I am lucky to have grown up in an era when learning cursive was mandatory. In first grade, I was in an open classroom where we were combined with second graders for some activities, but the older half of the class went off on their own to learn cursive. I have a very vivid memory of watching some of their lessons– enough to make me write my own little lines of loops, thinking it looked fun! When I was a little older, certain school projects were required to be written in cursive. And even today, I can’t help thinking that certain correspondence, such as a condolence card, should really be written in cursive, though in reality , I just write in my neatest print on a blank card or piece of stationery.
Nowadays, not all kids are being taught cursive and many people are worried that handwriting is a dying art. Kids almost seem to learn to type before they can print letters with a pencil or pen. And even print handwriting skills may be on the wane– when people are more accustomed to typing or tapping an on-screen keyboard, their handwriting may deteriorate into chicken scratch.
I think my own handwriting has become hasty and messy, despite my ongoing devotion to writing in notebooks. I can print very neat block letters when I want to, but my usual quick scrawl is pretty sloppy. As for my cursive, I am so out of practice, I find it always looks very childish when I try! Even in the ’70s when I was a kid, cursive wasn’t taught with the rigor that it used to be– you had to learn it but they didn’t force you to be totally perfect, at least not in my school. (If I’d gone to Catholic school, it might have been different!) I never mastered it to the degree I wanted to, and always looked with envy at things written by my mother and grandmother in their elegant, clear cursive. Now that was “penmanship!”
If you’d like to teach yourself or someone else the lost art of cursive, here’s a method to check out: Cursive Logic. They offer a workbook that breaks down the common shapes of cursive letters and how they are connected. It has practice pages and dry-erase pages for repeat use.
As you can see from the writing samples below, I could use a little refresher course myself…