Is handwriting for kids still important? You might be wondering if your children will need this skill in the future.
In an age where children are playing with cell phones before picking up pencils, the skill of handwriting is no longer deemed important by many people. In fact, our educational systems have deemed it so unimportant, that handwriting – specifically cursive – is no longer required to be taught in more than half of the states. The United States isn’t alone either, in many schools around the world, cursive is no longer being taught. While this number varies from year to year, the fact that the value of handwriting has ever been questioned is concerning.
With this in mind, we want to share why it’s important to teach handwriting to your children.
We’ve pulled together some information to help you understand why you should teach your children not only how to print, but to write in cursive as well. If you didn’t learn cursive in school, that’s alright, here are some handwriting resources for adults too. It’s never too late to learn. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that you can always learn right along with your children.
Get ready to feel inspired. You can improve your own handwriting and help your children develop theirs as well.
Listen To Our Homeschooling Podcast
Listen to this podcast episode about Why Handwriting Is Important on the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast. It’s Episode #85. We dive into the many reasons that it’s important for kids to learn to write in cursive. You can listen nearly anywhere podcasts are played.
We share a new episode every Tuesday. Each week, we share information and inspiration that homeschool families are looking for. You can learn more about our podcast here.
Listen to the follow-up episode. It’s #86: Handwriting For Fun. We talk about many ways that you can help your kids have fun while practicing their handwriting skills.
By The Way…
Be sure to watch the TEDx talk by Master Penman, Jake Weidmann. It’s the most informational & fascinating video about why handwriting matters. It is outstanding. You’ll see it further down the page.
Handwriting Curriculum Consistency
Watch this interview with Harding University (Searcy, Arkansas) Associate Dean and Professor of Education, Dr. Clara Carroll.
Dr. Carroll, says that there is room for children to learn print, cursive, and keyboarding. They are all important skills. She also suggests that students stay consistent with one type of handwriting curriculum. We suggest specific curriculum a little further down the page.
One of the key takeaways from this interview is to be consistent with the handwriting curriculum that you use. It can be confusing for students to change curriculum because the way a student learns to write varies from curriculum to curriculum. Learning how to print and write in cursive is more important than the methodology that is used.
A Brief History Of Writing
In this TEDx talk, economist Megan Regan, shares how handwriting ties us to history.
Handwriting is a common thread that also connects a society. If a person was born in America before the Great Depression, then he or she likely learned to write using the Spencer method – a very detailed and difficult ornate form of script developed by Platt Rogers Spencer. Perfecting the Spencerian script was an important skill if you wanted to be considered a model citizen.
During the Industrial Revolution, penmanship styles changed. We went from the Spencer method to the Palmer method. The Palmer method is a more efficient method of writing. It was meant to keep pace with the newly invented typewriter.
During the economic and technological changes of the 1970’s, the last formal style of penmanship in the United States was introduced. This style is called the Zaner-Bloser method. It is a utilitarian method that is still widely used to teach handwriting today.
Handwriting used to be taught in schools for 45 minutes a day. Today, cursive might not be taught at all. Whether handwriting is mandatory or taught in schools, as parents we have the right and duty to teach our children how to write in cursive.
Why Learning to Write in Cursive is Important
Learning to print and learning to write in cursive are both important. However, there are tremendous benefits associated with writing in cursive.
Some of the benefits of learning to write in cursive include improved reading, thinking, memory, and creative expression.
Also, when one can write a language, he or she then has the ability to read and comprehend historical documents without a mediator.
List of Benefits of Writing In Cursive
- Learning to write in cursive enables a person to read words written in cursive.
- Cursive writing takes less time than manuscript printing.
- Writing in cursive has a huge impact in the development of a young brain.
- Learning to write in cursive helps in areas of thinking cognition (understanding).
- Writing in cursive helps with memory.
- Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
- Writing in cursive allows for greater self expression.
- There is a profound effect on the development and activity of the brain when one learns to write in cursive.
- The ability to read cursive allows your child to read historical documents without a translation or mediator.
- A person needs to be able to sign their name to important documents – hence, the word signature.
Laptop Notetaking vs Handwritten Notes
When students copy a lecture verbatim, they actually perform worse on tests than when they write their notes. When notes are written, the student has to think and summarize the material to keep up with a lecture.
However, when typing, a student simply has to regurgitate the material into their keyboard.
In essence, handwritten study notes leads to better comprehension than laptop notes.
Check out electronic writing tablets for teens and adults here. Some writing tablets even sync with your computer or phone.
Master Penman, Jake Weidmann – The Ultimate Video About Handwriting
Writing in cursive allows for greater self expression. Watch this video to see some of the most impressive examples of how handwriting can be used to express oneself.
Jake Weidmann, is one of 12 Master Penman in the world. In this video, he shares the importance of handwriting.
According to Jake, handwriting leads to 3 forms of literacy: historic, intellectual, and creative literacy.
Jake explains that handwriting was found to be incredibly helpful in small children who were learning to read. By forming individual letters, children gain a deeper understanding of the anatomy of each one. When a child can write an individual letter, he or she then has the ability to read the letter.
