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Not teaching cursive

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
My son (9.5) is not interested in learning cursive beyond a signature. He seems to be able to read cursive for the most part. I'm curious if anyone else has just "skipped" cursive with their kids. When I think of all I want them to learn, and prioritize it, cursive doesn't seem very important to me (esp if it's not important to him). He is, on the other hand, eager to do a typing program so he can use the keyboard w/o hunting and pecking
post #2 of 33
IMO it's important to be able to read cursive, and sign your name. It's not important to be able to write in lovely cursive.

However, it is nice to have a way to write that is faster and more relaxed that straight up and down manuscript. I am having our sons learn the "modern manuscript" style. It's similar to D'Nealian or the Barchowsky styles...an italic print that can be joined if you want to.

I want to do this for them because my dad would only hand-write in all caps (using large and small caps but still all caps) that were straight up and down. It was slow and an effort for him. His preference was to type everything and he had typewriters scattered through our house. He typed things most people would never have imagined taking the trouble to type, because it really was easier for him - and these were old manual typewriters. I used to think it was quirky but now I think it's sad that he found it so difficult to write by hand. I want to give our sons a way to write by hand that is easy for them.
post #3 of 33
I personally feel that learning cursive is important. It's very important to know how to read cursive and it's fairly important to be able to write in cursive. I've seen adults who do not know how and it's very time consuming to for them to write anything by hand and it's a bit of a handicap to not be able to read it, almost to the point of being a type of illiteracy. It would also be tough for an adult to advance in many careers without penmanship skills.

My dad teaches at a middle and high school level in a private school. He has had several students who transfer in from public schools and are unable to read or write cursive. He writes all his outlines and handouts in cursive script and those students who have been unable to read them are forced to have someone (usually their parents) 'translate'. They are also frequently unable to keep up with note taking because printing is generally more time consuming. This may not be an issue while homeschooling but could be a real problem in college and in adult life. I can't imagine how much time I would have wasted since I was a child if I was only able to print!
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post
I personally feel that learning cursive is important. It's very important to know how to read cursive and it's fairly important to be able to write in cursive. I've seen adults who do not know how and it's very time consuming to for them to write anything by hand and it's a bit of a handicap to not be able to read it, almost to the point of being a type of illiteracy. It would also be tough for an adult to advance in many careers without penmanship skills.

My dad teaches at a middle and high school level in a private school. He has had several students who transfer in from public schools and are unable to read or write cursive. He writes all his outlines and handouts in cursive script and those students who have been unable to read them are forced to have someone (usually their parents) 'translate'. They are also frequently unable to keep up with note taking because printing is generally more time consuming. This may not be an issue while homeschooling but could be a real problem in college and in adult life. I can't imagine how much time I would have wasted since I was a child if I was only able to print!
I don't understand the idea that cursive is faster to write than printing. I can print very fast, and although I learned cursive in school, it seems so laborious and slow. The only thing I ever write in cursive is my signature.

I'm trying to imagine the scenario where lacking the ability to write in cursive could hinder a person's career. Really? I've worked in various demanding, interesting fields, and I've certainly never been asked to write in cursive. On the contrary, we live in the 21st century, when typing skills are paramount. If the OP's son is interested in learning to type, I would absolutely encourage that rather than insisting on an obsolete form of communication.
post #5 of 33
I think whether writing cursive is faster or not is individual, to some extent. It's faster for me, but my husband chooses mostly to print and that's faster for him, uppercase block letters, at that - probably because his early career involved a lot of architectural drafting. We've never had a race to see if his printing or my cursive is faster. His block printing doesn't seem laborious or slow.

I think it's still important to learn to read and write cursive, because it's a mode of communication still in use in our society. It's not totally archaic yet. Reading it is arguably more important than writing it. I can't imagine very many situations where not being able to write it well would be that much of a problem if one is able to print quickly, comfortably and legibly, but writing cursive is a good way to learn to read it. I would personally feel handicapped if I was unable to write cursive, but much more so if I was unable to read it. I want my kids to learn it well enough that they can do it if they choose or if it's necessary for some reason, but basic proficiency is good enough IMO.
post #6 of 33
My now 16yo son, refused to learn how to write cursive. He can barely sign his name. But that is by choice. He was public schooled up till the 6th grade and was unschooled for half the 6th and half the 7th grade.
We have talked about his "signature" and he prefers to print his name.
That is ok with me....as he is old enough to choose what he wants to do. I think that we should allow the child to decide what he or she wants to learn.
post #7 of 33
Some of these adults that cannot write in cursive or only write in print have undiagnosed fine motor skill issues or other learning disabilities.

