Have you ever heard of the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater?"
Back in the days when there was no indoor plumbing, family bathing practices consisted of taking turns bathing in a tub of water without changing the water in between. The man of the household bathed first, allowing him to use clean water. Next up were the sons, followed by the women, and finally finishing with the baby. Depending on the size and occupation of the family, the water could have been filthy enough to mistakenly throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Wikipedia states that this phrase: is an idiomatic expression for an avoidable error in which something good or of value is eliminated when trying to get rid of something unwanted (Wikimedia Foundation, 1 September 2023).
I believe this has been done with cursive writing.
The Reasoning Behind Eliminating Cursive
It is true that the age of technology has antiquated two of the mainstream uses of cursive writing: communication and record keeping. After all, a text or email can deliver information in a split second; faster than a person can write it out and deliver it. Still, why on earth would we throw cursive writing out? That’s easy to explain. The benefits of cursive writing have been rarely explained and now, virtually unknown throughout society.
During my summer tour promoting my cursive program, I asked people why they think cursive writing is important. I noted that the most common response to this question was the need of a signature. Think about it though. When was the last time you signed your name with a pen? Digital signatures are now so prevalent in today’s technologically advanced and fast-paced world that there is no way a school system can justify allocating precious learning time and funds on just a signature alone. Often being viewed as an art medium like calligraphy, cursive is joining algebra and other subjects of study that are being placed on a growing list of skills that hold little to no value.
In addition, since less effort is required to teach typing and printing, more schools, more curriculum publishers, and more parents have been eliminating the instruction of cursive writing. But at what cost? What have we lost in the process?
Fine Motor Skills Take a Hit
When we eliminate the instruction of cursive handwriting, we also lose the development of fine-motor skills. An elementary art teacher shared with me that he experienced an epiphany when he connected the dots on how important cursive writing instruction is to his art program. Since 2010, the majority of schools have dropped cursive writing from their curriculums. He noticed there was a direct correlation between the absence of cursive writing and the decline in his student’s fine-motor skills needed for manipulating a paint brush and other handheld art materials. Fine motor skills can be a struggle for some, and if you are contemplating which course studies you should battle to keep, maybe the next point will help you lean toward choosing cursive writing.
As parents and educators, one of our primary goals is to provide students with the best tools available to assist with learning and overcoming the difficulties they encounter.
Why Cursive is Important
Why teach cursive? Simply put, cursive writing makes learning easier. As parents and educators, one of our primary goals is to provide students with the best tools available to assist with learning and overcoming the difficulties they encounter. Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty faced by children. In fact, it is estimated that one in five children are dyslexic, and that 80-90% of children with learning challenges have it. In their handbook, the International Dyslexia Association names cursive writing as a benefit in dealing with dyslexia because of the power it has on brain development (Ida Dyslexia handbook, 28 May 2019).
Cursive handwriting is one of the few activities which cause both sides of the brain to fire simultaneously, allowing new neural pathways to form. The kinetic exercise of cursive handwriting improves hand-eye coordination by "waking" up the brain and providing the best environment for learning. Cursive handwriting also improves reading comprehension and increases word memorization and retention. In fact, the practice of writing papers in cursive is highly recommended because it serves as a catalyst behind those “A-HA” moments.
The Cursive Writing Program You Have Been Looking For
My hope is that cursive writing gets the recognition it deserves because it sets your struggling readers and spellers up for success by giving their brain what it needs to make learning easier. It’s no joke, cursive writing takes work to be effective, but the dividends of this enduring skill far outweigh the effort. Thankfully, I can make the process of learning to read and write in cursive as painless as possible with my Ultimate Cursive Writing Adventure: Crack the Cursive Code. I help homeschool moms teach cursive writing in a fun and easy way.
I will close with a quote from Cathy Duffy, a highly respected homeschool-curriculum reviewer. In her review she stated, “Some parents are ambivalent about teaching cursive handwriting, but Crack the Cursive Code might be appealing enough to tip that decision in a positive direction.”
Jacqueline (Jax) Mantikoski is a former homeschool Mom who self-published the Ultimate Cursive Writing Adventure: Crack the Cursive Code. This system tackles three tough obstacles when choosing a writing curriculum: boredom (children enjoy learning it), busywork (remove unnecessary repetition) and bucks (doesn’t break the bank). With Crack the Cursive Code, she helps homeschool Moms teach cursive writing in a fun and easy way. Her hope is to bring awareness to this life-changing skill and the power it holds in making learning easier.
You can find my Ultimate Cursive Writing Adventure at www.crackthecursivecode.com.
Contact Jax via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wikimedia Foundation. (2023, September 1). Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_throw_the_baby_out_with_the_bathwater
Ida Dyslexia handbook 5-28-19.PDF: Powered by box. Box. (n.d.). https://app.box.com/s/8ucxzz2u5wq2wezqoaqgrltn532z97bz
Jax. (2023, December 28). Crack the cursive code. Cathy Duffy Homeschool Curriculum Reviews. https://cathyduffyreviews.com/homeschool-reviews-core-curricula/handwriting/crack-the-cursive-code#
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