This is NOT his best handwriting; it is an information list of some random words that I just recently found in a folder of mine (I think he had given it to me for something, but the purpose slips my mind). **Updated: he informs me this was part of an online spelling game I'd let him play - these are the words the game was giving him and he had wanted me to see the type of words he was spelling.
I am slightly embarrassed to show the following samples of my own handwriting at a similar age - public school all the way through. The artwork with my name would have been early 3rd grade (8 1/2 - regular classroom); the journal would have been April of 2nd grade (I was in a split class of 2nd/3rd grade; I was writing in cursive by then, and LOVED it, so I don't know what the deal is with the print in this journal). I can't seem to find a cursive sample until middle school work. Odd, because as I said, I loved writing in cursive. I also seem to recall being the top speller in my classes - yet I have some obvious mis-spelled words. But, then, I wasn't a Montessori child!
In my partial defense, when we moved to a new town for 3rd grade, the other kids weren't writing in cursive so "encouraged" me (negative peer pressure anyone!?) to print - you can see the kind of curvy letters in my name that show I was really wanting to write in cursive.
Some points an offline friend noticed:
- Note the use of lines on my paper; versus no lines on his; yet the alignment is similar (therefore he did better because he didn't have a line!).
- If I recall, he was not using proper writing posture to write these words; I was sitting at a desk sized to my body, I was likely using proper posture. Therefore he is still has the advantage; and how much better if he'd used proper writing posture! He always used proper grip.
- writing grasp: I know his is fine; I recall having a soft indent in my ring finger between the nail and the knuckle because of how I wrote (I had this writing grasp into my 20s when I took Montessori training!)
- He is not yet writing long stories, journal entries, even long sentences - unless he is *extremely* interested (copying poignant Scripture passages; selections from the Egyptian "Book of the Dead" - copywork - he's not *thinking of *what to say while writing long things; when he *thinks, he keeps it *short.). That's ok - it all works out - and it means he is more careful with his handwriting itself.
- In short, his writing has a meaning and a beauty. Mine had meaning; but it was "simplistic" - when my son writes, it has a deep, rich meaning.
CAVEAT: This is not directly about cursive versus print - only about neatness, style, content, beauty, being able to express oneself.
In the end, I'll take the Montessori education any day, hands-down!