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(65 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 ?

Ana Thu 29-Oct-15 18:40:47

I remember having a tracing book during early primary school lessons, tracing horizontal patterns which you were supposed to complete without taking your pencil off the paper.

I think it was just prior to our learning 'joined up' handwriting, and I'm sure it helped

M0nica Thu 29-Oct-15 19:49:44

I confess; I have always had appalling handwriting. Even in the Sixth Form teachers were making me write in print or with a pencil to try and improve my writing. One of my boyfriends went to Uganda for a year (before Idi Amin). He said he loved getting letters from me; they took weeks to fully decipher and occupied many an empty hour!!

I wasn't careless about writing, I tried really hard to improve it, but to no avail. In my 40s I was diagnosed as dyspraxic, with very poor fine motor skills, which finally explained the problems I had.

Oddly enough I do do quite a lot of writing, of the notes and lists variety, plus at meetings and further education classes, but the notes/minutes will be typed up within two days of the meeting, while I can remember enough of the meeting to decipher my notes.

But from time I was able to purchase the luxury of a manual typewriter I have typewritten anything that was intended to communicate with other people. I will handwrite notelets to thank people for whatever, but for personal letters, I type the body of the text but handwrite the greeting a the top and the sign off at the end.

Nelliemoser Thu 29-Oct-15 20:53:48

M0nica That really does sound like me. Poor fine motor skills, I can't draw well. I was bad at catching balls, or hitting them with a tennis racket or rounders bat. No one ever wanted a clumsy slow coach like me on their team and I was totally useless at PE etc.
My great niece is similarly affected. My DGS seems to run in a clumsy manner unlike his slightly older cousin who looks like a proper runner.

My writing is neater when I print. I was a total mess with a fountain pen. A really decent biro or a pencil is best for me.

At least these things are hopefully better understood now than they used to be .

M0nica Thu 29-Oct-15 23:23:06

Nelliemoser I recognise all those problems, it took me a long time to learn to ride a bike and I was never entirely confident doing it. I was really glad when a minor hip problem meant I couldn't cycle any more. My son is similar. It is amazing how his bikes used to get stolen so he could justify not cycling to work.

I come from a family of people with very good fine motor control, which made it only more frustrating. However itn was DS having the same problems getting a diagnosis for him that led to me being assessed as well.

Howver both of us had specialised physiotherapy that helped so even though out writing still looks is if a drunken spider has dropped in an inkwell and then run all over a page, for both of us writing is easier and to a certain extent legibility has improved.

meadowgran Fri 30-Oct-15 15:11:28

This thread really resonates with me as I recently started an A level French course as a Gran of 64! I am doing AS and A2 in the same year and in a college sixth form not in adult or further education although I am having to pay fees for it. We do everything, homework assignments, essays, vocabulary tests etc in handwriting not a keyboard in sight. As I only retired a few months ago and spent my working life in IT using a keyboard I had completely forgotten how to write. My handwriting was always atrocious I couldn't even read it myself I suspect that I too would nowadays have been diagnosed with a mild form of dyspraxia. However, I have experimented with different styles and thicknesses of pens and I can now write legibly so long as I slow down. It is critical as the exam papers are hand written. What is interesting is the difficulty that the 16 - 18 year olds in my classes have with their handwriting too. A couple of them will be given dispensation to use keyboards in the exam but the majority don't seem to be able to write legibly (we mark each other's vocab and verb tests) or fast enough to take notes in class. As for the differences and similarities between my days in the sixth form in 1967 to 1969 and now in 2015 I could write several essays on that too!!

Lindajoy Sat 31-Oct-15 12:07:13

I write in my diary every day! I also write letters to friends, birthday cards, thank you letters, Christmas cards, to do lists, etc.

It is a frightening thought that handwriting could die out and it is vital that it is taught in schools. I learned to do Marion Richardson Handwriting and we had to practice patterns to get the flow going.

Somewhat confusing these days in school as Year 1 are encouraged to do joined up writing before some have really mastered the printed letters. As my granddaughter (nearly 6) says, "why can't I write like it is in the books we read?"

GrandmaValerie Sat 31-Oct-15 12:17:43

I have just been given back the last "letter" my father wrote, shaky writing on a little piece of lined paper, to his sister in law in America on the death of dad's youngest brother. It's absolutely precious because dad rarely put pen to paper, having left that side of things to mum. He was almost 95, was so sad to hear his brother had gone, and died 10 days later himself.
My aunt has saved this piece of paper for 2 years for me, it will be scanned and copies passed to my son, daughter and brother, and treasured I hope by the grandkids who knew him well.
Wonder whether anything I write will ever be kept like that? Doubtful, though I do write a number of cards and letters wet ink, especially thank you notes.

AlgeswifeVal Sat 31-Oct-15 12:19:42

I rarely write letters now which is a pity as I love writing especially with a fountain pen. I can write Italic and Gothic as well. But alas it's mainly texts or emails these days. My best subject at school was spelling and even the computer etc does that should you make a mistake.

