Cursive used to be a sore subject in our house. I would buy workbooks, print off copywork, and present them excitedly to the children. They would practice for a few days, or maybe even work through a whole book, only to forget all that I thought they had learned.
I began to despair, thinking that my children might never learn cursive. It seems a little thing, but I was finding that often, when I push my own agenda on the children, it saps all the fun out of learning, and sometimes learning just doesn’t happen. I wondered if any of my children would ever learn to even sign their name.
Fast forward two or three years and I had made peace with the fact that my children might not learn cursive. Instead, when I thought about handwriting, I thought of getting my younger two a little practice with printing, and I worked on my own handwriting. I had never been happy with my own cursive, and looking at all the fancy lettering and Bible journaling online made me want to practice my handwriting. So I practiced.
Bennett still has shown no interest in learning to write in cursive. He honestly barely wants to print. Emalee, however, has seen me writing, and she has seen other people writing in pretty cursive, and she has decided that she wants to have “fancy handwriting.”
She started by having me download her a letter chart to practice with. Then, she practiced on her own. Then, she had me get her an old-fashioned cursive workbook to practice her handwriting with. Don’t tell her, but without even realizing it, she’s doing what she would have scorned a couple of years ago as “schoolwork.”
I keep coming back to the lessons that I am learning from observing my children learn, and the lessons that I have learned to not at all resemble my education classes from college.
Instead, I find that motivation is the key to learning. When we want to learn something, learning is simple, and even like a game. When we don’t want to learn something, we struggle to take it in or to retain anything that we are exposed to.
Perhaps that is one of the biggest keys for me at this point in life at rejecting school. It’s inefficient. It’s actually turning things that are real joys, like working out a hard math equation or writing the perfect paragraph into chores that are rejected. From all the evidence I’ve seen of most high school graduates, they are in no way truly equipped for living in the world we live in, and perhaps motivation is a big part of the reason. If we don’t see a need for the knowledge that we are being given, there’s no reason other than “the test” to learn it.