Author Topic: Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA  (Read 472 times)

Online Zivio

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Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA
« on: February 12, 2024, 11:10:42 AM »
@AnasaziWrites posted a WSJ article about California’s new legislation requiring cursive handwriting instruction in public schools beginning January 02024:

Cursive is Back

California has joined 22 other states in the union to have fully mandated instruction, but there are some differences. Most of the other states have the requirement to teach by grades 3, 4 or 5.  Califonia’s, so far, is the only one requiring it in grades 1 through 6. Also, unlike the other states, California’s law cites teaching of cursive or joined italics.

I’m of two minds on the topic:

(1) The forces of technological change in communications are just too powerful to be overcome by merely requiring children to learn this in a few elementary school grades. My sense is that handwriting, sadly, will eventually die except as an art form, and mostly already has.

(2) As with giving children opportunities to learn and explore art, music, sports, vocational studies, etc., it is a wonderful thing to expose them to cursive writing. There will be some who find a great interest in it and learn to enjoy seeing historical and everyday handwritten communications, as I do, and even decide to practice it.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2024, 01:47:56 PM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2024, 01:52:50 PM »
I wonder who is advising the California school system. Grades 1-2 are too young for cursive writing IMHO. I started my kids in 3rd grade and  it was just the right time to avoid lots of frustration. Especially since so many children have developmental delays these days and immature pencil grasp. Handwriting for sure. Cursive, too early. Joined Italic is definitely an improvement over the standard manuscript style I was taught and that was taught in my children’s schools.

In regard to #1, I slightly disagree. I saw many of my kids’ friends say they wished they had learned cursive and could sign their names. I don’t think handwriting will die. Especially if our power grids fail before they can be refurbished (yikes!)  :o

#2 - YES!!!
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Offline Estefa

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Re: Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2024, 03:43:53 PM »
In Germany Cursive is teached from Grade 1 (that is around the age of 6). I think a lot depends on the model of handwriting that is used, and also on how much time in the curriculum is actually used for practice. My kids learned a very simplified, just slightly slanted version of Copperplate-ish, they started with pencil drills, then letters, then words (like in Calligraphy really), and at the end of the first year usually the fountain pen is introduced. The exemplar they learned is easily to join – they all have nice handwriting in terms of legibility and fluidity. Developing one’s own style is encouraged as long as it’s readable. In contrast, in other states there are different models for Cursive, some are horrible and impossible to write fluidly. In some states they dropped Cursive altogether. It’s an ongoing debate …

I also don’t think handwriting will die – it will just be used differently and less frequently.
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Offline Vintage_BE

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Re: Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2024, 04:16:46 PM »
Most European countries (including in any event Belgium) teach handwriting from the age of 6.
What has changed between the time that I went to grade school (the ‘60s) and the years that my children went to grade school (between 2004 and 2012) is that in the ‘60s, “handwriting” (or “schoonschrift” which translates into something like ‘penmanship’) was a required subject until the 5th grade (age 11). Nowadays, kids are being taught how to write in the first grade, but if I remember correctly ‘handwriting’ is not a separate subject anymore as from second or third grade. The result: kids develop, let’s say, “a personal style” early on; that style is tolerated as long as their handwriting is somewhat legible.
Our youngest (born on 30 December) started grade school months before he reached the age of 6; his “fine motoric skills” were underdeveloped, and it shows until today in his handwriting - he’s 23 and his handwriting looks, well, not great.
My wife teaches courses that require students to take (hand)written examinatons. Each year I am enlisted by her to help decipher some of the hieroglyphs that are being handed in. Even if we know (or strongly suspect) what the student intended to write, we regularly are unable to translate the scratches into any potentially intelligible word. Sigh.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2024, 04:29:05 PM »
That’s quite impressive!

In Germany Cursive is teached from Grade 1 (that is around the age of 6)… and at the end of the first year usually the fountain pen is introduced.
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Offline JanisTX

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Re: Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2024, 06:44:01 AM »
I have often thought about going to my “local” elementary school and asking if I could offer an after-school class (non-credit) on handwriting. I don’t have “perfect” penmanship.  My handwriting is, unfortunately, very personalized.  However, I’ve seen handwriting posters at teacher supply stores & can reproduce the letters, if I pay attention and try.  It’s not much to offer, but I know more than the kids & I think that I could teach kids how to write in cursive.  What do you think?  As a parent, would you like this to be available for your kids??

Online Zivio

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Re: Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2024, 11:53:59 AM »
I have often thought about going to my “local” elementary school and asking if I could offer an after-school class (non-credit) on handwriting…

This is a splendid idea in many respects!

  • Volunteering is a wonderful offering of your time, interest and energies!
  • Children learn so much from the adult humans in their lives and enjoy the personal connection with them whether they be family, teachers or friends!
  • This would open your own life to, no doubt, very interesting connections with younger minds and hearts!
  • I’d already mentioned my thoughts about just the value for children to be exposed to a broad array of experience and interests! While you may downplay your own abilities in everyday handwriting/penmanship, you are likely well ahead of many teachers who have done no calligraphy at all and are tasked to teach. As an extra-curricular activity, you would be attracting those children who have at least some interest … and think of their little minds being blown if/when you do have opportunity to talk about the chirographic arts! Somewhere on Jean Wilson’s blogs she had presented a questionnaire and published answers regarding how people had originally found their interest. For so many of them, something just clicked when learning to write in elementary school. Who knows what you might spark?!
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Mandated public school cursive handwriting instruction in USA
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2024, 07:53:40 PM »
I think it’s a fabulous idea! I would suggest finding a homeschooling group in your town. They *love* handwriting and classes. Also, we had a local art center that had free classes on Saturday mornings and they were interested in cursive as well.

P.S. There is no perfect penmanship!

I have often thought about going to my “local” elementary school and asking if I could offer an after-school class (non-credit) on handwriting. I don’t have “perfect” penmanship.  My handwriting is, unfortunately, very personalized.  However, I’ve seen handwriting posters at teacher supply stores & can reproduce the letters, if I pay attention and try.  It’s not much to offer, but I know more than the kids & I think that I could teach kids how to write in cursive.  What do you think?  As a parent, would you like this to be available for your kids??
Warm Regards,
Erica
Lettering & Design Artist
Flourish Forum Shop
Instagram