I didn’t teach my kids handwriting. I assumed they would learn to write when they had things they wanted to say on paper. I assumed that would come soon. I have 50 volumes of handwritten diaries going back to preschool, and writing was my lifeline from drowning in a dangerous family.
I knew my kids wouldn’t learn cursive, because cursive is leftover from people using feathers and then fountain pens. We all have ballpoint pens! And Gelly Roll Glaze! The only thing we need cursive for today is to signify class. (Which may, actually, be the purpose of our whole education system. But I’m trying to stay on topic here.)
As always people questioned my judgment. I ranted about how young kids need to play outside. Young kids sitting at desks learning to write instead of playing outside are more likely to be anxious and depressed.
It never occurred to me that kids who know how to type by age five don’t really need to write by hand. By age ten neither of my kids could print with any degree of usefulness. Whenever they need to write something down they take out their phone.
The problem is that my son is a great test-taker, but when he’s listening to a lesson he doesn’t take notes. Many of my son’s tutors told me taking notes is essential to learning. I was planning to tell him he’s going to be screwed when lessons get too difficult to memorize. But I kept putting off the discussion because I’m not a great notetaker myself so how could I teach him? (Actually, I’m not a good listener, so I never even get to the notes, but that’s for another post.)
Then I discovered that my son’s way of preparing for tests works fine in today’s world because kids don’t need to learn to take notes. Today teachers hand out notes for kids to read on their own at home. Then kids can use classroom time to focus on more complex learning through discussion and debate.
Finally, I convinced tutors to just hand him notes from each chapter of the textbook. I am relieved. I get tired being the revolutionary all the time. I want to just send my kid to the tutor and know everything’s fine. I want to use that time to write a blog post in peace.