If you have never heard of using copywork before I will briefly explain how we use it in our school.
Once my children are writing all their letters well, I give them simple short things to copy as handwriting practice. An example of a copywork assignment for a young child would be a short Bible verse. The child copies the verse exactly the way it is written, including the punctuation and capitalization. I will read the verse to my child and tell them that they will copy the verse in their very best handwriting. Once they do this, I check it. If they miss a punctuation mark, I show them & explain why we use that mark there. It they don't capitalize a letter that needs it or vice versa, I explain to them why we capitalize there or why we don't. It is more than copying a verse, it becomes a lesson in Language Arts.
Once the child get's older I give them more difficult things to copy. Famous speeches, complete chapters of scripture, poetry and anything I can find that is an example of fine writing. You will soon find that copywork becomes simple and natural lessons in proper sentence formation, proper grammar usage, punctuation, capitalization & vocabulary. It can be an introduction to a hero from history or science. The opportunities that copywork provide are endless.
My children who were consistent in their copywork have made great writers and readers. The transition into upper level Language Arts lessons have been easier then for those who were not so faithful in doing copywork.
This morning, I found a new copywork assignment for Benjamin (10yrs). He is learning about the presidents & I found a list of guidelines that was given to President Garfield when he was a boy to be read everyday. So I will have Ben copy the list in his best handwriting the week that he is learning about President Garfield.
Here is what Benjamin will be copying.
President Garfield’s Principles
Never be idle.
Make few promises.
Always speak the truth.
Live within your income.
Never speak evil of anyone.
Keep good company or none.
Live up to your engagements.
Never play games of chance.
Drink no intoxicating drinks.
Good character is above everything else.
Keep your own secrets if you have any.
Never borrow if you can possibly help it.
Do not marry until you are able to support a wife.
When you speak to a person look into his eyes.
Save when you are young to spend when you are old.
Never run into debt unless you see a way out again.
Good company and good conversation are the sinews of virtue.
Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts.
If anybody speaks evil of you let your life be so that no one believes him.
When you retire at night think over what you have done during the day.
If your hands cannot be employed usefully, attend to the culture of your mind.