Poor handwriting has been a hot topic in my house recently. In my daugher’s school pupils write all their work in joined script from age 10. I remember the pain my older child went through at this stage and I thought I was ready for it. Plus I know this child’s fine motor skills are much better than her older sibling’s. Perhaps she would escape my genes for terrible handwriting?
I wasn’t ready. She didn’t escape.
The teacher, to encourage the children, has a system whereby good handwriting (calligraphy) is rewarded with a smiley face stamp on their work. Gather enough of these (an unspecified number which really irritated my highly numerate daughter, and her mother) and you get a coveted “pen license” and may use a biro instead of a pencil. In my day it was an ink pen, which actually does force you to form letters properly, but apparently that’s not a thing now.
On the first day 75% of the class got the stamp at least once. Not my little one.
Two weeks later, still no stamp, although her handwriting looked fine to me. Very unhappy daughter.
Finally she gets a stamp. The reason for the delay? She wasn’t leaving an empty line between each sentence.
She still hasn’t earned that pen license but at least we know it’s not down to her cacography (pronunciation here). The word dates from 1580 and comes from the Greek kakos meaning bad (perhaps leading to the slang description of food/clothes as being kak or cack-handed for clumsy or left-handed?).
I’m lucky they invented computers in my lifetime and you can enjoy a neat font on this blog rather than my usual scribble which was poor age 10 and has worsened over time, particularly thanks to speed-note-taking in my university years.
There are two benefits to cacography in my experience –
- nobody can decipher your private notes or diary
- you can read the worst hand-writing in the world with ease – even doctor’s prescriptions
Until next time happy reading, wordfooling and writing (be it calligraphic or cacographic),