For years we have been told that storing information in digital form is safer than paper, however, that process is not without problems. Technology is rapidly changing. And hardware and devices, which store vital information from paper can become obsolete. Businesses scramble to constantly update their systems as important paperwork could become lost.
Should cursive be lost to the same vacuum of the modern digital age? It’s not easy to answer that question unless you know how to teach cursive.
Is Cursive Obsolete for Homeschooled Kids?
If you have never taught cursive, it can be easy to cast it off or to think that a child is not capable of it.
Will we be doing our kids a disservice if we skip the cursive and keep the keyboard? You may think so, but not so fast.
Look first at a few of these points of how cursive should be taught to make it easy and more importantly the value of it.
Also, I have some free resources at the bottom for you to use to teach cursive because it doesn’t cost a lot to get a beautiful return.
ONE/ Teach cursive first, before print.
When I taught cursive to my first son, he already had learned the ball-and-stick method that I taught him in Prek and part of Kindergarten.
Switching quickly and teaching him simplified cursive at the end of Kindergarten and in first grade were key to him successfully learning cursive. Teaching my first son cursive, I learned that it was easier to teach him cursive first because the letters were connected and flowing.
I also learned a valuable lesson as a teacher which is to not have my son unlearn the ball-and-stick method he had been taught. That is not the way I wanted to teach.
As he progressed, I noticed that with the ball-and-stick method that he could get confused with letter direction. At that point, I had him do all his work, including crossword puzzles in cursive. By the way, fun crosswords puzzles was a fun way to teach him to practice writing individual cursive letters while his attention was focused on the fun of the puzzle.
As he progressed through the years, he quickly recaptured knowing how to print and it turned out beautiful.
(My son’s cursive at the beginning of second grade so I could judge his progress.)
When my second and third sons came along, I taught them cursive first. Their letter reversal struggle was just about non-existent because they didn’t learn to print them until they were older.
As they have progressed through the years, I find it ironic that as they have grown, they developed their own order of how to write some numbers and letters.
For example, in writing the number four, one of my sons writes the longer side first (the part on the right) and then he writes the part on the left side last. Of course, this is opposite of how we teach our kids to print the number 4, but it’s his handwriting style. Of course, I remind him how to form the numbers and letter easier, but I don’t fuss too much over it. More on that in a minute.
TWO/ Understand the three broad strokes of cursive.
To understand the simple way to teach cursive, you need to know the three broad strokes, which are a downcurve or sometimes called up and down, an overcurve and an undercurve.
When you see how to tame cursive, it becomes very easy to allow kids to make huge curves and loops.
For our first lessons in teaching cursive, my sons wrote real big on butcher roll paper. Understanding that most children don’t have control over their fine motor skills until about half way through first grade, I didn’t expect them to write small cursive letters.
I did allow each child to write a lot of big strokes, up and down, loops, curves and circles, which they like to do anyway.
From there we progressed to lined paper in first grade.
After teaching all of my sons cursive and resisting the print first tradition, which can confuse children, I learned that when letters are connected and flowing, it’s easier to learn to write.
When a child has to decide where to place straight lines and circles as he is learning the ball-and-stick method, he can get confused and write letters backward.
Cursive built confidence in my boys because when they placed their pencil on the paper on the left side of the paper for the first letter each letter flowed effortlessly.
Instead of focusing so much emphasis on down up, around, lift your pencil up, place it back down, my sons focused on their spelling not the constant placing of where to begin and end letters or lines.
Penmanship was more legible because there was no guessing which letter faced forward or backward.
THREE/ Confusion where one word starts and stops was avoided by doing cursive.
Another battle I didn’t have to face though I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time was that my sons avoided the confusion of not being able to tell where one word ends and the other one begins.
This is not only important for new readers, but for anybody that wants their handwriting legible.
My sons’ reading and writing advanced quickly because cursive helped them to see which letters stayed connected to make words.
When my sons did start using printing interchangeably with cursive on some of their compositions, I noticed that some of the printed words ran together.
It was hard to read when two words ran together because they weren’t spaced properly. This is a common mistake for the child to guess where to start the next letter in a ball-and-stick method, which is why some words look like they have a few extra letters at the end of them when they are really the start of the next word.
What I have learned is that cursive matters because it has not only built confidence in my sons, but helped them to learn to read, spell and taught them the value of being proud of something uniquely theirs.
Each son has developed different handwriting styles that are as individual as their personality, which is another myth about cursive.
Cursive doesn’t have to be uniformed among writers. Persons who have mastered cursive can read different styles of it.
Can Homeschools Become Part of the Dumbing Down Movement If We Don’t Teach Cursive?
There is plenty of room for personality and differences. Some writers prefer more vertical writing and others prefer slanted writing, which is why handwriting style doesn’t matter because we are not trying to confine kids to a mold.
I am not telling you to not keep the keyboard, but I’m telling you that cursive goes beyond the value of teaching a child how to write well.
Free Homeschool Cursive Program and Resources
Look at some of these free resources which rock because they help you to teach cursive.
Direct Path to Cursive – The Quickest Way to Cursive
Cursive Handwriting Practice Sentences
Primary Language Lessons – 175 page download. Though this is an old book it is beautiful because it has sentences for copying and dictating.
Here is a 3rd grade 80 page free writing workbook, which I think you’ll love.
And also, I have free copywork here on my site and a lot of it is in cursive. Here is a roundup of some of my free history copywork.
Look at my articles Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Parts 1, 2 & 3.
Are you still teaching cursive?
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