I’m a homeschooling mom, which means that there are all sorts of answers to both of these questions:
- What should we teach our children?
- How should we teach our children?
We know that we want to teach them via life experiences in a few different areas…
We also know that we want to stick to books and more traditional learning for subjects like math and language arts.
But there’s a big, important, game-changing question that can come anytime before, during or after those two important questions have been answered. That question is, Why should we teach this?
We just finished our first year homeschooling and I’ll be the first to tell you that the question of why didn’t come up, but I also fully admit that our year was full of experimentation in figuring out what works for our family.
I can tell you, though, that a lot of schools, teachers, parents and students are asking the why question about handwriting and penmanship: Why are we teaching handwriting?
Instead of searching for (and finding!) a wealth of information on why handwriting is so important, more and more schools are choosing to minimize or eliminate handwriting from the curriculum.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I believe writing by hand is important.
As a child, before I understood exactly why I was doing it, writing things down was my special way of studying and memorizing important information.
In college, I realized that wordsmithing the most important phrases for papers required a pen and a notebook, not a keyboard.
In my former career as a finance executive, my writing skills were called upon for department proposals and debates over the best use of resources. Each time, I made no secret about the fact that my best, most compelling statements were created with a pen and a piece of paper.
At this point in our history, though, it’s easy to assume that handwriting is obsolete, that everything is typed, so there’s no need to emphasize handwriting in elementary education. But there’s definitely a need for it!
Why Handwriting is Important for Young Children
1. Children learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, because writing helps the child recognize words more than reading alone. (source: The New York Times)
2. Children who know how to write show improved early spelling skills: Spelling overlaps with both reading and writing, and writing is linked to the learning of phonics. (source: Reading Rockets)
3. Writing aids information processing: typing may be faster and more efficient than writing, but that fact could hurt the ability to process new information. (source: The New York Times)Personally, I find I can “zone out” while typing and taking notes in a way that I can’t when writing by hand.
4. Writing aids listening skills: As students learn to take notes and write down key details, they inherently begin to listen to what’s important. What they hear is translated to their notes, and the notes become what could be committed to memory. As students write more, these skills improve. (source: eduguide.org)
5. Writing engages the brain in learning: Kids who physically write by hand show more adult-like brain activity. This may be due to the combination of lines and strokes required to form a single written letter as opposed to hitting a single key to make a letter appear on screen. (Source: The WSJ)
I don’t know about you, but I found that information to be very enlightening!
BIC is on a mission to save handwriting and Fight for Your Write. BIC knows that writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity.
Sign the pledge to Fight For Your Write and help save handwriting!
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by BIC via MomTrends Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of BIC or MomTrends Media.