I never considered myself passionate about teaching handwriting. In fact, I have always disliked the idea of struggling with it. For those of us who have children that struggle with writing, and even those who don’t, it is tempting in this age of digital communication to forget about it all together. Why is it so important anyway? Now that so much of our communication is being done through emails and text messages, is it really worth spending the time? Before you decide to do away with cursive or handwriting in your homeschool program, consider these reasons to stick with it.
First, handwriting is easy to teach. It doesn’t need to take great effort. It is something that develops over time with regular practice. 10-15 minutes each day should be adequate time to be effective if done regularly. It’s also important that you’re teaching your child in a way that is developmentally appropriate. Writing is part of small muscle coordination skills. Regular practice certainly helps in developing this, but children’s abilities and timing will differ. It’s also easy for homeschoolers to teach because you have much more control over YOUR method which provides consistency. Whatever the method and style, keep it simple and positive.
Second, underdevelopment in handwriting can both stifle the development of writing skills and slow academic progress in other areas. Handwriting is a basic academic skill that children will build on and utilize in all areas of learning. Correct letter formation is essential for writing with ease and more proficiency. And since most school work that children do on a daily basis is still mostly handwritten, it’s important that they will be able to complete assignments with ease and that they have the writing skills to do so. Additionally, if your child feels he has poor handwriting it may limit a desire to write, therefore stifling the budding writer in him. Does it need to be perfect? No, just functional enough to help him get the job done!
Lastly, it’s personal. People always compliment me on my handwriting; it’s something I have taken for granted having attended Catholic school. But I realize now that it’s unique. No one else has handwriting exactly like mine. Handwriting, especially the cursive signature, is “organic” in a sense. It belongs to the individual and it’s real. Just think about the legendary John Hancock and that famous mark of his. Or how about that recipe written in Great Grandma Judy’s own hand? Doesn’t it have something more to speak to us than what the keyboard has to offer? In a sense it’s artistic.
Plus not everything we communicate today is digital. Certainly more is done digitally now than ever before! Though some schools may have done away with teaching cursive all together, cursive is still used on billboards, name tags, letters, and even computer fonts. Signatures are in cursive. Perhaps someday it may fade away altogether and become obsolete, but for now I feel good about continuing teaching it.
Stephanie has been a military spouse for 17 years and has homeschooled for 11. She is mom to three creative kids from college grad down to third grade. Her homeschool style is eclectic with Charlotte Mason and classical influences. She and her husband of 21 years serve and live wherever the US Army sends them. When she isn’t teaching, writing or moving she enjoys sightseeing, gardening, and cooking. Visit Stephanie on her blogs, Harrington Harmonies & Nature Notebook and on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.