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Cursive writing?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I didn't put this in the Education section because it goes beyond that.  Whether homeschooling or using brick and mortar, unschooling, private, public, Waldorf, Montessori or whatever, that doesn't really matter.  That is, while the method of education may apply, I'm just wondering what general opinions are for children and adults (young and old) alike.


Do you write in cursive?  Do you hand write notes?  Do you think this is important for kids to learn and do you care if they are learning it?


Our state will no longer teach it in public schools.  There are a lot of varying opinions about this decision.  I would hope they'd still teach it, as I think hand-written notes are nice.  I also wonder about so many records, historical notes, etc. that will become illegible because kids are not learning how to read cursive script.  Thoughts?

post #2 of 32

I very rarely print. I'll print to fill out forms, and that's just about it. Otherwise, it's cursive. I find it really sad that so many schools are cutting out cursive now. Not only will so much become unreadable, it's been shown that learning cursive first can really benefit a child in several ways, one being improved long-term penmanship skills. I definitely see it as important. I homeschool, so my DD (6 yo) has learned cursive, as will my DS.

post #3 of 32

Do you write in cursive? Yes, although my handwriting is often a cross between printing and cursive.


Do you hand write notes?  Yes


Do you think this is important for kids to learn and do you care if they are learning it?  Yes and yes.  My children attend a private Montessori school where cursive will continue to be taught.  Our state is no longer requiring public schools to teach cursive but I'm wondering if many of the schools will continue teaching cursive anyway.  I’ve been told that the school my children attended last year (a charter/public school) will still teach cursive.


post #4 of 32

If I write in long hand it is in cursive unless it's a form.  I don't know why but I have a huge issue not teaching cursive.  My dd (a senior) learned it and uses it daily, my ds1 (a sophmore) learned it and rarely uses it, and my ds2 (7th grader) goes to a different school and always has.  He is the first class at the school that is not learning cursive.  We are working on it at home if for no other reason than developing a signature.

post #5 of 32

I intentionally write in cursive so my kids will get used to seeing it and I will be teaching it to them. I'd hate to see it disappear.

post #6 of 32

My mother is a Montessori teacher. When I began teaching my daughter to write, she stressed teaching her cursive first. She said she used to not think it was a big deal, but after 30 yrs of teaching, she is convinced it is the way to go. She also said children will not have trouble reading print even if they learn cursive first. She told me that there is less letter confusion in cursive and everything pretty much moves in one direction, you don't really have to pick up your hand while writing cursive so it can be less confusing... I think it's probably also good for fine motor development. 

I think it's a shame that some of my friends do not even know how to write a true signature. I think it is easier to take notes in cursive (usually, it depends on how my hands are feeling!)

post #7 of 32

I think cursive is very important to learn. DD1 only writes in cursive because she is dyslexic, it is easier for her to do cursive then print. She doesn't even know how to print now. She has 4th grade penpals and they wrote her asking her to print because they can't read cursive. I believe her teacher is going to start typing DD1's letters for her. What a sad state that other children can not read cursive. She has beautiful handwriting by the way so it isn't a sloppyness issue. My girls attend a small private school, cursive is still taught starting in 3rd grade. I'm not sure what the public schools do locally. 


I alternate between printing and cursive. I have always wanted my mother's handwriting, she write in this beautiful loopy cursive. It doesn't matter if I print or write in cursive, I'm convinced my handwriting will always look like a 12 year old did it. 

post #8 of 32

I am ambivalent about cursive instruction in school.  I don't write in cursive that often, typically just when signing my name.  Cursive just isn't something that comes up as a necessity in daily life so I can see why some schools are moving away from teaching it despite there being a few good things about taking the time to teach it. 


I do send handwritten notes and believe that kids should be taught to do that (even though this is one of those things that also seems to be going out of style) but I don't think you have to write in cursive to send a hand written note.  I honestly can't remember the last time I received a handwritten note that was written in cursive. When my grandma sends snail mail she uses a blend of cursive and print but I don't think that counts.



post #9 of 32

I rarely write at all beyond something like a grocery list.  I actually started a hand-written journal recently but it seemed so labor intensive that I gave up on it and am thinking of starting a private blog instead.  


Otoh, I find it almost creepy that kids wouldn't be taught cursive.  It really underscores the sea change that our culture/society has gone through during my lifetime.  It makes me feel old and even like an anachronism.  Yikes!  I didn't have my first real email address until I was over 30!  I am really from that time that you would not have questioned teaching your children cursive.


I don't have any real strong feelings about it except it's creepy.  lol


Originally Posted by MommyBecky View Post

I think it's a shame that some of my friends do not even know how to write a true signature. I think it is easier to take notes in cursive (usually, it depends on how my hands are feeling!)


