Why I Want My Kids To Learn Cursive
I'd like to keep the art alive.
My mother was a first-grade teacher, and my father is a writer. You could say that a love of words is in my genes.
When I first began learning how to write in cursive, I was in first grade. I vividly remember tracing over the dotted letters, being meticulous to hit that center line on my lowercase letters and dropping my 'g' swoops down to the lower line. Back then, we had penmanship contests – honest – to see which students in the region had the best handwriting. I would loop and curl and adjust my pencil for hours in class, doodling, just to get it right. And, of course, my healthy spirit of competition didn't hurt, either.
I didn't end up winning the Penmanship Award for my class, but that year of handwriting taught me a lot about the practice and patience that goes into cursive. Southerners have a lot of experience with this practice – handwritten notes will never die in the South. Cursive handwriting is an art that many kids these days don't have to learn in school.
I worked at an elementary school for a few years in college, helping students at the end of the day with their homework. I would write something on the board and, without fail, at least one child would ask me to rewrite my blend of "prinsive" – printing mixed with cursive – so that they could read what was written. Maybe it's a secret code that adults will be able to use one day that no kids born after 2000 will be able to understand.
Other than being incredibly practical when it comes to the speed in which you can jot down a recipe, cursive handwriting is beautiful. I wouldn't dream of sending a handwritten thank-you note without a few cursive flourishes. There are just some things about cursive writing that can't be mimicked with rigid, block letters. This fluid script – and my love of doodling my name in cursive thousands of times on any blank paper I could find – inspired my passion for "creative calligraphy." Now that I understand the p's and q's of this lost art form, I can deepen certain strokes to create an elegant font. This comes in incredibly handy with place-cards, addresses, and name tags.
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To know cursive is to love cursive, as a colleague of mine wrote. This couldn't be more true for me. My love of language and writing was only heightened by my ability to weave graceful letters onto a page. Because of this – regardless of what they're taught in school – I want my children to learn cursive. It was some work, yes, but my love of English has spurred from my ability to write with style. Cursive is a fun, romantic way to give personality to your words.
I'm going to make my children learn cursive so that they have that same opportunity as I did. I want them to enjoy writing, to present themselves as individuals who value traditions, and to master the elegance of a cursive thank-you note.
And, I'd like to think that it'll give them the upperhand when it comes to taking notes in college.