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(64 Posts)
ninathenana Thu 29-Oct-15 09:03:45

An article in the Mirror this morning states "Handwriting is becoming a thing of the past" and that "one in five teenagers doesn't pick up a pen more than once every couple of months outside school" and over 50% don't have letter paper at home.
Finland is apparently phasing out handwriting lessons in school in favour of keyboard skills.
This made me think, apart from jotting notes when on the phone and doing the crossword, I hardly ever use a pen. My appointments are all on my phone.
What about you ?

rosesarered Thu 29-Oct-15 09:11:17

I still write one or two letters, plus thank you notes, birthday and Christmas cards.I have noticed though, from looking through old letters, that my Grandparents had beautiful copperplate handwriting.Mine is alright, but not the same, and our DC seem hardly to join up the letters at all!In spite of good education and having good jobs,it's obvious that handwriting is fast going out of fashion.

mollie Thu 29-Oct-15 09:21:58

I used to used a computer for as much as possible - easy to do with iPads and smartphone as well as laptops - and my handwriting descended into an awful scrawl so now I'm trying to use pen and paper as often as I can. It would be awful if paper and pen became obsolete - no more love letters, for example!

Alea Thu 29-Oct-15 09:25:26

My handwriting has deteriorated, largely down to arthritic fingers, but also because I write much less than I used to. That I ever wrote essay answers in exams lasting 3 hours at a stretch I find hard to believe!
But one thing I have noticed is that different generations can have their unique "hand", my late MIL and her cousin who was DH's godmother had virtually identical handwriting and were very close in age. Our 3DDs all have very similar writing, with just the tiny differences I associate with their personalities. I suppose it has to do with how they were taught and deplore any suggestions of discontinuing teaching handwriting!!
As a PS I used to be amused by handwritten school reports, particularly those decrying a pupil's handwriting but which were themselves virtually impossible to decipher!

Nonnie Thu 29-Oct-15 09:51:08

I am glad I can use a PC rather than hand write as I have appalling writing. I had polio and was off school and missed out on joined up writing so blame that.

I worry about my GC as they just form the letters any way they like and are not taught the 'correct' way to do so. Can anyone explain the logic behind this please?

ninathenana Thu 29-Oct-15 09:59:31

I know what you mean Nonnie I'm always showing 6 yr old the correct way to form letters. Unfortunately the next time I watch him write all nannies tuition is forgotten.

Greyduster Thu 29-Oct-15 10:16:58

My handwriting has gone down the tubes since the advent of word processing, (although I did win a two and sixpence National Savings voucher in a competition at school!) but I do write letters now and then and try and use a fountain pen I've had for years. I don't think that using ball point pens does handwriting any favours - I have a theory that you are likely to write more slowly with a fountain pen or a pencil and therefore are less inclined to scribble. However, my theories are usually a complete load of old tosh grin! I do lament the fact that the fountain pen seems to be falling into disuse, although they aren't very convenient.

durhamjen Thu 29-Oct-15 10:27:30

We are trying to teach my grandson to use joined up writing. He takes for ever. His sister is much faster and picked it up by herself.
All my grandchildren write very neatly. Their ages range from 22 to 8 and they have been to different schools, different counties.
I agree about ballpoints, Greyduster. I use 0.7 gel pens or a fountain pen, and 2B pencils with my grandson. He does use the computer a lot, but most of his work is on paper. Not sure if that's my problem or his, but his mother teaches him joined up writing using worksheets.
Obviously if you teach your grandson, you have to make sure that your own handwriting is legible. His sister is very good at criticising grown up mistakes.

Tresco Thu 29-Oct-15 10:59:54

I have rarely seen handwriting taught well in the last 15 years, during which my job involved visiting primary schools and observing behaviour. Very few teachers seem to have any idea how to teach left-handed children, nor do they have proper equipment for them. Even basic stuff, like not sitting a left handed child to the right of a right handed child (so elbows don't clash) was often not done - and then teachers wondered why there was always trouble at writing times on that table. Also, far too many pre-school settings think they are doing the children a favour by "teaching" them to write - again often done badly with no proper teaching of how to hold a pencil or how to form letters. Once bad habits are set up it is very difficult to correct a pencil hold or letter formation.
As for keyboard skills, I asked our IT department about 10 years ago for recommendations for programs to teach typing, and was told not to bother because "in 10 years time we will all be using voice recognition software"!

Elrel Thu 29-Oct-15 11:13:51

Best small children begin with big zigzag, arcade, garland and loop patterns. Then show them how lower case letters are formed from these movement. Group, for instance, i, j, l, r, t, u, w, y, then n, m, h, and so on.
Forming letters from the right starting point will help greatly when they begin to join handwriting,
Sorry if that's didactic or unclear. It important to start correctly or habits have to be undone - much harder!
Start with pencil. Berol do a range of good inexpensive handwriting fibre tip pens. They include pens shaped to the fingers for both right and left handers.
Apologies for 'going on' but I have been able to 'rescue' children with poor handwriting by helping them to form their letters correctly, makes it all much smoother.
Please DON'T try to get children to write smaller. Big is best at first as handwriting invariable gets smaller as they get older. If someone has trouble keeping on lines let them write over 3 lines at first to get the ascenders and descenders in the right proportion.

durhamjen Thu 29-Oct-15 11:14:23

I think one problem is that there are so many 'correct' ways, depending on the authority and now the school, Nonnie.

ninathenana Thu 29-Oct-15 12:07:09

Eriel the three line method is how I was taught and I draw pencil lines for DGS on a blank sheet. I don't know why schools stopped using books like this. When not just scribbling a note my handwriting is IMHO very good.

