Thursday, January 5, 2012


Z1 is learning how to write cursive.  He wanted to learn it so he could read the notes that Nate the Great's mother would leave for him.  (Nate the Great is the main character in the wonderful detective series written by Marjorie Weiman Sharmat.)  He also didn't like not being able to read the notes left for silly Amelia Bedelia (main character in the popular books by Peggy Parish).  I would have happily waited until second grade to start cursive instruction but since he was interested, I went along with it.  I know that it's not longer taught in many schools and there is debate about how useful it is but as far as I'm concerned, it's necessary.  In this technological age, the art of handwriting is being lost.  And if you know me, you know I don't believe that we will all have unlimited access to e-mail and texting and all that forever.    I definitely think thinner, simpler days are ahead so we only do ourselves a disservice by writing off basic skills like handwriting (pun intended).  We still need to know how to write different kinds of letters and how to send thank you notes.  We still need to know how to take written notes.   We need to to be able to communicate and preserve information on paper.  Anyway, not to go off on too much of a tangent.  

There are many styles of print and cursive handwriting.  Z1 has been learning handwriting using the Handwriting without Tears program.  I just love this program for learning to print because it's straightforward and fun--simple.  The HWT style of cursive is also very plain and straightforward and we went with HWT for cursive just because we were accustomed to  the materials.  
But it's not the style of cursive I learned or use.  The way I write cursive, a combination of the Palmer style and simple Zaner-Bloser, is decidedly more ornate:

So writing things for Z1's copywork takes a whole lot of looking at the HWT letter chart and extra thinking on my part.  I've asked Z1 if he'd like to try a different style but he likes the HWT style precisely because it's not so curvy. So we'll stick with it.  We practice handwriting every day for 10-15 minutes and over the course of a year, I am really blown away by how his handwriting has improved.  

Here's a New York Times article, The Case for Cursive, which I read some time back.  I agree with many of the points.

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