Yikes! Honor roll teens "can't read/write cursive"..huh?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DDD, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    This weekend two 8th grade girls (both honor roll, by the way) spent the evening at our house. It was fun with football games, buffet dinner which I fixed (first time in over a year I've cooked for company!) and lots of chit chat. Lo and behold the two girls said "we can't read or write cursive". Wth?? I was shocked although I had read that cursive was "becoming obsolete" in some areas. Sigh!

    SO, lol, the question is this...do any of you parents or teachers have a workbook that you can suggest for the girls. I can NOT believe you can be college bound and not be able to read English cursive. Yikes! I have an old cursive workbook that I used with difficult child#2 but likely there is a better one for teens. Any suggestions? I can't spend a mint but I can't just let it ride either. DDD
  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD, I hate to say this but cursive is quickly becoming a lost art. When I proctor the SAT, there is a section where the students have to copy an honor code in cursive. It takes them literally 10 minutes to write the three sentences. I had one boy almost start crying when he told me he didn't know how to write in cursive.

    I didn't know what to tell him so I called in the testing supervisor. He told the boy to print and then connect the bottom of the letters. When they write the essay part, every single student prints rather than use cursive to write the essay.

    Many schools are not even teaching cursive anymore. The district I teach in does but doesn't spend much time on it. The prevalent thinking seems to be that technology has made the need to learn cursive obsolete.

    I have to say that I don't write much anymore and I have noticed that my cursive handwriting has gone downhill as a result. I type everything, though, and rarely have a need to write anything.

  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    They don't teach cursive here anymore... Not past 3rd grade. Pat can't read it... At all.
  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Missy learned in 3rd grade but it wasn't pushed again until 5th. Mighty learned letters I 3rd grade but didn't learn the rest until this year in 5th. His literacy/spelling teacher makes them write everything in cursive. He hates it , but I am thrilled that he will know it and be able to read my handwriting as he gets older. I am horrified that kids aren't learning this anymore.

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  5. Confused

    Confused Guest

    I also read that cursive wont be taught one day. Its hard to imagine knowing that was very important when I was in school! Yes, I agree technology is probably a big factor, so much changes but is it always for the better?
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just my opinion but... I think cursive is not taught because teachers are no longer taught HOW to teach it. And I have "old" teacher friends who agree with me. It's easier for the teacher to just avoid the subject, claiming that it isn't important anymore. And THAT is a crock of BS. There will always be times and places in life where technology is not important and notes are critical... like, at your kid's bedside in the hospital when the Dr. comes in. He's going to wait for you to fire up your laptop? or are you going to be trying to type that on your smartphone when you're supposed to be really listening?
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I rarely use cursive anymore especially after the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). My handwriting is bad enough in print. I can spell somethings on some days and then on another, well I can be lost. I dont know how I feel about teaching cursive though if they are going to use the excuse of technology then they should quit having spelling tests because we all can use spell check!
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Let's face it...computers have taken over and our kids are not going to have to read or write cursive. Just the changing world...lol :)
  9. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Teachers are told every single thing to teach, it's not their decision. The reading programs in our district do not include any cursive. But we do an hour and half of math. Wouldn't you rather have your child learning all that math every day? We care more about the content of the writing. We spend all our time writing doing RACE- restate the question, answer it, cite examples and explain or relate it to your own life in some way. (Even if they have to make it up) Also, the kids write, and organize, and re-write. The work becomes great in the re-write. Anyway, that is what we do in writing. I just mean, it's not the teachers fault. There are better things to do with our time. In this age of computers, the kids don't really need to print nicely either. One of our kids has such sloppy writing , we let him do it all on the computer. When we were younger, we wrote our assignments out. My college kids don't ever use paper, everything is on the computer and submitted electronically.
  10. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    There are only so many hours in the school day and they don't have time to teach everything. Schools are products of the societies that they serve and they have to teach what the society thinks the kids will need. As somebody else said, those decisions are not made by the teachers; they're made by committees, administrators, school boards, and textbook writers. If you ever took a history of education course, you know that schools in this country were basically set up, first to teach kids to read the bible but, later, to provide kids with job skills. Cursive writing is no longer a job skill. Most schools have decided that teaching cursive is no longer time or cost effective. I think maybe I agree with them. Changes have happened constantly in our school system but if you are in the generation where the change is being made, it I sometimes difficult to see the bigger picture. I'm sure there were people who were upset when schools stopped emphasizing Latin and ancient Greek but it all turned out OK. If they swap cursive writing for keyboarding, I'm sure it will be to the kids' advantage.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Schools, at least here, spend very little time actually teaching anything. The current trend is to "allow" the students to explore and learn for themselves. Cursive writing cannot be learned that way. Many things cannot be learned that way. And then they spend more than 75% of school time on activities that have very limited educational value. Here, they spend more time looking at video than reading, and more time on "social justice" than on history, English and math combined. Do kids need to know how to both print and write? in my opinion... it will ALWAYS be a critical life skill. We will not always have technology to depend on.

