Utilizing Copywork in Homeschooling

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By Ashley Allgood
Copywork is the process of copying a written passage. The passages can be from the Bible, a work of literature, a selection from a poem or song, and from many other sources. The length of the copywork can vary depending on the age of the student. Copywork encourages good handwriting, increases vocabulary skills, helps improve spelling, and teaches grammar all at the same time. The child copies the passage word-for-word, including all punctuation. Copying passages helps the lesson adhere to your child’s visual memory.
We use copywork in all of our homeschool lessons. Here are some examples:
Bible. During a Bible lesson we choose one of the Bible verses that goes along with the lesson. The kids will find the verse in their Bible and copy it onto a piece of paper. If there are multiple Bible verses I let them select the one they want to copy.
Language Arts. This subject already includes a lot of writing, but my kids enjoy copywork. I let them pick a theme and have them do handwriting practice using copywork. When we are reading literature together my kids will pick a passage from what we read and copy it into their notebooks.
Science. We recently started using DVDs for our high school science lessons. The DVDs include a textbook so I will have my child pick something from the lesson that interested them to copy into their notebooks. For example, last year we studied Biology. We would often learn an interesting fact that my kids would copy into their notebook. The textbook had sidebars with information that could also be copied.
Math. I will admit it was not until a few years ago that I thought of adding copywork to math. My kids and I are not fans of math and it has been a subject of dread no matter how creative I try to make it. But, as my son struggled with learning his multiplication tables, I found an article online about having the child copy the facts into their copywork notebook. Sure kids can solve problems over and over again, but they also learn when writing down problems that are already solved.
Social Studies. History and Geography do not have to be about boring dates and facts. You can make it come alive as a child writes out quotes and life stories of those they learn about in books. Geography becomes far more interesting as your child describes the land or those who live in it. My son enjoyed copying down facts about gun history as we studied the Civil War. My daughter learned about famous dogs from the Civil War and wrote passages about them.
Copywork can easily be worked into any school lesson. If you’d like, you can buy your child a separate notebook just for copywork. As you and your child read, if you find yourself saying, “Well, I didn’t know that,” or “That’s interesting!” take a moment and copy it down. Encourage your child to look for those awe moments as they study. You may even want a copywork book of your own.
One of the resources that we use for copywork is called Happy Scribe from Westvon Publishing, which can be purchased on CurrClick.com. These downloadable eBooks come in a variety of subjects such as “Dogs of the World” and “Video Games and Weather Folklore.” The books include short and quick passages in print and cursive and can be used by both younger and older children.
Don’t forget to have them add drawings to their copywork. If your child enjoys drawing encourage them to draw a scene to go along with the passage, decorate the edges with borders, and go all out.
And have fun!
Ashley Allgood is a Christian wife married 20 years to Michael. They have three children ages 19, 15, and 13. They live in Georgia where they homeschool their children. Ashley is a distributor for Young Living Essential Oils. Ashley has always loved writing and storytelling. Read her blog, Thoughts of Faith: http://mythoughtsoffaith.blogspot.com/.

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