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Nov 14, 2012

Handwriting: It's Still Important

MaryAnn Gaver

Hi everyone!

     I love paper, pens and pencils!  Yes, I realize that we're becoming a paperless society and that it's good to conserve,  but I can't begin to think of cutting back on my post-it notes, boxed Hallmark cards or plain old college-ruled notebook paper.

      What has happened to hand writing in America?  Good hand writing used to be the sign of an educated, refined and cultured person, but now with the prevalence of all kinds of i-devices, I fear that handwriting, or penmanship as it used to be called, may fall by the way side!  I think that as homeschoolers we still need to teach our kids to have good handwriting skills.  After all, what if our kids need to write a thank you note to Grandma?  Or what if they need to write a hand written essay in high school such as on the SAT exam?  What kind of impression will they make with a sloppily written card or paper?  

     Some years ago, during one of my favorite field trips to Valley Forge, PA  - I picked up a little book called Children's Manners and Morals by George A. Rice.  It offered excerpts from early American etiquette manuals for ideal behavior for children, one of which was the Art of Writing.   Along with emphasizing writing correctly, it encouraged students to practice their penmanship every day as they copied sentences which taught a moral lesson along with a writing lesson.  The little book offered the following encouragement from Professor Thomas Hill --

"You have thoughts to communicate to another through the medium of a letter.  Possibly you have a favor to bestow.  Quite as likely you have a favor to ask.  In either case you wish to write a letter in a manner such as to secure the respect and consideration of the person with whom you correspond...  Do not fail to write very promptly to the one that is away.  Give all the news.  Go into all the little particulars, just as you would talk."

      Although it's great having computer keyboards complete with spell check and all of that -- let's not forget to help our children master handwriting along with good grammar if only for the reason that Professor Hill mentions:  "to secure the respect and consideration of the person with whom you wish to correspond."

  For those of you with younger children, I suggest checking to see what workbooks are offered by the publisher of your current curriculum. For instance, when we used A-Beka, they offered a great penmanship work book that made it easy for me do daily lessons on handwriting. Not that the twins cared too much for neat handwriting. But they needed the training, and I'm glad we did it.

      I'm also a big proponent of the tried- and- true, black-and-white composition books for kids to use as a daily journal in the elementary years. They can feel free to write their thoughts or to make up a creative story, all without being graded. They're free to write, draw or do both.

   We're meant to write, so I encourage you to incorporate handwriting into your homeschool day. Maybe a little hand written note from you might be nice to give to your children on their desks or table tomorrow. Just a thought....or better yet... tuck a hand written "I love you note" in your husband's shirt pocket...

      Keep teaching faithfully!  And with God's help, keep being a great mom!

love,

MaryAnn

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