handwriting · slice of life

There’s no time like the present!

I don’t remember how I came across Steve Graham’s “Want to Improve Children’s Writing? Don’t Neglect Their Handwriting” piece. While it was published over a decade ago, I know it’s a recent copy since the colors are bright on the crisp white paper.

Like many classroom teachers, I’ve found I don’t always prioritize handwriting with my daughter. In September, we started off strong by practicing proper printing techniques (aka: unlearning poor habits). In October, the manuscript review pages ended. I didn’t feel Isabelle was ready to move onto cursive yet so I put it off. By November, our homeschool day was filled with reading, writing, math, grammar, read-aloud, vocabulary, etc. (N.B.: Even when you homeschool your child, there isn’t enough time to fit it all in!) Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was planning for the month of December and I realized there’s no time like the present. So, I decided that come Monday, 12/6/21, we’d begin cursive writing. Talk about ready-or-not-here-I-come!

Cursive writing begins now!

I never would’ve thought my fifth grader would still be learning cursive. Hold up! I never thought I’d be homeschooling this year. Thanks to COVID-19, both are now my realities. Cursive writing instruction should’ve happened for Isabelle when she was in the third grade. However, third grade was cut short due to the beginning of the pandemic. Last year she was in an all-remote so handwriting definitely wasn’t taught. So, here we are, homeschooling for fifth grade and cursive writing is now on our daily schedule as of — TODAY!

So, this morning, between a multiplication lesson and a writing lesson on editing run-on sentences, we began working on cursive. We talked about the way to angle the paper, the proper pencil position (i.e., Tip, Grip, Flip), tried out some words in cursive, and identified some letters that looked similar in manuscript and cursive. We’ll do some additional things to gear up for cursive writing, and then next week we’ll start the strokes (e.g., undercurve, downcurve, overcurve, diagonal).

It’s my hope that Isabelle will be strengthened by learning cursive. At the very least, she’ll learn how to sign her name properly!

There are many benefits to learning cursive, which you can learn more about by clicking on any of these articles:

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

13 thoughts on “There’s no time like the present!

    1. I’m not sure what I have to teach others about it yet. I’m an accidental homeschooler so I don’t know exactly who my audience would be. But, it’s something for me to think about!

  1. Cursive writing has fallen so far by the wayside in recent years, sacrificed in the name of more rigorous standards and time. For a while the biggest complaint we heard from a parents is that kids weren’t learning cursive and they wouldn’t be able to sign their names. You are right – there’s no time like the present! I watched students in upper grades working on their handwriting recently and remembered laboring over it myself as a child…it IS strengthening (press on, Isabelle!). Thanks for all of this, Stacey – I must check out your resources.

    1. That’s the thing! It’s always a squeeze-it-in when you’re in the classroom. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to teach some things, like cursive, in a meaningful way. Time is ALWAYS a commodity!

  2. At one point in my career, I was ready to just dump cursive as an old fashioned writing style. After all, I thought, I do not have the impeccable cursive of my grandparents….sigh…but over the years, I have observed that students who do not have cursive in their repertoire, write slowly and hesitantly producing less words and fewer thoughts during workshops and assessments.
    Our transition to a keyboard society may be the eventual reality, but during the transition, our students, like your daughter, are enabled by writing with fluency and speed….at least that is where I am now.

    1. I believe everyone should know how to take notes quickly by hand. You don’t always have a device nearby and when you do, sometimes your thumbs cannot go fast enough.
      Alas, I think there are some people who are holdouts on the teaching of cursive. I wonder what future generations of teachers will do… especially if they don’t have the opportunity to learn it themselves.

  3. You made me so happy, Stacey! I’m the lone person in my primary school who holds steadfast to teaching cursive, but I am slowly losing my grip, and next year my school made the decision not to teach cursive. I am going to share the link to the article you mentioned! Maybe it will change hearts and minds!

    1. There’s a book, which I haven’t read, that you might want to check out and share with your colleagues. It’s called The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting. I’ve seen it mentioned in several artcles I’ve read on cursive.

  4. I hope that for Isabelle the learning of cursive will be led by curiosity and understanding why it matters. And hopefully she will have fun discovering the shapes and lines and experimenting size and slants of her own writing. I am all for teaching cursive. Besides being beneficial for quickly recording thoughts, it has an element of art and mindfulness in it.

  5. I can’t wait to hear about the cursive adventure, and I’m proud of you for jumping on in! I know that’s a leap of faith! I have also read SG’s research about it, and it fascinates me.

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