Mamie Sat 31-Oct-15 12:29:21

I don't really agree about the importance of handwriting. I think it is useful and necessary to teach the basics, but I would not spend huge amounts of valuable curriculum time on it.
I can't think of many (any?) examples where handwriting is useful to the world of work now and in retirement I hardly use it at all apart from to sign my name.
I have no idea why A level assignments need to be handwritten, I can't imagine not being able to reflect, edit, amend and re-write as many times as I want. Why would you want to stop people improving what they have written?
I spent many hours at school learning to write in beautiful italics on unlined paper and I can honestly say it was of no use whatsoever afterwards.
If people want children to spend hours practising handwriting, what would they leave out of the curriculum to make time for it?

ninathenana Sat 31-Oct-15 12:40:10

Valerie how touching smile
When clearing out DM's things to move her to a care home. I found the card I'd written to her and DF just after I married thanking her and dad for all they'd done through my life and with the wedding.
She'd kept it for 38yrs.

LullyDully Sat 31-Oct-15 12:40:59

In Finland, according to last weekend paper,they are stopping teaching joined in favour of writing teaching keyboard skills.

They are still teaching handwriting just not the joined style. Apparently they are very innovative in education ideas. I suppose it's watch this space.

In UK there was a wobble when children stopped learning tables. Now all is restored sensibly.

I went on a maths course, in the 70s, where they suggested kids did not need tables as they would have calculators. We questioned the fact that an adult of the future would carry a calculator in one pocket and a number square in the other......scroll forward to the era of the mobile phone!!!!! What did we know?

I would still advocate it's useful to know things by heart such as spelling and tables. But the world is changing so fast.

Mamie Sat 31-Oct-15 12:48:04

I agree spelling and tables are still necessary. We need to understand and have quick recall of the basics of those. I don't think the same is true of handwriting as long as we can scribble a legible note. If the power goes off permanently we will have plenty of time to practise. grin

Elrel Sat 31-Oct-15 12:51:55

There was a project, in UK I think, to teach joined writing initially. I don't know where or how it turned out. Goes away to look!

Anya Sat 31-Oct-15 13:17:56

Recently I had to make a legal declaration of death and had to sign using a fountain pen, which was provided. I was surprised that my signature looked so good and I'd forgotten the pleasure of writing with a really good pen.

So I've since bought myself a fountain pen and use it in circumstances where I want something to look 'good'.

An example of this was the Life Book from Age UK which I'm currently filling in.

Elrel Sat 31-Oct-15 13:20:16

I may have been thinking of the Think Write programme apparently pioneered by two Hampshire pre-prep schools, also used in Devon. The letters are taught initially with the joining 'flicks' (my word!) already there so they later easily come together into words (my interpretation!). It's described as being also successful in a 'clinical' setting. Interesting but I don't have time to really look into this method.

Loads of online information on other sites too, some specifically aimed at children with dyspraxia, etc. Worth a look for anyone wanting to help a child.

jimorourke Sat 31-Oct-15 13:20:50

I like to write out thank you notes for acts of kindness shown to me because of my disability. I have noticed however that my handwriting has deteriorated. The answer I have found is to write slower and with a good quality fountain pen not a biro. I also have to think very carefully what I want to write as overconfidence makes me use the wrong words.

Elrel Sat 31-Oct-15 14:07:17

Anya - thank you for your mention of the Age Concern Life Book. I'd not heard of it but have now ordered one.

Hidge Sat 31-Oct-15 14:48:26

The last thing I wrote was a cheque !!!

Amenhotep Sat 31-Oct-15 16:29:55

Had a Waterman ink fountain pen for my birthday so using it all the time, it's such a pleasure to write anything, even ashopping list! I had forgotten this so am really pleased about it!

Daisyanswerdo Sat 31-Oct-15 17:09:58

I like my handwriting, which I think is (mostly) legible and recognisable. I was taught using the Marion Richardson method. I think it was a good basic hand whereby personality could develop. I've never followed it to the letter (as it were); for example, I don't use an open shape for 'p'. I loved the patterns you could make, for example writing one letter first one way, then upside-down along the top.

chrissyh Sun 01-Nov-15 11:30:15

I have a couple of people I still send letters to but tend to use the computer. I do, however, always handwrite thank you letters.

MaizieD Sun 01-Nov-15 12:25:20

One of the more interesting benefits of handwriting, which is rarely considered, is that it helps children to learn to spell more easily. Writing a word by hand develops kinaesthetic memory for the unique 'feel' and rhythm produced when writing it. Once hand and brain have, between them, mastered a spelling you very rarely have to consciously think about its consituent letters when you write it; just 'think' the word and the rest is automatic.

Spelling is, for the most part, really poorly taught in schools already; if handwriting were to be discontinued even fewer children are likely to learn to spell competently... 'Hunt & Peck' on a keyboard is a very poor substitute for handwriting.

ninathenana Sun 01-Nov-15 13:10:20

I have just tried to order th AUK Lifebook I tried several links on the site but kept getting a page to fill in with dates of my insurance policies thlconfused

Anya Sun 01-Nov-15 13:40:18

Best to jus ring up in office hours nina

friends123 Mon 02-Nov-15 12:44:08

Last week to yours penfriend although this time via aprinter