It sounds like an odd question, but its an honest one.
"Is your signature printed or in cursive?"
With so much of our written communication replaced by digital communication, we rarely pick up a pen anymore. And if you’re anything like me, you're shocked by how poor your penmanship has become. Nevertheless, you still likely sign your name in cursive.
Have you considered though, that our kids may never know how to sign their name with that fast, quick swish of their pen. Many elementary schools have removed this dying skill of stringing letters together from the core teaching curriculum, as they focus on higher priority teachings like computers. And while I fully support being well versed with computers, I can't help but feel gutted that kids today may never experience the joy of reading a personal hand-written note. It's sad to think they will need to rely on their primary printing skills to sign for their first car loan or mortgage.
Think back to when you graduated from 'kid writing' to 'grown-up' writing, it was likely accompanied by hours of doodling. Holding a pen had importance. Doodling. Writing. And practicing endless variations of our signatures. Was it going to be formal as a scholar or messy as a doctor? Fancy trails, and exaggerated loops? Firstname, Lastname, or with the middle initial in there too?
Signatures were a big deal. And in my opinion, they still are a big deal. They are our individual trademark. Is a printed signature even a signature?
So what are you to do if writing is important to you, and it's no longer being taught in your child’s classroom? Well, you could teach it at home, with daily repetition (I see you rolling your eyes!). You know as well as I do, getting your kids to do anything “educational” daily is as difficult as forcing them to eat a mountain of broccoli. It’s just not going to happen!
Well... actually, I think we may have found a fun and easy way. One that we discovered, sort of by accident, but it's working for us. Here's our 2 step approach:
1. Hold a pen daily and have fun with it. - get used to the feeling of holding a pen. Whether you're doodling or writing, doesn't matter, just that you're holding a pen
2. Work it into your normal day’s routine. It shouldn't feel like "homework".
This is how we do it- Every morning, I prep and pack my 5-year old's lunch in her DALCINI containers, she reaches for her color markers, and excitedly writes the contents on the lids. It started out with doodles, then printing, and now cursive. My love notes to her were often written in cursive (accidentally at first as its my "go to" style of writing), but she actually learned how to read it, and soon wanted to write in cursive. She calls it 'fast-writing'. It makes me so happy to see her holding a pen correctly and writing, and she is having fun practicing her penmanship daily.
It’s a win-win for us and not an ounce of it feels like homework. I’m continually astounded by her rapid improvements and her escalating love of writing /doodling/drawing. Maybe, just maybe, 'writing' can be restored in the classic ”reading, writing and arithmetic”.
What are your thoughts on teaching cursive to kids? Let it die and move on, or is it an important skill to hold on to? How do you supplement teaching at home? Share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.