Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dropping The Middle "R"

I recently learned that elementary schools are no longer (or rarely) teaching kids to write in cursive.  And only teaching handwriting basics.  Because everything is done on the computer.  Even for little kids.

I find this horrifying on several levels.

I mean, I was forced to learn calculus and the anatomy of a frog and how to drop a damn egg and I promise you that not a single one of those lessons proved valuable in my adult life.  My blackberry has a calculator.  I can't tell you the last time I even saw a frog and feel confident that I will not be performing surgery on Kermit in the near future.  Or ever.  And my eggs come in a recyclable carton from the grocery store.

Life is full of seemingly pointless lessons.  If I had to learn it, they should have to learn it too.

And isn't handwriting always going to be important on some level?  We are always going to need to write some things.  What happens if you write a grocery list and then can't read said list when you get to the grocery market? 

And I assume if no one is teaching handwriting, we should just forget about thank you letters, right?

I wonder what else kids aren't learning because of computers.  I think I'm glad that computers weren't a big part of my life until college.  We did have one growing up but most people did not.  I didn't use email regularly until I was a few years into college.  (late 90's)  Oh sure, it's is main and preferred method of communication these days.  I have like five email addresses and can check them all from my blackberry at any time.  But I can also write a lovely and legible birthday card, thank you note and grocery list. 

No, I will never need to drop eggs from stadium bleachers.  But I write out a grocery list each and every week. 

19 comments:

Paula said...

I think that it is really a mistake not to teach handwriting.

IMO - Using calculators and computers too soon is a mistake, too. You wouldn't believe the kids who can't do simple math in their head or on pencil and paper because they've always used a calculator. The same kids also have no number sense at all. It really is a shame.

Jo said...

Sadly, this is true. I won't share the l o n g list that children of today are missing out on due to computers.

Hope you're well and staying warm ~
Jo

REBrown said...

I hated learning to write in cursive, but I'm proud to say that I still can!

Cheryl E. said...

I agree with you about writting in cursive, that is a must know. I however, never write in cursive except to "sign" my name, but it is still nice to know.

Kari said...

I was just talking about this subject with my 4th grade son last night. He has yet to spend much class-time on cursive writing (and his poor handwriting is awful to begin with). I also hate how they let the kids use calculators at such a young age. Back to the basics, I say!

Gracie Beth said...

I never write in cursive but I would also like to add that in the field I am in if I were to write in cursive rather than print on my assignments I would get in trouble. I actually connect letters but I do it in my own way. I am not disagreeing with you but for me learning cursive was a waste of my time.

Bella Michelle said...

Well, my kiddos are still learning Cursive (much to my 9 year old son's chagrin) but we are in private schooling so maybe it is just public schools that are finding it difficult to fit it in their cirriculum? I was even excited because my 9 year old sent his sister a letter to college this week and he wrote it in cursive...on his own! LOL

Katiellirb said...

That is crazy! I agree - it's completely ridiculous! Seriously, what is this world coming to? Are they going to stop teaching grammar because everyone texts?

The enchanted home said...

Am in total agreement with you...absurd. The things we have never ever had to use in real life they still teach but handwriting? one of the most basic fundamental things we learn in school is on its way out? Whats going on in our crazy world?

Kellirdan said...

Unfortunately there isn't enough time or money in today's classroom to cover anything but the basics anymore. I know quite a few teachers that are frustrated with how today's curriculum is focused, but they are working within the structures we provide. Without the extra financing and restructuring in school districts our kids will lose out!

WB said...

I know they're doing it for "practical" reasons, but that policy is missing the larger idea. Writing things down as opposed to typing it out really helps in memory retention ergo studying at large.

WB said...

I know they're doing it for "practical" reasons, but they're missing the larger view. Writing things by hand really helps memory retention, ergo studying in general.

whattokeep said...

How ridiculous! Computers can't replace grocery lists, or post-its, or post cards, or thank you letters (particularly to grandparents who don't use email).

The Southern Lady said...

Good morning from Tokyo!

Ok...where to start, where to start...my daughter is almost 11, in Fifth Grade. She learned cursive beginning in 1st and 2nd, and was required to use it while we were still in Charlotte last year. Where on Earth are these schools that aren't teaching it anymore? I'd never heard such a thing until today and it breaks my heart. It's just another sign of the decline of Western civilization.

It's bad enough that the art of letter writing it practically nill, but the beauty of script? Just this morning Eldest was writing a thank you note (in script) to our maid for a New Year's gift she'd given to us.

I love computers and technology, but everytime we move forward, something else is sacrificed. Maybe we should have a program that teaches us to appreciate the basics and appriciate "old school" books, letter writing, and cursive.

Thanks for sharing! I can only imagine what my son will learn when he's able to begin school.

Warmly,

Elizabeth

Worthington said...

The Three kids I tutor are horrid at handwriting. The sixth grader cannot even SPELL the state he was born and raised in and lives in currently - VIRGINIA - correctly. It makes me want to pull my hair out.

Ruth said...

I had heard some schools were dropping it and I think it is a horrible idea. Handwriting is something everyone needs to learn. If you don't need it in the real world according to someone so does that mean they don't have to worry about algebra and other higher math classes?

The Pink Putter said...

It is so disheartening to hear that some public schools are no longer teaching handwriting and cursive. Unfortunately the reason is that the curriculum is packed with so much other content that handwriting takes a backseat. So much pressure (both state and federal) is being put on schools to perform well on state tests, that cursive is viewed as nonessential by many. We still manage to work in handwriting and cursive instruction at my school, but I'm afraid that many schools do not do it.

Stacy said...

This is why when computers/robots finally decide to take over, we will become their minions. Sadness. :)

Jeanni said...

My friend's little brother is in the 6th grade now and he never learned to write in cursive. Sure, my handwriting isn't fantastic, but at least I learned! It's not just public schools, my friend's brother went to private school. I learned in public school a decade ago, and it's horrible that they're removing it. I do think algebra is useful for a lot of careers, but handwriting is useful for literally everyone. No one uses so much technology that they don't write at all.

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