Can’t Keep Up? Simplifying Copywork
Along with narration, copywork is one of the chief methods of learning and reviewing, according to Charlotte Mason. Assuming you are using a literature-based curricula and have a plethora of living books lying around, copywork is one of the most painless ways a student can review an important concept, whether it be a grammar skill, science precept or historical fact.
Set good copies before him, and see that he imitates his model dutifully: the writing lesson being not so many lines, or ‘a copy’–that is, a page of writing–but a single line which is as exactly as possible a copy of the characters set. The child may have to write several lines before he succeeds in producing this. –Charlotte Mason, Vol. I
“Set good copies before him,”…
The best way I have found to “set good copies before” my students is to use a software program called Startwrite. I love it because simplifying copywork saved so much of my time! Startwrite will allow you to:
–set the handwriting style to the one you have chosen for your household. (We prefer Italic, since there is not an entire ‘new’ alphabet to learn when it is time to start cursive.)
–provide a perfect sample of what you would like your student to copy, rather than relying upon your own handwriting capabilities. 😉
–print letters with writing hints such as the place where each letter is begun and numbered arrows indicating which line is made first, second, etc.
–print letters with solid, dashed and dotted lines as your student begins to learn his letters.
–Add color, graphics and shapes to your copy work.
–save money by not buying handwriting worksheets/books – now you can make your own.
–save more money by printing paper with the correct spacing for each of your children, instead of buying it at the educational supply store.
Other Ways I’ve used Startwrite
1. Leaving a large space at the top of the page and printing lines at the bottom, let your student tell you a story. He can use the top for an illustration and write the story on the lines at the bottom. Or, YOU can write the story and he can copy it over a few days’ copy work practice.
2. Make a model of a friendly letter that your student can copy for thank you notes and letters to family and friends.
3. Let your students design their own pages to use for their notebooking projects. This is especially appealing for reluctant writers! (Somehow writing on a page with a few lines and graphics is much easier than confronting a blank page.)
4. Use it not only for history and science, but also for Bible verses, a Book of Mottoes, a time line, poetry…use your imagination!
5. New features – now Startwrite includes a Spanish and a numeric font, so you can use it for copywork in Spanish as well as for arithmetic practice.
One of the best things about this software is that you may try it before you commit to purchase – and I would encourage you to do just that. We homeschoolers are a frugal bunch and prefer knowing as much as we can before we buy, right?
Last time I looked, you could immediately download a trial from the website and get started.