Development: Cursive Writing

Cursive writing has been taught in public schools for well over a century. With digital technology, it is being used less and is no longer taught in some schools.

Wikipedia: Cursive

Washington Post: Is Cursive Writing Making a Comeback

My fondest memory of cursive writing starts with shopping for a Big Chief writing tablet.  The paper inside was gray and smooth, with green lines beckoning to be marked upon. I took my tablet to kindergarten, and I would sit apart from the other kids learning to make swoopy letters instead of block ones. I had pages of my name in cursive: Amy. Amy in big swooping letters, Amy in crayon, in pencil, in marker.  I felt very special being allowed to write cursive when my peers were not.  It was a mark of achievement writing well and in cursive, and I remember vividly having a piece of my handwriting displayed on the cork-board in school with a star sticker on it.   

 I kept a hand-written journal from ages 15 to 26. Stumbling onto it a few months ago, one of the first things I noticed was the shifting styles of cursive I played with over those years.  Playful curlicues, sophisticated sloping, rebellious uprights, so many different personalities on display just through the writing.  It made me realize how much of me is missing when I choose to type rather than write.  I must admit that my cursive writing has taken on a rather perfunctory style as of late.  When I do write in cursive, there is no playfulness, it seems all business.  I do miss writing in cursive as a mark of personal style. 

 Shock of all shocks when my sons began elementary school to learn they weren’t going to be taught cursive.  The rationale the teachers gave for not teaching cursive wasn’t very persuasive: something to the effect of cursive being irrelevant or not a skill in high demand.  I remember being concerned my kids wouldn’t be able to read cursive writing, and that has turned out to be somewhat the case.  But a more egregious problem comes from their inability to form a unique signature for signing important documents.  My nineteen-year-old uses a printed form of his name in that regard, and I must admit, a small part of me cringes each time he needs to sign anything.   

 It isn’t that I don’t want the world to move on, but cursive writing allows an intimate connection to the written word that texting, typing, and printing don’t. The advent of email, instant messaging, text, Twitter, Instagram, and others, have certainly curtailed the written word. There is far less writing happening in general.  But, I am excited to see an upswing in journaling recently that emphasizes beautiful cursive hand-writing, so my hopes are buoyed. I myself am inspired to practice my own handwriting after these reminiscences! 

Amy Haines

Did you learn to write in cursive? Should we still teach cursive in elementary schools?


Development: Television

In the middle of the twentieth century, televisions were a rare luxury item. By the end of the twentieth century, almost every home in the developed nations had one.


Image: The Science Museum Group Collection. Creative Commons. History of Television

Wikipedia. History of Television

My mother can remember going over to a relative’s house because they had a television and most people didn’t. In my own childhood, although most shows were broadcast in color (and only had been for a few years) we had a black-and-white set. It was a huge console, about six feet across, although the screen itself was less than thirty inches. As a piece of furniture, the only larger piece in the living room was the couch.

Sometime in the mid seventies, we got a color television. We got NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and maybe one or two others. We had to get up to change the channel. My sister and I were limited to how much television we could watch each day. We would often pool our time, agreeing on one show and sharing time on others. Star Trek was usually the first thing we agreed on!

Today, my eighteen-year-old and ten-year-old daughters don’t care too much about television. They both prefer YouTube, watching whatever catches their eye whenever they want to. My teen does like a few shows such as AFV and The Voice, and we are showing our ten-year-old classic shows such as Mr. Ed and The Dick VanDyke Show. It’s a big culture shock to her.


Do you remember your family’s first television? Do you watch shows as they air, or do you have a different way to watch?

Development: The Telephone

pexels-photo-594452.jpegIn 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. The tech has grown and changed greatly over the past 140 some years.

Sources: Alexander Graham Bell Patents the Telephone

Wikipedia. Telephone

In the late seventies, most of my friends had home phones, but some people in rural areas had “party lines” which means several homes shared a single line. My best friend and I, probably around nine or ten years old, were once interrupted by one of her neighbors telling us to get off the phone so someone else could use it.

I was married before I got my first cell phone. It was a big, important, expensive purchase and my husband and I were very, very careful to only use it rarely and briefly.

I resisted the idea of a smartphone for many years. My husband bought me one for Christmas sometime in the early 20-teens. I was definitely not ready for such a complicated, expensive piece of technology, but since it was a gift I learned how to use it. I was annoyed that the “phone” part of the device was just one of many aps.

Now, in 2018, I almost always have my phone close at hand and I depend on it for instant internet access, taking pictures, and being reachable to my husband and kids. I respectfully turn it off when I’m in class, but doing so makes me a little uneasy. I don’t want to miss a call from my kids’ schools if something important comes up. I’d also like to be able to google whatever comes to mind during lecture, but although that might seem like a good idea, it’s too easy to find myself chasing something white and fluffy down a rabbit hole and lose track of what my teacher is saying.


Do you remember getting a home phone for the first time? Do you remember your first cell phone or your first smart phone? Do you still have a landline?