Holy cow, do you seriously know adults that can't write in cursive???  


post #10 of 32

I use cursive if I am writing something quickly - like a short note, or jotting down a list.  I print on forms, of course, or for my kids' school paperwork.  I think with the use of computers, tablets, smartphones, emailing, texting, etc., that handwriting anything isn't near as prevalent as it once was. For that reason, I can see schools not teaching it and focusing on more technology related education - especially if it's a priority or lack of time issue.


That all said, my kids' school does teach cursive.  I have two kids in a Montessori program, and they learn cursive as soon as primary (so preschool to Kindergarten age).  I also have two kids in a regular public school program, and they teach cursive formally in 3rd grade, after kids are reading and writing well.  My 1st grader, however, has shown interest in cursive since his older siblings use it and so he has been teaching himself and getting "lessons" from my DD. 


I think cursive is important, but not so much that it would bother me if my kids didn't learn it at school.  I mean, it's not a hard thing to teach if they are willing, so I could work with them at home if it was something I thought they needed help with or were lacking from their education.  Really, though, as long as you can sign your name (which doesn't even technically have to be proper cursive) it's fine.  I'm doubting that there are many high school or college teachers who require papers written in cursive - heck, even my 1st drafts have to be typed and printed out to get credit.  So, not knowing cursive or being that good at it isn't that big of a deal, IMO. 

post #11 of 32

I consider "cursive" to be a cutesy euphemism for "terrible handwriting." The only reason I can think of that cursive is actually any kind of life skill is because knowing it helps you read other people's crappy handwriting, as long as they're doing that exact kind of crappy handwriting. 




Holy cow, do you seriously know adults that can't write in cursive???  


I can write cursive, but... I don't. Not even for signatures.

post #12 of 32

YIKES!!! i didn't know that. so now not only children are going to go to college not knowing how to read but also how to write?


most colleges i know still require essay type questions that should be handwritten during exams. esp. in a humanities subject. even in my spanish class on my tests i have to 'write'. writing cursive or printing to me shouldn't be a big deal.


but yes. oh yes. i would so much prefer a hand written personalized christmas card or even a letter than a typed out one. cursive - even the crappy ones are such a piece of art. i know many kids with just awesome handwriting and to me that is such an art form. 


however reading handwriting from original documents - while knowledge of cursive makes it easier - doesn't mean you have to have the knowledge. our university trains you before they start you coz you need to know the person's own style. 


in future though i do think that cursive is a dying art. much like the fountain pen (that i use to write with coz i love it so much and i have only come across ONE person in my 14 years in this country who uses a fountain pen). i mean how many calligraphers do you know in person? me? not a single one. only artists. but not a general every day person who just knows calligraphy. 

post #13 of 32

My mom does calligraphy, in english and in arabic.  :)  I have terrible handwriting, myself.  But even her regular every day grocery shopping list writing is very impressive  --  but I'm not entirely sure if I'd call it cursive or not.  

post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 

They are not teaching it at all as of next year here in public schools.  My grand nieces and nephew were not taught.  They had a lesson or two, actually, but not much.  It has been on its way out for a few years, I think.  (They are 4th and 5th.)


As I alluded to in my OP, two recent things came up that really struck home about at least the need to read it (even if they don't teach to write it).  First, my mother is dying and she has been trying to put some things in order.  She wrote some notes to the kids and they were not able to read them.  Their mother, my niece, who is in her 30's actually couldn't read it either (not sure why), so those kids will not learn it at home either.  My dd could read the note written to her, as she is required to use in in school and was taught since pre-K with "Handwriting without Tears".  My mother has very nice handwriting and the way she forms her letters is quite standard.  I realized how much of the family records I have are script and that after my generation, they may actually be unreadable.  I'm sure it can be learned if someone is truly interested, but I'd hate to think that these papers may never be read again because later generations won't take the time to learn cursive script on their own.  We have lots of interesting things about my family, including my grandfather's journal that are all handwritten. 


The other incident was a friend from another library in another state (I work in a library) was telling me that the new page they hired (probably about 15 years old) couldn't read cursive script and they were trying to figure out if they had to let him go or not.  Some of the duties involve working with the genealogical room records that are handwritten in cursive.  It made me think, "Wow, are some jobs now going to require in the job description, 'Must be able to read cursive handwriting'"?   I realize it's becoming a thing of the past, but I do hate to see it go.  I'm not sure how "important" is is in the whole scheme of life, but I love handwritten things.  Nice to see I'm not totally alone in this.  When I read my grandfather's stuff, in his own hand, it makes me feel a little closer to him and remember him better.

post #15 of 32

I usually don't write in cursive. I was taught to read and write cursive exclusively in school.  I never liked it much and I pretty much stopped using cursive after high school when no one could force me to use it.

I don't write letters to people very often. I print when I make grocery lists and such.

I do feel it is still important for children to learn to read cursive because it is still in use. However, I feel the emphasis should be on what is the most legible way to write and I don't feel cursive is the most legible way. Some people do have beautiful clear cursive writing but most that I have encountered are like trying to decipher a code or hieroglyphics.

