Has Keyboarding Ruined My Children For Life?

So I’ve found one sincere downside to the big wide world of high-tech homeschool.  My children’s handwriting is ATROCIOUS.  Think : second grade essay without lined paper.  That’s my boys.

Actually, I can’t blame it ALL on the constant keyboarding.  Uber’s neurological issues have always given him the unfortunate side handwriting effect of hand tremors and insufficient fine motor skills.  And H-T’s dyslexia has always made writing anything a chore.  There might also be a genetic component…I had award-winning bad handwriting as a kid.  Every report card I got in elementary school was full of back-handed compliments like…”she has such promise as a young writer, if only her work weren’t so damn sloppy.”

Ok, maybe I added the “damn” for effect, but that was basically the way my mom read it, based on how hard she would come down on me afterward.

My handwriting didn’t seem to improve, either, as I edged closer to middle school, until one day when I went to visit my dad (my parents were divorced and I visited my dad often on weekends and summers).

Dad was one of those classic guilty divorced dads who tried to buy me things to make up for his absence.  Only problem was, he was always dead broke, so instead of picking me out the latest Bloomingdale treasures, he went thrift shopping for me. Dad was a regular fixture at every flea market, yard sale, and thrift store within a 100-mile radius of his house.  He would take hours each week scouring through other people’s cast-offs to find the very things he thought I would like.  And doggone if he wasn’t usually right on the money!

Well, on the day in question, when I showed up at my dad’s, he had spread across his kitchen table a gorgeous used calligraphy set.  It had a wide assortment of pens, and nibs, and papers and colored inks.  Granted, some of the inks were half empty, but do you think I gave a hoot?!  Having never even seen anything like this before, I was fascinated.  I pored over the instruction book as if it were my Teen Beat for the week.  And in two days time, I had conquered every pen, nib, and technique it had to offer, and was begging for more.  Dad let me take the stuff back home with me, and I became a die-hard calligrapher for about six months.

I guess you can see where this story is going.  When next  semester’s report card rolled around, my teacher had nothing but glowing praise for my handwriting.  “’Bout damn time!”, it probably said.   And I’ve been getting compliments on my handwriting ever since.

So, Topsy-Techie is considering this low-tech solution to her current remedial handwriting crisis…what do you think?  Calligraphy class for boys? Will it be successful, or bomb as flat as all the other “it-worked-for-me-so-surely-it-will-work-with-my-boys schemes”?

Sound off below, you moms of boys with bad handwriting…


14 Responses

  1. What a wonderful post! I have awful – truly awful – handwriting, and I must give my 8 year-old credit for even trying to write legibly; I gave up in the second grade. I remember it well, because that was the year I had, swear to God, a teacher named Mrs. VADER, and true to her name, she embraced the dark side. Especially about penmanship.
    About a year ago, I gave my son a cursive write-and-wipe board, and it captivated him mightily for a month or so – and his handwriting did improve, at least a bit. I don’t care that he has beautiful script, I just want him to be able to use written communication when he wants, to make lists or write notes, or keep score while playing a game.
    Good luck with your boys!

  2. I have beautiful handwriting; PL’s is… not. It drives me crazy at times. I’ve tried it all – twice at least – but have had to realize that legible is good enough (and that lovely handwriting is probably just another of my “it’s all about me” hangups). I hope it works for your boys, and that they love it as much as you did, but if not printing and name signing will be enough in the end. Just imagine them as doctors or engineers in training!

    • Obi-Mom – God help the patient that would get a prescription written by either of my boys. Hope they have some SERIOUS malpractice insurance in place!!

      Karen – Thanks for the well wishes! And thanks, too, for the mental image of a teacher named Mrs. Vader. Priceless what my brain does with little tidbits like that one!! 😉

  3. Actually engineers usually have very nice handwriting 🙂 I love calligraphy, but I also always had good handwriting. I’ve got 1 child who CAN write nicely but chooses not to. My oldest girl is very neat even though she’s left handed and my younger son. Well, he’s somewhat delayed on fine motor skills. Though he’s almost 7, he’s really just now starting to write anything legible.

    I do have an unrelated question for my blog technical expert. Can you read this (http://christinagleason.com/bloggers-breaking-google-rules/) and let me know your thoughts? It’s about a no-follow tag. I write a lot of reviews and it has been suggested that I should put these in every link. Being busy/lazy, I’m not anxious to go back and do that if it’s not necessary. I thought you might have some insight.

  4. This is funny because I just asked my son about this the other day. He has such sloppy writing, but we practice daily and it just stays the same. He tends to like different fonts and things on the pc though and he likes art so I thought maybe calligraphy would be interesting for him and might help with everyday writing. He said he wasn’t interested, but I may just pick up a small set as a gift for him and see what happens with it.

    • The calligraphy experiment! Think we will start a revolution for boys with bad handwriting??!!

  5. Baby Boy’s handwriting is atrocious. I think mine is pretty good, but he disagrees, LOL. I let him type stuff.

    • Don’t believe it…he is just jealous! Tell Baby Boy that all that frisbee throwing he is doing is strengthening his fingers so he can practice his handwriting. 😉

  6. Love your – worked for me must work for them quote! My handwriting got to be clasically elementary school teacher beautiful when I learned to write using Spaulding/Writing Road To Reading method. I practiced for hours ten years ago – and resolved to use the same method for the boys. Sigh. No. So hard. I just check out a used book – go yard sales – on italic – close to caligraphy – and love the way the pen moves, my 8 year old mimics it and my 11 yr old wanted to take a class because it was so pretty. Dyslexic 11 yr old boy now has BEE U TEa Ful hand writing – when he wants to. 🙂 8 yr old is italic 100% of the time. 🙂

  7. ops. I’m still logged in as my dad – thats from Pebblekpeer – not Sherm. 🙂 pebblekeeper.spaces.live.com

  8. What a coincidence! I was just talking to my husband about this article: The Slow Death of Handwriting http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7907888.stm

    Here’s a quote from the article that reminded me of your calligraphy set:

    “Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has said that if he had not taken a calligraphy course at college, he would not have thought of putting multiple typefaces on the Mac.” Interesting!!

  9. I taught my kids a version of calligraphy handwriting. The upside is that they have good handwriting when they want to. Well, my daughter’s is great. My sons’ isn’t. What I never thought of was that in not teaching them the tried and true old fashioned hand writing is that one of my kids can’t read anyone’s handwriting because he’s never been able to figure out how it works. I never saw that one coming.

  10. My son had the ability to write neatly, but not the desire. “Can’t I just type instead????” is what he would whine. I never pushed the issue and now for fourth grade we are starting cursive.No small shock that he actually likes it. I have discovered the eighth wonder of the world. I say never give up on good handwriting. Hopefully all things will come in the order they were meant to.

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