Cursive

Good friends questions help us advance in our knowledge and to refine our course of action. That was the case with my friend Lizabeth inquiry about cursive. A few weeks ago at the park, I declared a bit lightly that I will teach cursive straight and will not waste time with ball and stick.


A picture of the old Cartillas Rubio
She led me to this pdf about cursive that I find most interesting.There are many familiar things stated there, such as cursive being easier. I read that ball and stick was introduced not long ago. It happens that in Spain we are taught curves, slants, and then cursive. I remember learning ball and stick as the author of the pdf says, when I became a teacher.

Like the author of that document about cursive, I also used fountain pens in collage, and normal ball pens too, but I remember that my teachers stressed the way we held the pencil, and like the author, I can write for hours without getting tired.
Go to their SITE to preview and buy

My oldest daughter is doing this booklet, number two, and my youngest not much, but some of the pre-writing one you can see in their page. Three years ago a friend who visited us from Spain brought me this, some math and their reading primers.

Something that caught my attention completely is that fascination second graders (and some first graders) have with cursive. Even my daughter has been trying to write her name in cursive for some months now.

Definitely, thanks to Lizabeth and the reading she sent me, I have settled for cursive. So far my oldest is practicing the letters in cursive in isolation, and we will keep practicing how to link them.

But there is life after CURSIVE. I have read that cursive is not really faster than print. Also that most adults have a mix of print and cursive. I believe that handwriting, not that it is not important, how could I word this?, that some will eventually develop beautiful handwriting, some will never particularly like it. But we all can achieve decent standards of handwriting, and it is a good discipline and practice if you give it its place and time. But please, DO NOT PUSH IT and make it be regarded with disgust. Most children who dislike it, struggle with their fine motor skills, or there is a disparity between what you are asking for and what they can give.

When your children practice their handwriting, keep the lessons short. When I asked my daughter to practice her handwriting on a more regular basis, since she became six, she disliked it. I did not understand why, for she could draw for hours. Then I noticed... OVERACHIEVER ME was assigning her too lengthy tasks. I hit the reset button and started small. She started to delight in a few letters, soon in a few rows, and now she sometimes keeps going longer just because. Even when it was just three letters, I expected precision. She likes looking at her work and picking her favorite letter, and asking me which one I think looks best.


I hope I have encouraged you to go for cursive, to not be intimidated or think that you need to go from easy to more difficult. For children there is not that distinction of easy (ball and stick) and difficult (cursive) when it comes to handwriting. Your children, many Spanish children, and I am sure more from other countries, can go from scribbling to forming cursive letters, to linking them in cursive handwritting.

Good luck with this forlorn art of handwriting.


12 comments:

Books For Breakfast said...

Silvia, this is so timely for us. My girl recently noticed cursive writing in the McGuffy reader and was curious. Now she's begging to be taught cursive and loves to practice her name in cursive. It never occured to me that we could sort of skip, or teach in tandem, with ball and stick (print.) I will be digging into this. Thank you!

Laura Lou said...

Yes, timely! Although I started all three of my eldest children with Italics, transitioning them later to cursive, I'm leaning towards cursive-first with my youngest. Thanks for this encouragement!

Silvia said...

I am glad it has provoked some ideas and please, come back with your findings on this.
And Laura, you are a great example of what I believe, at the end of the day children will be FINE. However, this is one of those areas where we can polish the rough edges, so to speak, and maybe be aware of the fact that cursive does not really require shortcuts and that we can totally capitalize on the strange crave children have for learning it! And the pdf points to many other advantages, so WHY NOT?

Kim said...

Thanks for the information! I was wondering about cursive vs. print although I'm sure I'm far from either one at this point! My son is only interested in writing his letter E and nothing more so we'll be taking it pretty slowly! Although he'll build any kind of letter using modeling clay and blocks...guess it's a boy thing! :)

Silvia said...

What is great, Kim, it´s the fact you can storage this information about cursive, and when the time comes, you can remember what you know or have read and have something where to to start. It will have you ready ahead of time. And that moment will come sooner than you think, though now it is perfectly fine in my humble opinion that your son is not practicing handwriting with paper and pencil. :)

Ellen said...

Hi Silvia! This is very interesting because just recently there was a news report where I live that the schools may stop teaching cursive entirely. I know! As you mentioned, I write a combination of cursive and print; most of my friends do. But the generation before me tends to stick with cursive only. It's interesting to think about.

Silvia said...

Ellen, I do agree with you, we are a "product" of what we were taught, aren´t we? It is true that my dear friends from the previous generation write cursive, unless they are also teacher where they were taught to teach danillean (instead of ball and stick it is the one that has tails), print or ball and stick, and cursive in the second or third grade.
They may eliminate it or try because it may be seen as obsolete to this day and age. But difficult it is not... grin, that also depends on the child´s inclination to handwriting. I know it is just a SMALL matter, but we are blessed as homeschooling parents to be able to even decide such a small matter with freedom.
Hugs

wonderinthewoods said...

Thank you Silvia, my eldest has chosen to learn cursive instead of ball and stick. He tries linking letters already. We need to get back to our practice of it but don't have a good book for it. I'll check out the .pdf files.

How are you? Long time no talk, it seems. I read your posts, so it looks like you are doing well.

Silvia said...

Hi Cori... I was thinking the same. I´ve been reading your posts too, but I haven´t commented in ages.
Yes, it is strange the fascination children have with cursive, isn´t it?
The pdf is short and interesting, and I have a handwriting generator somewhere in my resources, that you can use if you do not want to write cursive yourself. But a writing pad and three minutes it is all it takes to write a sentence and practice some times. We don´t do this every day, but if your oldest likes cursive, GO FOR IT!
I need to stop by with comment this time :)

wonderinthewoods said...

Thank you Silvia, my eldest has chosen to learn cursive instead of ball and stick. He tries linking letters already. We need to get back to our practice of it but don't have a good book for it. I'll check out the .pdf files.

How are you? Long time no talk, it seems. I read your posts, so it looks like you are doing well.

Kim said...

Thanks for the information! I was wondering about cursive vs. print although I'm sure I'm far from either one at this point! My son is only interested in writing his letter E and nothing more so we'll be taking it pretty slowly! Although he'll build any kind of letter using modeling clay and blocks...guess it's a boy thing! :)

Books For Breakfast said...

Silvia, this is so timely for us. My girl recently noticed cursive writing in the McGuffy reader and was curious. Now she's begging to be taught cursive and loves to practice her name in cursive. It never occured to me that we could sort of skip, or teach in tandem, with ball and stick (print.) I will be digging into this. Thank you!

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