“They can’t sign their names,” said a high school teacher in a conversation about students who have very poor handwriting. “I can barely read anything they write,” he said. Cursive writing is yet another victim of modern education. “It’s not a common core priority so schools don’t spend time on it. They can only focus on what will be on the test. For survival and that there is only so much time in the day.”
My immediate question was about the parents and why they don’t ask for it or teach it at home. The ensuing conversation was about whether or not parents “care,” which in my opinion is a cop-out answer, or do parents blindly place their trust in the institution called public education because that’s how it’s always been. Are we so well trained that we don’t ask questions? Maybe parents don’t even realize it’s not being taught until it’s too late, because I doubt any school intentionally tells new parents, “By the way, we will not be teaching cursive writing to your student.”
We’re good at blind trust in America, whether it’s from apathy, intentional disenfranchisement or a pure lack of knowledge. We see it in our medical institutions, our food institutions, our drug institutions… just about anything that is top down, usually sourcing from our big, bureaucratic and distanced government.
So somewhere along the line, someone in a position of power decided that cursive wasn’t necessary, most likely resulting from the rise of digital tools. Why spend time on cursive when everyone uses a computer for communication, right? There is plenty of research out there to dispute that way of thinking from a brain development perspective. Additionally there are concerns that younger generations won’t be able to read family letters or historical documents, or in my humble opinion, will not possess a skill that makes one cultured, educated and civilized. Who ever thought the ability to sit and pen a handwritten note would no longer be possible because children aren’t taught to write with an implement? And back to the opening quote, who ever thought that a generation of Americans would not be able to sign on the dotted line?
For parents who want to take control of their destiny, there are ways to teach your children cursive handwriting at home. Home school parents do it every day, and so there are plenty of free tools out there if you are willing because it’s mostly practice. You don’t need to understand how to regroup in math (another subject!) to teach this at home!
This website I really like because you can type in your own text and it will give you a free PDF file to download for tracing. For example, type your child’s name several times in the open box and you’ll get a traceable sheet for learning a signature. Or practice writing your address, family names or create a letter to someone. http://www.worksheetworks.com/english/writing/handwriting/cursive-practice.html
This site is fantastic! I can’t wait to try it at home with my student. You choose from short, topical lessons that will print on a template for a child to trace. Some are several pages. Choose from four different types of handwriting, two print and two cursive. Super cool to say, learn about the Titanic, while writing over the words to practice handwriting. This will keep it interesting and give them practice with writing short papers, as well, to develop their writing.
This source has printable worksheets for the alphabet, words and sentences. There is also a downloadable workbook.
This source has free printable worksheets to practice letters and words. http://edhelper.com/writing_cursive_letters.htm
DonnaYoung.org has a slightly different approach to the printable templates and some other interesting resources.
These free resources serve a tremendous public service to parents who want their children to have the important skill of handwriting. At a minimum, you can help your teenager learn how to sign his or her name.
GoodLiving Magazine is printed six times a year for families in Pinellas County, Florida, home to municipalities including Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Largo and St. Petersburg. The densest county in Florida, population is near 1 Million people. Past issues are available for viewing digitally on the website.
As an advocate for children and families, Pamela Settle serves as the local committee chairperson for The Children’s Movement of Florida, a non-partisan advocacy organization that works on behalf of the well being of children throughout the State of Florida.