Country Living Series

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Brought to you by the letter "K"

My brother has a friend named Tom who is a retired engineer. Tom and my brother share an odd and nerdy interest in inks and old-style fountain pens.


Recently Tom emailed the following incident to my brother, as follows:
________________________________________

Some time ago, I went in to a "Big-Box" electronics store looking to get info on the latest and greatest PC model available. A young lad approached me and offered assistance. I explained that I hadn't kept up with the latest models and needed some guidance. He was well-groomed and well-spoken and presented a professional customer service attitude.

Explaining the latest and greatest powerful models available, I asked for a brochure or a one-page flyer on the model he was describing. His response was that the model he suggested was not in the store yet and that he had no information to give me. I asked him for a model number so I could research it myself on-line. He started to write the model number on a piece of paper and abruptly stopped.

I thought he was thinking of the model number, but to my surprise he turned to me and asked me, "How do I write the letter K?"


I thought he was joking, but he wasn't. I asked for his pen and I wrote the letter K. As I was writing, he explained that he rarely writes anything, and if anything needs to be written, he does his writing on the keyboard.

This is what we have digressed to.

- Tom
________________________________________

Make of this what you will.

28 comments:

  1. Sad. Neither of my children have reached school age yet, but you can be sure they will know how to write - in printing and cursive. Even if I have to teach it to them myself (we do not plan to homeschool, at least as of now) and force them to write letters to their grandparents and other relatives to help them practice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda, teaching your children cursive will be good but you'll also have to teach them reading, writing, math (WITHOUT calculators) and history.

      If that is not a deal-breaker for government schools, there is daily indoctrination and deviant. immoral values and behaviors supported as 'normal'. All of this will be undermining your efforts at home. I sure hope you (and everyone here) can find a way to homeschool your children.
      Montana Guy

      Delete
    2. As someone who has had 6 children in public school, private school and home school I feel qualified to make a comment. (I also am certified K-8 as an elementary teacher) If you want your children to actually learn something, you are going to have to teach them yourself. One problem that most people don't address is how long the children are gone from the home. After they get up early, ride the bus (or driven to school) go all day and come home--they are tired. They are too tired to learn anything else and then you have homework. Forget about time to do chores, if they are going to eat supper, take a bath and get to bed a reasonable bedtime, there just isn't time to do it. Also, as I was working with my struggling student son, he was crying to me-"Mom, I already did school all day today! I just want to go play!" Which is very true. Children need time to play and use their imaginations. Just isn't time with the formal school schedule.

      Delete
  2. Cursive is being eliminated from many school systems. The reason given is that kids don't physically write, they type. Also, spelling is getting much worse due to the proliferation of electronic devices. Somewhere, wish I could remember where, I read that books, which are ususally on a Kinkdle type device, are being "dumbed down" for students to have words of only 3 syllables or less. Again due to the proliferation of electronic devices and the use of those electronic spellings.
    I do worry about the future of our country.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Way back before my husband and I pulled our children out of public school, our oldest came home befuddled. Why? She'd been instructed that the way I'd taught her to make a capital 'K' was incorrect. Forget the fact that she actually knew how to write cursive, a combo of Palmer Method and D'Nealian, whereas the rest of the class did not. No, the focus was on how our daughter was writing her letters wrong - at least for the one week dedicated to teaching cursive writing.

    We subsequently named the teacher's method, 'The Communist K' which downgraded into a family joke jingle - 'It's good to be a Communist 'K'id'.

    Today, our daughter's contemporaries marvel how it is she knows how to write 'like that.' This from college students who can only print for classroom tests and quizzes. Some cannot even read cursive.



    ReplyDelete
  4. Way back before my husband and I pulled our children out of public school, our oldest came home befuddled. Why? She'd been instructed that the way I'd taught her to make a capital 'K' was incorrect. Forget the fact that she actually knew how to write cursive, a combo of Palmer Method and D'Nealian, whereas the rest of the class did not. No, the focus was on how our daughter was writing her letters wrong - at least for the one week dedicated to teaching cursive writing.

