Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A few weeks ago, Darian brought home his first 3rd grade progress report. Darian is a great student so most of it was the expected 94%-98% range with the exception of Handwriting. His handwriting grade was 81% (a C at his school). Quite frankly, I was shocked. Darian has always had very neat, precise writing. What I had forgotten was that this was third grade - cursive writing had begun.

So, I sat down with Darian and had him write out some words using the handwriting letters he had already learned. He sat, concentrated, and very neatly wrote out my selection of words. I saw nothing wrong with them. Jason and I told him to just keep doing his best and make sure he was taking the time to write neatly. He insisted that he did, and we just reiterated that he should keep trying his best.

Over the next couple of weeks I began keeping very close attention to the "red marks" (teacher corrections) on his handwriting. The pattern I saw was, to me, appalling.

First, Darian's main problem is that he is super structured. His handwriting is so nice and neat - but the letters are straight up and down. His teacher insists that all the letters be at an angle. Well, I worked with Darian for nearly an hour one afternoon, and the boy can't slant his letters for his life. He just cannot do it. Second, he apparently makes the loops on some letters (like d or e) just a smidgen too wide.

Seriously??!! Poor Darian was getting so discouraged. He would bring his homework for me to check, and I would think it looked fine. Then, we would get it back with all the red marks. Finally, Jason and I told him that his handwriting grade was, basically, not important. We told him that as long as he was doing his best he would not be reprimanded from us on a lower grade. After talking with other 3rd grade moms, I was pleased to learn that we are not the only parents who had this talk with their kids. None of the moms that I talked to (nearly half the class) had kids with handwriting grades higher than 84%.

With so much electronic communication these days, does anyone even use handwriting anymore?

1 comment:

Bianca said...

Handwriting is such a personal thing and different for each kid. I can't believe they are graded so harshly on it?! I like your approach on how to handle it. If John's current penmanship is any indicator of how his cursive writing will be coem 3rd grade, I'm in trouble! :-)