Indiana is the latest in a slew of states that don't require schools to teach cursive anymore, but are requiring "keyboarding."
I may be getting old, but I think this shift from cursive to querty is a shame.
I remember being both apprehensive and excited to learn cursive in third grade. Cursive was a big-kid thing, a teacher thing. Once you learned cursive, you were practically an adult! I loved tracing the lines, writing the sentences. It was like drawing, for me, except the lines actually went where I expected them to go! I loved it.
For a while.
Once we learned it, we were required to write in it all the time, and being forced to do something always dulls it a little in a kid's eye. When I entered high school, and the teachers couldn't care less how you wrote as long as they could read it, I felt this enormous sense of freedom! I could write how I pleased (and in any color ink I wanted!) Also, having migrated from Catholic school to public school, I could wear colors! Oh, high school. I felt wild and free.
When I started college at Columbia College, the sheer volume of time I spent writing quadrupled. Quintupled. Hex-uppled? Well, it increased. Two fiction classes a semester will have your forearms muscular and your tendons screaming for relief. It was then that I reverted back to cursive. The strain on my hand was much less! I didn't have to pick up my pen after every letter. Instead of smearing my print letters together, I glided effortlessly along the loops of the cursive letters. I found myself pressing more lightly on the paper. And when I went to type up my work, by golly, I could actually read it! It was easier and faster to write, and I've written almost everything (except for short phrases and labels) in cursive since.
So maybe it's a little sentimental that I chafe at this twist towards the cold, precise "keyboarding" and away from my easy-going, flowy, tactile cursive.
Another thing: it's not cursive itself that I feel is so essential. Its the act of sitting down to a task that requires patience and attention to detail that I think is important. I realize that's hard for kids. Life is hard. Learning to do hard things is a part of life.
Also, I think "keyboarding," which I call typing, is something a person is going to learn anyway--like how to use an idiom or time a joke. I didn't learn to type in a class. I learned to type in an IM. I DID learn to write in cursive in a class, and I write in cursive 99% of the time now. It's more legible, faster, more even, and prettier than my print.
Finally, as a general observation about handwriting and typing, however a person chooses to communicate: Do everyone a favor and spend an extra millisecond in your busy, ultra-important, super cool life to make sure your handwriting is legible, your words are written out, and you are using punctuation to your advantage. no 1 wants 2 rd wat u say when u right lyke this cuz iz hard 2 rd n stuff esp wen u dont use punctuation And no one wants to decode your handwriting. So have a care.
And maybe if we did spend a little more time on slowing down and paying attention to detail in lower grades, the general public would have a better time expressing themselves.