    We subsequently named the teacher's method, 'The Communist K' which downgraded into a family joke jingle - 'It's good to be a Communist 'K'id'.

    Today, our daughter's contemporaries marvel how it is she knows how to write 'like that.' This from college students who can only print for classroom tests and quizzes. Some cannot even read cursive.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My son came home from school and told me the teacher yelled at him for writing his homework essay in cursive. She told him she couldn't read it. I asked to see it thinking he had hurried and it was sloppy. Nope, beautiful writing that was easy to read. It then dawned on me that this young teacher that holds a Master's Degree ask him to print not because he wrote messy but because she couldn't read cursive!!! Thank god, he is almost done with school. Homeschooling seems to be the only option today if you want your child to have some kind of intelligence.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had heard from my step daughters that they no longer taught cursive. Our girls knew how from us and parochial school.

    This amazes me. The part is failure on knowing how to spell by using your onboard computer, i.e. your BRAIN. Instead they text abbreviate even in emails and I have seen notes and letters this way.

    Not a good development . Makes me thankful, for my bunch more and more each day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I know a woman who is an elementary school teacher, and,yes, cursive writing is being-or has been- eliminated from many schools. How do you sign your name then? Still, teaching cursive isn't forbidden-it's just not part of the official school course list. She still teaches it.
    I have a problem with the Blame The Electronics group-blame, instead the parents, who aren't keeping track of what their children are learning, or haven't learned.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Now I know how my grandparents felt when I told them I knew not a single word of Latin and it was not being taught in my school.

    Just Me

    ReplyDelete
  9. I recently discovered that my sons teacher did not know what a cursive Q or Z looked like. Thank goodness he is only 5 and we will be homeschooling next year.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That's an interesting story. As a public school (and college) graduate, I doubt he didn't actually know how to write a K. One has to write to graduate: certainly one has to write in order to land even a rudimentary job like the one he is doing at Best Buy. Perhaps he had a moment of confusion (like when you forget someone's name for a second even though you know them well).

    This leads me to my second point. Why is writing cursive necessary? Like many things, it has fallen out of use as society (language and writing in this case) has changed.

    Technology has changed the way we communicate, and there is not time or energy for many people to devote to something superfluous like cursive when they could just as easily print. Sure, it doesn't look as nice, but it isn't any less functional.

    I can write in cursive, and often do, but in most circumstances it makes sense to print since that's what most people can read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luke, what is the big deal that our children are not taught cursive? Surely you are joking. Well for starters, I cannot imagine an American child not being able to read their country’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Even more difficult would be imagining an American parent being comfortable with that.
      Montana Guy

      Delete
    2. You ask a realistic question, "why is cursive important?" Try a quick search on handwriting and brain development. It is quite enlightening.

      Delete
    3. "Why is writing cursive necessary?"

      If a person can't write in cursive, how are they going to sign anything - like their drivers license, a check, a mortgage, etc? I've often said that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask, but c'mon!

      Delete
    4. Actually, I don't understand why you have to be able to write in cursive to sign anything. Why should you not be able to sign in print? This might sound like a really stupid question, but is there a legal requirement in the US to sign in cursive? Because here no one could care less, as long as you sign it.

      Also to the not able to read the Declaration of Independence: you don't need to be able to write cursive to be able to read it. For example I'm not able to write Fraktur, but am still able to read it (and taught it myself with a book I found at my grandparents').

      Delete
  11. The schoolchildren do not spend much time on printing, either. I spent a weekend helping my husband grade papers from his high school classes. Some of them had essay questions that were neatly written. Some of them were laboriously scrawled out in letters that looked as though they were formed by first grade kids. "Are some of your students mentally handicapped?" I asked, looking at the poorly written and spelled answers. "No!" he sighed. "They transferred in from another district." The city schools had ceased spelling and writing several years ago because that wasn't on the state-mandated testing. We have high school seniors that can barely print and cannot spell. I suppose that their "signature" on papers is going to be in a primary school scrawl.

