I got this email from a mom friend asking for advice regarding her 9yo son. Here is her question and my response.
S. is struggling w/ his handwriting. It's ATROCIOUS! His printing is bad and, of course, his cursive is even worse. I feel like we spend a lot of time (too much time) on handwriting "practice." I read an article yesterday that said a lot of government schools are doing away w/ cursive because most students don't even use it beyond elementary school. I don't write in cursive (other than my signature) and am wondering if scrapping cursive (this would be our 2nd year of it) and focusing on nice legible printing would be a better use of our time, along w/ teaching him to type, which seems like something he will definitely have to use in the future.
Sounds like you’re on to a good plan. The one problem with not teaching cursive is that the next generation won’t be able to read cursive from prior generations. I have taught my children cursive because I use cursive in my journals and someday I want them to be able to read them. If it is not your habit to use cursive then the need is minimized, but there may be others in their lives who still use it.
If his printing is bad, then yes, first things first—teach him to print well. He will always need to be able to handle a pen or pencil to some degree and the dexterity is important for many things. I read recently that a company was having a hard time finding people capable of peeling potatoes anymore. That is sad!
My method to hit two birds with one stone is to have them copy Bible verses for daily penmanship and memory work. That helps them hide the word of God at the same time.
My boys were especially reticent to use cursive. Caleb complains every time I require him to use cursive. But I’m the boss :). It may be a gender thing; but in the end it pays off to outlast them and plug away.
Typing is a necessary skill to have too, and indeed may be more important than cursive writing in this day and age. I use a version of Typing Instructor (CD-ROM) that has the more obnoxious musical tracks removed. I think I got it from Timberdoodle years ago. Don’t know if they still sell it. Check also with Rainbow Resource. The kids like the games on it and it makes it easy on you.