Geek Handwriting

Women are supposed to have lovely handwriting, right? Well, you already know I’m a Geeky Mom, and not an Ordinary Mom. Therefore, I do not fit into the Typical Woman mold.

My handwriting totally sucks.

It’s sucked since I first learned to write. Now granted, I learned to write before I got my first pair of glasses. Since my vision at that time was 20/2000 (that’s right, 2000 with three 0’s) without glasses, it sort of put a crimp in my ability to see the chalkboard and follow how the teacher was making the letters. So, I have a lame excuse. When my high school English teacher announced that if anyone could print more legibly than handwrite, then please do so, I switched back to printing and never looked back. It’s not much better, but at least some people can read it (including me). My dad quipped when I graduated doctor school “So, did you learn how to write badly yet?” I quipped back, “No, it was an entrance requirement–you had to have bad handwriting just to get in.” My signature is so hard to reproduce even I have trouble re-creating it. I had to go in to get something notarized the other day and the lady at the bank told me the signature on the document didn’t really look like the one on my license. Well, try fitting a long name on the 1/2 inch wide box the DMV gives you and see if it looks the same anywhere else. Fortunately, I have multiple picture IDs with a scrawl that looks at least within the same style, if not exactly the same, so everything was fine, if temporarily annoying to me. I could gripe about the anal retentive banker, but it really is my writing.

Needless to say, when my son hit elementary school, I had no small amount of angst about how I was going to help him at home with printing and handwriting. I can’t even color in the lines, how was I going to teach him how to print letters, even with the big thick pencils and the wide-lined paper? There was no hope. It doesn’t help that he inherited my writing ability.

The education system in our town, happily, is quite progressive technologically (at least philosophically), and rather than make him copy c’s and z’s endlessly to try in futility to make writing semi-legible, they just assigned him this little device called an ‘Alphasmart’. It looks like the electronic typewriter I used in college, minus the paper and really expensive ink ribbon. So, all he has to do is type in his answers and book reports and such, and he’s in business. It shows up on the screen, and he saves it when he’s done and it’s stored right on the device. He takes the Alphasmart back to school, the teacher reads it on the screen, and grades it from there. This was something I could handle, because as a Geeky Mom I totally understand anything remotely looking like a computer. In fact, I taught his teacher last year how to add attachments to her school email (which was different from her computer at home). I don’t do the PTA thing, I do the Techno-geek mom thing in the classroom instead. It works very well.

When I talked to the teacher about the fact that if he uses the Alphasmart all the time instead of writing, he’ll never learn to write properly. She pointed out that with the way technology is going, by the time he grows up, they probably won’t be doing much writing anyway. Everything will be done on computers or by texting. Good thing my kids have a Geeky Mom.

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