Why I Teach Cursive First

cursive first

I stumbled on an article about cursive being cut from public schools. With the impending implementation of the Common Core and cursive not being a part of that Core, I completely get it. How can you teach everything to this huge group of students in your stewardship in just one year? Something has to give, and the seemingly optional cursive is it.

Flexibility of Homeschooling

As a homeschooling mother, I have enormous flexibility. To begin with, my kindergartner only does desk work for about 30 minutes every day. While next year may be more school time, I don’t think think it will be six hours worth of desk work. We do so many other things during the day, and yes, I believe the three hours he spent today playing, mixing toys, and creating his own “toy soup” in the basement is an essential part of his creative development. I am so grateful for the time we have together . . . and the time he gets to read on his own and enjoy. (Yesterday night he finished yet another Magic Tree House Book; he said he could not sleep because he was so excited about it. He really wants to go to Italy now and see the ruins of Pompeii.)

So why, in our precious desk moments, do I want to focus on cursive writing above print?

Cursive is easier for young children to learn because of the strokes involved. Learning cursive first helps with word breaks, letter confusion, and more. Here's why I teach cursive first in our homeschool.The Benefits of Cursive

Trust me when I say I was a doubter a year ago. My son had learned to print his letters in his preschool. He liked to print. My husband’s handwriting is practically illegible and he gets along fine in the world. He told me cursive was not necessary.

But as I started reading about cursive with the Logic of English (see this article here) and as I experimented with teaching my son cursive, I realized that it is true that cursive helps my son sort out so many aspects of reading and writing.

  • Word breaks
  • Letter formation order (always left to right, bottom of the line to the top)
  • Writing on a baseline

My son still confuses the b and d, the p and q in print, but in cursive, it’s much more clear. Is cursive easy? Do I think every parent should do cursive first? No, but for us it is much nicer. I would have to agree that it is physically easier for my son to learn the cursive strokes than it is for him to do print letters. It makes so much sense.

I feel a little sad that he is, apparently, a part of a dying breed of children who learn cursive!

Do you teach cursive? Why or why not? Do you ever write in cursive? I do — all the time! And my print has lots of cursive elements in it.

What to Use to Teach Cursive: I Recommend

The Logic of English Foundations program incorporates cursive learning along with phonics and reading. (They do offer a manuscript option for those who prefer that.)

Rhythm of Handwriting cursive - complete set

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  • Hi Rebecca,

    It’s so awesome that you teach cursive first. I am leaning toward that in a BIG way. Please share your resources on what you do. I particularly like the script at the top of this post.

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