Jump to content

Menu

handwriting for a STEM focused child


Elisabet1
 Share

Recommended Posts

My children tend toward STEM and this particular child says he plans to be an engineer, which I believe.

 

Problem is that his handwriting is awful. He is end of 4th grade. His cursive was picking up and doing OK. But his print was so bad that we could not read his spelling tests or his math answers. So we decided to back up and work on print. Of course, in working with print, his cursive has gone downhill. I feel like we have to chose.

 

It seems that in life, no one needs cursive anymore. If a person is writing a paper, they will type it. But for math and science, you need print to label things and such. Yet, I really want my children to master both print and cursive. However, with this particular child, that does not seem possible. 

 

So what would you focus on? The print or the cursive?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just started my kids on Logic of English cursive and they like that it is so logical. Everything is broken into strokes (like Peterson Directed) but the letters are simpler.

 

I'm having my kids basically teach themselves (ages 7 and 9) and their handwriting is looking great. I'm actually floored because we've tried other things without success.

 

I jumped to this after realizing that their handwriting was not improving with Getty-Dubay Italic because they were just looking at letters and trying to copy them. LOE actually gives memorizable steps for forming the cursive letters. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a similar issue where, at the end of 4th grade, I'm finding some big holes in certain areas which I thought were gaining ground. I have realized that, since middle school is looming I really need to focus on what's important. You basically have one year left before middle school at at that point math alone takes over one hour every day.

 

I am not really telling you to drop cursive but just sharing my thoughts.

 

If he can read cursive well, that might be enough. I just recently stopped pushing the cursive issue with my 6th grader and he's so happy that I wonder why I bothered for so long. (However he wrote in cursive exclusively for 4 school years so his cursive is well established so granted it's a different scenario but I still think it applies because I can tell you be experience it's probably a losing battle especially once your ds learns to type!)

 

So there are some thoughts for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember in drafting class they stressed how important it was to have legible printing.  We even spent a day on printing in class.  

Since he is Engineering focused, maybe find a Drafting 101 book and look through it ahead of time for a section on printing text.  Then have him read that.  It wasn't a problem for me, but I know several others in class groaning when their work was marked off for bad handwriting.  

It might be because he doesn't see handwriting as an important Engineering skill.  When often it is.  When Engineers are working together on a project, it starts out in the head and they have write things out.  As an Engineer, I have to say that I would think less of one with crappy handwriting.  There is something imprecise and sloppy about it.  Engineering is many things, but it is neither imprecise nor sloppy.    Prettiness doesn't matter, though.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Print.  As long as his print is legible, anyone anywhere would be able to read it and understand.  Not everyone can read cursive and it is important there is no miscommunication due to handwriting when you are leaving notes for a colleague to follow up on.

In the old days, engineering drafting would even have letterings done by stencils if the teacher is very particular. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

JMO, but DS is still quite young and might be struggling with other issues that are interfering with handwriting. He may have an improper grip on the pencil or his fine motor skills or hand coordination may be weak, so printing or cursive would still be hard, which leads to poor writing.

 

I'd suggest first making sure DS's grip on the pencil is not a "death grip" or that his hand is way curved around the pencil, and that his finger placement is optimal. Here are a few images and explanations of what to look for:

OT Mom Learning Activities: Correct Pencil Grip

Handwriting Without Tears: 4 Steps to Teach Correct Grip

The Annonymous OT: When To Fix a Pencil Grip

 

You may even want to have DS start with a pencil gripper to help position his fingers and hand more naturally.

 

I'd also suggest trying 5-10 minutes of daily strengthening exercises (outside of school hours, so all the handwriting and exercises are falling at the same time and exhausting the muscles). Here are some good ones: OT Mom Learning Activities to Improve Handwriting: Hand Exercises, and, Finger Exercises.

 

Finally, something that really helped our DS who struggled with the act of handwriting was 5 minutes a day of Callirobics (see a sample). Callirobics is 3-5 minute chunks of music, with the student repeating a series of loops, or jagged lines, etc., that mimic print and cursive letter shapes. The music helps the student go at a steady, flowing pace -- not so slow as to be laboriously "drawing" each repeated shape, and not so fast as to race to fill a page with sloppy barely similar shapes, but at a rate where the student is, without strain or effort and without starting-stopping, making each loop touch the top and bottom of the lines on the paper, for example. We did it together, and I have to say, we BOTH saw improvement in our handwriting (print and cursive) quality!

 

Once you have any "kinks" worked out of DS's writing, then you can proceed to practice cursive for a year, and see where he is with his writing, and decide at that point whether to continue the cursive, or focus on manuscript.

 

Again, JMO, but I would persevere through the end of 6th grade with handwriting. After that, as Calming Tea said, other priorities rise to the top for accomplishing in middle school. Elementary grades (through 5th or 6th grade) you still have the time to work on things like handwriting. BEST of luck in your handwriting journey! Warmly, Lori D.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to add that I don't think cursive is a hill to die on.

BUT I do think STEM-focused kids do better with a handwriting that is logically broken into strokes and not based on copying, whether this is cursive or print. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to add that I don't think cursive is a hill to die on.

 

 

Totally agree. :)

 

We worked on cursive for 3 years, but that was also because it was part of the "package" of mild LDs we were working on with DS. At the end of 6th grade, we let go of cursive, as it clearly was not happening for DS. He has a signature, and if he really, really works at it, he can decipher and read a short paragraph of very clean cursive writing.

 

Working on pencil grip, and then using the Callirobics and the Dianne Craft "writing 8s" exercises (both of which we discovered when DS was about 10th grade) had a much bigger overall positive impact for DS with his mild writing LDs. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm an engineer, I sign my name and sign cards to people and other than that everything is done on a computer.  In college we had an intro to engineering class where they stressed block letters.  When I have marked up a drawing it is in all caps block letters and had to be neat.  I would focus on printing being neat and may switch using block letters.  Do be sure that he can read cursive though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...