Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Prefer to be 'Old School'

We had an interesting conversation at our New Year's Eve soiree about the merits/limitations of teaching cursive handwriting in school and text books versus digital books in the classroom.

I was appalled that the public school system is giving consideration to not teaching cursive penmanship.  It may have something to do with the fact that our family has access to hundreds of letters that my grandparents  wrote to each other while he was serving in WWII.  The letters are written in beautiful penmanship and the character of the words is amazing given the style of the writing.

Likewise, my children and I go to the public library at a minimum of once a week and often multiple times.  I like that they select books, understand how they are organized and can touch and feel the illustrations connected to the author's words.

Generationally, I straddle a desire to still have the printed word in my hand and to have immediate access to information via my digital Apple devices.  I own more books than a woman should.  I've saved all of my undergraduate and graduate school texts marked with copious marginal notes.  But I also love my Macbook, smart phone, and iPad.

It's hard to know what the right choice is recognizing that most of it is economic.  Textbooks are expensive.  Teaching cursive handwriting is probably not necessary.  But I'm not sure that education should exclusively be for the practical or pragmatic. 

I recognize that the classroom is not the only place for instruction.  I'm happy to teach cursive penmanship at home and to buy up all of the texts I can get my hands out...should we all decide to turn into robots. 


  1. I recently had that discussion at L's school office in fall. I was pleased to know the administrator has a strong position on keeping cursive penmanship in the curriculum! That's wonderful that those letters remain for you to see them! My grandpa's diary that he kept during WWII is the only thing we have ... their letters to each other must have been tossed at some point. I do have my grandma's recipe boxes, all filled with recipe cards written her beautiful penmanship. Treasures!

  2. Hi Kelly!

    I'm glad that I'm not the only mother interested in keeping cursive penmanship alive.

    I'm hugely envious of your grandmother's recipe box. What a wonderful find. It's next to impossible to find those generational dishes passed down for decades. What a wonderful treat!


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