There is much debate currently over whether cursive is relevant to our tech-savvy society. Advocates on both sides spout figures, facts, and passionate discourse. My reasons for firmly staying the course with cursive have nothing to do with the latest trend in education or the movement from homeschoolers to teach more traditional subjects public schools ignore. My reasons are much more personal. One of my most treasured belongings is my grandmother's cookbook. I discovered after receiving this that there were several handwritten recipes she had tucked away into this book. Although I can't talk with her anymore because she came face-to-face with Jesus when I was just a little girl, I feel as if she is chatting with me as I read over her recipes, hastily written on whatever was nearest. I know she probably didn't think her granddaughter would be saving and cherishing these handwritten mementos, but they are so very dear to me. I want my daughters to be able to read these and other inscriptions from their own history.
Choosing a handwriting course is as daunting as choosing reading instruction! While I have been satisfied with our current books, I hadn't yet felt overwhelmingly in love with them as I am with some of our other curriculum. I was excited to review Prescripts: Cursive Letters and Coloring from Classical Conversations. I have a good friend who uses Classical Conversations for their core curriculum. I knew it would be solid and I was interested to see how it differed from our current handwriting curriculum.
The first thing which I noticed, which thrilled Beth, was the coloring after each lesson. I have never known a child who loved to color as much as Beth. She colors several pages every day by choice in one of our many coloring books. Her previous handwriting instruction included coloring and that was usually her favorite part of the day! Combining coloring and handwriting is the perfect mix for her. She asks daily now if she can work on cursive and on the rare occasion I initiate cursive practice I am met with jumps and squeals. Seriously, I may have loved cursive, but this girl gets crazy excited about these lessons!
I am also pleased with how young cursive instruction begins with Classical Conversations. Prescripts: Cursive Letters and Coloring is in intended for children ages 3-7. Three???? I love this! One of the challenges with handwriting for Beth in the past is that she always wanted to decorate her handwriting, adding curly cues, smiley faces, and hair to many of her printed letters. I hate to squelch her creativity, but this tends to drag handwriting out rather long and she is typically more concerned with her decorations than correct printing form. Teaching cursive younger removes this issue for a creative girl like Beth.
I also like that the letters are taught in a traditional ABC order. Our previous curriculum taught letters based on similar type, which made logical sense to me as an adult, but seemed to confuse my oldest daughter as we progressed through cursive the first time.. The capital letter is taught first, followed by the lower case of the same letter. In between is the previously mentioned coloring page.
Beth was clearly ready for cursive instruction for her K-5 year, but I hesitated to begin because our old program encouraged waiting until 2nd or 3rd grade. I also know our public schools teach cursive in 3rd grade now. I am finding more and more freedom as I continue to homeschool realizing that just because something is traditionally taught at one level does not mean I cannot teach it sooner, or later if needed, at home. I plan to change handwriting curriculum and stick with Prescripts in our homeschool as we move forward.