What is Charlotte Mason’s Idea on Copywork?
Charlotte Mason was a British educator who is best known for her theories on education. She believed that children should be allowed to explore their world and learn about it in a natural way, not just through textbooks.
And this is why I was so drawn to Miss Mason’s philosophies on education.
Now, in Charlotte’s time, she introduced the idea of copywork as a way of learning and practicing writing skills without relying on textbooks or teachers to do the formal writing lessons.
The term “copywork” comes from the Latin word “copia,” which means “copies” and copywork is just that.
Copywork is when students copy out passages from books (great literature is a MUST in Charlotte Mason’s opinion) or other sources by hand in their best handwriting.
This method of teaching has been around for centuries and it’s becoming ever so popular today in many homeschooling families, especially those who enjoy a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool style.
What are the Benefits of doing Charlotte Mason Style Copywork?
Copywork is a time-tested way of developing language and writing skills.
Not only does copywork help the child’s handwriting skills and put beautiful thoughts and ideas in one’s mind while doing the copywork, it also has many other benefits.
There are many benefits of doing copywork, and here are few of them:
- Improving grammar and vocabulary
- Improving the handwriting
- Learning how punctuation is used naturally
- Teaches children to read and write with greater accuracy
Copywork exposes children to many forms of writing styles and authors
Copywork can also be used as a way for children to learn about different authors and their styles of writing.
Copywork can improve children’s desire to want to read
And for those children who are not very interested in reading… copywork is also an excellent way to get their children more interested in reading. By providing them with a copywriting assignment that requires them to read and write, they will have more interest in reading books and even novels, especially when the passage being copied is intriguing enough.
Copywork is an easy, hand’s off way for your child to learn their grammar and writing skills
Homeschooling is a great way to give your child the best education. However, it can be hard to find time for all the different subjects in one’s day. Amongst all the other many things we need to teach our children and do around our house, sometimes it’s just hard to fit it all into our crazy schedules.
One amazing benefit to using copywork in your homeschool is that it’s an easy way of teaching your child grammar and writing skills. It’s an awesome educational method to teach language arts.
Copywork Can Improve Your Child’s Handwriting and Penmanship
Copywork helps children improve their handwriting, letter formation and penmanship because they need to always copy their copywork passages in their very best handwriting.
Writing things by hand can be therapeutic
Handwriting can also be therapeutic for those who are stressed or anxious since it allows them to focus on the moment instead of their worries. Choose a happy or beautifully thought-provoking passage and give it to the overwhelmed child and see what happens.
Copywork Improves So much more
Lastly, I’d like to mention that doing copywork can teach them self-control and because copywork passages are usually fairly short, this also allows them to give their full attention to detail, and their understanding of sentence structure, grammar, and vocabulary.
It can also improve their memory skills as they glance up at the passage and then recite it to themselves as they write it down on paper without looking, improves their concentration skills, and of course, their reading comprehension skills.
As you can see, there are SO many benefits to doing copywork in your homeschool.
How do to copywork in my homeschool
Copywork might sound daunting to add to your homeschool routine at first, but it’s really so very simple and will be a huge blessing to add into your homeschool routine.
Copywork can be done in any number of ways, but here are two easy peasy ways to do copywork:
1. Simply choose some passages from great literature for your child to copy.
A few sentences are more than enough, up to a paragraph. The idea here is to use a short passage that the child does not grow weary, yet passages that evoke great thoughts, character building and training, and ideas within the child. The most important thing is that it gets done in the child’s very best handwriting and not in poor handwriting, as this will form the habit of poor handwriting in the child, and also that the passage that is to be copied is chosen with great care.
If choosing your own passages for copywork, don’t just choose some random sentence that has no meaning or thought to it. Again, the idea here is not only improve the child’s handwriting skills, but also to bring beautiful thoughts and ideas into the child’s mind.
Here’s an example of a good copywork passage vs a bad copywork passage:
Examples of good copywork passages could be:
“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.”-Louisa May Alcott
“A faithful friend is a strong defense; And he that hath found him hath found a treasure.”-Louisa May Alcott
“Watch and pray, dear, never get tired of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault.”-Louisa May Alcott
A bad copywork passage might be something like:
“Roses are red, my name is Dave, this poem makes no sense, microwave”
“A big brown cow went walking through the meadow.”
Now in your opinion, which passages make you think more deeply? Of course the examples of good copywork passages right?!
So, always be very mindful of the passages you choose for copywork when coming up with your own.
2. Buy a copywork curriculum
All you have to do is choose the one you like most, print it out (if it’s a digital downloadable copywork bundle) or just hand your child the copywork page. One copywork page a day is great unless you wanted to add copywork to multiple subjects throughout the day.
Copywork is also for all grade levels once the child can read or at least begin to sound out their letters, all the way from kindergarten to high school.
You can purchase my copywork curriculums here
Now, I want to hit on this hot topic, because it’s so needed to be spoken in this 21st century.
The Importance of Handwriting in the Age of Technology
Handwriting, in this day and age, is often seen as a dying art.
Handwritten letters… practically long gone.
Notes to friends… kids usually text each other.
Cursive writing… psssh, it’s not even taught in most public schools anymore! What a shame!
But the truth is that handwriting has many benefits that are often overlooked.
For one, handwriting is how we learn to read and write. It also helps us to express our creativity through the art of lettering and calligraphy. Is it just me or have you noticed that people’s handwriting is so much sloppier nowadays, as opposed to even 20 years ago?!
This is because we’ve gone away from handwriting things and have moved to technology.
I’ve even seen a personal decline in my own penmanship as I have moved to doing work on my computer and always typing or texting down my thoughts and ideas.
Handwriting may not be as necessary in today’s world as it once was when everything was done by hand but there are still so many benefits that come with it and that’s another great reason why you should add copywork into your homeschooling.
But what about the child who struggles to read spell, or write? Is copywork for them?
If you have children who are struggling with writing, copywork is a great way to help them improve their skills. It can also be a great addition to your homeschool routine if you’re looking for a way to get your child interested in history or literature.
Copying is also an excellent way for children of all ages to hone their spelling skills, but it also provides them the opportunity to read more widely and develop vocabulary.
So even for the struggling reader or speller, copywork will help them improve on this!