Cursing Cursive Handwriting?

Posted by Administrator on 3/18/2014 to Homeschooling

“NC Schools Write Off Cursive Instruction”

“New Core Education Goals Eliminate Requirements for Cursive Penmanship”

“Goodbye, Cursive Writing?”

These are some of the headlines in recent months for news articles related to cursive handwriting. The whole proposal to eliminate cursive handwriting requirements is presented for several reasons by its proponents:

  1. Cursive writing is no longer required in standardized tests, so it is unnecessary and a time-waster in school.
  2. Cursive handwriting is obsolete in comparison to keyboarding skills in our electronic society.
  3. The transition from teaching block print to cursive can interfere with the student’s ability to compose—put thoughts down on paper. When they are initially learning cursive, their speed decreases as they are learning the loops and joins, which hinders their number of words and expression of ideas.
  4. Typing and keyboarding is more efficient because it is faster, and Spellcheck and grammar checks in the computer programs eliminate some of the “hiccups” that come with handwritten work.
When one looks at these four reasons for eliminating cursive handwriting, it becomes evident fairly quickly that they are weak reasons. A number of questions come to mind when we look at the reasons presented. Since when do we keep certain skills or subjects in our home schooling purely because they are on a standardized test? (Bible training would also be eliminated from our school curriculum, if that was the case.) Can we truly argue that because our children use phone texts and e-mails more than pen and paper, we should quit teaching them handwriting in lieu of keyboarding? Is it legitimate to propose that keyboarding is faster than cursive, so we should allow ideas to flow faster over any other determining factor? Whatever happened to the notion that practice improves speed? Don’t Olympic athletes repeatedly train and practice based on that very premise? And shouldn’t the fact that our coming generations are relying on computers to Spellcheck and grammar correct their writing send tremors of concern down our spines? Every time we allow an outside source (versus our own learning of rules and writing patterns) to dictate our final product, we dumb-down our nation, squelch creativity, and turn over responsibility for education to some unseen computer-programming entity who determines for each generation what is good and acceptable grammar, syntax, and spelling. Two or three generations from now, if this trend continues, I predict that all the abbreviations and incomplete sentences of texting and tweeting will become the common spellings of words and the standard way of sharing ideas.

Granted, this sounds very doomsdayish regarding simple cursive handwriting skills. (By the way, Spellcheck does not acknowledge “doomsdayish” as a word. I’ve gone Websterian for creativity’s sake.) While we admit, we are “only” talking about cursive skills, we believe the effects of eliminating such skills are far-reaching. “Praising Cursive Handwriting” will be our next article….