I have written here before about our choice to teach cursive first and only. Here’s more information on the subject.
Many families truly appreciate the flexibility that homeschooling offers them. It allows them to include skills and subjects they deem appropriate as part of their learning day and they can include religious education if they choose. And they can focus more on subjects that public schools do not include, or deemphasize. Some of these subjects often include music, the arts, and cursive handwriting.
More and more public schools today are eliminating cursive handwriting instruction, citing a lack of time in the daily school schedule and instead focusing on preparation for standardized testing. Many experts in early childhood education, however, believe this can prove detrimental to young students during early brain development.
Some educators are still “fighting the good fight” to include cursive handwriting in their curriculum, such as Dr. Denise Guy, superintendent of public schools in Abilene, Kansas. She cites Virginia Berminger, an educational psychology professor at the University of Washington who says, “Because handwriting necessitates physical sequential strokes to form just one letter (as opposed to a single strike in hitting a single key), massive regions in the brain are activated, including areas of thinking, language, and temporary information storage and management.”
Even the new Common Core Standards adopted by most states no longer require cursive handwriting, much to the dismay of many educators and researchers.
While homeschoolers can take cues from public schools, this is where that important level of flexibility and personal choice comes into play. One of those skills children should learn despite reduced instruction in public schools is cursive handwriting. There have been multiple studies that cursive handwriting instruction can help develop cognitive ability and confidence to more efficiently perform the skills required for a variety of different content areas.
Some primary education experts actually suggest teaching cursive writing before print as a way to help improve reading skills, as children often confuse letters such as “b” and “d” when learning to both read and write print. Generally speaking, when teaching cursive writing first, children will learn to print quite nicely later on, while if print it taught first, their handwriting may not be as nice as it could be, and they often develop a “hybrid” of print and cursive when writing every day.
Zaner-Bloser offers cursive handwriting programs that fit perfectly into a homeschooler’s plans. Each lesson can be completed in 15 minutes and research shows that students who have greater ease with fine-motor writing tasks have better academic skills in second grade in both reading and math. The Student Edition includes easy step-by-step instruction and self-evaluation, provides meaningful practice and application, and engages students with colorful, fun activities. The program goes beyond simple repetition and works to explain why each stroke is done in that particular manner so the student has a complete understanding of cursive. The Zaner-Bloser method definitely provides the homeschooler with all the tools necessary for success!
Another tool from Zaner-Bloser that works hand-in-hand with the cursive writing program is ZB FontsOnline. This program helps to reinforce the handwriting instruction by creating worksheets, practice pages, and more with this online application’s editable page templates featuring grade-appropriate guidelines and Zaner-Bloser’s manuscript and cursive alphabets. Right now, there is a great offer from Zaner-Bloser to purchase ZB FontsOnline for only $14.99. Simply go to http://www.zaner-bloser.com/zb-fontsonline-plus and use code ZBFOP. Offer expires 12/31/14.
Post contributed by Zaner-Bloser