Does your child's school teach cursive? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Learning at School > Does your child's school teach cursive?
AndrewsMother's Avatar AndrewsMother 07:27 PM 10-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Why is it useless? That's like saying violins are useless because we have synthesizers that produce the same sound. Sometimes something is useful for the artistry and beauty of it. Handwriting is still personal and more effective than just a typewritten page.

I think that orthography is VERY important - even if it doesn't mean beautifully handwritten messages will be written in the future, it helps dexterity and fine motor skills. I'd like to think, though, that people will still put pen to paper for years to come. I guess I'm a romantic, though.
No you are not a romantic. Well maybe you are, but saying that cursive is useless is paramount to saying that basic mathematical skills are not required since calculators produce better results.

Juvysen's Avatar Juvysen 08:06 PM 10-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Why is it useless? That's like saying violins are useless because we have synthesizers that produce the same sound. Sometimes something is useful for the artistry and beauty of it. Handwriting is still personal and more effective than just a typewritten page.

I think that orthography is VERY important - even if it doesn't mean beautifully handwritten messages will be written in the future, it helps dexterity and fine motor skills. I'd like to think, though, that people will still put pen to paper for years to come. I guess I'm a romantic, though.
I guess shooting someone a text is not really quite as romantic as a hand-written note, huh.

Very interesting... we're considering homeschooling but I hadn't gotten as far as whether or not to teach cursive
la mamita's Avatar la mamita 08:20 PM 10-03-2010
oh, handwriting (and by that i mean printing) is definitely important and i don't think the written word is going to die off just because of computers! i love a good to-do list written on the back of an envelope..... i just don't see cursive as being one of the major life skills that i think public schools should mandate all children master. i have never used cursive in my adult life besides for my signature. in my elementary school, cursive wasn't explicitly taught. there were optional worksheets that kids could do on their own. i learned via worksheets, did some cursive writing throughout elementary, but never had to use it for testing, for college, for a job (i'm in social work and we do a lot of handwritten reports/forms). i like the idea of it being optional/additional/supplementary to the main subjects, especially as i'm sure some very creative or meticulate children really enjoy writing in cursive.

i dunno, i went to an open school where there were a few things that were mandated (the 3 R's, science and social studies...and even those depended on the kid's individual ability) but pretty much everything else was driven by the child's interest. i perhaps am a little burned by the cursive issue after seeing it forced on kindergarteners at my son's former school.
A&A's Avatar A&A 09:24 PM 10-03-2010
yes, ds is learning cursive in 3rd grade, and they're spending way too much time on it, imho.

Btw, I teach 11th grade, and 90% of my students print. Cursive is just not a skill that sticks with most of them. That's why I find it pretty useless.
MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 10:11 PM 10-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
yes, ds is learning cursive in 3rd grade, and they're spending way too much time on it, imho.

Btw, I teach 11th grade, and 90% of my students print. Cursive is just not a skill that sticks with most of them. That's why I find it pretty useless.
That's because a good portion of people find that despite claims of it being faster, for them it's slower, and it's far more difficult to read.

Well done cursive is great, but someone who is otherwise not that good a writing is likely going to have cursive that is illegible. By the time you get out into the real world, no one cares if you do cursive, they just care that they can read what you write.
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 10:28 PM 10-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
How interesting!! Dd's curriculum is IB and I had no clue that they had to write the exams in cursive. I'm going to have to find out about this.
They are long hand in pen but the IB exams are different from the French baccalaureate. A student in France, for instance, could choose to do both


However, people who can write in cursive can write faster and more legibly than people who mostly print.

My mom could copy this entire post in about a minute and anyone could read it. If I managed to do the same thing, and I have my doubts about whether I could, I'd have trouble reading it after any length of time.

So my plan is to teach dd only cursive and let her figure out printing on her own when we start doing symbolized math and things like the elements in science.

