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# Number formation -- why is it important? Is it important?

My 8 yo son does not write his numbers "correctly" . He starts most of his numbers at the bottom. My mom is a former teacher and says this is unacceptable, but can't tell me why. I have learned to question the "must do" attitude of most teachers when it comes to learning, but I want to make sure that this really is unimportant. Especially since every adult I know forms their numbers the same way. Of course we all went to public school! I googled and can't find anything telling me why it is important to form numbers in the traditional way, just a bunch of schools saying that it is important. I don't want to torture him by making him do it "right" if there's no purpose.

Heather

To me writing is a form of communication and if his numbers are legible to himself and others I don't understand why it matters howÂ he writes them. Â

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My son is in a K Cottage School for homeschoolers and they too are very particular about how numbers are formed. Â Previously he wrote the number two exactly like this "2" - in his class he mustÂ write it with a loopÂ Â which has caused some problems because it is harder for him. Â Personally I don't understand why it matters.

i think i remember hearing that numbers and letters are formed left to right, top to bottom the same way you read. no idea why it's important or why it matters though, lol. my dd always writes them from the bottom up, and it drives me nuts just because it isn't how she's supposed to do it- but i don't know why! interested to know if anyone here has an answer, lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inky leeuhhhÂ

i think i remember hearing that numbers and letters are formed left to right, top to bottom the same way you read.

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That's not true of letters like d, a and q, though. They move right to left.I can see the argument, however, with "proper letter formation," since speed and fluidity can become important in situations involving note-taking, and since it simplifies the transition to cursive. It's arguable though in this age of laptops and iPads whether even speed and fluidity in written text are really all that crucial.

But I don't see the point with numerals, except that if you're committed to conventional letter formation, conventional numeral formation can help set up good habits. I switched to doing my 9's and 4's bottom-up as an adult and quite like the feel of that.

Miranda
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmammaÂ

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That's not true of letters like d, a and q, though. They move right to left.I can see the argument, however, with "proper letter formation," since speed and fluidity can become important in situations involving note-taking, and since it simplifies the transition to cursive. It's arguable though in this age of laptops and iPads whether even speed and fluidity in written text are really all that crucial. But I don't see the point with numerals, except that if you're committed to conventional letter formation, conventional numeral formation can help set up good habits. I switched to doing my 9's and 4's bottom-up as an adult and quite like the feel of that.Miranda

i'm stumped then, LOL. you make some good points!

It's important because of what moominmama said: fluidity/speed of writing, and teaching cursive. It's about efficiency. FTR, circles (like d, a, q) are made counterclockwise, because of cursive. Number formation is taught "top to bottom" to make it consistent with letter formation. (Even though our numerals come from Arabic, and our letters have a Latin source.)Â

This post caught my attention because my DH writes his numerals the same way, as well as some of his letters.Â  He remembers getting in trouble for it at school.Â  However, he is as speedy of a note-taker as anyone, and is an IT professional wherein he's encountered no problems.Â  He has no handwriting or legibility problems either.

My understanding is similar to above - speed and fluidity -- but in addition there is the hand fatigue of pushing the pencil. Pulling a stroke downward is more efficient and easier on the hand than pushing the pencil up the page. It seems like nominal effort but most kids are pressing pretty hard in the early stages. So the rule is to teach everybody the 'right' way to do it early to eliminate the 'bad habits' of inefficient writing. I myself don't make a big fuss when my kids are learning the letter/number shapes. Once they start feeling confident and are up to a decent speed I start pointing out the better formed letters and the "right" way. worked well so far. I generally don't buy into the whole "must do it this way to avoid disaster later". most of the time it's not really a disaster. My daughter naturally learned to make most of her letters/numbers correctly on her own. THe few she had weird issues with we worked on. no biggie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSJÂ

To me writing is a form of communication and if his numbers are legible to himself and others I don't understand why it matters howÂ he writes them. Â

Â

My son is in a K Cottage School for homeschoolers and they too are very particular about how numbers are formed. Â Previously he wrote the number two exactly like this "2" - in his class he mustÂ write it with a loopÂ Â which has caused some problems because it is harder for him. Â Personally I don't understand why it matters.

It's funny, because growing up I always made the 2 with the loop, but then in high school I had to switch to the "2" without the loop because in math the partial derivative nomenclature looked too much like my looped 2 and I couldn't read my handwritten math problems well.Â  Now I always write the "2" without the loop.Â  I really don't see the reason why the 2 has to be written with the loop.Â  Some of the other reasons people have been saying about the fluidity of the writing from top to bottom makes sense, but personally in this day in age, I think it will mean less and less.Â  These kids will be in college taking notes on laptops, not by hand.Â  And I know cursive is "supposed" to be the fastest way to take notes, but while I was in college I never took my notes in cursive.Â  It was more of a half printing half cursive.Â Â

Â The only "issue" I have with my DD (8)Â  starting numbers and letters from the bottom (which BTW her former school actually taught) is it causes a lot of her letters to still end up backwards.. Her number 6 and letter b looks exactly the same. She is just now getting to where the letter N isn't written backwards. And several others letters often end up reversed..Â

Â Overall though I'm not against it and while yes I'll teach cursive and all that I could care less if shes adapts it as a way of writing. I seldom write in cursive myself and I start letters both bottom and top jsut depends..

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Deanna

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