As a mother with two children from the iPad Generation, it has always been a challenge to encourage them to practice handwriting. As they grow older, it is clear that they would rather type than write. I guess I can’t really blame them. I was the same. I’m still the same! I’d rather type than write. And since they already know how to write by hand, that isn’t really a problem, is it?
It isn’t. And it is.
One of the most obvious problems is that school exams are still handwritten. Until those become computerised, I think some practice writing by hand should still be mandatory.
Even though I have had plenty of practice writing by hand, the years of not needing to pick up a pen for anything more than jotting down a shopping list or dates on a calendar has been telling. If I have to write anything more than a line or two, it shows. My handwriting gets worse and the letters less legible. My hand starts to hurt and I think that it would be better to type the list on my phone.
I tested the theory by keeping a handwritten journal. Every day I would write a page about what happened today. The last time I kept a journal like this was in my 20s. Now, I noticed that before the page was up, my hand would start to hurt. If I struggle to write a page of writing, how would that go if I had to write essays for an exam?
It’s not surprising to hear little kids complain that their hands hurt when they’re learning to write. It’s also part of the reason why they don’t like to write – or not very much. And if we allow our kids the option to always type instead of write, it’s inevitable that their handwriting muscles will get weak. Then, when there is no option but to write by hand, they’re going to be in trouble. Just saying.
But that’s just one reason to keep writing. There are more. IvyPanda – Study and Writing Tips for Smart Students – has a great infographic about them: