It all started when my 10 year old daughter, Eve, came to me the other day and asked if I could order a book for her on Amazon.
My heart always swells with pride when my kids show interest in books. I mean- an avid reader would love nothing more than to share some book love with their kids, right?
But this time- my heart stuttered and I felt my forehead wrinkle. Eve didn´t ask me to buy her ANOTHER book on horses or other animals. This time she asked if I could buy a book on cursive handwriting. Imagine the look on my face.
At first, I thought she was interested in the history of cursive handwriting. Could have been possible. Some kids like to ride their bikes and some want to learn about cursive writing. Kids are odd that way. To each is their own. But, no. Eve didn´t want to learn about the origins of the delicate hand motions. She wanted to learn how write cursive.
This stopped me dead in my tracks. Wasn´t my child going to learn how to do that in School? I was confused. After calling all kinds of people ( including my daughter´s teacher ) I quickly learned that my daughter will never learn the art of cursive writing in School.
Cursive writing is dead.
I find this alarming. You can find cursive written words all over the place. How was my daughter ever going to be able to read cursive writing without my help or the help of anyone older?
I see a small problem forming.
The closest thing she will ever come to writing cursive will be by connecting certain letters in a word. Not all letters. Just a few. The rest will be in bold letters. Let´s take the word `Letter` as an example.
The `Le` would be connected together in a cursive manner and the `tter` in print.
I can see adults writing that way. Young adults eventually develop their own personal writing style… But to teach children that kind of style? That doesn´t make any sense. It´s lazy and sloppy. Half-assed technique. ( Okay…I´m getting mad here. * breath in – breath out * )
I´ve noticed my daughter writing in that odd 1/3 cursive style when she does her homework. But I thought it was a new way of learning the skill ( because with every new generation the system comes up with some new crap to try out on the kids ). Little did I know that the school system would go so far as wipe out a style of penmanship. Why?
I´ve searched high and low, combed through countless websites and articles, trying to find an explanation or at least an answer that made sense. I´m just as clever as I was before. Every article I came across looked like they were written by the adults from the cartoon Peanuts. „Warp woooaarp woah woah, wooom warp.“
I´m 35 years old. So, technically- I haven´t been out of school for forever. It´s only been a few years. I belong to the generation where we learned how to connect our letters with loops and curves. All the letters of a word together. Remember?
So, yeah. I bought her a book on how to learn the basics of cursive handwriting. I actually bought 2 books and I´ve invested hours, sitting beside my kid, teaching her how to hold her pen, swinging letters, etc. I can´t say it was easy, though. Do I feel more appreciation for teachers now that I´ve taught my daughter how to write? No. It´s their chosen profession. They get paid to do their job. I feel litle sympathy. ( I´m pissed. Can you tell?)
I didn´t know this as a child but learning to write in cursive is an important tool for cognitive development. As an adult and a mother of 2, I can see the importance of cursive writing. I see the positive effects it has for a childs concentration, for their motoric skills. And believe it or not- cursive writing even has an effect on reading skills as well. I have living proof snoring two rooms down the hall!
I´m talking about our future, here. Young minds who are learning to type with their 10 fingers instead of learning the art of swinging a pen over paper in a graceful manner. I find that sad. This has nothing to do with old fashioned thinking. It has to do with letting something important die because a group of people / some institution find it unnecessary. Which is the stupidest reason I´ve ever came across.
Will it be an issue if this generation is not able to read a book title that is printed in cursive writing?
What about logos, slogans and what not? Some fonts are cursive.
We´re living in a time where technology has the upper hand and time is our enemy. It´s natural that some things my generation enjoyed will soon be a fun-to-laugh-at-memory or completely forgotten. But to let something as important as a handwriting style die is inexcusable.
The end of the story- My daughter is now happy she can write in a different style. And a happy daughter equals a happy mommy.
Here are the books I´ve purchased that have helped my daughter learn the art of cursive handwriting. She still has a long way to go but that´s okay. If the School system doesn´t support it, I definitely will. ( Both books are available on Amazon.com )