    Did I mention that there are children in those same city schools that are not required to learn the multiplication tables because calculators?

    I asked SwampMan if he was going to grade down because of egregious spelling errors. "Not allowed to!" he said shortly. I'm so glad I left before common core was forced on the schools because of former governor Crist.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with an anonymous poster up above that said you can't place all the blame on electronics, most of the blame should be placed on the parents. It is true that schools don't teach cursive anymore and many kids in high school have horrible writing and can't spell, but a lot of the problem is that even though schools teach writing and spelling, the kids don't care to learn it and the parents don't force the kids too. A good example would be a friend of mine who has a 16 year old and a 13 year old and in her mind her kids can do no wrong. Her oldest son is failing most of his high school classes and has since he has started, but of course in her mind it is never his fault, even though the teachers say he never does his work, he fails tests, and can hardly write, but she blames the teachers, even though he is the one that doesn't do work. I asked her why she doesn't work with him at home on stuff and she said that is the school's job and not hers and that it wouldn't be fair to her son to take away his video games that he plays non-stop. The problem is parents want to be the "cool parents" that have no rules. My hubby is a high school teacher and he would say most of the students are lost causes, they just don't care about school work and about 95% of the parents don't care. These kids lives revolve around video games, TV, and hanging out with their friends, although in the kids' defense, the parents live similar lives. And even though they learn math, spelling, and everything in school, they all feel it isn't important in the future since their phones and computers will do everything for them. And I know in Idaho with the technology in the classrooms, all schools will soon be required to have open wireless internet for the students to use at all times, which my hubby's school already does and all that has lead to is students playing on ipads or phones during every class, downloading music, playing games, etc. And teachers can't take away the phones or devices because parents will throw a fit. It's sad really. Society is doomed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a student who failed one subject in one six-week grading period. He was usually a good student; so I asked him what his mother (a hard-working single mother) had said about his grade. He said "She didn't say anything all the time that she was carrying my TV and computer out of my room and locking it in a closet." I loved that woman!

      Delete
  13. This seems the perfect time to suggest a book that Eric Metaxas thinks is tremendous, if you are a writer/artist and a Christian.
    "Letters and Life" by Bret Lott

    I LOVE it when you post a photo of that beautiful rooster!! I actually love your Blog, Patrice! My favorite!
    Vera

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Patrice. A very good friend died last July and I am the recipient of his fountain pens and box of colorful ink bottles. I love and treasure them as he only wrote with a fountain pen and enjoyed using all of the colors of ink. I find that I make notes, grocery lists and sign cards with the pens and their colorful ink. It has an old fashioned feel and I like how the pen glides and scratches at the same time when I write.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Forgetting the foreign language of cursive, this poor boy forgot how to PRINT the letter K, which is his usual method of writing. Someone needs to invent a pen that resembles a key from a keyboard to help our young people out..he said that's how he usually does his writing..by keyboard. Our poor young people..we have done, and are doing them such a disservice.

    ReplyDelete
  16. There are a lot of people who will be in deep sugar when the GPS satellites are turned off or the electric grid goes down.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My 2 teenage granddaughters go to a private Christian school and both write cursive and print very well along with the use of a computer. My two nieces who are in a public school can only print and do that very badly. Do to the use of texting a lot of time they also spell very badly. My granddaughters are competitive speller.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Without the skill of cursive, how are these techies ever going to be able to examine our nation's founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence? Dummying down of society. playing field.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I guess having a silent K is the blame. So much for nowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My 14-year-old daughter got me hooked on a young-adult trilogy that starts out with the book, Matched. It talks about the future where "Society" knows best and constantly monitors the citizens and makes the decisions it deems best for them and the collective. The story follows the heroine as she makes one little rebellion that flowers into Society's fall. One of the petals of her flower of rebellion is learning how to write her name, because all communication is done on "ports" where it can be monitored.

    It's supposed to be a dystopian view of the future, but sounds strangely Here and Now.

    ReplyDelete