Copywork...some kids love it. Some kids hate it. If your child is in the hate camp, you might be wondering how to make it more enjoyable for them. I’m here to help!
Copywork doesn’t have to be a drudgery. It can be a vibrant part of your Language Arts curriculum. Thankfully, Sonlight does the hard part by choosing the copywork for each week. It’s even sweeter because it comes from a reading passage in the curriculum. So, really, all you need to do is keep your copywork methods fresh with these 13 techniques.
1. Reserve Special Pens
We’ve always had a caddy with special pens for our copywork. We really love PaperMate Flair Pens, but any pretty pen will do the trick. You might even include fine tipped markers. Older children may enjoy trying their hand at calligraphy. Whatever tools you decide to use, just remember that the trick is to keep it fresh. Change your pens every month, and pull out the special pen caddy only for copywork.
2. Use Highlighters to Examine the Passage
In Sonlight, the copywork is used primarily for Language Arts instruction, so it pays to spend some time dissecting the passage. I have my children go through the passage with several different colored highlighters. For example, if we have been focusing on punctuation, I would have my child highlight all the periods blue, all the question marks yellow, and all the exclamation points orange.
You might have your child highlight the different types of sentences. If your child is struggling with a particular phonetic sound, have them find those sounds in the copywork. Older children can highlight independent clauses and prepositional phrases. Many times, children have a hard time finding the purpose behind copywork, so examining the passage can really help.
3. Change It Up
Have your child use a thesaurus to change up the passage. Then let them compare their version with the original. Which one do they like better? Help them consider how word choice affects a passage.
4. Use Whiteboards or Chalkboard
Paper can get old. Sometimes a change makes a big difference, so consider allowing your child to do their copywork on a whiteboard. I’ve even heard of ideas like using dry erase markers on a window or sliding glass door.
5. Use Special Paper
Bring out the pretty paper for copywork! Collect old scrapbook or stationary paper, and let your child choose a really pretty piece of paper for their copywork. You might even use decorative scissors to cut a border around the page. If your child is studying an older time period, let them soak their paper in tea and help them burn the edges.
6. Decorate Your Copywork
Stickers! Magazine cutouts! Your child can make their copywork stand out by embellishing it. Your child may prefer their own artwork. Go for it! Give them some colored pencils and let them sketch their own border or draw a beautiful picture at the bottom.
7. Spread It Out
Is copywork a precursor to a meltdown? Then spread it out. Some kids just get overwhelmed by the amount of writing at one time. Try doing one sentence per day, slowly adding to the passage until it is complete.
8. Set the Mood
Set the mood for a relaxing copywork time in your day. Copywork can be very peaceful, so help set the environment for tranquility by dimming the lights, lighting a candle, and turning on some classical music. This change can make copywork time a break in your child’s day-a special time to look forward to.
It can also help to carefully choose a good time during the day to do copywork. I would recommend choosing a time when your child is ready for a rest. You might consider doing copywork after a recess break or during snacktime, so they can snack while they work.
9. Display Your Child’s Work
Sometimes it can be hard to give your best when you know that your work will just be put away into a portfolio. So consider making a prominent space to display your child’s copywork each week.
10. Change the Scenery
Sometimes, we get stuck in a rut. Always doing your work at a desk or table can crush our creativity. So try changing up the scenery. Let your child go outside to do their copywork. Or use a magnet and let your child do copywork standing up next to the refrigerator.
11. Use Invisible Ink
Let your child explore with magic. Have them write their copywork in white crayon. Then, have them color over it with a washable marker. Their copywork will magically appear! You can also purchase a simple invisible ink pen that shows up under LED light.
12. Share the Copywork
Company makes work more bearable. It’s a principle for life. Everyone knows that cleaning the kitchen is easier with a buddy. The same is true with copywork. Consider sharing the copywork task with your child. This can be done in a number of ways. You can alternate writing every other word.
You could each write the copywork, or you could simply sit beside your child while he works. Sometimes, this support is all that’s needed.
13. Type It
Yes, this is probably an odd suggestion. Most people consider copywork to be important handwriting practice. I would agree with that; however, if you are using a handwriting program, your child might feel that copywork is an added burden. In that case, consider viewing copywork as strictly a language arts task. Your child can pay close attention to the grammar while he or she is typing it. You can also use this time to teach keyboarding skills. Play with the alignment, change the font, and learn to print. These are skills that children need today, so copywork can be a great time to incorporate those.
These are just a few of the many ways to make copywork more enjoyable. Remember the old saying, “A change is as good as a rest.” This can be so true in homeschooling.
Sometimes, the most challenging part of being a homeschool parent is keeping things fresh and helping your child find the purpose behind the tasks. Your child may not ever look forward to copywork time, but showing them a purpose behind it and being creative with the way your child is asked to complete the task can really change your child’s attitude and make it easier on everyone.