Homeschool

Cursive and Copywork – Why are They Still Important

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I am a big supporter of children learning cursive handwriting. In fact, I have a hard time understanding why folks would think the ability to communicate with paper and pen is a skill our children no longer require.

I remember hearing about a 17-year-old who couldn’t sign his passport application. His father was incredulous, how can you be graduating from high school and not be able to sign your name? Simply, he had never been taught.

Now, this is an extreme example and I’m pretty sure most kids learn to write their own name but it does highlight the fact that there are some things that continue to require handwriting.

There are industries that still rely heavily on handwritten notes. Some of these are safety critical. I recently heard of an instance where instructions were given over a radio and written down so poorly that none of the work crew could read them, even the young man who had written them down in the first place.

When he was asked to rewrite them he made an error that could have resulted in injury or death. Thankfully the error was caught by another employee before anything went wrong. Obviously, not every instance will be so serious but this does raise concerns.

I recently heard of an instance where instructions were given over a radio and written down so poorly that none of the work crew could read them, even the young man who had written them down in the first place.

When he was asked to rewrite them he made an error that could have resulted in injury or death. Thankfully the error was caught by another employee before anything went wrong. Obviously, not every instance will be so serious but this does raise concerns.

While speaking with other homeschool moms I heard a variety of opinions on cursive writing. Some no longer teach it while others think their kids will be ahead because they do.

One mom pointed out that since many historic documents are written in cursive lettering, the inability to read it will reduce the opportunity for research plus if no one learns this skill who will be able to decode any newly made discoveries. I hadn’t thought about this area but she does have a point.

For myself, I find it easier to remember if I write something down. I’ve read about studies that confirm this. Of course, a person could print their notes but, once learned, cursive is much easier and quicker to do since your pen rarely leaves the page (kind of like running vs. walking.)

If handwriting does improve retention then it makes sense that if children do copywork as a part of their studies they will not only be practicing their handwriting but will also be learning and remembering what they are writing.

Yes, I think my primary teachers had it right when they had us copy poetry and spelling lists and their reasons are still valid today.

About Kimberley Linkletter

I'm a homeschooling grandma who loves to travel with her family. Road trips are some of our favorite things! I write about our adventures at www.vintagebluesuitcase.ca.
View all posts by Kimberley Linkletter →

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