him either (like you, he gives me no evidence to back up his statements), but my experience with my kids is following the pattern that he mentioned.

 

Ok, and the funny for the day... As I type this, my 3 year old is sitting in my lap, "sky writing"... He says, "That is how you make an L!" (capital), "That is how you make an A!" (capital), "That is how you make a square!" (connecting straight lines), "That is how you make a D!" (capital), "That is how you make a B!" (capital) "That is how you make a lowercase b!"... eventually he got to a circle as well. :lol:

 

I think as some other posters have said, it will probably vary from kid to kid as to what is easier. I know some kids do great with cursive first, and if it works, go for it! It just hasn't worked in my house. I tried. I wanted it to work. It just... didn't. But hey, the kids are getting good brain training in other ways (like Latin), so it's all good. :D

 

Btw, thinking back to my kids' art... They start with stick figures - straight lines being put together. They don't naturally draw bodies - continuous curved lines. Maybe those kids who are able to move beyond stick figures at 4 or 5 years old are better at doing cursive earlier? I know in my son's K class, there were some kids drawing a nice family with bodies instead of stick figures - they were quite good at drawing! My son could barely do the stick figures (actually, when asked to draw his family, he took a bunch of crayons in his fist and did a rainbow... but if he tried to do people, it was always stick figures).

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