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to not want my left-handed child to have to use a fountain pen ...

(129 Posts)
Nickoka Sat 17-Sep-11 18:50:26

Child is in year 5. The school previously tried to get year 6s to use fountain pens but this year has extended policy to year 5.

My DD writes slowly and with 'hook hand' sometimes, so I bought her the Stabilo left handed rollerball pen in the holidays. The teacher however has issued (right handed) fountain pens and wants the kids to use them for everything but maths. I had a meeting with teacher. He was nice and it was a reasonable discussion. Teacher's argument was they wanted all children to be the same. However I think fountain pens are a rubbish idea in the 21st century for left handed children, just causing smudging and frustration. I don't want to buy a left-handed one as suggested by the teacher. Am I just being stubborn or am I right to fight this? Views from lefties particularly sought!

SarahStratton Sat 17-Sep-11 18:52:19

Any particular r3ason why you won't buy a l3ft hand3d on3? DSis is l3ft hand3d and sh3 manag3d just fin3.

Empjusa Sat 17-Sep-11 18:54:54

I had to use a fountain pen at school, and didn't find it too big a problem. Although, as with all pens (and pencils in fact) I always ended up with ink/lead all down the side of my hand. Which did tend to smudge my work.

Best way I found to cope with it was to turn the paper 90 degrees, and write at an angle. Still do today. Some of my teachers were a pain about me angling the paper, but soon changed their minds after getting work handed in that was unreadable thanks to ink smears.

I also don't think I ever used a left handed pen, just a normal fountain pen that kind of bent into the right position for me naturally. Meant no one else could use it of course.

Let them try it, if it's really a problem then tell the teacher so.

Nickoka Sat 17-Sep-11 18:55:34

Hi Sarah
It just seems a really bad idea to me to have a pen with wet ink when a child is dragging their hand in the direction they've written. When there are fast drying gel pens out there, it just seems wrong to subject left handers to 19th century technology.

jandymaccomesback Sat 17-Sep-11 18:56:46

I must admit using a fountain pen these days seems a bit outmoded, but if it is school policy I would buy a lefthanded one and see how your DD gets on.

VFVF Sat 17-Sep-11 18:56:47

Fight it!

As a leftie who was forced to use a fountain pen at school, then promptly told off for the state of my work, I felt very resentful! Not to mention the permanent ink stain on the side of my hand as I smudged when I wrote (hook hand like your DD smile )

Cheap biro all the way, best pen invented for lefties. Especially tight ones grin

bigTillyMint Sat 17-Sep-11 18:57:18

DD is left-handed but she does not write with a hook hand.(I am a teacherwink)
She just hashad a normal fountain pensince Y5, which has not caused her any problems so far, and she is now in Y8. However, the cheapo ones usually issued at school are hard for any child to write with, so I would recommend buying a reasonable one (NOT an expensive one though!)

Fountain pens are good for getting children to write in a flowing joined-up hand as it is hard to form the letters/joins incorrectly.

usualsuspect Sat 17-Sep-11 18:57:50

I can't see the need for using fountain pens at all in schools these days

AgentZigzag Sat 17-Sep-11 18:58:46

I'm not a lefty, but the teacher's being unreasonable saying he wants them all to have the same.

I understand children have to fit in with the class a lot of the time, but being left handed is hardly something your DD can change.

LoveBeingAMummyAgain Sat 17-Sep-11 19:00:34

Not a leftie but did I read correctly, everyone has been given a pen but he has told you to buy one that is suitable for your child?

bigTillyMint Sat 17-Sep-11 19:00:39

It never occurred to me to challenge the teacher. DD would have rather cut off her left arm than have the embarrassment of that, anyway!

electra Sat 17-Sep-11 19:00:41

YANBU - your reasoning makes perfect sense.

pugsandseals Sat 17-Sep-11 19:01:14

I do not think you ABU - DD is year 5 & started using a left-handed fountain pen during year 4. I have insisted that she must use the left-handed one & school have been fine about it. I am now just regualrly cross with DD as she has a tendancy to leave them lying around & right handed pupils cannot resist trying them out & spoiling the nib angry so we go through them quite quickly.

Here's a link to the one she uses :-

We tried the gaffix one but they are not as easy to use IMO. If it's a state school you might be able to get the school to order them cheaply for you.

