Cursive Handwriting and Other Education Myths

A recent newcomer at one of the home-education groups my family attends explained that one of the frustrations that led her to take her son out of the school system was that he wasn’t being allowed to write stories. It’s something he loves to do, and it seems strange that a school should obstruct that enthusiasm. But the teachers declared he wasn’t ready because he can’t yet write in cursive.

To me this symbolizes all that is wrong with the strange obsession shared in many countries about how children learn to write. Often we teach them how to form letters based on the ones they see in their earliest reading books. And then we tell them that they must learn this hard-won skill all over again, using “joined-up” script. Yet there is no evidence that cursive has any benefits over other handwriting styles, such as manuscript, where the letters aren’t joined, for the majority of children with normal development.

Philip Ball.