My dad is dyslexic his atrocious writing was a way to "cover up" an unforgiving school system.

We have a friend that is a physical therapist. She is amazed at how many of her patients and 30 something friends that have fine motor skill issues.

I do find that learning to write, there for read, helps aid in reading the variety of fonts in our world.

Since I have a kid with motor skills issue learning to write in cursive was developing that skill.

If you son doesn't want to learn please evaluate his motor skills. His lack of desire might be an hidden issue. Or it could be that he just doesn't want to learn. Boys are more prone to fine motor skill issues.

Have you looked into calligraphy?
post #8 of 33
My 10.5 yo son has dysgraphia and dyslexia. Printing is hard enough for him despite 2 years of occupational therapy for handwriting. So I'm just going to teach him to read cursive and to sign his name and otherwise he prints and will type. Because of his learning issues, typing will be a boon for him. Now if I can just get him interested in that!
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by kindchen View Post
I don't understand the idea that cursive is faster to write than printing. I can print very fast, and although I learned cursive in school, it seems so laborious and slow. The only thing I ever write in cursive is my signature.

I'm trying to imagine the scenario where lacking the ability to write in cursive could hinder a person's career. Really? I've worked in various demanding, interesting fields, and I've certainly never been asked to write in cursive. On the contrary, we live in the 21st century, when typing skills are paramount. If the OP's son is interested in learning to type, I would absolutely encourage that rather than insisting on an obsolete form of communication.
Scenarios:
A)
A young man or woman is taking a college class. There is a pop quiz and students are asked to grade each other's papers while the professor goes over the test (this happened most every day for me in college chemistry which is why I use this example). The cursive-illiterate student has to ask the person who exchanged test with them what each word says. It's both embarrassing and disruptive. It could, in theory, cause the student's grade to be lower if the professor didn't like the constant interruptions. It could also play out as a student being unable to participate in a study group because the students exchange papers for proofreading and some of the other students have chosen to handwrite, rather than type, their rough draft (I did this frequently in college since I had to walk quite a ways to a computer lab to print anything as I didn't have a printer in my dorm room).
B)
The student has now been hired by a local business. In a group of employees the new employee is given a handwritten memo. The employee must ask someone else to read the memo to them because they don't know how to read cursive script. The employee is now looked upon as less than intelligent and is eventually passed over for promotions.
C)
The employee gets a new job as an executive assistant. They do lots of tasks such as running errands and planning the logistics of meetings. One day they are asked to write up some quick place cards for a business lunch. After they are written in print the boss asks that they be redone in script so as to look nicer for the new clients coming in. The employee cannot write in cursive and must either admit it or quickly find someone else to do it.
D)
The employee is now is this meeting and is handed a list by the boss. The boss tells the employee to go fetch these items quickly. The employee cannot read the cursive the note is written in, cannot find anyone to translate it, and must admit to the boss that they never learned how to read cursive. It would take a really nice boss to keep someone like this on their payroll in the business world.
E)
A student decides to become a teacher and is unable to correct work turned in by students who write in cursive. Parents complain that their child's homework takes too long because the teacher insists it must be printed.
F)
This isn't regarding school or a job but can you imagine receiving a formal invitation and not being able to read it? Any time an adult who does not know how to read cursive or can only read it with much trouble is in a situation where they have to read it, especially in front of others, they will be embarrassed and be viewed as uneducated.

I know these are all really specific situations but they are to illustrate that knowing how to read and write cursive is an important and not yet antiquated skill. Learning typing skills is very important but so is cursive.
post #10 of 33
My 8 yr old DD can do cursive writing but I don't teach it or expect it. She barely does well at writing in manuscript. She hates writing and gets bored very easily. I will take what I can get at this point, lol.
post #11 of 33
Personally, I think cursive is outdated. I see less and less of it being used - yes, sometimes on invitations or fancy signs, but rarely do I see it used at any length and I feel that it is no longer the norm for informal handwritten notes. And thank goodness; although I had the full course of cursive instruction in school, I find it very tiresome to decode people's cursive handwriting. If they must write by hand, I greatly prefer printing. When I see a page written in cursive, my first reaction is "how old-fashioned, wish they'd just typed it because it's going to take me twice as long to read this".

I learned cursive in school, but as soon as I was allowed to, I stopped using it. I find printing to be faster and easier on my hand (if I hand-write too much I get pains) and the results to be more legible.

As it gets easier and easier to print out typed text, I think we will be seeing less and less handwriting of all types. More and more students are taking notes on their laptops now, and most assignments are typed. Having nice cursive handwriting will only be an important skill in a small number of jobs.

