Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Learning (to be more) cursive

When I was told that my son would be taught cursive writing, I did think it odd that they would be actively educating my son to spell swear words, but also thought this is where I could come in to my own.

However, I am deeply disappointed – and ill educated – to learn that cursive is posh for joined up writing, innit.

The cursing lessons shall be left to me, and most likely, the playground.

It feels at the moment that we, and by that I mean a few of the parents, are on collision course with the school, and its methods.

Mainly because a few of us think it is unwise, and eventually unproductive, to push our children to do more ‘school stuff’ at home, especially while they are just starting at reception class.

However, as it stands, the children are learning a single phonic a day at school, then they are supposed to practise writing this letter – in cursive style – at home.

This is a style of learning I, like I am sure many others, was previously blind to.

I learned to write by gun-point print, the circles-and-sticks method. There is vague memory of moving towards joined up writing, and a much more vivid memory of being told, perhaps, I should stick to print, or even try carving my words in to wood.

So in order to assist my son, or at least understand what is expected of him, it is a case of me learning how teaching cursive writing works, and, very importantly, getting onboard with the benefits.

There have been rumblings of dismissing this method of learning as too complex for beginners, and that longer term benefits can still be achieved latterly by switching from print to cursive style.

Amongst the mutterings have also been the possible negatives of words being more difficult to recognise in books, as they are obviously not printed in a cursive style.

Ignoring all the playground-natter I decided to do a spot of interweb research, and as we are likely to be stuck with this method, seek the benefits, rather than the possible negatives.

It surprised me how different methods are applied school-by-school, but the other side of me is pleased that schools are allowed the freedom to choose.

Parents all over the country seem split on the cursive method, and its benefits.

But I found an interesting piece, listing ten benefits of cursive writing.

The crux of it to me, and as I have tried a few exercises myself, is that it is more difficult to learn to write a single letter this way, but it is much easier to write words in this way.

Longer-term I anticipate my son’s, and possibly my own, handwriting will be better for it.

I am just off to watch ‘our’ Jolly Phonics DVD, as I am a long way from my Key Stage 1 competences, that I am sure.