Where Does Handwriting Fit?

  My own handwriting is extremely variable.  Being a lefty, i've never received good instruction, though countless classroom hours were devoted to my penmanship.  Any good skills i have came from my study of calligraphy (First lesson:  "You're lefthanded?  Here's the book; you can translate what I tell the others." )

page 7 of a family history written by my aunt

 Writing and Motor Control

 Handwriting is a huge issue.  We need to be able to write with our hands,* even in this computer age.
  How much time should we spend on it in class?  Well, probably not as much as before computers!
  Whether i would be diagnosed with a special need today is a moot issue; it never came up "back when."  Regardless, my lefthandedness made the  motor control difficult, and my everyday writing shows it.  Practice and slowing down helped, but only slowing down helps on a regular basis.  Can it help everyone with dysgraphia?  (An oversimplified definition is messy handwriting)
  Anne Higley posts a very thoughtful blog here about technology that can help with dysgraphia

What About Cursive?

   Do our students even need to take the time to learn cursive writing?
  The trend is teaching keyboard efficiency rather than cursive.  Indiana is one of the states that operates this way. 
  Keyboarding is a vital skill for today's society. 
  Some homeschoolers even skip manuscript printing and go straight to cursive writing.**
  There are advantages to cursive insofar as speedwriting (love those connections!), but i'm not sure that it's advantageous to actually spend classtime teaching both manuscript and cursive.  (So says one not trained as a teacher.

Reading an old document

  There are so many demands on th time of our students and teachers.  While we're going to continue to need to write at least minimally by hand, more than that, it seems, will be at the individual's discretion. 
  A bigger concern should be that we are no longer able to decipher our past if it is not transcribed for us.
  We have nice printings and typescripts of the Declaration of Independence, but what if this was the only way it was available to us?  There is much history in diaries and letters, plus untranscribed official documents in courthouses and churches, that is lost to people who cannot decipher cursive writing.   

And, as is often quoted and misquoted,  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana
*see p. 12  ** p. 18 cursive 1st advantages

You might enjoy this blogpost on needing handwriting .

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