the TUDOR TUTOR

Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

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I Never Ask for Anything, but…

imageHello all!
May I please ask a favour of you today?
If you have read my little book, The Tudor Tutor: Your Cheeky Guide to the Dynasty, would you take a few moments to head over to Amazon or to goodreads and jot a few words?
It would be so very appreciated! THANK YOU!!

Your Gift Problems, Solved!

TTgift

What history fanatic wouldn’t love a history book as a gift? Here’s an idea! 😉

I’m Barb, and I Support Cursive Handwriting Education

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I shared the above photo I created on all my social media channels yesterday (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest), with the following caption:

“Learning cursive (joined-up writing or handwriting in the UK) is on the decline in the States, due to the implentation of the Common Core Standards in most states, as well as the erroneous belief that cursive writing is useless and antiquated in the modern world.

On the contrary: Research has shown that cursive writing improves brain development, hones fine motor skills, sharpens categorisation skills, and teaches the brain to integrate visual and tactile information.

Without cursive training, kids won’t be able to read historic documents (let alone communication from older relatives!), won’t be able to take notes efficiently, won’t even know the joy of enjoying a hand-written card. I teach my own kids cursive at home, and feel strongly that it should be implanted in the school curriculum once again.”

The feedback has been tremendous! I wanted to approach some concerns that came up, especially on the thread on my Facebook page and on pages where it has been shared, so here we go…

“Sure they can read historic documents…There are text versions.”

This is like saying “Why learn a foreign language when there’s Google Translate?”

“You mean historicAL.”

I mean both! This holds for historic documents such as the Declaration of Independence, and also for historical documents. For example, last weekend our family visited Culpeper, Virginia, which holds quite a bit of US Civil War era history. In the town’s museum, our 12-year-old daughter was able to read a 19th-century letter from a soldier to one of his relatives, describing the conditions in the area and events happening at the time.

“Reading historic documents just isn’t that important for most kids/people.”

That’s why I mentioned not being able to read communication from people who do write in cursive, not to mention the many other educational benefits listed in the original caption (above).

“It has nothing to do with Common Core.”

To restate the first paragraph of the original caption, “”Learning cursive (joined-up writing or handwriting in the UK) is on the decline in the States, due to the implentation of the Common Core Standards in most states, as well as the erroneous belief that cursive writing is useless and antiquated in the modern world.” While cursive writing may have been pushed aside in some places before Common Core came about (and yes, CC does not mention cursive at all: that’s precisely why it’s not considered a part of the CC curriculum), at least eight CC states to date have made cursive mandatory in schools, including California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.

“You’ve misspelled ‘handwriting;’ there’s no ‘u’ in it.”

Oh my goodness, enough of this. The flow between my w and r may render the distinction fuzzy. However, rest assured that I know how to spell it and that the w is the letter that’s there.

ALSO!…

*There are some fantastic articles to be found, making the case for cursive. Check out the following articles:

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades – The New York Times

5 Reasons Cursive Writing Should Be Taught in School – Concordia Online

Brain Research and Cursive Writing – David Sortino

* While, as an educator, I much prefer manipulatives to digital educational enhancements, I don’t mind sharing these apps which can add to a child’s learning of cursive writing: Cursive Writing Wizard by L’escapadou, Intro to Cursive by Montessorium, Cursive Writing by Horizon Business Inc, and Zaner-Bloser Handwriting by Zaner-Bloser Inc.

* To see wonderful examples of Tudor signatures, please see this board on my Pinterest page.

Transposed Numbers, Tudor-style

Transposed Numbers, Tudor-style

Pretty neat date today in Tudor history!

Talkin’ Smack from Way Back

Since we don’t have time machines, we can only judge historical figures by what others of their time have said about them. When I host discussions on the Tudor Tutor Facebook page, or when I read discussions on other pages, I often see comments to the effect of “So-and-so wasn’t really that bad. All that stuff you read about them was written by the haters.”  Similarly, some claim that those in question had a dark side, a very dark side! but because people were hesistant to part with their heads or otherwise be punished, we only hear the good bits.

I think David Starkey makes an excellent point in his book Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII when he approaches Chapuys’ overwhelmingly negative comments about Anne Boleyn by saying:

“Understandably, Chapuys’ open, violent prejudice against Anne has led some historians to dismiss his evidence almost in its entirety. This, however, is a mistake. There is in principle no reason why a person’s enemies should be less likely to tell the truth about him than his friends. The former exhibit one set of prejudices; the latter another.”

Starkey goes on to say that “Chapuys, despite his evident bias, was careful about his sources. He usually gives the names of his informants and they turn out to be an impressive bunch. They include leading councillors and courtiers, and well as intimate hangers-on about the great, including doctors and priests. All were in a position to see and hear the incidents they reported and frequently they corroborate each other.”

The moral of the story, then, is “Talkin’ smack from way back shouldn’t get nearly as much flack.” 😉

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

If you, like I, have school-aged children this might be how you’re feeling right about now! But in all seriousness, I once again have a bit more time in my schedule for research and for tying up the loose ends before my planned publication date of November 2012. (More on that as it nears.)

This is also my favourite time of the year for many other reasons. Fall is swooping down upon us, and with it the brilliant colour show in the trees, the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg, the piles of crisp apples and mish-mosh of pumpkins. That can only mean that the red carpet is out for that trifecta of awesomesauce holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! 

…Am I getting ahead of myself? Maybe. I guess I should get through this first day with the kids back at school, to start. Research, I’m comin’ to getcha!

Mr. Costas Goes to London (and gets the history wrong)

Hello, Bob Costas.

You stated during the Olympics broadcast on the night of Sunday, 29 July, 2012, that you were worried about the fate of your neck at the Tower of London, what with all those guillotines that had been used there!

Come on, you’ve gotta brush up on your research of British history and places from which you broadcast. That’s why you make the big bucks, right?