For me, the problem with cursive was that it was introduced AFTER fluency was built with a sort of weird half printing half joined "italics". It's like how continental knitting is faster for everyone except people who've gotten used to English.
RomanGoddess's Avatar RomanGoddess 12:08 AM 10-04-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
How interesting!! Dd's curriculum is IB and I had no clue that they had to write the exams in cursive. I'm going to have to find out about this.
The international baccalaureate and the French baccalaureate are not exactly the same program, you so you might want to check whether the IB has the same stress on cursive writing. The French bac program tends to be a bit more rigid.
velochic's Avatar velochic 08:40 AM 10-04-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by RomanGoddess View Post
The international baccalaureate and the French baccalaureate are not exactly the same program, you so you might want to check whether the IB has the same stress on cursive writing. The French bac program tends to be a bit more rigid.
Interesting. I'll have to look into it. Dd's school is accredited by the French and Spanish ministries of education, so I just assumed they are following those guidelines. Dd *did* learn cursive starting in Kindy, and her homework does have to be in cursive (1st - 3rd so far), so they seem to be putting quite a bit of emphasis on it. I like that - as I've already said, I think it's important.

As an aside, my grandfather had the most beautiful handwriting and when I read his journals and notes, seeing that handwriting brings me a lot of joy. There is so much of him in, not just the words, but the script.
*Katherine*'s Avatar *Katherine* 02:25 PM 10-04-2010
My 4th grader must write everything in cursive. He has the option of using the computer for some assignments, but everything else is required to be in cursive.
mattemma04 02:31 PM 10-04-2010
my kids did public for k,1,and 2 and there was no cursive.They are in Montessori now and starting in Primary(K) they learn cursive.That is the only way they write at school for their work.
CatsCradle's Avatar CatsCradle 03:42 PM 10-04-2010
Quote:
The schools are dropping it out of laziness and using computers as an excuse. It is the same excuse they are using for using calculators in math instead of learning math. Many schools have dropped spelling and grammar too. There is so little left that they teach.
I'm curious to know which schools have dropped spelling and grammer, because I'd be hard pressed to find a school in my area that didn't spend a good chunk of time on those subjects. I don't know, we were required to have calculators when I was in high school in the 1970s, so that isn't something new. I went to a very good high school. Sometimes I think it is more of changing with the times rather than laziness. We live in very different times than when I was in grade school (there weren't even photo copiers then, let alone personal computers!) By the time we were allowed to use calculators, we had already learned the math basics. Calculators simply allowed us the time to focus on the problem on itself. I have no problem with short cuts as long as the foundation is there. Just as I have no problem using computer-based library searches rather than the Dewey card system. They are tools.

I haven't used cursive my whole adult life. One reason is that often I have assistants edit papers and briefs for me and my printing is so much more readable. Trying to decipher cursive when you're on a deadline can be a nightmare!

I view learning to write in cursive in the same way that I view learning to type. You can get by without developing the skill, but it is one of those skills that is handy to have. People with beautiful handwriting take cursive up to the next level of "artform." Then, there are those of us who use it as a fast way to write. My DD is presently learning to write cursive in her Montessori school as she learns the alphabet.
MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 07:33 PM 10-04-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

However, people who can write in cursive can write faster and more legibly than people who mostly print.
Can I ask why people are ignoring the fact that I've all ready posted about at least one person I know for whom this is not the case? I can ask around and find more examples, but cursive is not universally neater or faster.
tbone_kneegrabber's Avatar tbone_kneegrabber 08:24 PM 10-04-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Can I ask why people are ignoring the fact that I've all ready posted about at least one person I know for whom this is not the case? I can ask around and find more examples, but cursive is not universally neater or faster.
I will jump on this too, in my experience I have a much harder time reading cursive (really it's just a bunch of squiggles and some dots and crosses when most people do it) and I know it is not faster for me.

I really don't know anyone irl that writes in cursive because it is faster for them. Frankly, I don't really know anyone who writes in cursive on a regular basis.

And if there was any truth to it being neater, then forms would not say, "please print."

Now I'm not saying that *some* people don't have lovely cursive, of course they do, but that is not by and large a "truth."
pianojazzgirl's Avatar pianojazzgirl 11:20 PM 10-04-2010
Yes.

