Is Cursive Dead?

Have you all noticed that schools are failing to teach kids how to write cursive? Some schools don’t teach it at all, while others basically just teach kids to write their name in cursive. That’s it. I think that’s sad and WRONG. I know several teenagers. They can barely read cursive and it takes them a long time to sign their name. Getting them to write anything else in cursive is impossible. They simply don’t know how.

It’s pathetic, and I won’t stand for it.

I get that most people don’t write things down with pen and paper. I’m probably part of a dying breed. I am constantly writing lists, leaving notes for myself and my family, writing checks, and jotting down story ideas. The average Joe doesn’t do all that these days. What, with all these fancy schmancy technological devices and whatnot, there’s no reason to ever pick up one of those old cave utensils known as pens and pencils. I get that. But there will possibly come a day when the power fails and the computers stop. Then what? No one’s gonna know what to do. Except for me. I’ll be sitting on the sideline documenting the whole ordeal WITH MY PEN AND PAPER.

So I decided today that I won’t let this happen. I may not be able to teach all kids how to write cursive, but I can sure as diddly make 2 of them do it.

Today when I picked up my 14 year-old son and 15 year-old step-son from school, I had a sheet of paper prepared for each of them. There was a different sentence on each side of the paper. Simple sentences. I instructed them to write each sentence 20 times. IN CURSIVE. Believe it or not, this was my step-son’s first time writing cursive. EVER. To make it worse, he tells me that when his teachers learn that he can’t write cursive, they tell him he doesn’t have to. They say he doesn’t need to know because he’ll never need to do it. Angry isn’t the word to describe what that made me.

Anyway, My step-son set about writing his sentences with no problem. I had to show him a few things, but he picked up on it and wrote them beautifully, although slowly. My son on the other hand threw a huge fit and argued about how he didn’t need to ever write cursive so there was no sense in learning. He was bulking and refusing to write them. “Fine,” I said. “If you don’t want to write the sentences, you have to write a paragraph – at least 7 lines long – telling me why you don’t want to write them. And you have to write it in cursive.” Apparently this struck his fancy because he immediately wrote the paragraph. Part of his argument was that writing cursive is ‘stupid’ and ‘hard’ and ‘only old people do it’.

*Shaking my head*

I don’t know what to think or feel about this whole situation. I’m only 35 years old. In my day, we learned to write in cursive way back in the first grade. It’s absurd to think that there are grown-ups out there now who can barely sign their name, much less read or write it fluently. I’m sad, people. I’m sad and feeling very frustrated about the whole thing. But I’ll tell you this much. My son WILL be writing 2 different sentences, 20 times each, every day until he’s familiar with cursive writing. And if he refuses, he’ll be writing page long essays explaining to me why he shouldn’t have to write them. IN CURSIVE.

So what do you think about the whole matter? Am I overreacting?


About Kimberly A Bettes

I whittle away the minutes of my life by entertaining myself with various projects and people. One thing is certain. I'm never bored. I also write stuff and take pictures of things.

Posted on August 16, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. You are not alone. There is a growing trend in a lot of places where parents are now demanding that cursive writing be taught and a lot of school districts that are putting it back in their curriculum.
    You just need to convince the two boys that there is no better way to impress a young girl of their love than to do so in a letter that is handwritten using cursive writing. That it makes their feelings personal, intended only for the eyes of the one they are trying to impress and not for the whole world to see in a text or tweet. That handwritten letters and notes can be saved for all time. Maybe that approach would make them more enthusiastic towards the whole endeavor?

    • I agree! I leave them notes and often write them letters telling them how much I love them. My son used to write me letters too, but that has slacked off as he’s grown older. But yes, handwritten letters and notes are much more personal and women love personal things (in fact, one year for Valentine’s Day, I told my husband all I wanted was a handwritten love letter; I still have it). I’ll definitely remind them of this. Thanks! 🙂

  2. No, certainly not over-reacting. There may well come a day when the machines die on us, or some vicissitude of fortune decrees we have to communicate by some means other than email. I wonder sometimes if the teaching profession is foundering under the weight of all the many strands of technology being downloaded upon them. It seems to me there are too many false trails now.

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