I want my kids to learn how to read cursive writing, but I don't think it's important for them to learn how to write it if they aren't inclined to. I think learning to type is a much more important skill. I may have to argue with dh over this though...
post #12 of 33
Yep we skippied it, later she got interested in calligraphy. But it would have been fine if she never did. But we are unschoolers.
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post
Scenarios:
A)
A young man or woman is taking a college class. There is a pop quiz and students are asked to grade each other's papers while the professor goes over the test (this happened most every day for me in college chemistry which is why I use this example). The cursive-illiterate student has to ask the person who exchanged test with them what each word says. It's both embarrassing and disruptive. It could, in theory, cause the student's grade to be lower if the professor didn't like the constant interruptions. It could also play out as a student being unable to participate in a study group because the students exchange papers for proofreading and some of the other students have chosen to handwrite, rather than type, their rough draft (I did this frequently in college since I had to walk quite a ways to a computer lab to print anything as I didn't have a printer in my dorm room).
B)
The student has now been hired by a local business. In a group of employees the new employee is given a handwritten memo. The employee must ask someone else to read the memo to them because they don't know how to read cursive script. The employee is now looked upon as less than intelligent and is eventually passed over for promotions.
C)
The employee gets a new job as an executive assistant. They do lots of tasks such as running errands and planning the logistics of meetings. One day they are asked to write up some quick place cards for a business lunch. After they are written in print the boss asks that they be redone in script so as to look nicer for the new clients coming in. The employee cannot write in cursive and must either admit it or quickly find someone else to do it.
D)
The employee is now is this meeting and is handed a list by the boss. The boss tells the employee to go fetch these items quickly. The employee cannot read the cursive the note is written in, cannot find anyone to translate it, and must admit to the boss that they never learned how to read cursive. It would take a really nice boss to keep someone like this on their payroll in the business world.
E)
A student decides to become a teacher and is unable to correct work turned in by students who write in cursive. Parents complain that their child's homework takes too long because the teacher insists it must be printed.
F)
This isn't regarding school or a job but can you imagine receiving a formal invitation and not being able to read it? Any time an adult who does not know how to read cursive or can only read it with much trouble is in a situation where they have to read it, especially in front of others, they will be embarrassed and be viewed as uneducated.

I know these are all really specific situations but they are to illustrate that knowing how to read and write cursive is an important and not yet antiquated skill. Learning typing skills is very important but so is cursive.
All but one of these is about reading cursive, not writing it. Both of my older kids can read it intuitively - without any formal instruction in it. As for option C, the only one requiring writing it, plenty of professional people have horrible handwriting - even if any given employee could write in cursive, it doesn't mean they would be able to do it beautifully enough for a task like that - it's likely that begging off with "I have horrible handwriting" would be just fine in that situation.
post #14 of 33
IMO 'reading' cursive is much easier than writing it. DS who has horrid handwriting can read almost anything but get him to write it and you are just plain out of luck. However he is a wonderful artist - go figure.

As a teacher most of my students turn in typed work, I work in classrooms from 5th grade up.

My own son is homeschooled and typing is his preferred method as well. He can type much quicker than he can write.

My own handwriting has changed over the years and if someone asked me to make placecards for a meeting you can be assured no-one would be able to read them, unless they were printed. I would hope there was time to run them off on my printer using a suitable font.

Again those are just my opinions and your mileage may vary.
post #15 of 33
If it were me, I'd do both--typing and cursive. I can't imagine not knowing how to write in cursive--and yes, in general, it is faster than printing. Also, yes for business correspondence... especially thank you notes following an interview... it is still considered important. (While many will email a thank you note these days, a hand-written thank you note does set an interviewee apart.)

DH is a physician, and there's no way he could ever take the time to hand write all of the patient notes he takes during a history. While some hospitals have the option of computer-entry, not all hospitals do--or you're stuck using a standard form which may/may not work for the patient and their symptoms.

OK...now I'm going to sound like a snob...

I also firmly believe it's something an educated person should know. To be honest, if I had an employee who could not write in cursive (or read cursive), I would truly wonder about their intelligence and schooling. They may be able to overcome this through their output, but still--it would take time. Just as I have less respect for people who write in "TXT"... or do not know how to spell or use proper grammar. Call me a snob, but it irks me that I'll pay an agency thousands upon thousands of dollars for advertising--and then I have to spend my time correcting the grammar.

