Homeschooling: Learning cursive before manuscript?

One of the many advantages of homeschooling is that you can switch things up whenever you want or need to. DH and I have been discussing handwriting and some schools of thought suggest teaching cursive before manuscript (print). In fact, many Montessori schools teach cursive first.

This blog post from Our Montessori Home presented the case clearly for teaching cursive first. A few things stood out for me:

1. Kids find cursive attractive

2. Cursive writing matches kids early drawing and writing squiggle attempts.

3. This I will quote directly from the writer: “Once children have learned cursive, it is very easy for them to learn print.  The reverse is more difficult.  Also, a child who writes in cursive can also read print, but a child who only learned print cannot read cursive.”

That third point I knew, but just accepted it as part of the process. But again, difficulty, in this case, doesn’t have to be a part of the process. There are options. Like learning cursive first. Also, the writer cites a paper written by a pediatrician that suggests kids brains are more primed  for learning to write printed letters later (between ages 6 and 9).

In addition, a recent article in Psychology Today suggests that learning cursive has benefits for brain development. This is particularly relevant for kids in public schools since, as the article states, learning cursive is no longer a requirement for elementary school children.

DH and I discussed whether to teach #1 son cursive at all. It seems to be going out of style, going the way of the dodo. But we decided against that and are now considering whether to just start with cursive. Whether or not cursive writing goes extinct is irrelevant. There seems to be many advantages to learning cursive that go beyond just having the ability to read it when needed.

Lastly, #1 son seems more interested in cursive letters and has little trouble recognizing them. His favorite cursive letter is what he calls “fancy G”.

We’re still thinking about it, but there are a lot of pros to learning cursive first.