I’ve started teaching for a homeschool co-op. The jr high students turned in their first round of homework and - OMG! Their handwriting is horrendous! What happened to Catholic school penmanship???

My fifth grade teacher was penmanship drill sergeant. I see now that I was blessed. :slight_smile:

On a related note, we’ve been combing through Church archives for genealogy stuff, and the handwriting is just beautiful. Not always readable, but beautiful!


Funny you should mention this. I was reading this article this morning and thinking about my own DD’s handwriting, which is bad because she has fine motor issues in her hands. But, I’ve also noticed it’s really common these days that good penmanship isn’t stressed or even taught in school. That article has some interesting insights into that and suggests a book with exercises to improve your writing, which I just might get.


What a great article!

The type of writing they discuss seems a lot like what is used in Montessori Method. (They do not teach block letters.)


I was concerned about my children writting so I asked thier teacher…

I was told that Penmanship is now outmoded and no longer taught. No cursive no nothing, when I asked why they told me it was because they were teaching computers instead.


I thought the same thing, probably because my mom was a Montessori teacher. She’s anti block letters lol.


I think it’s sad. You see, my handwriting was so bad growing up (I had motor skill issues and weak muscle tone as a child) that typing was always emphasized for me. Yet, at the same time, I think it made things worse. I was never encouraged to just keep practicing and work on it. The problem is, there are situations where you need to write by hand (like when college professors don’t want you to have a computer because they either don’t like the sound or they know how many kids will choose to use Facebook instead of pay attention) and it’s hard when you can’t even read your own writing…


Mine was always bad too. I remember having to re-do homework assignments as a child because the teachers would assume I did it that way to be sloppy on purpose. :frowning: I couldn’t help it back then. It isn’t bad now, but it isn’t really pretty.

BTW, I ended up being able to read bad hand writing. I had a boss who would write reports long hand, in pencil. I would be one of the few in the office who could read them.


sanctamaria I feel your pain. my handwriting as a child was awful, and they blamed it on me being left handed. Because I’m left handed they didn’t really offer any help because the assumption was it was going to be bad no matter how much I practiced. In HS I got very interested in calligraphy and writing art so I decided to just teach myself to write better and I now I do. I have nice handwriting if I do say so myself.

Schools these days, pressed for time as they are, are very quick to leave writing at it’s basic functional level at best. I’ve noticed on my daughter’s papers she brings home, where back in my school days I would have gotten point off for p’s that look like q’s or g’s, or i’s with circles for dots, she doesn’t. The teachers bent is kinda, well as long as I know what it’s supposed to say…:rolleyes: to me that doesn’t quite cut it.

My son’s teachers are sick of me, because they want to give up on handwriting altogether with him and I won’t allow it.

Typing is a good and in this day and age, necessary skill, but it doesn’t replace writing.


Are these the same people who claim the Word is outmoded? :mad:


My nephew has dysgraphia. He’s been in physical therapy for it - quite interesting stuff. They have him bounce on a pogo stick of all things. Then of course he writes while sitting on the all-important exercise ball. The difference is amazing.


I learned Calvert Script.

Two things that are no longer taught in school but that are needed by our kids- penmanship and how to count back change.


That is sad cursive or any kind of method is no longer being taught in schools. In our area, it was a joke for years (really since my grandparents’ time, I learned penmanship in the 80s) that you could always tell if a person attended Catholic grade school or public school without talking to them based on how they wrote cursive. I don’t know about other areas, but here they taught the Palmer Method in the Catholic schools. I don’t know what was taught in public schools, but it definitely wasn’t the Palmer method. That said, as much as I worked hard to master the Palmer Method, I always liked to do things more “artfully” and flowing. I didn’t like how some of the letters looked in the Palmer Method and would look at the old-fashioned script from the past to enhance my writing. So, I never won any of the penmanship awards except once when I just followed all the rules so that I could win the award. haha!


I love beautiful handwriting, but being a southpaw, mine’s a mess.

Fountain pens will make you write better, or at the least want to write better. :thumbsup:


Just think–you can be that blessing for others. I understand that many schools don’t teach handwriting any longer, but since you teach for a homeschool co-op YOU CAN! After prayers, we start our homeschool days with handwriting practice. I believe it helps set the tone for legible writing and orderliness through the rest of their work. Plus the words the students write can relate to other subjects they are learning.

Here are some Catholic homeschool handwriting books that might be something to introduce the beauty of handwriting to these jr. high homeschool students. (hymns and prayers)

I don’t think this last one is specifically Catholic but since you liked the article Shanny posted about italic writing:

And for those of you with struggling learners, last year I used a handwriting program called “Cursive First” to try to help my young struggling


Why exactly is “penmanship” needed in this day and age?

Let’s list the reasons. No emotions or reminiscing. Just the facts. Why is this skill still needed?