It is important to progress from printing to cursive handwriting skills. Scientists have found that different parts of the brain are engaged when typing, printing, and writing in cursive. Writing in cursive coincides with higher levels of reasoning.
We’ll recommend some handwriting curriculum a little later, but if you are teaching your children how to write, we found some awesome tracing boards for kids on Amazon that you might like.
Do You Believe That Handwriting Is Important?
If you’ve been questioning whether handwriting is important, hopefully we’ve shared enough information to help you understand that it is still an essential skill. When a person can write they can read, communicate, think, and express themselves better.
If you still want more information on the benefits of handwriting, then you might want to read this book by Vilmala Rodgers: Your Handwriting Can Change Your Life.
How Do I Teach My Child To Write?
If you believe that handwriting is important, then you’ll probably want to teach your children how to print and write in cursive.
You might be wondering how to teach a child to write. Let’s go on a journey from scribbling to caligraphy.
Start With Scribbling
Writing generally begins with scribbling. Clearly, you can let your children use pens, pencils, markers and crayons to get started. Standard printer paper is a solid go to. However, we’re fans of large rolls of paper. You can spread a couple of sheets across the kitchen table, tape them down, and let your children scribble and draw until the paper is full.
In addition to traditional crayons and paper, we love some of the great toys that children can write on over and over again. Let’s take a look at a few.
Handwriting Toys For Kids – No Worry Drawing
When your children are very young, you might be concerned about kids coloring on the walls and furniture. There are a few ways to address this concern.
Many moms love toys that allow their children to draw without direct supervision. Here are a few of our favorites. These suggestions aren’t brand specific, but we’ve included links to get you started.
Magnadoodle’s allow your child to scribble, draw, write and erase. These are excellent toys not only at home, but in the car and on the go! From toddlers to tweens, this toy is fun for all.
Aquadoodle Mats are awesome. Fill the pen with water and let your child draw. The drawings disappear as the water dries. The big benefit here is that if your child takes the aquadoodle pen to furniture and walls, no damage is done!
Writing tablets are excellent for older kids and teens. Some of them even sync to your computer or phone. Discover more writing tablets for kids here.
Clearly, your children aren’t working on handwriting with an Etch A Sketch, but they can work on drawing letters and numbers with this classic toy.
Busy Books or Quiet Books
We like this video because it shows you how to make a busy book for your kids. If you have older children, they might like to help you make a busy book. However, if you prefer to buy a busy book, you can get one on Amazon.
Dry Erase Boards
This is 9 x 12 inch dry erase board is perfect for drawing and learning to write letters on. It has lines on one side and is blank on the other side. You might also like some of these dry erase boards.
Here’s a quick little video that will teach you how to clean and take care of your white board.
Tracing Flash Cards and More
While adults might not love messy chalk boards, kids certainly do. There are a few ways you can include a chalkboard in your home.
Here are chalk boards for kids.
Here are general chalk boards.
Chalk Board Paint
Writing & Drawing For Fun
At HomeSchool ThinkTank, we believe that handwriting and drawing should feel fun. One of the best ways your children can write for fun is to keep a journal. Really, a child can begin keeping a journal before they can truly write. They can draw in the journal or notebook and as they begin to learn to write, they will naturally begin adding letters to their drawings. Over time, your child will create drawing journals, diary entries, and stories they’ve made up in their journals. You can check out drawing notebooks and diaries at the links below.
Handwriting Video Tutorials
We’ve chosen a few videos that we believe are worth sharing. We’re still reviewing them and choosing our favorites. This section will be updated soon!
How To Hold A Pencil
This video will help you teach your child how to hold their pencil.
This video is for a kid and by a kid. We love it!
Learning Letters and Numbers
Playing with toys that feature letters and numbers is an excellent way to help your children understand what they are. Understanding what letters and numbers are is essential to learning to write them.
These are our quick picks. We’ll be sharing more tutorials at a later date.
A short video to help your child write their uppercase letters.
Here’s a video to help your kids learn how to write their lowercase letters.
We’re currently reviewing cursive tutorials. We’ll share our favorites once we’ve chosen them. In the meantime, you can see a variety of tutorials here.
For beginning handwriting, we recommend the Zaner-Bloser or Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.
Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Curriculum
Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Curriculum: This is a simple and easy to use curriculum. We don’t believe that you’ll need the teacher’s manuals. The curriculum is easy to use and inexpensive. The levels on the books generally correspond with the grade level of a child.
This review shows a mix of older and new books. This curriculum is widely used and quite effective.
Zaner-Bloser Video Review
Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum
Writing Without Tears (Learning Without Tears): This curriculum has workbooks and manipulatives available. Some people think it’s a bit pricey, but it is a very well regarded curriculum. If your children are kinesthetic learners, this a definitely a curriculum you’ll want to consider using.
Check out the Handwriting Without Tears Video & Review.
We’ll be sharing more information about advanced handwriting and calligraphy soon.
Join Our Online Group For Homeschooling Parents
Get more information and request your invitation to our online group for homeschooling parents here.
This Article Is A Work In Progress…
We’ll be adding more information to this article from time to time, so be sure to check back in!
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