Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stuff to tell you!

Is cursive writing going the way of the buffalo?

It's always been a little point of pride for me that I have really good handwriting. However, I've had little chance to use it of late. About the only time I pull it out of my meager skills bag is to sign a birthday card or write a thank-you note.

My lovely handwriting is quickly becoming a skill that no one is particularly impressed with, and is in fact on its way to being obsolete.

"Penmanship, like hieroglyphics and the IBM Selectric, has lost its purpose. Let's erase it for good," writes Jessica Bennett in Newsweek.

Bennett goes on to say, "I haven't used script since elementary school. I type, I Twitter, I Facebook and IM. I e-mail co-workers who sit feet from my desk, and text rather than call. The only time I pen a handwritten letter is when I write to my grandmother. So when I hear people say that penmanship is dead, my response: it's about time."

Other articles tell us that teachers are having a hard time fitting the teaching of cursive writing into their schedules.
What do you think? Is handwriting becoming a lost art that should stay lost?

--Producer/author Mark Joseph has some solid ideas on how to improve any future Narnia movies--not the least of which is to stop downplaying the faith themes of the stories. Joseph says the relationship between Aslan and the Pevensie children comes across as emotionally flat in the movies--I agree, by the way--and he purports that a director who understands the relationship Christians have with Christ might be a good idea.

--Do you still have dial-up internet service? If not, would you go back to it for economy's sake? Some people are, according to this AP news story.
--I missed this, but Steven Curtis Chapman was on Mike Huckabee's show over the weekend. You can watch it here.
--What would Abraham Lincoln have had on his iPod? Based on what we know of Honest Abe's musical tastes, Miles Hoffman speculates.
--And random thought o' the day: If ex-Governor Blagojevich ever starts a blog, he could call it Blogojevich! (Yes, that was an original thought, thank you! :))


Juliet said...

"Is handwriting becoming a lost art that should stay lost." Never! Why? First off, I just love to hold handwriten notes in my own hand and read them over from time to time. Second, we would miss out from hearing from older people who have not and will never have a computer...like my Mom. Letters and cards are treasures the computer will never supply for me. I'm sure I could come up with more reasons, but those two are a start.

Love all the info you gave us. Did click on Steven Curtis Chapman clip. Thanks once again.

Granny said...

For the past at least ten years, I've been advising the homeschoolers I mentor to avoid getting stuck with the dinosaurs in this mindset that if it's old it's good. When I graduated from high school, if you couldn't use a slide rule you weren't properly educated, and what good is THAT doing me? Handwriting is becoming the same way, and although it's a nice skill to learn, it's not essential and it's not something that we should obsess over or insist on (like refusing to end sentences with prepositions LOL). A beautiful "hand" will always be valuable, but it will be valuable in the same way that calligraphy is now...optional, and something people may be willing to actually pay for if it's your strong suit. But can we really devote hours a week to teaching this skill when there are so many other skills and information to be mastered that will really matter in this century? The shedding of unnecessary skills is not akin to "dumbing down" education--in fact, it's the opposite. It means we're paying attention and adjusting to our fast-moving technological world.

My advice to parents for the past decade has been: teach a child to write legibly, whether for that child it means printing or cursive. Don't write to meet some perfect standard; write to be understood and so that you can go back and read your own notes. But honestly, birthday cards (unless you've completely switched to e-cards) and scribbled grocery lists are about it and we can't change that by insisting on perfect cursive. I have nine kids and with seven we struggled with cursive. My youngest boys, ages 14 and 12, can READ cursive but that's all I've required. We never even introduced it as writing. I'd much rather spend the type on fast and accurate typing.

Stepping down from my soapbox, built on 25 years of homeschooling and advising hundreds of other homeschool parents :-)

And yes, Cindy, I was privileged to see the Huckabee segment with SCC. What a blessing they are...

Granny said...

Freudian slip: I meant I'd rather spend the TIME on typing :-)

Randy Spradlin said...


One of my fondest memories involves writing. I remember to this day the excitement I had as the teacher starting to "write" on the chalkboard. It's sad that so many kids today can't write properly. What's even more alarming to me is that so many people, not only kids, cannot spell! Even adults. I'm a stickler for spelling.

Good post.


Ashley said...

I agree with Randy on the spelling issue! I know too many people who can't spell, relying solely on their computer's spell check function to make the corrections for them. That appalls me! In homeschooling my boys, I encourage them to learn to write and to write well. My 6-year-old (kindergarten) is working each day on printing neatly and forming his letters correctly. My third-grader is learning cursive, and while he's not doing all his work in cursive, I do have him complete his daily spelling tests in cursive. (He's getting neater all the time, and he's a great speller. He took first place in the homeschool association spelling bee for his grade level last year.)

Cursive may be "going the way of the dinosaur", but it's important to still be able to do it. Just look at all the dinosaur bones archaeologists keep finding. :o)

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