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22. Copywork

This week, let's focus on copywork. It's super easy, and can be done on the fly.

In the very earliest years, when your child is just learning to write, copywork might be one single word. You, the teacher, can write the word on a sheet of double lined paper, and the child can copy it underneath, slowly and neatly, on the same paper. Some children might like to trace the word with a colored pencil.

When a single word is too easy, move on to short sentences of four or five words. Same thing: you, the teacher, write the sentence on a sheet of paper, and the child can copy it underneath yours. This is important: remind him to copy word by word and not letter by letter, so he pays attention to the spelling.

Later, the sentences he copies can get a little longer and more complicated -- maybe you can try a sentence with a question mark, or quotation marks. At this point, you might want to use your schoolbooks for inspiration. Scan what you read that day to find something that works, then write it on a sheet of paper for your child to copy. Or maybe he'd like to copy it from the book all by himself.

Some children get their own ideas about what they want to copy -- a passage from a book, or the second verse of a poem. If not, you can continue finding something different from a school book every day, or you can look for something a bit more systematic -- a Proverb a day, or a collection of quotable quotes.

What exactly is copywork teaching? Spelling, punctuation, and handwriting. Neatness counts, but you know best how much you can expect from your child. The goal is not perfection, but his best work.

How long are these lessons taking? All of two to ten minutes. Did your school day just get a whole lot easier?

"The best way for eight or nine year olds to learn to write is not letter-writing or dictation, but transcription, done slowly and beautifully." [from Charlotte Mason's Vol. 1 pg 240]

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