And if they still insist it is not a problem for a left-hander to write with a right-handed fountain pen, show them this:-

As you can see I am very passionate about the subject having suffered many years of ill-informed teaching myself as a child grin

slavetofilofax Sat 17-Sep-11 19:02:13

I agree that I can't see the need for a child to write in a fountain pen when there are now other good pens around that produce lovely writing.

But I do think you are just being stubborn over buying a left handed pen.

Where's the harm in letting her try it? It might be fine. If she ends up with messy work and ink all over her hand, then insist she be allowed to use something else.

ruletheworld Sat 17-Sep-11 19:02:27


I am left handed and still can't write with a fountain pen.

Ink pens like that encourage you to twist your hand around to avoid smudging them.

I can remember when I was at school there was a rite of passage where, when your writing was considered good enough you were allowed to progress to writing with an ink pen instead of a pencil.

When I was given the pen - having only ever written in pencil and being only about 6 years old - I found I couldn't write without smudging or scrawling when trying to avoid smudging.

The teacher took the pen off me and made me go back to a pencil because i wasn't good enough sad And I never understood that it was because I was lefthanded - I just thought I was inadequate and a bit usesless.

Nickoka Sat 17-Sep-11 19:02:52

LoveBeingAMummyAgain. Yes - although all kids' parents are encouraged to buy fountain pens too.

JellicleCat Sat 17-Sep-11 19:09:22

My leftie dd (16) says she never had a left handed fountain pan and she never had any problems with it. Has your dd tried the school pens? If not you UABU

Nickoka Sat 17-Sep-11 19:11:20

Yes. Daughter is writing with school fountain pens and is getting messy and is writing slowly. She has had to stay in a break a few times to finish work. she does write slowly anyway but I don't think the fountain pen can be helping.

sarahtigh Sat 17-Sep-11 19:18:57

I am lefyt handed and can easily write with fountain pen with left hand whay makes the biggest difference and forces some left handed kids to turn paper is how close they sit to next kid does there left elbow bump the next kids right elbow , i know no-one sits in double desks now but if no one sits on a left handed kids left side they can learn to write with paper straight and without hook hand hook hand is forced by not having enough space to write in

a ordinary fountain pens nib will quickly develp the angle for left handed people but as 17% of population left handed if school priovide pens they shouild provide left ones too in a class of 30 on average there would be 4-5 left handed pupils

slavetofilofax Sat 17-Sep-11 19:23:39

The school should definately have provided a left handed fountaain pen if they provided right ones.

They may be encouraging all parents to buy pens, but at least those parents have some sort of choice!

Tell them that your dd will be using the pen you provide until they provide her with a pen suitable for her nneds, and then you will allow her to try it for a week to see if it has any effect on her work.

HappyCamel Sat 17-Sep-11 19:24:32

I'm a leftie. I had a left handed nib (the angle on it is different) but wrote with no problems throughout school with a fountain pen. I found more problems with smearing with biros. It is important to use good quality pads though so the ink absorbs properly. I think my pen just came from WH Smiths. It wouldnt have been expensive.

fastweb Sat 17-Sep-11 19:30:47

I had a leftie fountain pen, which helped with the "nib drag" and my handwriting improved quite a bit.

But I still smudged what I just written with the side of my writing hand.

GypsyMoth Sat 17-Sep-11 19:32:45

2 of mine ate left handed. Enforced use of fountain pens from year 5 also

Bit if smudging here and there but they adapt eventually

seeker Sat 17-Sep-11 19:33:15

No. This fountain pen thing is ridiculous. They were invented to replace dip pens. Then ball point pens and roller balls were invented to replace fountain pjs. It's called progress!

Imnotaslimjim Sat 17-Sep-11 19:36:43

I'm a leftie too, but I'm odd in that I hold my pen the same way as a right-hander but up off the page, so it doesn't smudge

I used a fountain pen in school, and like others have mentioned, soon ended up with a crossed nib. Was fine for me but the teacher would get annoyed and give me a new pen! So I'd have to start again angry

I don't understand why you aren't happy to let her just try. At least if she can't do it, you have a good argument for using the Stabilo. Right now, to the teacher you sound awkward

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