Thursday, May 1, 2008

Is Handwriting a Lost Art?

I'm trying to decide between teaching my girls (Maya & Elena) cursive or typing this year. It seems that no one writes in cursive anymore. I lost my beautiful handwriting sometime in grad school. (There's a reason doctors have awful handwriting. It's a skill you lose while taking notes at lightning speed.) Now I mainly just print. And I, um, do quite a bit of typing.

So, what do you think?

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Jamie Wooddell said...

I say do both. There are lots of free typing classes online. As for cursive, Max is so excited about learning it. I remember being his age and learning cursive. It was so exciting to be able to do something only "grown-ups" knew how to do. I think Max thinks of it the same way. He even likes converting his copywork into cursive.
Besides, would CM approve of skipping it altogether?

Ginger said...

I'm not going to do them both at the same time, so which did you vote I do first?
There weren't even computers in CM's day, so I'm not convinced this applies. What online typing programs have you found? I've only found one that's any good and the voices are all British. Please share!

Lee said...

There is such a beautiful discipline in learning cursive...I think it would be a real shame to let it die. Of course, we are going to use typing more and more but I think we have a responsibility to keep handwriting alive.

teambettendorf said...

We do both. Cursive takes 10 minutes and typing takes 20 minutes a day. But I voted typing first. :)

Michelle said...

I say both as well. We do 10 minutes of each. Mavis Beacon is the best typing program IMO, hands down. If I could only do one, I'd say typing, but chances are if you do Mavis Beacon you won't have to require them to do it because they'll want to do it on their own:-)

The Herd said...

I vote cursive first then typing...but I do think that I think that way b/c that's what I learned! So, I don't think that there is one right way...I do think that it's very important to learn cursive too...this is how I think---how awful to be in a country and not know how to write in all ways. I never print, unless I have to. I take notes quicker in cursive. Of course, I love to type the most!!

In Russia, we will have to learn print and cursive and typing--so I just apply how I feel in their country to how I don't want my kids to feel ignorant here:)

Jenni said...

I think it is best to do both. To me, I would assess my child's skill level with writing before determining which one to do first. Both cursive and typing develop fine motor skills in different ways.

It doesn't have to be a one size fits all decision. I would teach both starting with the one that would be less frustrating for each child. For example, I have a 6 year old son for whom writing is a breeze. I also have a 5 year old daughter who has a much more difficult time with writing.

I know that many days it seems that the only time you "need" cursive is for officially signing your name, but I think it is important not to lose the ability.

Ginger said...

Elena really wants to learn cursive. Maya seems indifferent. Kyle says to do typing first. I'm not giving my opinion just yet. I'm enjoying the discussion. ;)

Jamie Wooddell said...

Why don't you have Elena learn cursive while Maya learns typing. Then switch! Cursive seems right up Elena's alley. That's for sure.

Mike's co-worker, Nick was just telling me today that he had to take penmanship in high school in Canada. They had to learn to write with a quill pen. Because you can't press too hard on a fountain pen, they were forced to have a light hand which makes for better strokes. Very interesting!

I'll have to look again for the typing resources.

Jenni said...

Hi Ginger,

I will try to clarify my response like you asked. :)

I see value in teaching both cursive and typing, as for which to teach first, I think it depends on each individual child. Personally, I like to start with things that are less media-centric, so I would feel pulled toward the cursive, but that is just me. :)

Now, I know that you are in a similar situation to me, in that you have many little ones and teaching the same subject at the same time is definitely more time efficient. I was just saying, that if you felt like you had one more ready for cursive and another more ready for typing, than perhaps you could have them start with the one they are more inclined toward. This could also be applied if one or more of the children are especially excited about trying or learning one over the other. It is great to indulge their enthusiasm for learning something new when it is already on your list of things you want to teach them!

I hope this is more clear than my last response. To sum it up, I lean more towards cursive instruction first. However, I believe in exceptions since each child is an individual, and nobody knows their own children better than their own Mama.

Anonymous said...

Cursive- If you don't do it yourself-can you lead by example? Typing-do you do more typing? Which one do you excel at and this should be the one you choose first. Simple enough. Heather G.

Nealy said...

I think that at the ages of your children, it will be easier for them to learn typing now. Preteens could start learning cursive more as an artform that demonstrates their personality. Cursive writing will take more practice than typing, but I think it's well worth developing - it reflects who you are as an individual and separates you from the rest of the pack. Although we don't write in cursive like we used to, you just can't print your name; it has to be your "brand." If you don't learn to write effectively in cursive, how will you sign checks - we still do occasionally - or sign legal documents?

Julie said...

I have my kids learn cursive. We do the Transition book in A Reason For Handwriting, then the last book. We don't spend a lot of time on it and I don't require it to be perfect, just neat and readable. I figure it is a good skill for them to have under their belt. :)
I plan to start typing for my 11 year old sometime this year when she finishes the last book of A Reason For Handwriting.

NewKidontheBlogg said...

I am basically retired but substitute teach (can be awful) and teach a class for first time drivers. You would think youth would want a signature on their driver's license, wouldn't you. When I teach I often do my "Old Lady Rap and pass out a cursive writing guide. Here is my "Rap".

Don’t you just print
Let me give a hint
If you want a future bright
Scribbling is a poor sight
Learn to write it right
Do it with all your might
In fact it will be swell
If you learn to spell
On an application they can tell
If in school you listened well
To get ahead you’ve got to communicate
Keep your temper and learn to relate
Life won’t be all texting
And using spell check
Life isn’t a muscle flexing
Learn it now what the heck.
Let’s write right
Your signature is such a sight
We may think you’re someone else.
Give me a signature
I’ll give you a song
Make it in cursive
And we’ll get along.

By being pleasant I make my point often and youth take a copy of cursive I give them!

Love this blog.

Carol Noren Johnson