If you have been reading this blog for a bit, you may know that I do not believe in teaching manuscript first and then cursive. In fact, I don’t believe in teaching manuscript at all. My children will experience what I did when I went through school: cursive first and only.
In preschool, they learned to print: MAMA LOVES ME, for instance. In the second semester of kindergarten, they started learning cursive. By first grade, they would be ready for copy work and a writing program. We spend most of first grade perfecting handwriting, all in cursive.
Romanian children and children elsewhere have done it for centuries. Manuscript first is a relatively new phenomenon and the result of extremely liberal principles introduced in education, one of them being dumbing down the curriculum. I am surprised by the number of conservative people who have not looked into this issue more carefully.
Since small children may not have the tactile skills for holding a pen properly, I have always made it a goal to wait until mine were at least six years of age before starting cursive. My daughter is one month away from being six, but she recently asked to start cursive.
She likes to look at her brother’s handwriting and sometimes feels left out or handicapped if she wants to write a card or label a picture. She will print her messages, but she has come to the point where she will sigh and make statements like, “I don’t know cursive…” with regret in her tone.
When a child feels that way, and asks to begin cursive, who am I to rigidly enforce my own “no cursive before age six” rule?
So we started. No ceremony. Just like that. She asked, I obliged. We are using Logic of English Rhythm of Handwriting. She is delighted to produce a whole tablet full of lower case i or t or whatever. I know this enthusiasm will wane, as it always does, so I am bracing myself for the days when we will just skip over writing and work on other things. The rhythm of handwriting can be a relaxed one, at the pace of the child. But I expect that by summer time she will have all the lower case letters learned. Then, it will be time to start on the upper case alphabet.