the network for radical unschooling families
It took my daughter a long time to read cursive *because* it's so rare. I was still reading cursive letters to her when she was a teen. But she was fine with it by 16 or 17. Which is scary late if you're in school but actually pretty incredible considering the handful of letters and cards she puzzled it out from and the wide variety of handwriting there is out there.
If it's left to be a fun puzzle, kids will want to figure it out. It's like secret code writing! :-) At first it was overwhelming. It would be like facing a whole block of text written in Aramaic or something ;-) But as she caught on, then it was a fun puzzle and I read only as much as *she* wanted me to.
*If* it's something he enjoys you can play with it so he sees more cursive. Write him little love notes. (Your husband too so he sees different handwriting.) Do a treasure hunt with clues written in cursive. (Keeping it as the fun for him challenge level.) If he enjoys writing stories, you could write one out in cursive *if* he thinks that's fun.
My feeling is the older he is the easier it is for him to learn. Part of figuring out a cursive letter is being able to guess what words could logically follow in a sentence and then seeing if any of those look like the next squiggle. If not, then reading on to pick up more clues of what that word might have been. But mostly it's adults writing so it's going to be harder for kids to guess. When they're older, it will be much easier.
It's becoming a lost art, but has been "losing it" since typwriters were common.
Here's a bit from that page:
Pam Sorooshian, who teaches at a college, brought a note to the Always Learning list in 2009:
Pam: That reminded me ... only 15 percent of students who took the recent SAT college entrance exams wrote their essays in cursive. The rest printed.
Sandra: Are they marking down for it? REALLY interesting.v Pam: No marking down. I know someone who was a grader. She said the graders are thrilled–the printing is easier to read, in general.
"But cursive is faster," you might think or say. That's what John Holt thought. He thought it because that was the justification given to him as a child when people taught cursive (though he was old enough to have used fountain pens not just for fun).
In his book Learning All the Time, John Holt tells of having taught fifth grade and having explained to them what he "knew" about cursive writing. But three of those ten- and eleven-year-old children could print faster than the teacher could write in cursive. They raced. They timed it more than once. He discovered he was the fourth fastest writer in the room.
Holt wrote, "Later I learned that school cursive, called in my day Palmer penmanship, had evolved from an elaborate decorative script invented for engraving in copper, a very slow and painstaking form of writing that had nothing to do with speed. Someone, somewhere, decided that it would be nice if children learned to write like copperplate engraving, and the rest, as they say, is history."
Later he raced the clock against himself and discovered that his own printing, even after decades of cursive writing, was faster than his own cursive, so he took to printing, except for his signature. I have friends in their twenties who went to school and who can't read most of the cursive writing they see around them. Life is changing. Don't worry if your children don't want to learn cursive, and don't be surprised if at some point in their teens they do want to learn it.
I asked Kat and here's what she replied:
I remember it [cursive] was one of those things that just sort of happened... I actually don't know how, but I think it may have had to do with reading all those letters from Suzanne [step-grandma]! haha I think I just caught on somehow. Maybe when I was writing to her a lot and after you would read me the letter, I could go back over it while I was reply to her and pick things out?? I'm actually not sure!
It's a whole 'nother language :) Kind of like what I was saying with thrash/death/black metal vocals. A month or two ago, death metal and extreme/black metal was just a bunch of screaming... now I can listen to bands I've never heard before and understand most of what they're saying. (Shocking, considering I still can't understand 90% of what is said in most Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin songs, and I've been hearing those since I was born!) But there was no rhyme or reason, it just happened after a while.
Possibly just the desire to want to understand? (both with the vocals and with cursive) If you don't have the desire, then it's going to be harder to learn. (Probably why it took me so damn long to learn how to read cursive!) Also, I was a late bloomer with reading, so most of my understanding of words was largely verbal until about that 14, 15, 16 y-o time :) So I didn't have as much practice with the written word and standards that a lot of people take for granted. (Also kind of like how I'm horrible at basic addition, subtraction, division, multiplication etc. but can do Calculus with ease)
I can't think of any cursive that's stumped me recently, though if there was something that gave me trouble, I'm better now at using context clues to figure out what's being said.