To me, this is like saying that everyone (or at least, every woman) needs to know how to crochet.

I think it’s an archaic skill that is no longer needed.

Those who enjoy writing by hand can certainly continue to do so, and try to convince others of the beauty of a handwritten piece, just as those who crochet can try to convince others about the value of this skill.

But you don’t need to know how to write cursive, and you don’t need to know how to crochet in this day and age.

I know that some professors still require a hand-written essay on tests to eliminate the possibility of cheating. But even back in the 1970s, professors had no objection to a work that was printed instead of written in cursive. I doubt very much that they object too strongly nowadays to printed essays, or essays written with a mixture of printing and cursive. The main goal should be readable writing if you have to do it by hand.

My handwriting is indecipherable and always has been. I do virtually nothing by hand, and that doesn’t cause any problems at all for me. I am extremely grateful that everything in the lab is reported on computer now. And when I do write notes by hand (thank yous, etc.), they are extremely short and to the point. I don’t write letters very often, since email works so much better.

For many elderly people with arthritis, it is a BLESSING to be able to use a computer instead of painfully scratching out a note or letter to stay in touch with their loved ones. When my grandparents were still alive, I didn’t welcome their mail any less because it was typed.


But fountain pens are not made for us lefties to use - not only that but the ink is slower drying so you we tend to smear what we have written as well. Now you can buy nibs for fountain pens that are designed for a left hander to use and they do make it far easier to write well with one.

I have to say that penmanship is an important skill but so is being able to use a computer. When I was in High School I got permission to hand in all of my assignments typed after my first semester of typing because it was always neater and far more legible! I too have a bit of a fine motor skills problem, never changed with practice, my handwriting is legible now but it takes me some time and cramped hands to do it (it did back then too). I also find quick drying ink pens to work with so I don’t end up with all that work being smeared!

Brenda V.

PS Cat when I think of penmanship I don’t think exclusively cursive, I think anything handwritten be it print or cursive or a combination of the two. There are plenty of places in this world where being able to write instead of type (computer) is important, I make grocery lists while sitting at the McD’s in my Wal-Mart, I fill out applications, contracts, and when I am somewhere where I need notes, the physical act of writing helps me remember what I heard even if it is painful (and it can be). Children should learn this skill so they can find out if this is something that works for them or not, they will never know unless they try.


I think handwriting is still important because computers are not ubiquitous. Not everyone has the money for an iPod or a laptop, which allow you to do most notes by hand.

In my MA program, I took notes on my laptop during lectures - but I was actually only 1 of a few students who did this.

On the other hand, I frequently write first drafts long hand, then go to the computer, and keep switching back and forth. It’s part of my writing process (which I will admit is neurotic).

But look, my students needed to turn in their homework. I told them all that they could type it up. Not one of them did. And so I had a pile of messy chicken scratch to read! But they are all darlings regardless.

Thanks to the PP for the handwriting links! One class will be imitating medieval monks and creating illuminated manuscripts. So those resources will help. (I mean, what jr high girl does not like calligraphy?)


Maybe writing in cursive is not a necessary skill in today’s world, but kids still need to be able to read cursive.

They will not be able to read cursive if they never learn to write it.

Just my opinion :slight_smile:

  1. Maybe my doctor’s office is odd, but every prescription or referral I receive is handwritten. :smiley: So, if someone wants to be a doctor (or ever goes in to see one), learning how to write or read handwritten communication is important.

  2. Not everyone has computers. My sister lives in Wyoming, and she didn’t own a computer for the first 4 years she lived there. She just couldn’t afford one. She has one now, but no internet (yet) and no printer.

  3. When my computer is out of commission, I can still make a grocery list for my husband and he can read it.

  4. I don’t have a cell phone, iPod, Blackberry (hahahaha, I typed “Blueberry” first :stuck_out_tongue: ), laptop, or other glitzy gadget that I take with me everywhere. A pen and something to write on is important to have, in case I need to write down a license plate, phone number, address, or instructions. When I was in college, I used pen and paper to take notes during lectures (couldn’t afford a laptop).

  5. Etiquette (does that count as a non-emotional reason?) demands hand-writing certain things. I’m thinking about addressing wedding invitations, baby shower thank-you notes, etc.

  6. Having several different skills at your disposal, in order to express ideas and communicate to others, is incredibly valuable, because you never know when you’ll need to make use of them.


Is it just me, or do men have worse handwriting then women? :p:D (joking, joking)

Still, even with today’s computer technology, to be able to have clear handwriting should still be a basic tool. You can’t type everything. No, it doesn’t have to be cursive all the time, but it should be readable for others. I still switch back and forth myself. Luckily, my children’s school stress neatness when it comes to handwriting. And I do too when it comes to homework. :wink:

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