Elrel Thu 29-Oct-15 12:29:19

dj- as a rule of thumb boys tend to be a little slower than girls in learning handwriting and less likely to be so neat.

Nonnie - in some schools the peaceful handwriting lesson has gone, hw is no longer a separate section at KS2. I've helped 2 grandsons to improve their formation at junior school age. I always emphasise that correct formation will make their writing quicker (it does!) as they are usually more interested in that than in 'neater'!

Elrel Thu 29-Oct-15 12:31:00

Just like maths and apostrophes if the first teaching they receive is competent it won't have to be unpicked later!!
How do I start a thread, by the way?

Daisyanswerdo Thu 29-Oct-15 13:02:07

Does anyone else remember the Marion Richardson method of teaching handwriting? I think it was the basis of good legible writing but it seems to have gone out of fashion. I remember making patterns with the various shapes.

Tresco Thu 29-Oct-15 13:08:38

Yes, I remember it with horror. I had been taught a beautiful copperplate then moved schools aged about 8 and was made to abandon all loops an curls for the very dull Marion Richardson hand. My writing has never recovered and I still sometimes find myself using both scripts in the same word.

tiggypiro Thu 29-Oct-15 14:04:57

Elrel - that is exactly how my DGS's (age 6 & 8) in Spain are taught. They both have beautiful joined up hand writing. Their school is a convent school and so I suspect is very traditional in it's approach. I have 9yr olds either side of me and they go to different schools but both of them have very untidy joined up 'scrawls'. Neither seemed to use the 3 line method, or indeed any lines, when they were learning how to write.

ninathenana Thu 29-Oct-15 14:18:19

Eirel Go to top of page, click on forums and choose which one you want to post on then on that page click the arrow in the circle on the right for a drop down list. That will give you the option to 'start a new discussion'

Nonnie Thu 29-Oct-15 15:08:46

Elrel what do we do if the school lets them right any old way? Does it help to use the pre-printed sheets with arrows showing how the letters should be formed or is that a conflict with school? At what age should we 'interfere'?

Eloethan Thu 29-Oct-15 15:28:41

I'm old-fashioned and no doubt earn the "dinosaur" title. As much as I enjoy Gransnet and being able to google anything that I'm interested in or need to know, I wish the internet had never been invented, ditto mobile phones, Kindles, etc.

Although I e-mail and type letters, I like to send and receive handwritten letters and I like the covers, the look and the feel of paperback books and the memory that each book elicits. In years to come there will be no old handwritten diaries, poems and letters and no original authors' drafts with edits to pore over and analyse, etc. And some people have warned that material of that sort which has been typed or copied into a computer (including photographs) may well become incompatible with new storage systems, equipment and programmes and therefore inaccessible. So there is a risk that all sorts of historical material will be lost.

feetlebaum Thu 29-Oct-15 17:30:21

I recently read a complaint from an American father, whose High School graduated son was unable to procure a passport, because having been taught only how to print he could not provide an acceptable signature.

'Copperplate' was a poor method, since it was not intended for use with a pen, but was used by engravers.

What was the 'Civil Service Hand'? Was that cursive?

durhamjen Thu 29-Oct-15 17:53:41

At least Marion Richardson was easy to read. However, individuality went out the window.
When you had a new class, you could tell which ones had come from the same primary school.

TerriBull Thu 29-Oct-15 17:59:37

There are occasions, when for example, a personal card expressing sympathy needs to be handwritten and of course birthday, Christmas and the occasional thank you card, but perhaps these traditional forms of communication will gradually become obsolete as I don't think they resonate so much with younger people. I think that will be a shame, but we are all of "our time" I guess.

My writing evolved into a cursive slant in my teens and I have written that way ever since. My left handed son, in spite of holding his pen and writing in the awkward way that Obama does, has similar writing to me. When I see the handwriting of some younger people nowadays, it appears very round, hardly joined up, quite babyish in a way.

Nelliemoser Thu 29-Oct-15 18:09:27

I never got on with handwriting I started at five with Marion Richardson style and when we moved to Bristol at eight everyone was doing italics.

I think I have general co-ordination problems, perhaps bordering on dyspraxia and with what I now know was dyslexia I had trouble writing without the wrong letter coming off my pen. I can barely write birthday cards without making errors.
I am still very ashamed of my hand writing. I don't do hand written letters I could never complete one without making mistakes and being totally stressed. I could never do colouring in neatly.

Elrel Thu 29-Oct-15 18:32:53

Thanks, ninathenana!
Yes, Marion Richardson was suited to its purpose IMHO. I used to snap up tatty old MR books being dumped by schools and still have a couple.
For some reason we were all taught italic in the junior group at teacher training college in the late 1950s. Just a fashion I guess.

Nonnie - never too early to have a go. Most 3 year olds will enjoy making big zigzags etc. whether with fingerpaint, chalk or a stick in sand. Later let them do big writing on plain paper, you can fold it to make lines. The preprinted sheets are ok once they have mastered the loose but rhythmic hand movements and are not pressing their pencil in hard and slowly. Easier to show you at the next meetup! If the school isn't teaching a standard style they don't really have room for conflict!