Copywork . . .

Some children cringe at the sound of that phrase. For them, copywork is about as exciting as washing the dishes. But as you know, like washing dishes, copywork has to be done. Hands can’t magically learn to write by themselves. Their owner has to apply himself and practice regularly in order to become skillful at the task.

If you have a child who dislikes doing copywork, there are ways you can motivate him so that it will seem less like an arduous task, and more like a fun one, or, at the very least, a job worth doing. Let’s take a look now at some of these techniques.

1) Tell your child the “why” behind it.  

When a child knows the purpose for doing something, he will typically be more motivated to do it. On the other hand, exercises that have no meaning will typically be a turnoff. That’s why it’s a good idea to try to explain the value behind doing copywork.

2) Offer choices whenever possible.  

Choice is a source of internal motivation. It gives your child ownership over his learning. Choice is also an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to guide your child. While you many need to require certain pieces for your child to copy, do your best to offer choices as frequently as you can.

3) Use an incentive chart.

Keep track of the number of passages that your child copies without complaint on an incentive chart. When he fills up the chart, he can get a reward like a trip to the park or a special dessert.

4) Set up a special copywork nook.

A special place just for copywork can make the copywork seem, well, a little more special. You may want to add a little decor to this nook or set it up in a favorite spot in the house. Just make sure that you have a writing surface for your child to use that is set up at a comfortable height.

5) Remember that variety is the spice of life. 

Variety creates interest, and interest is a motivator. To create variety in your copywork time, try to use text from an assortment of genres such as historical fiction, folklore, just-so stories, poetry, mysteries, and adventures. You can also use nonfiction books about topics your child enjoys.

6) Choose passages from your child’s favorite books.

A child is more likely to enjoy copying passages from books he really loves, therefore, you may want to try to select sentences from a few of his favorites.

7) Choose works that are interesting, captivating, or entertaining.

Find amusing or thrilling literature that captures your child’s attention. Consider the humorous limericks of Edward Lear, the silly nonsense verse from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the intriguing riddles found in The Hobbit, or the exciting action scenes from Treasure Island.

8) Look for passages from unusual sources.

Joke books, tongue twisters, bilingual stories (good for foreign language learning,) song lyrics, and magazines are some lesser known sources for interesting copywork that you may want to employ.

9) Play music during copywork time.

Listening to music can make copywork into a more relaxing and enjoyable experience for children, especially auditory learners. You may want to choose instrumental music so that your child doesn’t become confused by the words he hears sung.

10) Let your child make a poster or craft with a copywork passage.

This allows your child to make text into a visual work of art that can be hung up in your home. Scripture passages, quotes by famous people, and poetry make good sources for this technique.

11) Use printable copywork pages that have images for your child to color.

Coloring gives your child something fun to do as a reward for completing the work, so try to find some copywork pages that have black and white images for coloring. Just be sure to let your child know that he must complete the writing before coloring the page.

12) Use decorative pages or journals.

Try to find fancy paper or decorated journals. Paper that has a little pizazz can be more enjoyable to write on than plain sheets.

13) Let your child assemble his own thematic copywork books.

Your child can make books of poetry, prayer, Bible quotes, wit and humor, fables, fiction, and more. Simply gather some three-ring binders, let your child label and decorate them, and then fill them with completed pages.

14) Have a special Copywork Cap or Copywork Cape for your child.

Pick out a fun piece of attire for your child to wear only during copywork time. This will make handwriting seem a bit more fun.

15) Set up a Copywork Cat or other toy.

Choose a stuffed cat or other toy that can be set up on your child’s desk during copywork time. This can be your child’s little “Copywork Helper” or “Copywork Pal.”

You’ll want to test these methods to determine which ones work best for your child. If none work, then you may have to just smile at your child, and tell him that we all have to do certain jobs whether they’re fun or not . . .  like washing dishes.

Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by Author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.

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