I just listened to a podcast this weekend comparing various views about the importance of teaching handwriting. Some feel it is important that all students learn to write cursive as well as print. Many today are abandoning cursive all together and just teaching basic manual handwriting skills. One person interviewed on this podcast even predicted that with the texting and speech-to-text technologies that our kids are growing up with there will be a day soon when it will not be necessary to teach ANY hand-writing skills! An online article gave some compelling science behind the value of learning cursive writing.
I have observed that more and more homeschooled students are not learning cursive. On a recent PSAT test that I proctored, students were supposed to copy a statement, writing it and their signature in cursive handwriting. A surprising number of the 11th graders were unable to do so.
The PACES do integrate teaching of cursive writing skills at the upper elementary and even junior high level in the English PACES. It is up to the supervisor to determine and then enforce whether cursive should be used for all the writing assignments across the subjects. The parent’s or supervisor’s expectations also determine what quality of handwriting is acceptable.
Here’s my personal opinion (for what it’s worth).
- Writing is a necessary skill for communicating with others.
- In today’s world much of that writing can be done with a keyboard which puts less emphasis on handwriting, but communicates clearly.
- However, hand written communication is still a part of our life so we need to work at making it neat and legible.
With the teens in our Christian school, I’ve become comfortable with these standards and procedures:
- All written responses in the PACES across subjects must be legible to anyone, not just the student. I do not insist on cursive, though I encourage it and praise good hand-writing when I see it.
- Paragraphs, essays, and longer written assignments I actually prefer that students type on the computer and print out double-spaced. It makes it easier for me to grade their work and easier for them to go back and make corrections quickly and reprint a final copy. (I didn’t get to do that when I was their age, but I sure would have loved to!)
- For Word-building sentences, and single-sentence responses in the English PACES, I do not allow students to type them on the computer. I want them to have practice with correct handwriting, spelling, punctuation, etc. It also is easier to grade rather than having slips of paper stapled to too many pages.
- I do not allow students to use the computer to write out their Word Building words three times each for the check-ups. The practice of writing the words by hand is a better teaching tool, research has shown. (Also, the computer can do spell-check and copy-paste, which defeats the purpose of the assignment!)
What do YOU require of your students regarding hand-writing? Leave a comment below and tell me about it or about your opinion of manual versus cursive handwriting.