    And no, not everything the teachers teach is dictated by the school board or ministry of education. As in... they have to "cover" the subject materials, but HOW they do that is up to the teacher, so if the teacher is an "explorer" type and not a "teacher" type, things like cursive writing simply do not get learned.
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I don't remember learning to write in cursive as being all that time consuming. Seems like we learned in second or third grade.

    I think it's a darned shame! Just one more thing to go by the wayside, a "victim" of the electronic age. The things that will go next (if they haven't already) will be learning to use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. Without these skills, people sound like ignorant fools! But why bother learning it if you can push a button and some electronic dooie will do it for you. Or do people just not care any more? When I was still working, I would see reports turned in by people who were my kids' age or even younger. They were done on a computer but no spell check, etc. And in at least half of them, the spelling and grammar was so bad you were left guessing at what they meant. And a lot of them used no punctuation whatsoever, which really garbled it up! Even when my kids were in school, teachers counted off for misspellings and grammatical errors but I've heard they don't do that any more? And I won't even get in to how we actually were expected to learn how to do math WITHOUT a calculator!
  13. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Insane, it sounds like Canadian schools are very different than American schools . . . at least the district that I teach in. Here, we have very specific skills that need to be taught at each grade level. If cursive is a skill that is determined to be an essential skill, then every teacher in the district in that grade level has to teach cursive writing using books and materials selected by the school district. And the district that I teach in has over 120,000 students.

    I agree that printing is still important as well as grammar and spelling and those things are still taught in Language Arts classes (at least in my school district). However, I can see the argument against teaching cursive writing especially when you think about how cursive writing changes over time. When I look at artifacts from the Civil War written by American soldiers, I can hardly decipher what they say. European cursive is different than ours, too.

    by the way, I finished my Educational Specialist degree about five years ago. Even though every student in the class was an adult who knew cursive writing, every single one of us brought a laptop and took all of our notes on our computers.

    One more thing, if I was my child's hospital bedside taking notes, I would pull out my Ipad or computer since I can type much, much faster than I can write and would be able to take much better notes by typing but that's just me. Since all of my doctors are now using tablets to take notes and keep records on their patients, I am sure that they wouldn't mind waiting a few seconds for me to turn on my Ipad.

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think it is time for us to take some responsibility for what our kids learn. Too much is left to the school to teach, in my opinion. I remember hours spent learning cursive in school, how painful and awful it was for me (we didn't know dysgraphia existed then, at least no one I knew did, and I have it quite badly even now), and how penmanship, or how neat your cursive writing was, was the only class I ever got a bad grade in through elem school.

    If you think it is important, go to an educational supply source or to amazon and find a book on how to write it. Also go to the school and ask what grade it is taught in. If it is not taught, don't go to the teachers, go to the school board. Start a petition, go to board meetings, bring up the reasons you think it should be taught.

    I know that the elem school my nephew attended taught them to write not print or cursive but a form of writing that was a mix of both and it drastically hampered his learning to read. The books did not have letters he was familiar with, nor did anything handwritten by anyone he knew look ANYTHING like what he had been taught to write. His entire class at school was the first taught with this method and their test scores were behind the previous classes for at least three years. The entire grade had problems, not just nephew, and it only stopped when sister in law and brother in law and other parents started going to school board meetings and demanding that this nonsense be stopped. Only 3 years worth of students were taught this method, but all three of them were behind in elem years.

    This 'mixed' writing was some educators bright idea of how to solve which type of writing is best to teach. All I know is that it was NOT a good thing, and it was not until parents got together and went to the board of ed to complain that it was stopped. It wasn't just the kids in his grade in his school that were behind, it was ALL kids in his grade in his district, and they had to get parents from all schools to petition and go to meetings to get it changed.

    If this is a problem, you can gripe, you can go to the board, or you can teach your child what you feel is important. I know that as long as my kids CAN write I am happy. BUT I was NEVER a fan of cursive even though I can and do use it. Of course, my opinion MUST be tempered with the knowledge that a day or two after a class I was unable to read my own class notes. That is still true. If I write in cursive, I cannot read my own writing after a few days. It is simply that awful, though I spent years in a Catholic school where not learning cursive was equal to allowing Satan to have your soul (I wish that was a joke, you didn't know our nuns, sigh.).

