March 2017, Issue 7
Copywork: A Keystone in Language Arts
by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer
Copywork is a popular technique used to teach language arts. It fits easily into most homeschooling routines and can be used in conjunction with a variety of curricula.
Using the copywork method, students are given a piece of writing, usually a sample from a piece of fine literature. The length and difficulty of the selection varies depending on the child’s skill level and age. Using his best handwriting, the student copies the passage onto notebook paper. While doing so, he is asked to pay careful attention to capitalization, punctuation, and other language mechanics.
As copywork becomes a regular feature of a child’s routine, he internalizes the material he is copying—proper penmanship, spelling, grammar, beautiful literary language, and fluid sentence structure.
Homeschoolers from all walks of life tell me that copywork is a keystone in their language arts curriculum. There are plenty of good reasons for this.
Copywork benefits learners because it:
- Provides opportunities to practice both printing and cursive penmanship.
- Exposes children to beautiful writing.
- Eliminates the need for extensive grammar practice.
- Offers new information. You can choose passages that illustrate scientific information, a juicy historical detail, or anything else you’d like your child to know about.
- Encourages attention to detail.
Many homeschoolers select their own copywork materials. Collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, religious passages, and lines from novels are all great resources to choose from. The internet is loaded with free copywork materials and programs that can be purchased. Whichever materials you choose, select passages that inspire your child.
It may take time for your child to complete a full passage. Don’t push. Nothing needs to be completed in one session. Aim for quality over quantity!
Copywork is a pleasant way to spice up and personalize language arts studies in just a few minutes each day.