Today I’m sharing one of my favorite aspects of a Classical or Charlotte Mason style education: Copywork. This understated learning tool packs quite a punch when it comes to what it is capable of accomplishing for a child’s education.
No matter what your homeschool style is, there are lots of wonderful benefits of copywork that your kids get from doing this daily writing exercise.
Note: be sure to stick around to the end for access to the free printable copywork notebook that is available in both print and cursive!
What is Copywork?
But before we jump into the benefits of copywork, let’s learn what exactly it is. Copywork is a simple and unique way of learning multiple aspects of handwriting and language arts by copying written text.
Copywork can come in multiple forms. It can be lists of famous inventors or your kids favorite dinosaurs. It can be poetry, famous quotes, Bible verses, or passages of literature. And copywork is great for adults and kids alike.
The fact is, we grow, learn, and become better writers as we get into the habit of copying written words. Not only does it inspire our thinking, but it helps with building our vocabulary, spelling skills, handwriting, grammar, and information retention.
How to do Copywork
Copywork is a simple and concise exercise. It doesn’t need to be lengthly or complex. In fact, I like to keep a journal handy for book passages and quotes that I want to think on OR remember for a later date. This is copywork!
It’s reading the passage given, rewriting it, comparing yours to the original, and then self correcting any errors.
If your kids are not interested in book passages or quotes, that’s ok! Have them copy a paragraph from their favorite cereal box or DVD case. It is simply getting in the habit of writing and rewriting to improve our skills.
Benefits of Copywork
1. A Focus on the Mechanical Skills of Writing
Copywork allows us to develop the mechanical aspect of writing without having to produce our own original content. Oral narration and reading are also used in the early years to develop compositional skills that will later be married with these mechanical skills, therefore, producing great writers. With that being said, copywork to improve writing is a great place to start.
Note: If you are interested, Know and Tell by Karen Glass is a fantastic book that elaborates on the narration side of composition. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
2. Gently Teaches Grammar
People assimilate a lot by copying great writing. Even college professors will assign lengthy pieces of copywork, that their students might grasp the syntax of composition. Likewise, children learn the natural flow of language and often do very well with copywork.
Another way to gently grow their knowledge of grammar, is to point out a simple rule before they begin. For example, you might point out that the first letter of a sentence is always capitalized. As they do their daily copywork they will build their knowledge of grammar rules, and will learn to apply it to their skill of writing.
Note: Simply Grammar is a nice resource for adding this element of oral grammar to your copywork. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
3. Builds Vocabulary
Charlotte Mason, and educational reformer for the early twentieth century, encouraged the use of good literature for copywork. By giving your students quality sentences, quotes, living books, and poetry that contain rich vocabulary they will be continually be enriched and challenged to broaden their use of various words.
Note: Be sure to check out the free copywork printables at the end of this post.
4. Grows the Skill of Spelling
With each time you write a word correctly, you are becoming better at spelling. Copywork for spelling makes perfect sense because our neural pathways are strengthened through the repetition of writing.
Copywork is also a great foundation to transcribing, which teaches someone to see a word, close their eyes, picture the word in their mind, and then spell the word aloud.
5. Builds the Habit of Attention
Copywork is a short and concise assignment that is very attainable for children young and old. They can focus their whole attention of this simple task and give it their very best. They are left with a feeling of accomplishment that will more than likely, be a catalyst for future interest in writing.
Each time we sit down to write, we are developing the habit of attention and focus which will benefit us throughout our lives.
6. Exposure to Literary Geniuses and Gems
Copywork allows us to build relations with great works of literature and the authors who bore them. It familiarizes them with great names, deep ideas, and the beauty of written words.
With copywork, it allows the reader time to digest the thoughts, ideas, and words that the author intended their audience to get.
7. Short, Effective, and Concise Lesson
Charlotte Mason was very careful to keep lessons short, and children from getting exasperated in their studies. Copywork is a simple task that can be done within 10-15 minutes and yields high results in the areas of handwriting, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and literacy.
Note: If you are interested in learning more about the Charlotte Mason style of homeschool, check out these 20 Charlotte Mason Books for Homeschool Moms list.
8. Information Retention
Haven’t you heard that people who write things down remember them better? Why would copywork be any different? The brain to writing connection that we get from copywork only helps us to remember the meaningful things we choose to jot down.
Free Printable Copywork Notebook of Famous Quotes
Interested in trying copywork with your kids? Download the free copywork notebook of quotes! This Famous Quotes Copywork Pack features famous quotes while practicing letter formation, vocabulary, sentence structure, and writing fluency and is available in print AND cursive options. For Access to this freebie, Join the Inspire the Mom Community and sign in with Grow for this exclusive content!
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Additional Printable Copywork Resources:
Wanting more copywork resources? If so, you can find tons of printable copywork notebooks in the Inspire the Mom Etsy store. Each copywork notebook has print option and a cursive option.
- The Fifty States Print Copywork
- U.S. Presidents Print Copywork
- U.S. National Parks Print copywork
- The Eight Planets Print copywork
- Farm Animals Print Copywork
- The World Continents Print Copywork
- The Systems of the Human Body Copywork