The family gathered in the living room waiting for our nephew to start opening his birthday cards and presents. He opened his first card and read it aloud. When he got to the handwritten sentiment, he had to pass it to someone else to read. “I can’t read cursive.” He said.
What?! What did my 14yr old nephew say? He can’t read cursive? What?!
Seeing my shock, my sister-in-law said, “They don’t teach cursive in school anymore.”
“What?! What do you mean they don’t teach cursive in school anymore?” I asked.
“You just wait.” She said. “You’ll see, once your boys get older.”
What I said next embarrasses me. The second the words came out of my mouth, I felt like the biggest snob. “Well, my kids go to a private school, and they learn cursive at their school.”
I had just isolated myself and my family from the rest of the world. That is to say, I drew a big and bold line separating public schools from private schools. I cringed.
I was signing a card for a sister of mine. Her birthday is June 16th. I realized I was writing the note in cursive. Being the smart-ass, I added a note at the bottom, “I hope you know how to read cursive.” When I passed the card around to my husband and kids for them to sign, Joe noticed what I wrote.
“Ha, that’s funny, Mommy. I can read what you wrote.” Joe is 7yrs old, and he just finished 1st Grade.
Later in the week, I dropped my sons off at camp, which Joe’s teacher is leading. After I signed the boys into class, Joe’s teacher stopped me and asked, “Would you do me a favor, please?”
“Sure.” I responded.
“Please have Joe write a paragraph every day throughout the summer. He can copy it straight from a book he is reading. It doesn’t matter what he writes, I just want him to practice writing. We are going to dive further into cursive when school starts again, and I want to make sure Joe is ready.”
“Cursive!” I said, as my eyes grew wide. “I’m glad you mentioned cursive. My 14yr old nephew is unable to read and write in cursive.”
She smiled and nodded. “Yes, the public schools no longer teach cursive handwriting, but we believe it is an important skill to possess. At the very least, we want the kids to be able to read cursive handwriting.”
I walked away grateful to have the boys enrolled in a private school, regardless of any perceived big bold lines or snobbery.
I think I heard mumblings a few years ago about cursive disappearing from the public schools’ curriculum. I didn’t pay much attention to the topic, because I either had no kids at the time or my kids were too young for school. But now I am paying attention, and I am sad to learn the government school administrators do not believe cursive handwriting is an important skill to possess.
Can you imagine a world where Americans are unable to read cursive handwriting? How will people read the manuscripts of Shakespeare, Martin Luther, Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, etc.? Good people, The Declaration of Independence was written in cursive.
Cursive handwriting has been around for centuries. Is it conceivable that cursive handwriting will become as mysterious as hieroglyphics? As a parent, as an educator – is that possibility okay with you?
In other news, I hope you will submit a caption in my Caption Contest. The top five captions will be posted Sunday morning, June 17th. Submit your caption by clicking here —> You Tell Me :: A Caption Contest