She sharpened her pencil cautiously. When done, she lifted it up to examine it like a jeweller examining a masterpiece. She blew the tip of the pencil, tilted her head close to her exercise book on the table, and start to write meticulously. She wasn’t aware that her tongue was sticking out at the corner of her mouth, and her forehead frowned as she concentrated to  looped her ‘l’ and ‘d’ perfectly in cursive.

“Oh, man!” she cried. “I didn’t connect the ‘l’ and ‘d’ properly. She started to erase her work.

Mother encouraged, “Honey, I think it looks good. For an eight year old, you write cursive beautifully.”

“No, no. It has to be perfect, Mom. My ‘d’ isn’t closing properly like the examples in this book,” she pointed at ‘Handwriting without Tears’.

Mother sighed. Daughter’s been nervous about entering third garde since a year before. “They start cursive in third grade!” she exclaimed, eyes widened in what seems to be anxiousness and joy combined.

Now that Daughter is in 4th grade, the penmanship subject (writing in cursive) is getting more advanced. Instead of practicing one or two letter at a time -like in 3rd grade- they’re now writing words. They have to tackle downcurve, undercurve, and overcurve. If that’s not  confusing enough for the most nine year olds, they also have to know how to join ‘undercurve to undercurve’, ‘undercurve to downcurve’, and ‘undercurve to overcurve’. What in the world?

In this 21st century, when looking for a job, it’s more likely to see a requirement for typing ability (wpm or words per minute you can type) instead of how pretty you can write. Somebody who knows how to do steno (takes and transcribes dictation) would also still needed, although technology is now replacing stenographers with stenography machines.

There’s no doubt that it’s important to learn how to write so you know how to write a check, fill out forms, and to  take notes throughout school/college years. It is faster to take notes using cursive instead of blocks, but you don’t need your handwriting to be so beautiful. Unless, of course, you’re doing calligraphy. 

Come to think of it, when children show interest in writing around 5 or 6 years of age, they print first (meaning non-cursive or also know as ‘block’). They print either their names or any words that don’t make sense but they’d know exactly what they meant. They’d continue to learn to write this way until school introduces cursive; which is 3rd grade at our school district.

It’s nice to have cursive introduced to schoolchildren. But we need to catch up with thechnology. The amount of time and energy a child spent to learn cursive, in my opinion, should be equal, if not less, to learn computer and keyboard typing. Daughter started to learn computer keyboard typing at home when she’s 8 years old (3rd grade). So when her classmates in 4th grades were starting to learn ‘Keyboarding’ recently, she’d known more than the rest. Although it’s repetitive to Daughter, the Technology/Media teacher was happy to have her to help out.  

Some complain that kids nowadays aren’t writing letters anymore. They send emails or text messages. Other than a sentimental value, I actually don’t see anything bad with that. Especially if you have other family members live in a different country. Keeping in touch with snail mail will be a pain. Worry about unable to write checks? Do online payment.

Strangely enough, doctors -an occupation which a lot of parents would like their kids to be- do not write neatly. It’s so hard to read their handwriting; which made me suspicious if there’s a special class in med school on how to write badly.

Hopefully Daughter would have much better resumé by the time she’s applying for jobs instead of just ‘Able to write cursive beautifully’ 🙂