I visited friends over the weekend and they asked me if I thought it was important to teach students cursive handwriting.
This question of cursive handwriting's importance is often heard in public school circles (as far as I know).
And there's one reason for learning how to read and write cursive that a woman from China told me that helped put things in perspective. From China of all places...
My friends asked my opinion because they saw me writing in my paper notebook using my physical pen (a free pen, by the way, which I picked up during a workshop held at a hotel).
Long story short, I mentioned that I do a lot of my note taking, brainstorming, planning, organizing... "ANALOG" not "DIGITAL."
I write ideas down. I write quotes out. I capture thoughts on paper.
The funny thing is that I have poor handwriting in general, and it's worse when I brainstorm because I have a million ideas to pour onto the page in just a micro-second... I want to get it all down before I forget.
After noticing my poor handwriting, that I can't often read myself, and the fact that I purposely do things analog in today's world.
My friends asked if I thought learning, or teaching, cursive handwriting is still important.
They do things digital. They do not homeschool.
The question of cursive handwriting's importance is discussed and fought over mostly in public school circles (as far as I know; maybe private schools too?).
Public school administrators want to try another Great Leap Forward Social Experiment ~ "Let's see what happens if we do NOT teach a whole generation how to write or read in cursive handwriting."
On the other hand, I believe most homeschool families enjoy and want their children to know how to handwrite. The good news...
Without missing a beat I blurted out... "It doesn't take any time to learn, why wouldn't you teach it?"
"Huh, that's a new one," says my friend.
Teaching and learning handwriting takes at best one to four weeks to pick up and master by an average student. Two weeks is probably enough for most.
Not teaching or learning cursive writing is like not learning how to tie one's shoe... because velcro exists.
Learn how to tie your shoe once and you'll never forget. Much like learning to ride a bike or how to swim.
But cursive handwriting is much easier and simpler to master. Plus, there's no risk of drowning or breaking your leg.
For example, my two children learned handwriting on their own.
I just gave them a Palmer Method handwriting book, published in the late 1800s, and they followed the self-tutorials all by themselves.
So, in reality any competent school teacher doesn't even have to spend hours "teaching" students how to do it.
Any student with a little ambition and a teacher or parent that says "do this" is enough.
I'm not saying that you MUST force your child to learn cursive handwriting.
If you truly believe it will be a burden or mentally harm your child then do not do it.
That's your decision as the parent.
Besides many public schools have already, or seriously considering, eliminated handwriting from their curriculum.
Apparently, most classroom teachers are already too busy teaching other stuff... like how to click a button on an iPad or something.
If your kids are in a school system like this and you DO want your child to learn how to handwrite... have your child learn it over Easter or Christmas or Summer break... or over 2 or three Saturday mornings.
Your child will figure it out.
If American kids do not learn how to write or read cursive handwriting then you can easily LIE to them about what the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, or a thousand other important books and works of writing say and mean because they will never be able to read the original source documents themselves...
You mean like not being to read Egyptian Hieroglyphics or ancient Chinese works?
"Huh, that's a new one, too."