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Our Approach to Copywork - With a Free Resource You Won't Want to Miss!

This year we have really developed our home education philosophy.   We have blended Charlotte Mason's philosophy and the Classical Education philosophy into our own unique approach.    In the area of copywork, we didn't have to do much blending because CM and Classical are very similar.  I wanted to share what we do, because it works very well for us and the resources I use are completely FREE!    

I used to have my daughter work through a formal spelling program, and after talking to some seasoned homeschool moms (special thanks to Christine at Fruit In Season!) I found many of them DO NOT have a time for formal spelling.  Rather, if a child is presented with quality passages for copywork, it is natural that good spelling and grammar follow.   This approach is more GENTLE, and actually saves us all time.   If spelling words are presented in a list, out of context, and for no apparent reason, what motivation does a child have to learn them?     

To begin, let's look at what each of the education approaches says about copywork:    In the Classical Model:  

"Copying, the earliest written form of imitation, has always been an important part of a classical education. Copywork is a very simple exercise where the student reproduces a well-written literary selection in his best handwriting with careful attention to correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. "

Charlotte Mason approach:  

Copywork is a whole language approach to spelling and grammar. By seeing and copying the words, the child learns how to spell. Grammar is also learned in this indirect way.
Choose passages worthy of meditation that stimulate the mind of the student but are not beyond his comprehension. Discuss the passage and have the child copy it in his best handwriting. Passages can be hymns, Scriptures, poems, quotations, or excerpts from living books.

Quite similar, right?     Here's how we approach copywork:

*We keep a three ring folder for each of my children.   I make copywork pages for them to use 3-4 times each week.   For my youngest (Kindergarten) it is just a couple of sentences.  For my fourth grader it may be a couple of paragraphs, or it may be copying a Bible verse several times.   

*My favorite place to make copywork sheets is Worksheet Works.  If you have never been there, GO RIGHT NOW!  It has so much more than just handwriting sheets! (We also use their maps with Story of the World).   You can type in a passage and then it makes the worksheet for you.  The options are print and manuscript.   I know a lot of people use Start Write Now software, but I am cheap and will use something free it it works for us.  

      Print Copywork for Kindergartener:  

      Cursive Copywork for Fourth Grader:
      *What do we use for copywork?  Our favorite copywork has to be Bible verses, but I will also use passages from books we are reading aloud, or facts about the science or history unit we are studying (lots of dinosaur copying the past two weeks for my little guy!).      For my daughter I usually take passages from living books, because she loves to read.  I would like to begin use poetry and hymns as well.  

      Is copywork a part of your homeschool day?  If so, what's your approach??

      Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday.

        *Image courtesy Photobucket

        References (3)

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          Response: YgwcMbcj
          Our Approach to Copywork - With a Free Resource You Won't Want to Miss! - Home - Homegrown Learners
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          Terrific Site, Maintain the very good work. thnx!
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          Response: UK Models Review
          Our Approach to Copywork - With a Free Resource You Won't Want to Miss! - Home - Homegrown Learners

        Reader Comments (11)

        I love Worksheet Works! We do use copywork and not a formal spelling program. The handwriting books that the kids are using right now have copywork right in them so it makes my job so easy! Great resource.

        Worksheet Works is such an awesome site! We were using it for a bit, but I switched to notebooks and write a verse on the whiteboard for my kids to copy. We use Scripture verses to copy, but I do need to broaden my oldest's horizons and have him writing some other things as well. I have a very hard time getting my boys to write. I hear that is normal. :)

        I love reading what others are doing regarding copywork!

        May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

        Since we use WWE, copywork is part of the program. I understand the reasoning behind not giving a list of words, but we use A Reason for Spelling and then incorporate dictation and copywork with the words. We also use Megawords. I believe it is important for children to understand the reason WHY some words are spelled the way are. English is such a difficult language when it comes to spelling.

        Thanks for the Worksheet Works site. We have just graduated from our handwriting program and this site will help us immensely.

        May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

        We use Worksheet Works as well, it is great and so easy to use for this time and technically challenged mumma. We also use dictation (from Simply Charlotte Mason or something else I pick) that seems to be working well. Our son sees it more as a challenge than spelling. Turning everything we can into a game or challenge works wonders. Thanks for this post. One little step at a time. Blessings Renelle

        May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenelle
        May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

        We will incorporate copy work, but I do not see it as a means of replacing a spelling curriculum. I remember doing a lot of copy work in school, but all it did was improve my penmanship, without a formal or semi-formal spelling program I do not see a child fully learning to spell.

        May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

        We use copywork more for our grammar lessons and use a formal spelling program too. I have found that our spelling program is structured in a way so that they are learning the "why" of how a word is spelled and not just memorization. We just completed our first year of the program and it is amazing! With that said, I want to utilize more bible passages for copywork next year!

        May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

        Thanks for the great free resource!

        May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSamDIBO

        WONDERFUL! Thank you so much!! I wanted to do copywork but had not found anything that I thought was "on their level" so I had been just having them copy paragraphs from books and stuff. This is great! thanks so much!

        May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa

        Wow! Thanks for the Worksheets Work link :)

        May 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterApril

        I've been trying to use Worksheet Works, but it only seems to work with manuscript, not script (cursive). But I see a photo above of your 4th grader using a cursive page! Help! Any idea as to what's up with that? I love having my girls do copy work, but have handwritten it all myself for two years now, and I am in need of some help!

        Thanks, and God bless you and your family!


        July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

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