To Teach Cursive or Not To Teach Cursive



Recently, the state of Indiana removed the requirement for schools to teach cursive writing. It was an extremely controversial move which some applauded, while others complained about it. For homeschooling parent the question remains should cursive writing be taught or abandoned all together.

This question may not have a right or wrong answer. So, I think it is best to outline the pros and cons so that the parents can figure out which way they want to go.

Handwriting and cursive does have several pros. First off, signatures. Even in todayís electronic world with emailing, Skype, and video Ė the signature is still an important part of our lives. And while many of us have abandoned cursive writing for years, we still utilize it to sign on the dotted line.

The SAT test is also another important factor to consider. The test, along with other placement exams, ask for handwritten essays. The GMAT, which is used by business schools, for examples, requires a handwritten essay as well. So, this could potentially present an issue down the road for those which give up on handwriting.

Another issue is of course the history. Writing letters is one of the great rituals of our time. When you go to any type of history museum, you will often find hand-written letters by famous people. And in todayís world, a handwritten letter can have a lot of power and meaning. Writing thank you notes and reading old family letters have their importance and without an understanding of cursive, these letters would not be legible.

Lastly, cursive can be a good learning exercise for students Ė even if they arenít going to utilize it in the future. Cursive can teach obedience, being detail oriented, and overall, it can be a good exercise for the mind as well as hand eye coordination. Giving up on cursive could end up having negative effects that we previously didnít consider.

There are of course those who think cursive should indeed be abandoned. For one, itís a new day with Ipadís, wireless printers, and smartphones. We have the capability to live in a different way, and cursive by no means is needed in our day to day lives. In fact, signatures can be done electronically so often a document can be signed without cursive writing.

There is also, of course, the opportunity cost. When a student learns cursive, that time of course could be used learning something more meaningful. Students only have so many hours per day to learn Ė and if they spend time learning something they will have little or no use full Ė it seems to be an inefficient thing to learn.

There is also the point that other types of writing arenít learned, which too arenít important in todayís world. So why should we learn the cursive style of writing and not other styles which are of similar importance.

And lastly, and maybe most importantly, it is not an exciting subject. Kids know how to type, and that interests them. Learning an alternative form of writing will not be enjoyable work so they are not very likely to excel at it. Other more enjoyable subjects that could replace cursive would make the childís day more enjoyable and inspiring.

So, again, there really isnít a right or wrong answer here. Hopefully seeing both sides of the argument can help you to figure out which way to proceed.

Homeschooling is a challenge, but it can have outstanding rewards for yourself. At the same time, it can be reat for your child. Just be sure to take it very seriously and try to make an effort to separate your roll as an everyday parent with your roll as a home school teacher.


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