|My grandmother Mary Ann Brown nee Quirk not Zuirk!|
I learned cursive when I was in 3rd grade, or at least sometime around 3rd grade. Before that, we naturally concentrated on printing, and we were graded on our penmanship. Then we were taught cursive. Oh how intimidating it looked at first when you're supposed to learn something that you can't even read...but it all worked out. We learned cursive....and survived [gasp].
My oldest son is in 5th grade. He too learned cursive in 3rd grade, but he can't write in cursive. Why? Well, because they learned it and never used it again! Yep, they were taught and then they ignored it like a dirty little secret...let us not speak of this "cursive" thing again! Well, it's really funny, but I thought educators would realize that if you don't use something...you don't reinforce something...you will forget it. You see when I learned cursive we were told, "Great! Now you know it so write in it!" and we were from that point on forbidden to print. That was how they reinforced it. It's not like they had to continue spending time in class to teach it. The teaching was done and we were supposed to use what we had learned.
You know when you use something you've learned, you tend to get better at it. Sure it was slow going at first, but so is printing everything! At the beginning of 4th grade I realized that while my son had learned cursive, he wasn't using it. I asked him why and he told me that the teachers don't want them to. Well, then why did they teach it?
I'm not saying that they shouldn't have taught it, I was just amazed that they taught something and then told the kids not to use it. What was the point and why does no one else around me think this is ridiculous?!?! I talked to my son's 4th grade teacher about it. I even talked to his 3rd grade teacher about it (an awesome teacher, by the way) and I talked to other parents, friends and family about it. I just didn't understand what was going on!
My youngest sister is 17 years younger than I am. She's in law school right now [gosh I'm so proud of her...sniff] and she told me that when she started college that she retaught herself cursive so that she could take notes faster. I was stunned that my sister hadn't even been taught, and it's been a little while since she was in 3rd grade! So this trend is actually not new at all, but it's getting to the point where they want to take it away completely and no one seems to care! Some of the parents and friends that I spoke to use the nonsensical explanation that students need to learn keyboarding because computers are what's important today.
|Will future generations know this was a "Q"?|
Sure we're entering a more technologically oriented generation and change is to be expected, but sometimes I wonder about the change that gets made. There aren't computers at every desk in elementary school, middle school or high school. Every student that goes to college doesn't have a laptop to take to class so they can take notes! Sure many do, but some people are struggling just to send their kids let alone sending them with a computer that needs replacing every few years! So how do these people take notes? Printing? That's not the most efficient method. A voice recorder? Again, if you're having financial difficulties this is a luxury that all will not have. It's just plain silly!
Cursive is also a means of expressing oneself. I know my handwriting doesn't look anything like the prim and proper cursive I was taught. Most of us changed our writing style to something that suited us, to something that expressed a sense of art and creativity. Who can forget the loopy y's, the hearts dotting the i's and j's and the long lines crossing the t's? Slanting to the left, to the right or straight up and down. Our handwriting told a little bit about ourselves and now even that small bit of creativity is taken out of the classrooms (just like Art class...do you know that there is no Art class in my son's school?!?!)
|Yes the lower case "D" looks like a "g"!|
A little Russian tidbit that I'd like to share as well. When I learned Russian not only did I have to learn their "crazy" alphabet with all those backward R's and squared-looking D's in the printed language, but I had to learn to write in their version of cursive! Do you know what else? My teachers were natives and they would tell us on a regular basis that YOU DO NOT PRINT! Why? Because in Russia if you printed instead of writing in cursive your were stereotyped as being stupid. I'm serious. We were told this on numerous occasions. Were they pulling our legs...well, I never did quite get Russian humor, but I doubt it. Have times changed and do they still view it this way? No idea, but is this lack of cursive just another way of dumbing down? How does it make us look in a global economy...because we are global.
|Old cursive Q|
What will it be like for our children, grandchildren, etc who pick up our work and try to take over where we leave off? How will they even begin to try to read those documents? What will future generations of historians do? Learn cursive as a subject in college? Has our cursive become some ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics on the wall? Will our descendants not even be able to read the Declaration of Independence when they view it in a museum? Not only do we lose the ability to research when we don't teach and reinforce cursive...not only do we lose an outlet of personal expression when we become so complacent and neglectful of something so vital, but we lose a part of our culture. I've already purchased a book of cursive worksheets on Amazon.com and I intend on plaguing my children's summers making sure they don't miss out on this skill.
Keyboarding be damned. My super-power is writing in cursive!