A Case for Cursive

It seems more and more schools are eliminating their cursive programs.  Apparently it’s no longer a relevant skill, and schools just don’t have time for it.  Excuse me for seeming a bit old-fashioned here, but I believe a big mistake is being made.  There are plenty of very valid reasons to keep cursive in the curriculum.

The most obvious case for cursive comes from the ability to read documents of the past.  A great deal of important historical documents were written in cursive.  Now sure, printed copies of these documents are also available online, but you know what isn’t available online?  Obscure historical documents.  Want to read grandma’s recipe book?  Odds are it’s in cursive, and odds are, there is no translation on the internet.  If any family journals, diaries, or interesting documentation exists in the dusty archives of family attics, there is a good chance some of it will be in cursive.  Taking the ability to read cursive from children is taking away a small piece of their histories away from them.

Cursive is also another tool a child has to express themselves.  My oldest son had the print handwriting of a drunk axe murderer.  I struggled to read anything he had written, and he grew frustrated at being unable to communicate.  Then, I taught him cursive, and he was suddenly a different student.  His cursive was neat and very legible.  The drama of poor handwriting was instantly gone.  This certainly isn’t true for all children, but giving them another way to communicate is not a waste of time.

Additionaly, in most of Europe, cursive is still very much the norm for everyday written communication.  Arguably, if an American student is corresponding with a European, it will probably be done in text, rather than hand-written letters.  However, should an American find themselves traveling or living in Europe, it would do them well to be able to read handwritten notes.

Finally, cursive is not time-consuming to teach.  We spent about five minuets a day, four days a week, for about 8 weeks to teach the basics of cursive.  Much more time was needed to master cursive; but if I, a homeschool parent with no background in education, can teach it that easily, then surely it can’t require that much time, can it?

For many people, cursive is a skill that might see only occasional use.  However, for such an easy skill to learn, with so many potential uses, it seems foolish to write it out of the curriculum (no pun intended).  In our house, cursive will always have a place in our schedule.


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