Starting with cursive or manuscript

What are everone’s thoughts on teaching cursive first or waiting until 2nd/3rd grade to introduce cursive handwriting? I’m trying to decide on which curriculum I should get for my 4 year old starting pre-k/Kindergarten in the fall. He has already completed 1 year of preschool and knows his manuscript letters.

I tried every year from kindergarten to teach my son cursive and we were unsuccessful. A few weeks into second we were both so frustrated that we put it aside and just started working on his manuscript, which was also terrible. He made great improvements there and is now able to write a bit in cursive so we are doing a refresher in cursive for third. So my opinion? It depends on the child, like everything else! With my next one we will wait until third to introduce cursive because, for me, the goal is neat handwriting for life - not a particular style of handwriting for life. Learning them simultaneously did not achieve that goal.

Hi there @vanhornfamily7508 To be honest, I never really thought about it when we were first starting up homeschooling (with my child in K), although in retrospect I could have, and I think it’s great that you are considering this question early on! Being intentional with whatever choice we make is always a good thing. I guess at that time I assumed starting with manuscript was the traditional way to go as my child would most likely use manuscript for the majority of her writing throughout life, although I definitely planned at some point in her elementary years to introduce cursive. So we started with manuscript in K and continued through 2nd (this past school year) and she is doing really well with that now. I noticed this past school year that she was turning over her handwriting “helps” card (it shows cursive on the back) and attempting some on her own :smile: which I guess is a good thing because she will be transitioning this year (in 3rd) from manuscript to cursive in the program we use. So I guess she showed some natural curiosity in writing in cursive before it was even time to learn it. We’ll embark on that journey this year, so we’ll see how it goes. I do think it’s important to teach cursive somewhere along the journey of handwriting, but it worked well for us to spend three years consistently working on manuscript first. I don’t have a solid philosophy of handwriting to back up any of this :slight_smile: but this has just been our experience and I hope it’s helpful in some way.

I started homeschooling using ABeka curriculum and as you may know they offer and recommend starting with cursive writing right from the beginning. When I was at their materials display to purchase all that I would need for K5 the sales representative explained to me the logic behind it, which is that children naturally learn to “read” (as in identify) manuscript writing since it is everywhere they look, like in books, or signs, television, etc., and so it comes naturally to them. The cursive is harder to read and so it is good to start teaching it to them as they learn to read. This way they learn both from the beginning. The other reason is that it makes little or no sense to teach a child for the first years of his learning to read/write to write one way and then make him scratch all of it to start a different way all over again.
I don’t know if I make sense in explaining this logic but to me it made perfect sense. So I went with cursive for K5 and my daughter has received many compliments on her penmanship from very early on. When she was on 3rd grade I bought for her the K4 manuscript writing book because she wanted to learn the proper way of writing each letter in manuscript. I did not have to “teach” it to her. She was able to learn it quickly, easily and on her own. And now she can and will write both ways easily with no struggle.
You can also Search to see if ABeka has explains this better on their website.

I have two boys - both of whom really needed manuscript practice, at first, to really decipher letters and learn how the letters are formed. My oldest, second grade, has spent most of this year with cursive. He really likes it and says it is much faster for him than the manuscript. He is very much the artist and cursive is an art form and a form of expressing his thoughts. His reading, spelling and phonics came together in a very solid manner when he started using his cursive. So consider if that would be a benefit/gain situation for your child.
We shall see what next year brings with my younger son, just finishing first grade. He is still having some struggles with his letters. We may take another year of manuscript before cursive. He is more of the mechanical engineering, hands-on type and he seems to prefer the manuscript . . . .
It totally depends, I think, on the motor skills and readiness of the particular child. If you can see an artistic eye or readiness with a child, introduce cursive. Otherwise, patiently wait until you see a readiness.


We use cursive first with Logic of English. The careful, incremental and fun method has been fairly easy and memorable for my little ones. I have a paper on the research behind the many valuable reasons for cursive first. I can send you a copy, if you want (-things like spelling success, help for dyslexia and even higher SAT scores.)

Blessings on your choice! donna