Regardless of whether or not your son chooses to write cursive as an adult, he still should be taught how to. To me, even if you think it obsolete, it shows respect for the English language. In many cultures (and remember the economy is becoming much more global), one can be judged on the neatness of their writing. I experienced this in quite a few European countries as well as the Middle East.
post #16 of 33
I think I need to leave this thread alone before I get really flustered over it. I will say that to me it would feel like a disservice to my children to not teach them how to read and write in cursive. Saying that cursive writing is not worth the time because a child doesn't want to do it (what child wants to practice handwriting??) or because a child is able to type faster (who can't type faster than writing by hand?) is like saying that math is not worth the time because a child doesn't enjoy it and is able to do the problems faster with a calculator.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
If it were me, I'd do both--typing and cursive. I can't imagine not knowing how to write in cursive--and yes, in general, it is faster than printing. Also, yes for business correspondence... especially thank you notes following an interview... it is still considered important. (While many will email a thank you note these days, a hand-written thank you note does set an interviewee apart.)

DH is a physician, and there's no way he could ever take the time to hand write all of the patient notes he takes during a history. While some hospitals have the option of computer-entry, not all hospitals do--or you're stuck using a standard form which may/may not work for the patient and their symptoms.

OK...now I'm going to sound like a snob...

I also firmly believe it's something an educated person should know. To be honest, if I had an employee who could not write in cursive (or read cursive), I would truly wonder about their intelligence and schooling. They may be able to overcome this through their output, but still--it would take time. Just as I have less respect for people who write in "TXT"... or do not know how to spell or use proper grammar. Call me a snob, but it irks me that I'll pay an agency thousands upon thousands of dollars for advertising--and then I have to spend my time correcting the grammar.

Regardless of whether or not your son chooses to write cursive as an adult, he still should be taught how to. To me, even if you think it obsolete, it shows respect for the English language. In many cultures (and remember the economy is becoming much more global), one can be judged on the neatness of their writing. I experienced this in quite a few European countries as well as the Middle East.
Great response!!

If nothing else cursive writing is an indicator that a person is well educated. I agree with you fully, it makes me think twice about what a person has written if the grammar is incorrect or the handwriting is sloppy.
post #18 of 33
I think people don't realize that pretty handwriting isn't just a matter of effort or education. I have horrible handwriting. I never learned cursive well. But not for lack of trying!!! I got straight A's in school except for handwriting. I always got C's in handwriting. I was taught over and over. I was sent to a separate area of the room to do copy work to try to give me more practice. When I got older I tried all different styles and practiced and practiced because I hated that my writing wasn't pretty like my friends' writing. But you know what, it still is just ok, certainly not pretty. If I want it to be at all decent i really have to concentrate. My printing is much better, and easier for me, compared to my cursive. And to imply that someone had a poor education or is less intelligent because they don't have attractive handwriting really bugs me.
post #19 of 33
ktgrok: I didn't mean to offend you. There's a difference between having poor handwriting but having been taught nonetheless and never learning. I've worked with plenty of people who don't like their handwriting, and thus prefer to print or whatever. That's a big difference to me than saying, "Well, I didn't want to learn cursive, so I didn't." or "I don't know how to write cursive." With the first statement, I would wonder what other areas the person "didn't want to learn"--and thus may be deficient in. With the second, yes, I would wonder what sort of school they went to that didn't even try to teach them. Those are not the same as somebody who at least tried to learn, and for whatever reason, simply never had very clear writing.
post #20 of 33
I was "taught" cursive in public school. I say "taught" because, although it was forced upon me, I was never able to really learn. I honestly think my brain is just not wired for it. I get the concept, obviously. I can remember most of the letters (and the ones I don't are simply from disuse-- I can recognize them if I need to read it.) The problem for me was actually putting it into practice. It was NOT faster for me to write in cursive. My brain stumbles over connecting those letters. It may be a learning/ motor-skill disability of mine. I have awful handwriting, in any case. I can do pretty well if I try *extra* hard, but my natural script is something you might expect out of a 10-year-old boy.

Honestly, the absolute only time I use cursive is for my signature. And my signature is not pretty. It's definitely unique-- but not pretty. If I try to take the time and write each cursive letter neatly and legibly, then I invariably jumble it all up. I'm simply missing that connector, I'm afraid.

My eldest daughter seems to be a bit delayed in the handwriting/ reading/ spelling department. She's 7½ and probably does many of those things on the level of an advanced public school kindergartner. Obviously I would like to teach her cursive at some point (once we have mastered the basics) but I fear she may have some of the same issues with it that I did. At which point I will probably adopt the mindset of "offer it, don't push it." She needs to know how to recognize the letters and how to create her own signature. Beyond that I think it's a personal preference how she writes her own notes and such.
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