Like a phoenix rising from the ash, handwriting is beginning its resurgence. And, to aid this rebirth, Drawn To Discover is launching a special lesson package dedicated to cursive education coinciding with National Handwriting Day, January 23: “Drawn to Cursive”!
Handwriting in a Digital Era
But wait? You say. Why teach handwriting in the digital age? Isn’t this an outdated skill? I might as well teach my child how to repair a VCR or back up their files to a floppy disk. Shouldn’t we be focusing on digital literacy? These are all fair questions, and the good news is that this is not an either/or scenario. This is about teaching our children in the way that their brain learns so that they will be ready not only for the modern world but for a future with a lot of unknowns.
It is true, that teaching our children the art of VCR repair or efficient use of floppy disks will not prepare them for school or the world of work. But, teaching them engineering, problem solving, and resource management will. Likewise, while beautiful handwriting may not be a prevalent skill in the workforce of the future, the neural pathways, literacy, and creative skills developed by early handwriting mastery will be essential. And, moreover, effective handwriting skills are still necessary for academic success (Graham, 2009-10; Li & James, 2016).
Children need to get their hands on to physical things and learn how to manipulate and master them. Getting messy and developing that fine motor control builds their brains (James, 2017). Indeed, new data is suggesting that students are entering preschool without these necessary pre-requisite skills due to an over-reliance on pointing, clicking, and swiping. Children need to manipulate the 3D world and the 2D world of computers, tablets, and TVs don’t suffice.
Rapid Technology & Slow Biology
Despite the rapid and exponential growth of technology development, the human brain is much the same as it was thousands of years ago. Our brains and bodies evolved for a different set of evolutionary needs and it will be quite some time before they “catch up” to the digital world. That doesn’t mean we are doomed to technological limbo or that we need to smash our computers in Luddite fashion. It simply means we need to be extra smart and extra intentional about how we educate our children in this digital era. We can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak because we have so many shiny rectangles that consume our attention. Technology is a tool that we need to master and not let it master us or our children.
An interesting read about this tension between modern living and un-modern biology is the book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky (2004). The author goes in depth into the phenomenon of our outdated biology in his book. For example, Sapolsky highlights how our engrained fight or flight response system, a survival instinct that has helped our species survive for thousands of years is now leading to harmful stress and actually hindering our chances for survival. Those stress responses are vital when an animal encounters a predator or enemy, however, they are detrimental to a person stuck in rush hour traffic twice a day everyday. We mustn’t let educational technology cause a similar effect.
Technology for Enrichment
At Drawn To Discover, we are harnessing technology to bring highly effective, research-based visual literacy lessons straight to your home (or car, or wherever you may be). This is a marriage where technology meets the needs of the human brain (as antiquated as it may be, lol). Ms. Wendy teaches cursive skills in an artistic, joyful manner that is really designed to teach fine motor skills and personal mastery. Children are free to create, free to experiment, and free to learn at their own paces. These proven lessons (Smith & Smith, 2011) will augment their learning in school, enrich their reading and writing skills, enhance their visual literacy and even digital literacy skills, and put them on course to succeed in whatever endeavors they choose!
But don’t take our word for it. Sign up for a free trial and test it out yourself. We know you and your child will enjoy the exploration!