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Project 52:35 | high-tech

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I read an article on CNN.com this week that said forty out of 50 states are phasing out the teaching of cursive in public school. My heart sunk. The article further explained that in lieu of handwriting, children will be learning digital skills in computer classes–as schools just don’t have the time to teach handwriting. I don’t know about you, but I have a huge problem with this.

My husband & I sat down for a meal after I read this & talked about our responsibilities regarding our child’s education. I don’t trust anyone else with the task of educating. I think school is important, but I also think it is my job as a parent, to teach just as much at home. One thing is for sure–my kids will know how to write in cursive. & their computer time will be limited. As great as the computer is, it allows for a lot of behaviors that I just don’t approve of–like inactivity, irresponsible spelling, inappropriate surfing. Oh, and wasting time. Auto spell check & thesaurus are not substitutes for learning spelling & vocabulary. Period. But laziness is not my chief concern–I can combat that. My fear is regarding privacy and safety. & with a mommy blogger for a parent…I worry about this every day. & wonder where this blog will go down the road.

Scary, scary. So much at our fingertips. How are you combating the invasion of technology in the home? Or do you embrace it?

P.S. I love the CNN app on both the iPad & the iPhone–it’s the first thing I read in the morning.

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& if you happen to be new here & want to learn more about why my project 52 looks the way it does, head on over to

my project 52 story.

& here are the links to some of you who are doing this with me! Be sure to let me know if I missed you by adding a comment to this post. I promise to add you, as long as you link me back!

allenaim photographyBrown-Eyed Girl PhotographyBump Meet BabyCapturing MemoriesCapturing My TimeCyan Baby BlissConfessions of a Baby ShopaholicFitoriKatie Clay PhotographyLizzi Loves…McBabyBumpNew Mom AdventurePhreckle Face Photography{rik-see} photographySo Much for My PlansSurviving EndometriosisThe Buckeye HomesteadThe VanDyck FamilyWicked Kate

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Erin R. - Shawna, I completely agree with you. A handwritten note just to say “Hi, How are you” is so sentimental… can an email smell of the persons perfume/cologne? No. Can you tuck an email in your pillow to cherish every night as you lay your head to sleep thinking about that person? Not really. Letters are romantic. That does not always have to be with a man and a woman (or couple). It is a great feeling to check your mailbox and actually have a letter in their with real stamps on it. I shudder at the thought of Poppy not learning how to write beautifully. And using an online dictionary/thesaurus? Awful. That’s merely implementing alternative words when you likely do not know how to use them in real-life conversations. I don’t like it one bit.

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Maggie - Agreed. We are extremely cautious about both screen time (whether it be tv, computer, or otherwise) and the content. Thankfully they are quite happy to play and don’t really ask for it much at all. Have you seen “Waiting for Superman”? Regardless of which option parents choose for their family, I agree wholeheartedly that we, the parents, are fully responsible for the education of our children!

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Tracy - I was very sad to read this…in your response to an above comment, I totally see the nostalgia in a hand written note. I grew up in private school and can vividly remember learning cursive in 5th grade, and our teacher having us go up to the alphabet hanging on the wall and trace each cursive letter with a pointer stick. I have so many handwritten letters saved as well, and have never found it acceptable to send a thank-you note electronically. It makes me nervous for our children’s future when it comes to education!

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Ali - At first I thought you were going to say you had decided to home school and I was excited to see you put your spin on it. My baby is just 8 months, but I try to limit my own screen time be it the computer, cell phone or television. I think baby will learn to replicate what he sees being modeled at home. If only I could get daddy on board with this too… :)

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Brianna - I have been receiving and replying back to letters from my elderly grandmother ever since I was a little girl. I save them all. They are all on her stationary, written in her cursive. The collection of letters from her is incredibly special to me.

I make a point to always handwrite my thank you’s and Christmas cards. I make my two boys (3 & 1) always scribble in crayons when we send a birthday card. I am unbelievably sad that the concept of handwritten letters have been replaced with emails, texts and evites.

I recently saw a segment on The View that discussed the increase risk of brain tumors as a result to the increase in technology use. What was the most worrisome to me was that the risk was higher with children. Did you know that there is a distance that children need to keep between themselves and the device that they are using? In addition, there are the other known issues (social awkwardness, lack of motivation, privacy concerns, online bullying, etc.)

I can appreciate how beneficial technology can be and use it daily. But, as with everything, too much of anything can be a bad thing. I will most definitely teach my children cursive and the importance of the simple act of kindness that goes along with it (Plus, it is much more time efficient when writing my lists!) :-)

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-shawna- - oh, how sad.

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-shawna- - Wow, thrilled? Wasted time? I could not feel more opposite. I think the hand written word is an integral part our culture–and many cultures world wide. Beyond the historical aspect (this country’s constitution?), it is much faster than writing in print and is deeply part of our personal and public identities. What happens when signatures are all printed because kids don’t know how to sign in cursive? Is the just more standardization? Everyone the same…? I cherish the handwritten letters I have from my family members–grandparents who have passed & those from my husband during basic training. If the written word becomes a thing of the past–well–I’ll be fighting it all along the way. I want my daughter to write letters to me. & I will most definitely write private letters to her. She will hand write thank you notes. Penmanship & the ability to express oneself efficiently on paper is something I value. It can never be forged.

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Rebecca - This is something I thought about before, but never would have imagined schools would stop teaching cursive handwriting. My husband and I need to have a talk about this. Thanks for posting this.

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Ashley - Oh man. I want my girlie to know how to use technology, I don’t want her to feel lost and behind. But no cursive? I will definitely be teaching it at home. Ryann loves the ipad and our iphones, but I really really try to limit her technology exposure to 30 minutes or less a day.

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Emily W. - Personally, I was thrilled to learn that my children wouldn’t have their time wasted in the classroom learning cursive. I use cursive to take notes (that is the only use I have for it); my husband can no longer write in cursive despite learning it in school. I would much rather my children learn to print well than learn to write in cursive as I know very few adults who actually use cursive in their daily lives; however, I don’t know of a single adult who doesn’t type daily. What is so vitally important about the particular skill of cursive that has you so concerned? As far as gaining actual knowledge instead of relying on technology to give us definitions, synonyms, etc., I totally agree. There is no replacement for the teaching of vocabulary and grammar. Thesauruses are great, but if you don’t know how to use the words they show you, it is a useless tool.

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Rhonda - I teach 5th and 6th graders on Wed. nights at church and if I write on the board in cursive, they can’t read it. I can ASSURE that Annabelle will know how to read and write cursive! We are already practicing! I understand that some instruction time needs to be spent on technology since so much of our world is tied to it, but not at the expense of other important life skills.

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Anya - Thanks for bringing this to our attention Shawna. My husband and I have had numerous conversations about the changes in how kids are taught to play these days, and we are frankly, unimpressed with all of the high-tech toys and educational applications and everything else. I can’t believe that removing writing skills from the curriculum won’t have a long-term affect on the fine motor skills of the next generation. We are already seeing studies that question the developmental efficacy of high tech toys, and I can only imagine this is comparable.

Don’t get me wrong, we are very plugged in professional types and I don’t know what I ever did before my iPhone, but in our hearts we know little kids need to use their imagination, problem-solving skills, and hands.

Our television is in the basement, and will stay there. We plan on limiting any use of technology to dire circumstances (such as 6 hour plane flights, and then only if needed). Lincoln Logs, building blocks, mud pies, and pillows will be the name of the game in our house. Certainly writing, cursive, and reading books on paper will always be taught and encouraged.

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Casey - It’s a sad sight to watch our school system go down the tubes. When I was student teaching last year in fifth grade three-fourths of my class would write in text language. I was like what is this gibberish? My mentor teacher said it was from the over use of facebook, cell phones, etc. I am a HUGE stickler for hand writing!! My kids have been in private up until this year and I have to say I can see a HUGE difference in their writing skills than the peer group they are with at their public school this year. I completely agree with you that education cannot be put solely on the shoulders of the school that you send your children to. My daughter is in fourth grade this year and at her campus they are just learning to do cursive, last year it was a battle for me to “MAKE” her write in cursive instead of print when her peer group was printing. I am sooo glad that I did though and I have no regrets in challenging her to do more than the average.

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