Last week I read an article that was about five obsolete skills homeschoolers love to teach. I was shocked to discover that cursive handwriting was one of them! The debate on whether or not cursive is one of the important skills to teach our children is actually not new.
For some, it’s hard to imagine life without this art form. For others, it seems like an honest waste of time when just about everything is done digitally now. There are valid points on both sides of the spectrum. Most states in our country no longer require teachers in public schools to teach cursive. They have the option to, but most of the time it’s left out. Some states have gone the opposite direction and are requiring it to be taught.
But what about in your homeschool? What are the pros and cons of teaching your kids cursive in homeschool land? We asked bunch of homeschool moms what they thought, and this is the response. I find it pretty interesting and I bet you will too!
Pros of teaching our kids cursive in homeschool
Cursive is good for the brain.
Cursive is a complex skill that enhances both cognitive and motor skills. It uses both sides of the brain. You’re not only connecting strokes with cursive, you’re also building the ability to connect things mentally. It has been said to be linked to self-regulating and mental organization. It can help with memory, written comprehension, spelling, and literacy development.
Cursive helps with dyslexia.
Because of the connectedness of cursive, those who struggle with dyslexia are able to see the word as a unit. Also, through cursive, your kids are employing so many cognitive functions. These connections have proven to help those who struggle with dyslexia to improve on their writing and spelling and overall ability to put sentences together.
Cursive enhances creativity.
Artistic expression seems to be losing a place in schools today. Cursive has been argued to be one of those art forms dying away from our kids’ education. Because handwriting uses so much more brain function than typing, it ignites creativity.
Cursive preserves our history.
Some of the most important documents in our nation’s history have been written in cursive. While reading these documents can easily be done online, what happens if cursive is completely lost in future generations? We’ll still know what those documents say, but reading the original documents will be incredibly difficult. Cursive connects us to our history, preserving it in beautiful strokes.
Cons of teaching our kids cursive
Cursive wastes valuable learning time.
In today’s digital age, typing and computer programming should be a focus in schools. Teaching cursive can be incredibly time consuming, and being as it’s not essential, it translates into a waste of time.
Cursive has been lost to the keyboard.
It’s hard to justify the need for cursive when typing is the main form of writing these days. And that’s not something likely to ever change. How often will our children ever need to use cursive? A signature isn’t even important anymore with the rise of the digital signature.
Cursive has not been proven to be a superior form of handwriting.
Plenty of studies have been done to prove that there are benefits to handwriting, but there isn’t any hard evidence that cursive specifically has a hand up. If basically the same skills can be attained through regular handwriting, there isn’t a need to spend the time and energy to teach the skills of cursive.
Cursive is usually eventually abandoned.
It is rare for a person who has been taught cursive to continue in the practice throughout their life. It’s simply abandoned. It is usually replaced with the combination of cursive and print and a person’s personal touch.
So what did I do? I taught my oldest two cursive, and we worked hard at it but in the end they both decided the only point was so that they could read cursive. They both prefer print and only use cursive for their signatures. My third child struggled with low muscle tone, gross and fine motor skills and dyslexia. Getting her to type was the best thing ever and that is how she does most communication. My youngest three are still young enough we could go the cursive route, but I’m not sure if we will or not. Time will tell.
Whether you’re a firm believer in the teaching of cursive or you’re happy to see this ancient art form retire, we can probably all agree that both sides of the spectrum have some valid points. I’ve come to the point in my life that I know longer use markers such as this one to judge my own homeschool or the homeschool of another mom. If you don’t feel the need to teach your child cursive – that’s fine by me. And if you think teaching your child cursive is the best thing ever – be my guest. The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that we can tailor what we teach to fit our kids, fit our family, affirm our values, and accomplish our goals.
I try to teach it, but since I allow them to type longer assignments, mine aren’t very good at it and if I don’t make them write in cursive, they choose print. They complain that they can’t read when I write in cursive on the board. I tell them it is one more reason to learn, but they may have a small point in that my cursive is a little wobbly if I’m not concentrating (and especially on the whiteboard!)
My oldest just decided he wanted to learn cursive this summer after he had to have my write his name in cursive for him to sign the back of a check his grandma sent (he never homeschooled). I told him how it’s better to use cursive on the front of checks too because it’s harder or forge or alter than print. That did it, I think.
My youngest, who is homeschooled, was interested in it for a while, but I thought print was more important, and he’s struggled so much…with everything really, so I’ve sort of let cursive pass to the wayside (if seeing his older brother learning sparks a new interest though I’ll probably teach him).