COLUMBUS -- When I was a kid, back before the Internet and computers and smart phones and driverless cars (which, really, wasn't that long ago), students at my elementary school focused part of their days on the Palmer Method.
Looking online now, I guess that particular way of teaching cursive handwriting was falling out of fashion by then, but my teachers apparently didn't know it, so my fellow classmates and I would dutifully loop and swing and whatever else was required to form the letters, as Mr. Palmer had prescribed.
I was terrible at it and still have my report cards from those days, with unsatisfactory marks in handwriting. Today, I never use cursive, mostly because it's hard enough to read my regular writing, and I don't want to frighten people.
Do I regret not being able to write legibly in cursive? Absolutely.
Thanks to my wife, two of my three kids developed beautiful cursive scripts during their home-schooled years. My oldest has been complimented at the STEM high school he now attends for his penmanship. My youngest inherited my handwriting skills, but he can still write sentences in cursive that are readable.
Is teaching cursive writing important? Sure.
Though we rely on computers and texting and other electronic means of communicating, it can't hurt to practice and strengthen your handwriting skills. Besides, nothing says "I love you" less than a typed page, as opposed to a nice letter or card for that significant other that you've written by hand.
Should schools be required to teach cursive handwriting? That's a tougher question to answer.
There's a debate on that issue happening at the Statehouse -- better put, there's a debate happening again, since comparable legislation has been offered in past sessions.
HB 58 would require school districts to teach cursive handwriting to students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
An analysis by the state's Legislative Service Commission notes that the bill aims "to ensure that students develop the ability to print letters and words legibly by third grade and to create readable documents using legible cursive handwriting by the end of fifth grade."
State Reps. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) and Marilyn Slaby (R-Copley) offered sponsor testimony on the bill a few days ago before the House's Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.
Brenner said in his submitted testimony, "Cursive writing is not an outdated form of communication. We are not advocating for cursive writing to take the place of printing, texting and keyboarding. Those are equally important skills and should be taught in the classroom along with cursive. We are not asking teachers to carve out more time in their already packed class schedules. We only ask that they incorporate cursive learning as part of their reading, writing and spelling courses."
And Slaby added in her submitted testimony, "This bill adds another dimension to vocabulary and language lessons, granting students another method of expression in addition to the mental benefits. A different way of understanding language can help students learn to read, and may provide students with fine motor skills they could otherwise miss out on."
There are no indications that the bill is on a fast track toward passage. There are plenty of lawmakers who are weary about foisting additional specific academic lesson requirements on teachers and school districts.
Regardless of whether state officials require cursive handwriting to be taught in public schools, there's no law against teaching the Palmer Method at home.
Whether anybody will be able to read your kids' cursive handwriting is a different story.
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.