I am a fan of writing in script. The dreaded cursive lessons and penmanship of grade school gave way to admiration for my mom’s elegant scribe. I wanted to have my handwriting look like hers. Feminine swoops, powerful loops – I was in awe of how her writing appeared immediately out of her pen.
I started like most school children do: blocky letters from learning to write in print on lined paper gave way to bulbous, clumsy and coarse scribbles, once again on lined paper. Though I recently turned thirty-eight, penmanship and handwriting were skills taught when I was a younger lass. Learning to write and read in script was a major accomplishment. My mom’s lists and letters made sense. The shaky, blocky handwriting of my Gram was no longer a struggle to decipher. Even writing my own assignments for school came easier when pen no longer required lifting between each letter.
So, imagine my horror when I found out from my eldest nephew that learning to write in cursive was no longer taught in schools! No longer taught?! So there was a reason behind seeing signatures of adults that looked to be scribbled by toddlers. Why I was seeing printed names more often than I was boldly stated declarations of identity. Cursive just wasn’t being taught.
The ability to read and write script is a skill that should, and must, be learned. Not only does it appear the American school systems have placed more value on the ability to tackle an opponent or score three-point shots on the court, but they have devalued culture. The teaching of cursive is joining Art Classes, Music Classes and the Dodo bird. While solving Math problems has become over complicated, our culture is being oversimplified to the point of extinction. Soon, the number of school children who will be unable to read the Declaration of Independence in its original state unaided by a translation into Times New Roman will outnumber those who are able to grasp the emotion behind every peak and whorl.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”
Hold! All is not lost! My mom, in her infinite wisdom and forethought, started to teach my nephew and niece to write and read in cursive. Legislators in Tennessee are pushing back against the Common Core Standards and are finding ways to include, even squeeze in, teaching handwriting. Even adults who missed out on learning script are now teaching themselves as they’ve discovered a disconnect in communication between those that can’t and those that can.
And me? Did I ever attain my lofty goal to imitate my mom’s beautiful penmanship? I think I came close, though my writing has it’s own look, a little less elegant, a little more messy – much like the thoughts in my head. Writing in script has serve me well and I continue to use it daily; even the draft for this post was first scrawled out in script.
Carry on Tennessee in your valiant fight to teach handwriting in schools. I am a vocal champion of this skill and salute your efforts.
Do you prefer writing in print or cursive?
If you have children, have they learned or are they learning, to read and write script?
Our education systems seem to have totally lost all sense of direction!!
Agreed! I got upset in high school when so much focus and funding was given over to sports and not to actual classes. Now schools are more concerned about making sure kids have laptops and iPads than they are actually TEACHING anything useful.
When we were in school the teachers actually wrote on the black board. We also problem solved there as well. It helped you see how to resolve and learn. Kids these days have very few common skills to really help them succeed in life. Young people have been told by our education system that they can get a degree and get a job setting at a computer and make a good living. However these jobs do not produce anything, they are merely service jobs. The education system threw away the things required and stopped encouraging young to learn trade skills. So now all the trades have difficulty hiring knowledgeable trades people. Finding a good electrician, plumber, auto technician and etc is difficult because the education system berated any one wanting to pursue those jobs as being second rate.
Seems you do not need to learn much in school these days. The logic being that you can look up whatever it is you need to know on your iPhone. We are breeding stupidity.
I wonder what John Hancock would have to say.
That women need to stop “dotting” their i’s with circles and hearts?
Yes, “they can just look it up” is an argument I’ve heard on numerous stories about the current state of the education system. It’s illogical.
I attended a funeral on Saturday. Following the service, as is traditional in our area, there was a luncheon served in the church hall. I sat across from a former neighbor who was also a classmate, fellow 4H member…you get the picture. She was explaining that her sister had a masters in education and she, herself, had her degree in computer science. They both received their degrees in 1973-74. When they finished school, there were no teaching jobs to be had. She went into accounting. The discussion went on to the fact that texting and tweeting and email have definitely hurt the younger generations (am I really sounding like those ‘old people’ we used to listen to? My granddaughter asked why I always use cursive when I write out checks. I never thought of the fact that there may have been an option. Now, with EFT or POS electronics, people don’t have to write checks at most merchants. So true – what a great loss. I remember those lessons of rows and rows of cursive t’s and o’s with Sister walking up and down the aisles. It was to encourage ‘flow’ in our penmanship. I also remember rewriting one particular classmate’s essays at the request of the high school teacher because he could not decipher his handwriting. Things sure have changed!!!!
Let’s hear it for handwriting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Funny thought as I proof read this, Sister walked up and down the aisles because we sat is rows of desks and routinely had 48 to 60 students in a classroom. That would be unheard of now. My granddaughter invited us to her classroom to show a project. They have a carpeted sitting area with easy chairs and lamps, some of the students have thos big rubber balls in place of chairs at their desks. Talk about distractions…
So, does your mentioning of the big, rubber balls in place of chairs and easy chairs and lamps mean you want me to rant about the educational system some more? Because, I can. 😀
I can barely read my handwriting as it is, and I never write in cursive . . . that said, I absolutely believe that kids should be taught.
Mr. Muse, has horrible handwriting – he’d make a great doctor if he wasn’t an engineer. I understand that some people just aren’t good at handwriting, but yes – I think everyone would be taught.
Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE this post. I believe nice and neat handwriting is becoming a lost art. As a child, I practiced my handwriting (oftentimes rewriting my homework ’til it looked perfect) to make sure it always looked neat and legible. It frustrates me when I see how some people (mostly guys) write because how is it possible that you’ve been writing so illegibly your entire life?
Also, I just prefer print because it comes more naturally to me than cursive 🙂
Hey, thank you for stopping by! And I appreciate print, and when I do print it’s usually what you would find on a drafting board, all caps, but I definitely prefer script over print.