My dd is not learning to write in cursive.

post #16 of 32

Both of my public schooled children have been taught cursive, and both write in cursive, as well as print, pretty much on a daily basis. 


When my grandmother was going through her old photos, family albums, etc., she asked us to help her re-label, and read some of her old letters.   It was difficult to read her beautiful script, and it was difficult to read the script of some of the letters she had received from friends.  There was something about the older script-it was beautiful, but not easy to read.  And, I often have difficulty reading other people's cursive writing.


I think cursive is a good handwriting skill, but it can be problematic.  In many areas where written communication is imorrtant, ie medical records, typed (or word processed) communication is the standard.  I do prefer a handwritten thank you note, and have my kids write out theirs.

post #17 of 32
Originally Posted by velochic View Post


Do you write in cursive?  Do you hand write notes?  Do you think this is important for kids to learn and do you care if they are learning it?



Since my dc were Montessori kids, they both learned cursive first, and I've seen the benefits. DS has some written expression issues and I wonder if he would have had a greater struggle with dysgraphia if he hadn't had the early pre-writing preparation and writing work. His issues have made me sympathetic toward people who struggle with handwriting skills, so even though I think handwriting (cursive or a personalized printing) is a good thing to know, I understand why many don't. 


I write in cursive. Over the years (since I started using a computer), it has devolved from a nice script to a bit of a scrawl, but still legible.


I hand write notes. I think the process of handwriting helps me with processing my thoughts. I prefer simplicity, and for me it's simpler to jot out a few notes on notepaper than it is to turn to an electronic device. I find using a computer/printer combination wasteful, since I often don't need an entire sheet of paper for a note or a recipe or whatever. I may change my mind about devices, if I ever get used to using my iPad - but since it disappears with the kids to school most days, that won't happen soon eyesroll.gif


I think it's important for children to learn to write legibly, whether it's cursive or a personalized form of print. 




-I think cursive provides a nice element of personal expression, which is often missing these days. As mentioned by others, holding a handwritten note can create a lovely form of contact with someone who isn't present. While clearing out some old files, I found an old cheque signed by my father (who died 16 years ago today) and I realized I have nothing else written in his hand.  


-From a literary viewpoint, I heard an interesting interview with a literary researcher who mourned the dearth of author's earlier drafts with handwritten notes and editing changes these days. Since most authors write on computer and don't save early drafts, it's harder to study their writing process and the development of their work. I also think that there has been an unwelcome trend to long, overwritten books since it became easier to churn out hundreds of pages using a word processor, rather than sweating it out on a typewriter or by hand. There are quite a few authors who would benefit from learning some restraint. Ditching their computers for awhile and writing by hand might help their artistic development. 


-There's a fair amount of research into the benefits of handwriting on neurological development and cognition. It's been a while since I read them, but I'll see if I can dig up some articles and post them. 


I recognize that handwriting is a real struggle for some people though, so I understand if someone avoids it. 



post #18 of 32
Originally Posted by funkymamajoy View Post

I intentionally write in cursive so my kids will get used to seeing it and I will be teaching it to them. I'd hate to see it disappear.

This exactly!  I write in cursive all the time for myself.  It's much faster for me.  When I put chores or notes on our white-board or write them notes, I always use cursive.  I just think they need to be able to read it. 


I truly don't know the requirements of my kids' schools.  I know my sons each were taught it but when it comes to homework I have no clue whether it is required or not.  I know for essays it's not because those are all done on the computer. 


For me I guess it's something of a deeper skill or writing somehow.  It reminds me of reading an analog clock.  They usually don't have to but I want them to be able to.  Why not?


post #19 of 32

Yes, they are learning cursive.  I've taught them and our school does lessons like spelling words in cursive.  They do like it and seem to have fun with it.  I tend to push the attractiveness of it.  It's somewhat of a lost art for many. 

post #20 of 32

I write in cursive when I write quickly.  My kids did learn cursive in school, starting in grade two, but did not spend as much time on it as I did. They are also learning keyboarding skills starting from grade 4.  I think the learning is valuable for brain development, both in terms of fine motor skills and developing concentration.  There have been some studies on this.  I have a link to an article about this, but there's more in depth stuff out there if you have a chance to search.


That being said, I have a son with fine motor problems.  He is finally, in grade 5, able to print both legibly and quickly, although it is definitely not pretty printing.  It took years of occupational therapy to get to this point, and some kids with learning disabilities may never reach this point.  He can write in cursive, but it's not any neater or faster for him.  I'm glad that keyboarding skills are also taught and that handing in a typed project is allowed for all kids from about grade 3 up in our school.  A child shouldn't miss out on a chance to demonstrate knowledge or ability due to poor handwriting.  So while I support teaching cursive writing as a mental exercise, I wouldn't want to go back to the good ol' days when neatness sometimes mattered above knowledge and people didn't have options as to how they physically produced their work.

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