Earlier I shared a link on Facebook about schools no longer teaching cursive in school. With the advent of Common Core (which is a whole other ranty blog post waiting to happen) it is no longer required, and according to the article in question, it is already not required in 41 states.
Both of my boys (now sixth and seventh graders) had a scant two week “crash course” in cursive in the fifth grade. My daughter, with her love of all things pink and curly and glittery, asked to learn cursive just last summer. She was eight and going into third grade. I must have printed out fifty practice pages where she could trace letters, then make them on her own. Letters with arrws showing where to stop and wind up at the end. Letters on their own. Then onto tracing whole words, then writing them on her own. Then sentences. I tucked them away to show her later (along with all the other school work I’ve tucked away over the years). She still practices her signature, carefully looping the characters around, asking me if it’s just right, telling me I’ve written a U or a V when I’ve clearly written an N or an M, but all those lower case letters look the same anyway.
OK, OK, obviously my cursive handwirting isn’t the best. I tried to self-teach that beautiful, flowing Spencerian script a couple of summers ago. I have trouble holding a pen for more than five or ten minutes, let alone long enough to write sentence upon sentence in beautiful, perfectly spaced loopy flowing script. But I tried. My block writing isn’t much better. It’s kind of a mix between a nice block, and cursive, and oh hell, let’s just hook this letter to that one but leave a space here, just because. I make my F’s backwards too, because even in block letters I gotta be fancy. Hm, maybe that loopy, glittery, swirly girly stuff is genetic… Nah.
I often rely on “handwriting fonts” when I need something to have that hand-written look. I have dozens installed, from femenine to masculine, plain to so fancy you can barely read them. That said, thank you notes are always hand written, and I agonize over them. But then, handwritten, stamped and mailed thank you notes have long gone the way of the Dodo and I’ve heard for years that cursive is heading the same way. Maybe it just took a few years to find out?
I’m sure there will always be people out there who learn things just to learn them. Some skills never die out, and I hardly expect cursive to be one that truly does. But watching what my kids learn at school vs. what I gently insist they learn at home, I’ll continue to take up the slack that their school education leaves out. Besides, if it does completley disappear, how will we sign checks, legal documents, credit card charges? As it is I generally initial them. In cursive. In big, loopy, obnoxious cursive. But it’s still cursive. My 13 year old signs his name in cursive. Every. Single. Letter. I don’t have the patience for that. Three letters is fine. I’d never “sign” something in block letters and expect it to be legally binding.
Maybe Common Core will add in a one day quickie teaching kids how to sign their names.