8.24.2008

Fist Came Printing, Then Came Cursive, Then Came The Baby In The Text...

Apparently I cannot win. Do children print, write cursive, instant message, text, do hand signs, send up smoke signals, or perform interpretive dance in order to communicate what they know? Which of these will get them a good grade in school? Please someone-ANYONE-tell me.

We all know that I have homeschooled my children for 4 years and this year they are back in school. I taught Aaron cursive writing, but I never enforced it. He printed most days and as long as he was learning I was not concerned with him not cursive writing. Well... now that he is in school his teachers insist upon cursive writing. This has stressed him out so he and I sit at the table each night and practice... practice... practice.

When Hope was a little girl we lived in England. She started her educational career in British schools. There she was taught "connected writing" or cursive writing right off the bat. They did not teach printing-only cursive. When we moved back to the states Hope was in second grade and the teacher insisted that she print and not write in cursive. That stressed her out and she and I sat at the table each night and practiced.. practiced... practiced.

Both Hope and Aaron are taking computer classes. This is where they teach the kids how to use a keyboard and a (you guessed it) computer. This is stressing my children out because I am not a big fan of kids being on the computer until they are older so they have really not been exposed to a keyboard. So now we sit at the table each night and practice... practice... practice.

Hope is in 8th grade and no longer has to write in cursive.

Aaron is in 5th grade and can only write in cursive.

What the hell ever happened to just knowing the friggen answer and being right? Good Lord above.

19 comments:

momto5minnies said...

Nobody can figure it out.

I hate cursive and aside from my signature I never use it. Taking notes in high school and college, I just printed ... really fast. Today i would imagine kids just bring their laptops and type out their notes.

I think keyboarding skills are really important. They actually have some cool computer learning games that help with keyboarding ... without seeming like it is really a lesson.

I just realized that we both have an 8th grader and a 5th grader. My 5th grader (the one who was homeschooled last year) is back in school and only using cursive (script). She actually has great handwriting because of her previous Catholic school years (they drilled her in handwriting), but it is slow. I really did not make her do that much cursive last year. I just don't want her spending a ton of time making her writing look pretty and potentially missing important notes.

momto5minnies said...

I love that MERCY song!

Emily K said...

Ah, the joys of public/parochial schooling!

Laura said...

Cris,
You should know that even within the school setting this tug-of-war happens as far as "how should we tell the kids to write" problem goes. At my level of teaching, middle school, I always tell them to write in whatever handwriting is neatest. I just want to be able to read it. BUT woe to me last year when I heard an ear full(sp)-make that 2 ears full about how the lower school works SO hard to make them write in cursive and then I am not even making them do it in the upper grades. Honestly? At this age- if they arent' comfortable writing in cursive, then I guess "it didn't TAKE."
I feel bad for you because this must be frustrating. ( I agree with Elaine about keyboarding- that is a very valuable skill.)
Get ready for the hieroglyphics educational trend heading your way. (Kidding)

jannie_b said...

Same experience here: My boys were in Montessori school (in Canada) and learned cursive right off the bat. When we moved to the US, younger son entered Grade 2 in public school and was forced to learn to print. For a year. And then went through the laborious task of learning cursive (which he already knew). That, and about sixty other annoyances, was why I ended homeschooling him for a couple of years.

Now they both just print and type. Sigh.

Soul Pockets said...

My kids learned Denelian in Catholic school, that made it much easier to transition into cursive.

Amazing Racer said...

Seriously, isn't the point of writing to be able to communicate? Does it really matter whether that communication comes in cursive or print form? This is my #1 irritant about the FIRST grade...the perfectionism with printing...for a daughter like mine, it keeps her from enjoying school.

Debbie said...

Amen Sister! I am right there in your corner. There appears to be very little vertical alignment in education anymore. When my son was in 7th grade was the first time he had to learn cursive. His spelling tests were sentence dictations that he had to do in cursive. So, like you, we practiced and practiced. It can really tax the mother/child relationship. Good luck!

Shannon said...

I'm with you - they should be there to LEARN things -and not made to write in a certain way. Now, typing on the other hand...MAJOR thing - I think the sooner the better. Typer Shark is a really cool game that your kids can play and learn to type faster/better. I love this game and it's super kid friendly. Here is the link to download it off of yahoo.

http://get.games.yahoo.com/proddesc?gamekey=typershark

Cousin Steve said...

I wouldn't tell Aaron to get too good at cursive for we all know that a doctor has horrible penmanship. Our cousin Dave used have wonderful handwriting. In med school, they actually made write stuff worse. Now you can't even read a word he writes. It's very sad. He leaves notes around the house for himself, it doesn't work. He hasn't remembered an anniversary or birthday in years.

I cry.

If you would like to donate money to the "Doctors who can't write notes to the teacher for their children fund"
Call 555-5309

Thank You

messy bessy said...

I had been puzzling over the emphasis on cursive for a long time when I came across a theory somewhere that actually explains why the whole thing got started: that waaaaaaay back in the early years of compulsory schooling, everybody had to learn to write with an ink pen. As in, a pen that you must dip into an inkpot and then drag across a page with some degree of neatness. So cursive, the system whereby you can write a whole word without picking up your pen, was very important because it taught kids how to write with a minimum of blots and smudges.

I buy this theory. And thus, I find that the insistence on cursive, even when no one writes papers or letters with an ink pen anymore, is beginning to be an empty tradition. If only we could return to the days when we all communicated with paper and ink, so that our biographers could collect all our lovely words for immortality!

Shannon said...

Thank you so much for your comment! It really helped alot - I've been continuing to pray about it. Again, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Cousin Steve,
That was a good one! We knew Dave was going to be a doctor before he knew it!!
HAHAHA!
Love,
Aunt Barbara

wendyz said...

"June"
I really love your stories about how the kids are adjusting to school. I hope you are doing okay? I read and laugh often. I am trying to get my photography business up and going here. Hopefully just in time for Christmas photo shoots.

Elfie33 said...

I work for a state agency, it would be nice if the people I see could just write. Keep practicing...next year I'm sure they will change things..LOL

Heather said...

Ah, are you sure you're done homeschooling? Welcome to public education! Why should they be taught really important stuff when they can be taught stuff they'll hardly ever use in the real world! Why not just stress them out and then change the rules of engagement?! Just nuts! I say keep homeschooling!! Er, not that you asked....

"D" AKA CI-Roller Dude said...

Cursive hand writing is overrated....I spent my child hood learning how to "write" then when I went into police work, we had to write all the reports in large block letters so the chief could read them. (now we use computers)
And some Military "special" reports are still done in large block letters- even on computers...so the higher ups can read the reports. (they like pictures too)

Lori said...

okay, I have to be the lone dissenter in the group...I think beautifully handwritten papers and letters (like love letters) are a treasure, and so I drill my 5th grader (boy) in both printing and cursive...yes, I know that given the choice, he probably won't use cursive much later in life, but maybe he'll be a professional athlete and need a good autograph to be able to sign! :-)

Elizabeth said...

hmmm... mexico is like that, montessori and traditional education says write in cursive, we moved to waldorf, there you can play with beeswax or knit if so inclined instead of printing (and no i´m really not joking, though my kids choose to go to school and learn, amazing!), because printing is their method. i found your blog through my friend betty duffy and you are making my sides hurt from laughing! i´ll be visiting you often and ignoring my dirty laudry as well!