09 10

05 December 2013

A Little Copywork

Copywork is not fashionable. In fact, I have been soundly criticized on occasion for doing copywork with my boys. I'm ok with that. Not everyone has to like it, but it works for us. 

Modeling the result you want is well-acknowledged as an effective method for teaching. No matter how often you get after your children to say please and thank you, if you don't say those things yourself it is unlikely that your children will  either. If I want my kids to learn to vacuum, I don't hand them the tool and say what I want, I'm in there, taking turns, helping manage the cord, and pointing out parts that have been done well as well as sections that need more work. I use copywork to bring the same benefits of modeling to our writing practice. Hero(7) is able to write, and his handwriting is nicer and nicer all the time.  We are now beginning to work on endurance and speed, and he has asked to learn cursive, so we do that sometimes too. Now that he's able to write more than just a few letters, copywork begins to shine. 

Last night we continued to read about Zacharias and Elizabeth, so today I've given him part of Gabriel's announcement of the baby who would become John the Baptist. I love it. The language is so majestic. "I am Gabrail, that stand in the presence of God..." And using it as copywork lets us take a closer look. We can look at the beauty of the words, and in a very natural way, we can also glance at the grammar. The grammar is important; it's the structure that the majestic message is hung upon.  It's got a dependent clause, "that stands in the presence of God." I didn't tell him that, but I did mention the pause in the flow as you say these words, and that it's extra information. I know that he's still pretty slow with writing a lot of the time, so I didn't use the whole verse, which gives us a chance to talk about an ellipse.

Hero is familiar with scripture citations; he's spoken them many times for the scripture box, and he's learning to use them to get around when he reads with us or on his own. But writing it requires an attention to detail that other uses had not required. It also gave me a chance to say, "colon," and I don't really expect the term to stick today, but when I'm ready to teach it, there will already be a foundation in place to build upon because of hearing about it and drawing it in copywork from time to time. And each time he practices, he's working with an example of high-quality writing, learning very organically from masters of the English language. 

It's not his favorite activity, and he know I know that, but he also knows that I consider good writing to be an essential skill for his adult life. We usually do copywork 3-4 times in a week. I keep it shortish, and he's a good sport about it. 

Dragon(3), who of course can do anything Hero can do, has been after me to teach him to write as well. So I made him a page of a single, simple letter to practice. I helped him to draw the correct direction and order, and he took it and ran with it. He likes the letter K. I was surprised at how well he did. 

One great thing about how we do this stuff is that we have no curriculum costs for handwriting, it's free, and it's 100% personalized to where the kids are at. I just print out a day at a time as we go along. 

And that's our copywork. 

P.S. I'm so glad you stopped by to read about the adventures at our house! If you want more, "Like" my blog on Facebook to get posts (and the articles n things I wish I had time to blog about) in your feed. Wanna see all the projects and ideas that I may or may not get around to? Follow me on Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by!

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