My dd just started first grade this year, and they started teaching it from the get-go. I was pretty surprised as (I think) we only started around third grade or so. But I'm even more surprised to hear that in some schools they have ceased to teach it at all!
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 01:04 AM 10-05-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Can I ask why people are ignoring the fact that I've all ready posted about at least one person I know for whom this is not the case? I can ask around and find more examples, but cursive is not universally neater or faster.
Because the people I know who started with cursive have the clearest hands of any one I know. Basically my mom and like 5 old people.

People who started with printing never do cursive around me, so I don't know what their cursive looks like or how fast they write in it, but they all print slower than the people who do cursive.

I don't know how anyone successfully starts with printing and then moves to cursive. But if you've already got cursive, doing small caps printing for forms is easy-peasy.
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 01:10 AM 10-05-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
I will jump on this too, in my experience I have a much harder time reading cursive (really it's just a bunch of squiggles and some dots and crosses when most people do it) and I know it is not faster for me.

I really don't know anyone irl that writes in cursive because it is faster for them. Frankly, I don't really know anyone who writes in cursive on a regular basis.

And if there was any truth to it being neater, then forms would not say, "please print."
Sure they would.
1. sometimes it's a matter of working with writing recognition software not a matter of being legible for a person. Even if the form wasn't planned for that purpose, they'll be designed that way just in case.
2. Only printing (not joining up letters at all*) is generally slower for most people so it encourages thinking a bit more about what you're writing.
3. I think cursive is only neater and faster for people who started with cursive, or drilled in it until they had very strong muscle memory, which is hardly anyone, so most people shouldn't start trying to use cursive.


*BTW, try writing a full page very quickly and see if you can actually print for the whole thing or if you end up with random joined up places that make the letters looks bizarre and inconsistent.
MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 02:00 AM 10-05-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
I will jump on this too, in my experience I have a much harder time reading cursive (really it's just a bunch of squiggles and some dots and crosses when most people do it) and I know it is not faster for me.

I really don't know anyone irl that writes in cursive because it is faster for them. Frankly, I don't really know anyone who writes in cursive on a regular basis.

And if there was any truth to it being neater, then forms would not say, "please print."

Now I'm not saying that *some* people don't have lovely cursive, of course they do, but that is not by and large a "truth."
I have what some people have referred to as "disgustingly neat" cursive. I can also do some really nice calligraphy too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Because the people I know who started with cursive have the clearest hands of any one I know. Basically my mom and like 5 old people.

People who started with printing never do cursive around me, so I don't know what their cursive looks like or how fast they write in it, but they all print slower than the people who do cursive.

I don't know how anyone successfully starts with printing and then moves to cursive. But if you've already got cursive, doing small caps printing for forms is easy-peasy.
Read my response to the quote above and add:

I started with printing. DH started with cursive, and learned print later. He used cursive until he started getting low marks for "unreadability" in high school. His cursive is basically one distinguishable letter and a bunch of humps that follow. For this and a few other reasons, the misconception that cursive is always neater, always faster, always means neater writing period, is one of my biggest pet peeves.
MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 02:07 AM 10-05-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Sure they would.
1. sometimes it's a matter of working with writing recognition software not a matter of being legible for a person. Even if the form wasn't planned for that purpose, they'll be designed that way just in case.
2. Only printing (not joining up letters at all*) is generally slower for most people so it encourages thinking a bit more about what you're writing.
3. I think cursive is only neater and faster for people who started with cursive, or drilled in it until they had very strong muscle memory, which is hardly anyone, so most people shouldn't start trying to use cursive.


*BTW, try writing a full page very quickly and see if you can actually print for the whole thing or if you end up with random joined up places that make the letters looks bizarre and inconsistent.
DH did cursive first. I never had it drilled into me, but even my signature is completely legible.