    I personally taught my kids a whole lot of thigns that school did not teach them that I learned at their age in school, mostly because it was important to me that they know it. I think we are all responsible for that with our kids, and if it is important to us, we will find a way to teach it.

    I believe you can find info online about how to learn cursive writing. I would google it or look for books on amazon. I know when our school decided that learning the multiplication and division tables by memory was 'unproductive', my kids spent hours at home learning them anyway. in my opinion that is important because you cannot always stop to do the problem when comparing prices in stores or at other times when you need the math.
  15. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In my state we have the SOLs (Standards of Learning) testing annually. It depends on what grade you are in but beginning in 3rd grade you can have as many as four and as few as one but you have something each year. It is how our teachers and schools are "tested" and funding and accreditation are tied to these tests.

    Cursive is not an SOL subject so therefore it was dropped out of the Virginia curriculum many years ago.

    It is quickly becoming a "lost art".
  16. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Susie, when my daughter was little, she had a terrible time memorizing the multiplication tables. This was when we first moved to rural Tennessee and we lived out in the country 12 miles outside of a very small town. There was a bigger elementary school "in town" but there were also six 2-room community elementary schools in the outlying areas. Kindergarten was at the bigger school in town, then for grades 1-6 they went to the community schools, first thru third in one room, fourth thru sixth in the other! Believe it or not, she learned more in this little school than she ever had before! The teachers had to be very resourceful. She did great until they got to those darned multiplication tables and she always had a big problem with running in the hall. So instead of having her write off meaningless sentences as a punishment for running inside, her teacher had her write off the multiplication tables ... page after page of them! And by the time she learned not to run in the hall, she had those multiplication tables down cold! Even now, so many years later, she can still rattle them off from memory.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think we are also letting some things go now. I know that it irritates me that Monkey is still allowed to do "finger math" in 2nd grade. I wont complain to the schools though, I went out and bought flash cards for addition, subtraction and multiplication. They are starting to go into the times tables and no way she can do that still using finger math.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I haven't read responses, but want to apologize. I think my response came out harsher than I meant. Idiot low level migraine has me being/sounding short wtih people even when quite happy about whatever. So if I was too harsh or sounded nasty, I truly and deeply apologize. I meant to offer my own experiences and some suggestions on how to get results if you take this up as a cause.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Donna, it is absolutely NO surprise that your daughter learned more in the smaller mixed grade school than in the more conventional school. She was exposed to more and was not limited by her age.

    It is important to know your math tables early in your education but for some reason educators who make the decisions forget this. We dealt with that after one move. It was pretty cool, actually.

    I worked on drills in the car as we went places. NO more books on short trip, and no more radio either.s for my kids (We do not and will not have dvds, etc... in the car except on very very long trips.. I bought some kid music about numbers etc.. and I gave the kids problems.

    So how did I get them to NOT ignore me or try to drown me out? I made games out of it. With prizes. most right answers beteen here and the corner, most wrong answers does the litter box, etc... Refusing to participapte? all other players got a treat you would LOVE but don't get because you refused to play.

    I also did this at home and anywhere else I could. Any/every child in the area was included. If a child clearly could not compete due to whatever, I made sure they had a win even if I gave it to them. I did NOT just give them a treat, I made them earn it because it meant more to them and let them be proud of themselves.

    I had other games and activities also. One of the MAJOR things to rememer is to incorporate what the student is passionate about. At one time Wiz would have gotten dinosaur or Garfield problems when possible. Prizes ranged from candy to small toys to books to promises to go to the park, etc...

    Anyway, that is how we handled the idiotic 'they don't need to memorize tables of math facts. They can always look them up or work them out silently" line that we were given. It was a ludicrous argument then, is now, and likely always will be, at least in my mind.

    At home or if we could sit while waiting for something, we did speed drills. The player had so many seconds after the question was given to give the answer. I usually used m&m's or other small candy for this. If you get the correct answer, you got to eat so many candies. 9x9=81 got 9 candies or 81 depending on the circumstances. I used a stopwatch for this because it seemed more 'official' to Wiz so he didn't fight what the stopwatch said the way he might with me.

    I hope some of these ideas can be helpful to you. I know parents who made kids earn tv/compute time through games like this, so you can be as creative as you want.
  20. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Guess I better forget the teens not knowing cursive. I've got to admit, however, when I've had job openings in my little blue collar business the clarity of the handwritten application was important. I also had a request for a brief paragraph on the app and mistakes in punctuation and grammar slid the paper to the bottom of the pile.

    My handwriting is satifactory but the Nuns who taught my husband made sure his cursive was textbook. Maybe I should ask all the grandkids if they know cursive. Four have college degrees and two are teaching......yikes, I'm not sure if I want to know! :) DDD