Homeschool At The Squishable Baby – Cursive First

Cursive Writing

 

I may be alone in my thought that the dying art of cursive writing is not only an important part of an educational curriculum but an essential part of a stellar educational curriculum.  Writing was one of human’s foundational achievements.  Scriptures were not typed, they were written in plates, and on papyrus.  It is my opinion that not only does  cursive invokes different parts of the brain – that when properly developed – increase and refine the ability of complete thought.

It is known that letter recognition and formation is the precursor to reading, spelling, grammar, and language.  It’s an important part of development.

Am I correct in my thinking – or just an old school anti-technology buff that has her head buried in the past?  To find out, I went on a search to either support my thinking or refute it.  according to Scientific American (September/October 2013), few researchers have studied handwriting relations to thought and brain development.  Their findings are preliminary, and do not address thought patterns in adulthood.

Alas.

Although the findings have shown that pen and paper do engage the brain in a unique manner.

 

Do our Hands Help Us See?

There is a big correlation to hand movements and brain development – and it’s importance is seen in developing children.  The manipulation of physical objects directly correlates with the acquisition of speech.  Scientific American says that patients with brain lesions that interfere with their handwriting ability also struggle with letter recognition by sight.  In our homeschool, we often trace letter with our hands, first,  and then up in the air, second.  It’s known that for people with trouble reading, tracing letters with your finger helps.

When a child learns to write, it invokes hand, eye and brain coordination.  To master cursive it takes years of work and practice.  When I learned to type with Mavis Beacon in High School, it took a month – and I was typing like a pro.  Many people tell me their handwriting skill is not.  Cursive writing is not like riding a bike, people.  It take a lot of skill and active brain activity – rather than the passive activity of the keyboard.

Interesting, right?  I didn’t know that first, I was just following the curriculum and learned that later.

 

The Evidence

The evidence is not absolute or definitive.  A few studies have shown that letter recognition invokes brain activity in areas where typing does not.  However, in these studies there were very few participants in a small area.  Of course, these studies need to be enlarged and properly controlled in order to be able to definitely know.  However, it’s a start.  There is an interesting study by Karin James from the University of Bloomington in IN.  James analyzed brain stimulation when subjects looked at letters or letter like shapes in a set of experiments between 2008-2010.  In her 2012 paper she describes that seeing handwritten letters heightens activity in purely visual areas.

 

Why Cursive First?

If you believe everything I have said – or even if you don’t believe everything I said and believe what the research suggests – why am I teaching cursive first?  Why just not teach print and then teach cursive (like was done in the olden days (prior to 2000).  🙂

The answer is simple.  Cursive is  much easier to learn.  It’s connecting sweeping motions are much more natural than those made when printing.  My proof is in my experience.  With my son, I taught him print first.  It was laborious and frustrating for him.  It took him a long time to master.  When I started teaching him cursive, it went fast.  He was hesitant at first, because of the frustrations of print.  However,  we saw remarkable improvement quickly.  Now, he actually loves writing.

I was hesitant at first as well.  However, if you don’t believe me and my proof, look at what others say .

We live in the computer age.  We need typing skills.  It’s a no-brainer.  Despite this, I argue that handwriting is an even more important skill that parents, teachers, and school districts shouldn’t view so lightly.  Just going by thinking that handwriting is not important – is a band train of thought – and will only hinder our children and their talents.

 

I am really excited to start Ava on Cursive first.

 

Has your child learned to write in cursive.  What has been your experience?

Lisa
<muscle-up-meals
About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

Comments

  1. I HATE writing, I prefer typing by far (not on a phone). But now looking at the younger generations write, it’s atrocious. And I thought my writing was bad.

    Now raising my son, it frustrated me that they taught him a method of writing yhat wasn’t quite print or cursive and I spent tons of time trying to stop him from writing in cursive. In his case, I would definitely agree that he might as well been taught cursive first.
    April recently posted…It’s So Good to Have FriendsMy Profile

    • April,

      Your comment made me laugh. Haha!

      I see no problems in teaching cursive. Really? Why should it be a dying art? There really is no reason for it.

      Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do.

      That’s just what I think anyway. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have a great Labor Day! Rest…rest…rest!
      Lisa recently posted…Crock Pot Greens RecipeMy Profile

  2. Good for you! Can you believe cursive is being removed from the curriculum in most states? Ridiculous! I don’t want to leave a link and be marked as spam, but I’ll tweet you a link about it. (You may already know though…)
    Amy mayen recently posted…Sew Many BooksMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for tweeting the link. I was going to add it to this post, but I think I will include it in a post down the line. I do think it’s an important topic to address. It’s not fun and pinterest pretty – but I think it’s important.

      Have a wonderful weekend, Amy!
      Lisa recently posted…Crock Pot Greens RecipeMy Profile

  3. This is so interesting – I have just purchased our very first handwriting book. I decided to try italic handwriting but if it doesn’t work well for us – I’ll remember this! Thank you!
    Jody recently posted…Africa for Kids: Preschool HomeschoolMy Profile

  4. Very informative. Actucally, this post compliments the post I wrote on “The Art of Cursive”, I’m going to pin. Thanks for sharing.
    Tati recently posted…From the Mommy Journal #2 {Read to Her Siblings}My Profile

  5. It is funny, my daughter has issues with her writing grip so she tires very easily with handwriting. She does not with typing. That being said, it came to my attention that she couldn’t read cursive at all a couple of years ago and we started focusing on cursive writing – not writing a lot at any one point but my goal was that she would be able to read cursive and write if it was a necessity. I waited a bit to push it and when she saw the reason to learn (wanting to read cursive) – she took to it quickly.
    I think it odd that it is being taken away completely. Sad.

    I love the way you do it. Great article. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Cool Mom (Christine M.) recently posted…Word of the Week is back in session with GUSTOMy Profile

    • That is awesome! I don’t think it’s too rare now a days to find a child, young adult or adult that can’t read cursive writing. It really is ridiculous (in my opinion). I will admit that there is a definite necessity to teach a child how to use a computer, in order to get along in this digital world. However, just because we live in a digital age, doesn’t mean that the basics shouldn’t be taught.

      That’s truly how I feel. We are doing a dis service.

      Anywho. Thanks! I hope you have a stupendous long weekend!
      Lisa recently posted…Crock Pot Greens RecipeMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. […] For us, cursive was an integral part to his literacy success. I am so grateful that my heart was open to an idea – that many others reject. Now, I teach all of my kids cursive first. […]

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