DH doesn't join letters when he prints but does so very quickly. I know many people who do, it doesn't look bizarre to me, or inconsistent and it does seem to be that most adults who do join some letters when printing are naturally working out what is for them the right mix to maximize speed and legibility.
midnightwriter's Avatar midnightwriter 12:13 PM 10-05-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
That's because a good portion of people find that despite claims of it being faster, for them it's slower, and it's far more difficult to read.
.
John Holt wrote about it in one of his books. He used to be a believer that cursive was faster, but then he decided to time himself. To his surprise he found printing to be marginally faster. And this comes from a person who was extremely proficient in cursive.
EmmaJane's Avatar EmmaJane 03:12 PM 10-05-2010
I teach a technical subject at a liberal arts college, and many students submit their homework to me hand-written.

Maybe one or two out of a hundred use pure cursive, the-kind-we-were-taught. Everyone else uses mostly-printing-with-a-few-letters-joined-in-idiosyncratic-ways. They're all legible enough.

If some people choose to learn to write prettily, great! I took a technical drawing class in high school that taught me stroke order for block capitals -- it was really useful, and it did far more for my adult handwriting's legibility than the years of frustration from required cursive in third to eighth grade.

For universal forced learning: one way to write is enough. I'm really glad to hear that so many school systems are de-emphasizing script. DD is getting a lot of printing practice in kindergarten now, which is a terrific thing for her -- and her drawing is blossoming along with it -- but I really hope that 3 years from now they don't make her do it all again and again and again.
limabean's Avatar limabean 05:06 PM 10-05-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
*BTW, try writing a full page very quickly and see if you can actually print for the whole thing or if you end up with random joined up places that make the letters looks bizarre and inconsistent.
Okay, I'm a nerd and actually did this.

For me, it took just as long to write in perfectly formed printing as it did to write in perfectly formed cursive. The fastest way (naturally) was my usual mix of cursive and printing, which is perfectly neat and legible even if it doesn't rigidly adhere to the letter formation criteria of either writing style.
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 04:30 AM 10-06-2010
Interesting. Now I want a study done comparing all sorts of people and their writing and the education they got. It'd be even more awesome if it could look at how people held their pencils as kids, what sort of scribbles they did when starting to draw, so forth. And does the type of cursive have a statistical effect?

The anecdotes seem to be leaning strongly towards printing.

Oh! There's a question, what sort of printing? The ball and stick lift the pen all the time horror or nice smooth mostly one stroke letters?

(Hmm, forget cursive, schools should let kids pick a historical writing style, bring on calligraphy and dip pens! Bonus points for any kid who manages to work out copperplate, bonus history class points for the kid who picks a secretary hand and submits 4 pages of squiggles.)
MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 05:40 PM 10-06-2010
I do one stroke letters, DH lifts the pen. DH is an artist, he never really did scribbles when drawing.

And if you want 4 pages of squiggles, teach the kids shorthand. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...d_by_cross.png
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 10:54 PM 10-06-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I do one stroke letters, DH lifts the pen. DH is an artist, he never really did scribbles when drawing.

And if you want 4 pages of squiggles, teach the kids shorthand. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...d_by_cross.png
Nah, shorthand would be the easy A option. No bonus points.
Kushali's Avatar Kushali 12:48 AM 10-07-2010
At least a few years ago many of the standardized tests (GRE for sure) required that you to copy a statement of academic honesty in cursive. (I won't cheat, blah blah blah, I am who I say I am, blah blah blah).

And based on my experience (and that of several others) they are very strict about requiring cursive. I know a couple folks who asked if they could print and they were told to do their best attempt at joined up writing.

That said, only the statement had to be copied in cursive. Everything else could be printed or typed. The statement isn't graded or timed so it wouldn't hurt your score if it wasn't legible.

That is the only time I remember being required to use cursive since 4th grade, but I was sure glad I remembered it then.
umsami's Avatar umsami 11:39 AM 10-07-2010
DS's school teaches cursive beginning in the third grade. I think that's when I started as well.

A good friend teaches first grade and says that at her school, they spend no time whatsoever on handwriting. Everything is geared towards preparing for the standardized tests that begin in third grade. I find this kind of sad that she doesn't even feel like she has time to teach it if she wanted to.

DH is Egyptian, and the Arabic alphabet is all joined letters (well, save a few exceptions). There is no concept of printing, really. As our kids are also learning Arabic, I'm assuming joining letters will seem natural to them. (At least I hope so.)
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