Should We Keep Handwriting in the Homeschool Mix?
I never considered myself passionate about teaching handwriting. In fact, I have always disliked the idea of struggling with it. For those of us who have children that struggle with writing, and even those who don’t, it is tempting in this age of digital communication to forget about it all together and not keep handwriting as part of our curriculum. Why is it so important anyway? Now that so much of our communication is being done through emails and text messages, is it really worth spending the time? Before you decide to do away with cursive or handwriting in your homeschool program, consider these reasons to stick with it.
First, handwriting is easy to teach. It doesn’t need to take great effort. It is something that develops over time with regular practice. 10-15 minutes each day should be adequate time to be effective if done regularly. It’s also important that you’re teaching your child in a way that is developmentally appropriate. Writing is part of small muscle coordination skills. Regular practice certainly helps in developing this, but children’s abilities and timing will differ. It’s also easy for homeschoolers to teach because you have much more control over YOUR method which provides consistency. Whatever the method and style, keep it simple and positive.
Second, underdevelopment in handwriting can both stifle the development of writing skills and slow academic progress in other areas. Handwriting is a basic academic skill that children will build on and utilize in all areas of learning. Correct letter formation is essential for writing with ease and more proficiency. And since most school work that children do on a daily basis is still mostly handwritten, it’s important that they will be able to complete assignments with ease and that they have the writing skills to do so. Additionally, if your child feels he has poor handwriting it may limit a desire to write, therefore stifling the budding writer in him. Does it need to be perfect? No, just functional enough to help him get the job done!
Lastly, it’s personal. People always compliment me on my handwriting; it’s something I have taken for granted having attended Catholic school. But I realize now that it’s unique. No one else has handwriting exactly like mine. Handwriting, especially the cursive signature, is “organic” in a sense. It belongs to the individual and it’s real. Just think about the legendary John Hancock and that famous mark of his. Or how about that recipe written in Great Grandma Judy’s own hand? Doesn’t it have something more to speak to us than what the keyboard has to offer? In a sense it’s artistic.
Plus not everything we communicate today is digital. Certainly more is done digitally now than ever before! Though some schools may have done away with teaching cursive all together, cursive is still used on billboards, name tags, letters, and even computer fonts. Signatures are in cursive. Perhaps someday it may fade away altogether and become obsolete, but for now I feel good about continuing teaching it.
I agree with you Stephanie. I am left handed and my hand writing is even more atrocious. I home school my twins and my attitude is that with computers, they will not have much reason to write anyway. Nevertheless, they do lots of writing each day in their school books.
I agree. We use Handwriting without tears (just the workbooks). They’re working well for us. I think handwriting is so artistic and beautiful. I can’t imagine not teaching my kids how to write well (or at least semi-well 😉 ).
We continue to teach handwriting and tutor students to improve handwriting. Even with the use of computers and iPads in schools, the majority of work assigned (worksheets, study guides) is completed using handwriting. We use Write-On Handwriting Apps for iPads and paper workbooks. We tutor students at various ages, so needed a program that was age-neutral. Utilizing technology helps keep home and tutoring instruction consistent.
Lastly, research supports handwriting instruction. Engaging in the learning process develops areas of the brain (spatial, sequential, etc.)
Great topic! I’m finding a many homeschool parents assume that everyone in college is using a laptop in class. In reality in most college classrooms, the majority of students are still taking handwritten notes in class and they are taking handwritten exans in class. Especially in subjects like math, it can be much more cumbersome and time consuming to try to type everything. So if a student is able to learn to write (they don’t have dysgraphia) it is worthwhile. Not everyone is going to have pretty handwriting – but if legible is possible it is totally worth 10 minutes a day to make it happen.
Thank you for so succinctly summing up why I keep on pulling out handwriting sheets. There is so much there that just needs to be known and taught. And I hope someday my kids love crafting a letter with pen and paper as much as I do.