Best Homework Excuse: Disappearing Ink!

I’m working on American-style handwriting with a Middle Eastern high school student who is planning to go to university in the United States.  For recent homework, I’ve been giving him pre-written cursive samples to practice copying from.  I carefully wrote the originals myself on ordinary notebook paper, in standard, modern American cursive.

This week, my student came to his lesson without having his homework done.  His father even came in to apologize to me.  I didn’t understand why until I saw what had actually happened. My student pulled out the original cursive I’d written for him to use as a sample (six handwritten pages of the Declaration of Independence).

Declaration of Independence written in Cursive

All of the ink had completely faded away!

He said that three days ago the ink was perfectly fine.  He had saved his homework until the last minute, and when he got it out to copy, the original had completely disappeared.   When I looked at the originals I’d written, I could see the indentation on the paper of my original writing, but all the ink had indeed disappeared.

The type of pen with erasable ink I used to write the original cursive copies.

The only thing I could think of was that there must be a chemical explanation.  I’d written the original several months ago with a special erasable pen (just so that I could make sure the original was perfect).  It was in perfect condition when I gave it to my student last week.

I asked where he had kept the folder with the original cursive.  He said it was fine three days ago, but that he’d left in in the car for the past three days.  So I can only assume that heat must make the ink from these erasable pens fade away.

Moral of the storyAnything you want a good permanent original copy of, don’t write it with one of those erasable pens, as it might not be permanent, depending upon the storage conditions.  This is similar to if you receive a legal verification of something on fax paper, needing to make a photocopy of it, because the original will completely fade within a year or two.

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5 Responses to “Best Homework Excuse: Disappearing Ink!”

  1. Happy Elf Mom Says:

    Wow, this is a new one! Probably one of the only valid excuses you’ve ever heard! 🙂

    • Lynne Diligent Says:

      Actually, I did once have an even better excuse. An eight-year-old student brought his mother in to class in the morning because he was afraid I would not believe him when he told me why he did not do his homework. His house caught on fire ( a chimney fire). Luckily the house did not burn down because the houses here are made of brick and stone. But when the fire department came and poured cold water on the burning fire, the stone roof, chimney, and wall all cracked due to the quick change in temperature. Of course I believed him (he was a very conscientious student, and I never would have doubted him for a second), but as I say, he brought in his mother to make sure I believed him.

  2. Judy Says:

    That’s interesting! On a side note, I wouldn’t worry too much about your student’s handwriting. These days university students in N America all have dreadful handwriting due to their reliance on computers for assignments. The only time they have to hand write is during exams. My son’s writing has always been appalling and yet the examiners were able to decipher it well enough to give him an Hons degree. I must say I do mourn the loss of good penmanship (even though my own is poor) but the reality is that today it’s no longer valued.

  3. Floyd Russak MD Says:

    Interesting story. I agree with Judy’s comments. In a few more years, very little will be handwritten.

  4. Lynne Diligent Says:

    This Middle Eastern student also has British nationality, and both he and his parents wanted him to improve his handwriting. Some studies have been done in Britain which indicate one receives a better grade on handwritten exams there (because examiners are subconsciously influenced to believe the writer is more intelligent) if the handwriting is decent.

    I have seen handwriting declining as a skill over many years. What most critics aren’t thinking about is that no one uses their best handwriting all the time. I happen to be a handwriting expert, yet others might be hard-pressed to decipher notes I make to myself. The point of being able to have decent handwriting is for the occasions we are writing for others (exams, handwritten invitations or thank you notes, love letters, or other occasions we wish to use it).

    Yes, the majority of things will be written by computer and email, but I highly doubt that pen and paper will ever be entirely replaced. As soon as paper and pens/pencils become difficult to find in shops, I will be the first person to say we no longer need to study handwriting.

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