cursive writing

Why I Think We SHOULD Teach Cursive in Schools

Recently, during one of our many random conversations, I mentioned to hubby how disappointed I was that cursive is no longer being taught in schools.  He expressed disbelief, but I could recall a controversy about the cursive thing (or lack thereof) a couple years ago.  I did a little internet search today and voila– plenty of articles popped up from 2013-14 when the news broke that the Common Core would no longer mandate teaching penmanship in elementary school.

I’m no expert on the Common Core, but I see parents complain about it all the time.  If Lilu’s homework assignments are a reflection of the requirements, I can’t say that I’m impressed.  I mean, is it really necessary to draw a picture, equation, AND number line to solve 4 + 5??  It seems like students are being taught to rely on all of these crutches that basically equate to counting on your fingers instead of just memorizing simple math facts like we did in generations prior.  Are we dumbing down our children?

I remember being so excited for third grade when I would FINALLY be able to learn fancy handwriting like all the “big kids.”  Cursive was presented as something special and advanced and we all wanted to know how to do it.

Cursive IS special– it’s how the founding fathers wrote our Declaration of Independence.  It’s how my Granny and Grandma write all of their letters and birthday cards to me.  At my baby shower last year, Lilu read every personal message out loud to the guests, except for one card that was written in cursive.  “I can’t read this one!” she said, handing it over to me.  Understandable for a kindergardener, but what if she was twenty years old and said the same thing?

Computers, phones, and tablets have become an integral part of our culture, so many would argue that learning cursive is a waste of time.  However, cursive writing is almost like another language, and is a skill that can help in critical brain development.  Maybe it’s not the MOST important thing they need to know, but it just seems like one example of how we are lowering standards for our children.  Shouldn’t we strive to teach them more instead of less?

2 thoughts on “Why I Think We SHOULD Teach Cursive in Schools

  1. jtwilder

    Hi Stacey :). I agree that there is something lost with cursive not being taught anymore. I too loved learning to write in cursive and, as you mentioned, there are certainly brain benefits to boot.

    As an educator (3rd and 4th grade), though, I don’t think this (or the approach mentioned in math) is dumbing down our students or teaching them less. Teaching cursive in school – which is a physical process learned through rote practice and muscle memory – takes a great deal of time but does not contribute to the development of critical thinking or problem solving skills, which is the focus in education today. The time dedicated to the art of cursive writing is not, however, gone from the school day, but is instead replaced with extra time for developing reading and creative writing strategies, deepening understanding of mathematical concepts, and learning new technologies. The rote and mechanical processes of the past (memorizing addition facts, writing in cursive, reciting the Gettysburg Address, etc.) are on the way out, but not without being replaced by attempts to foster greater creativity and critical thinking. Whether this is for better or worse, of course, will be seen in time.

    Apologies for the long comment! Thanks for posting.


    1. Stacey aka the Soccer Mom Post author

      Thank you for giving the educator’s prospective! Of course I didn’t mean that teachers are dumbing down the kids (I was more referring to society as a whole)– I know a lot of what is taught is out of their control. I suppose I am nostalgic for classical education, but like you said, effectiveness (or not) of new strategies will be seen in time. I always welcome respectful opinions– thanks for reading and sharing yours!

      Liked by 1 person


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