I sort of write in cursive sometimes... I'm not very good at it. Better than I used to be, but it was never something I really put the time into practicing. But usually when I do, there's a purpose to it. I don't just write letters to people in it, and if I'm writing notes, bits of stories, lyrics for myself, I don't use it because I want to be sure I can read it later! haha (And it takes me longer)
One interesting story (no idea if you can use this or not) I don't know if you remember is when I was little, I totally didn't understand cursive. I didn't get that it was actual words, I thought it was a different alphabet of some kind! So I would sometimes write letters to people with squiggles (with intended meaning of words, which was all I thought you needed to do), because I thought all adults could understand them ;) I think I gave a letter like that to someone at our old church when I was 5 or something!
Kat obviously didn't have hours and hours of practice with hundreds of arithmetic problems so it's not surprising that she feels she can't do it as easily as she assumes other people can. But, I *did* have all those hours of practice and it isn't effortless for me either and, like her, I can also do higher math. Getting As in math in high school I thought of myself as good at math so was surprised to look back at the collection of Cs in elementary school in math (arithmetic really) ;-) So there might be some genetics involved.
And that was cute, her believing intent would imbue squiggles with meaning! Such a cool (scifi/fantasy) idea :-)
What's a letter? :)
Palmer script? Scrap it, please. It's anti-ergonomic and really needs to go away.
Good italic? Makes your handwriting beautiful, fast, and easy to read.
Worth having seen Palmer, the script most of us in the US were forced to learn, just to know how to read it, but not really worth learning to write if you ask me.
It's true that you don't have to learn to write a particular script to be able to read it. My daughter thinks of cursive as a kind of handwriting font - she knows, from playing around on the computer, that some fonts are easier to read than others (and she knows from getting postcards and birthday cards that some printed handwriting is hard to read). She also knows, from reading comics and graphic novels and advertising, that the look of a font can be used to create a specific effect - to say something about context or personality. So if she wants to convey something like that, she'll use a computer and pick the font she wants rather than try to draw it out by hand.
The act of being made to learn cursive - like anything else - can do a number on someone's self esteem. I remember struggling to learn cursive, struggling so much that I was convinced I had the worst handwriting in the world and eschewing script as soon as I was "allowed" in school. It surprises me now to realize I can create very beautiful handwriting in several different "fonts" - something I learned to do not in school but working retail and having to generate attractive, readable signs in the shop. It still shocks me to have my handwriting complimented, though, even when I know I've gotten the results I want, because of that old baggage, the old tapes playing over and over "I can't do this, I'm so bad at this, I'll never be any good." Better if I'd never been taught cursive at all.
My eight and ten year old new readers can read cursive with no problem. Like someone else said, it' just a different font to them. They don't write in cursive yet. Normally, they print in all capital letters. They do know how to use lower case properly. They enjoy writing in their own code code, a roman alphabet, hieroglyphs, and kanji. My daughter also practiced old english calligraphy for a short bit. I'm sure if they want or need cursive they will be able to do it.
My mother was an elementary school teacher. Cursive was not taught at her school.
One of our children was very keen to learn to write cursive and was intrigued by calligraphy (he was 10 years old at the time) - we tried to provide for him what he felt would help him do that. He really enjoyed it for a while and still enjoys writing - not necessarily cursive or calligraphy.
Others have not shown an interest. Some in our family are neater writers and some find it a bit tricky as it is less and less that one would write by hand.
Any hand written letter could be hard to read - being it cursive or not.
Something I would ask myself - Is Lukas interested in learning to write cursive?
Is he wanting to be encouraged? - And take it from there.
You know what i find so amazing is he knows math without every being taught how to do it! He knows the answers!! If he is asked what's something added or subtracted he doesn't have to figure it out,he knows it right away!!
okay,that was off the handwriting topic but i wanted to share. :) and brag a little ;)
He is left handed like I am. I think writing alone is uncomfortable because of this. So far his Dad hasn't brought it up again. His Dad is happy that i am showing and pointing out more of what Lukas is Learning every day. He still has a hard time seeing learning naturally so Lukas and I have been doing some "paper work" writing, for his dad to see see. It only takes a little while to do and dad is happy with that. There are some rough days though where Ron says he want to him reading and will make comparisions to what school kids are doing.
Cursive writing is more like a hobby. It is quite silly that schools still waste time with it. A friend of mine is a teacher and got in trouble for not forcing her students to write in cursive. Only one of the many reasons I decided to not be a teacher. The only thing most people do with cursive is signing their name lol