Copywork is exactly what it sounds like… copying! Each day your child may spend a few minutes each day copying great pieces of work from a wide variety of sources – pieces of literature, poetry, scripture, fables, quotes, mottos and so on. Copywork work goes along well with notebooking, so it’s nice to find passages that will work well with your study. While your child is copying great works, emphasize the importance of using their very best penmanship and making their copy as close to the original as possible. By using this method, your child will see the proper way to punctuate, usage of different parts of speech, as well as capitalization. Primarily, they will see how a great piece literature should look and be written.
Copywork will allow your child to see different writing styles and structure, which in turn, if consistent, will help them become better writers. If your child can manage it, have them look and write the whole word instead of letter by letter, this will assist them in becoming better spellers. My younger children who started out doing copywork from the start are much better writers and spellers at a younger age than my older children were. They don’t seem to have to work so hard at spelling. While my older children, who began copywork later struggled a bit more. That’s not to say copywork was a for sure cure for spelling, however, I do believe it helped a lot.
If your child is very young, you can start with the formation of their letters. Spend only as much time as your child can handle doing this. Once this is mastered you will move on to words, sentences, paragraphs, poems, scripture, quotes… I think you get the point.
Some children enjoy illustrating their pages, however, this should not be something forced upon them, but gently encouraged. Many of the copywork notebooking pages I offer have illustrations while others provide boxes for your child to create their own illustration or find a something that relates that they can glue onto their page.
Over the years I’ve done different things to get my children motivated about doing their copywork – I used to keep separate jars with scripture verses, quotes, and poems and they would pull them out and that was their copywork for the day. We still alternate days doing a verse, quote, poem, literature and their choice for each day of the week. However, some selections take more than one day to complete. One bookshelf in my schoolroom is dedicated to keeping books of poetry, fables, quotes and so forth. I also keep a notebook where I continually add verses, poems and quotes to be used for copywork.
In short, if you choose to use this method, you will find that your child will become better at spelling, writing, grammar and penmanship. It is so easy to implement, there really is no reason to not give it a try!