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Why an ink pen?

(38 Posts)
JordanBaker Thu 08-Sep-11 09:28:18

My DS went back to school today and is now in Year 5. At the end of last year he was granted a 'pen licence' which means he must now use an ink pen.

He has tried using one over the holidays and it just doesn't work for him. He is right-handed but writes more like a left-hander, sort of from the top IYKWIM. Consequently the pen either doesn't work at all or is very scratchy.

I think it's too late for him to adjust his writing position (and if it was a problem, surely the school should have corrected it over the past 5 years?) and I don't understand why writing in ink is so important. DD also attended the school and had to use ink in Yrs 5& 6 and also in Y7 when she went to senior school. She's now in Y9 though and can use ballpoint or a fine-liner. So it's not like he'll have to use one forever.

DS is also dyslexic. It's fairly mild but his spelling isn't brilliant and I'd rather he was concentrating on what he is writing, not trying to make the pen work.

I am anticipating a battle with his teacher over this. She's a bit of a stickler (DD had her in Y5) and whilst I don't want to begin the year on a bad note, I do feel pretty strongly about this.

Any thoughts?

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Sep-11 09:33:27

try him with one of these pens they've got wee finger spaces on them.

I don't know of any reason why he needs to use one this year, not being up on the English school system, but he will need to use one in secondary school.

JordanBaker Thu 08-Sep-11 09:44:23

Thanks for that Tabulahrasa, I'll have a look at one. Do they work from whatever angle you use them?

Yes, DD had to use an ink pen in Y7 but no-one seems bothered what she uses now. And she's at a very strict school.

So why the need to master an ink pen for just a couple of year's use?

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Sep-11 09:50:25

Most teachers at secondary won't care what's being used - but most exams have to be done in pen, so they need to be able to use them at some point.

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Thu 08-Sep-11 09:54:22

So, a fountain type pen?
I know that they wouldn't try and instil this at dd's school, but I had to learn to write with one (and practise calligraphy!) at my primary school. I think I must have been 9 or 10.
If your ds has other issues then I'd say mastering the use of a fountain pen is the least of your concerns, and as long as he's writing then it ought not to matter what type of pen he's using. Go and talk it over with the teacher.

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Sep-11 10:15:23

oh and yes, it works pretty well from any angle, sorry - I missed that bit...

It's a gel pen, so yeah it works better than a biro at a funny angle, but because of the shape you kind of have to hold it properly as well.

LawrieMarlow Thu 08-Sep-11 10:18:39

Exams need to be written in pen but it doesn't matter what sort of pen - doesn't need to be a fountain pen. Does often need to be black ink as they get scanned in for markers to mark. Having handwriting that is legible is useful when you are trying to work out what words have been written grin

JordanBaker Thu 08-Sep-11 10:28:54

tabulahrasa I do understand that he can't use a pencil forever but I don't understand why he has to write with an ink pen? As far as I'm aware you can use any pen to write with in eg a gcse?

squishy yes a fountain type pen. They are taught to write using cursive script so his handwriting is pretty good.

JordanBaker Thu 08-Sep-11 10:33:07

x-posting! If it's a gel pen they won't allow him to use it. It has to be an ink pen with cartridges and a proper nib (have given him DD's old Lamy in case they insist today).

Lawrie that's what I thought re the type of pen for gcse. His handwriting is good-though it won't be if they make him use the ink pen!

seeker Thu 08-Sep-11 10:36:00

The only people who actually have to use an ink pen are Registrars. It is just stupid to insist that children use them- I'm surprised that a state school can get away with it. Go and talk to the teacher.

seeker Thu 08-Sep-11 10:36:27

And you don't have to use a fountain pen for GCSEs.

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Sep-11 10:48:08

'It has to be an ink pen with cartridges and a proper nib'

Well that's just stupid, lol

DamselInDisarray Thu 08-Sep-11 10:51:58

If it were my DS, I'd send him with a biro or gel pen and inform the school that they can provide him with a fountain pen if it's so bloody vital. Apart from anything, fountain pens would cost me a bloody fortune since he loses about 3 pens a week and tends to get ink all over himself/his clothes.

JordanBaker Thu 08-Sep-11 11:04:49

Thanks all. I think it is ridiculous too. Wasn't a problem for DD because she wrote 'normally'. But poor DS is really struggling and there's just no need for it. He's very willing to please and I know he'll try to do as he's told.

I'm going to have to take it up with his teacher aren't I? Bloody hell, Day 1 and there's already an issue. I try very hard not to get overly precious about school stuff but I think I'm going to have to help him out on this one.

LRDTheFeministDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 11:09:32

This does sound silly of them - fountain pens are a right pain. But, in year 5 he is no way too old to change his pen grip, and it does sound, from what you describe, as if it will inconvenience him later on. Can he really write at speed like that, for long periods of time, without getting cramp? I assume - given you mention pen and exams - he will not be able to use an amanuensis at GCSE. I don't know if he gets extra time, but even if he does, if his writing is very slow, he will get very tired. It might be worth tackling this now rather than later?

Madlizzy Thu 08-Sep-11 11:14:33

Smove pens are excellent, and if he can't master a proper ink pen, then the teacher will have to lump it, really!

piprabbit Thu 08-Sep-11 11:18:27

BTW someone linked to a STABLIO pen further up the thread - just to let you know that they come in a left-handed version here.

piprabbit Thu 08-Sep-11 11:20:15

I've just noticed the need for a proper ink pen.
Have al ook here for left-handed ink pens.

JordanBaker Thu 08-Sep-11 11:22:06

Hmmm...actually this had crossed my mind LRD. But he seems to be able to write quickly and neatly for a 9 year old boy like that. Obviously he's not producing pages and pages at once at the mo, as he will need to when he is older, but he can produce a couple of sides of A4 for eg a story without getting cramp.

How do left-handers manage (have no experience) because he writes in a similar position to them ie hand curled round and 'from the top'.

I'm a bit cross that this hasn't been flagged up by the school before now if it's going to be a problem. I think he'll find it very difficult to 'unlearn' after all this time, and as I say, he has other things to think about when writing.


JordanBaker Thu 08-Sep-11 11:24:24

Can't keep up!

piprabbit he isn't actually left-handed, just sort of writes in the same position but with his right-hand IYSWIM. Thanks for taking the trouble to post the link though

piprabbit Thu 08-Sep-11 11:27:28

Sorry about that blush.
Ink nibs are angled so that they write smoothly - they kind of wear into the individuals own particular style, but it may take some time and quite a bit of writing. Perhaps you could attack the nib with some very fine sand paper to speed up the process?

JordanBaker Thu 08-Sep-11 11:37:31

Didn't realise that piprabbit . Maybe I need to get him a new one then, instead of his sister's hand-me-down (if they insist on ink). Re the sandpaper-how would I know where to sand?!

Still think it's bloody ridiculous to make him write in ink-no sign that he has a burning desire to be a registrar seeker !

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Sep-11 11:40:28

There are forums for fountain pens shock

I know these are lefthanded people, but the overwriting is the important bit pen reviews

LRDTheFeministDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 11:44:23

Sorry if I worried you unnecessarily - I mainly posted because it's not too late to change if he needs to. FWIW, left-handers I've known do tend to get cramp, but that may be because teaching was not so good when they were learning to write.

elphabadefiesgravity Thu 08-Sep-11 11:46:32

Yes using someone elses fountain pen is really really difficult. I remember being told at school that they mold to your wn handwriting style.

At dd's school they use Berol handwriting pens.

Dh is left handed and to this day has appalling handwrigin as no-onw at his school knew how to deal with a left hander.

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