Apr 13, 2016

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Homeschool Copywork

I have four kids. All of those kids have, to some extent or other, an allergy to handwriting. Some of them had a lighter case than others. Some of them have outgrown it. Some of them have the handwriting of a doctor. Some of them will still do just about anything than write by hand.

So as you can imagine, I am always on the lookout for more enjoyable, engaging ways to get these people to work on improving their handwriting. That's where Homeschool Copywork comes in. We were given a Lifetime Membership to the site and have spent the past few weeks exploring it.

Homeschool Copywork Review
Now, copywork is a staple for Charlotte Mason schoolers. It is used for learning handwriting, spelling, grammar, character, and more. But even though we lean toward CM, we don't actually use it that way. We learn our grammar and spelling more directly and use copywork mainly for the gargantuan task of making our handwriting legible. 
We have used a lot of different products for this purpose, and some are easier than others. But most of the easy-to-use ones are mainly for younger kids. It's getting harder and harder to muster the kids' enthusiasm over little kid copywork. But when they still need the practice, what's a mother to do? 
Homeschool Copywork meets this need. Because it offers selections not just for little preK kids learning to write the alphabet, and not just for early elementary kids practicing their legibility, and not even just for upper elementary who are spreading their wings into cursive, but harder, longer selections for middle school and even high school kids. My twelve-year-old son asked for "the hardest one" and he was not disappointed when I showed him what that meant. He felt challenged. 
Homeschool Copywork is copywork created by a homeschool mom who saw a need and filled it. The site over fifty ebooks of copywork, notebooking pages, coloring pages, readers and artist studies. They are divided into Early Elementary, Upper Elementary and Jr High/High School so it is easy to search for what you want. Each group has Scripture verses, quotes from poets (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson), authors (Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte), artists (Van Gogh, Monet), inventors (Da Vinci), musicians (Copeland, Beethoven, Bach) scientists (Audubon, the Wright brothers), hymns, science information, holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving) and stories. There are also some cute little alphabet books and readers for the little ones.
With so much to choose from, I took the easy way out and let each kid pick their own ebook. I was kind of hoping that two of them would pick the same book, so that I could use that to easily explain that the books offer copywork at several different levels. However, they didn't, so I am left awkwardly explaining to you that you could just choose one book and have all your kids work on the same quotes at their own skill level... So. You can do that. 
The quotes are in print, D'nealian font, and cursive. They also come with dotted lines for beginners and just regular lines for the older kids. This made it easy for us to pick what we wanted to do. Each child chose their "topic", I downloaded the book (it's a PDF) and then they could choose if they wanted beginner lines or regular. Some of them also got to choose print or cursive because they are in the in-between zone. 
 photo Carroll Cover_zps2fgrjurw.jpg
Kaytie (13) chose The Poems of Lewis Carroll Copywork. She doesn't normally do copywork, but she adores Jabberwocky and wanted to be a part of the excitement. So she worked on Jabberwocky quotes for the fun of it. This ebook is 40 pages long and starts with a short biography of Carroll. There are nine different selections of Carroll's poetry for the children to copy. The beginner pages have the dotted lines, of course, and also a little image to color. The regular lined pages offer a choice between cursive or print, and also have an image to color. 
 photo Da Vinci Cover_zpsosjuqupf.jpg
Nate (12) chose Leonardo da Vinci Copywork and Artist Study. While very similar to the Carroll book, in that it offers all skill levels, Da Vinci has 45 pages, uses quotes of his, and instead of coloring opportunities, has color pictures of various Da Vinci paintings. At the end of the book, there is another copy of each picture in "full page" size. This copy has the title of the painting, so that you can print them out and have a ready-to-go artist study. There are six paintings.
 photo Dragons Cover_zpse10mzdeq.jpg
Daniel (10) chose Dragons of the Bible Copywork and Notebooking Pages for All Ages. Not very surprising, huh? Dragons is 154 pages long. It not only offers the different skill levels of copywork, but notebook pages for each level with colorable dragons on the page and a full coloring page of each dragon at the end of the book. There are 24 sheets of copywork, using Scripture passages that contain the word "dragon". I, personally, did not find the dragon images to be that appealing, but my son? Oh yeah, he loved them. I expect he will get a lot of use out of this book over the next few years.
 photo Van Gogh Cover_zps4nz9b5s3.jpg

Abbie (9) chose Vincent Van Gogh Copywork and Artist Study Volume 1. This one, I was pleased to see, had a title page clearly marking the break between each skill level. It offered "Ball and Stick Print", "D'nealian" and cursive on dotted lines as well as cursive and print on regular lines. It also had six of Van Gogh's paintings at the end for picture study. 

After making our choices, I printed off the pages we needed. Then we just inserted those pages into the time-slot in our day reserved for copywork. It was that simple and easy to use. The kids worked on their own sheets at their own pace and enjoyed it very much.

We really truly liked these copywork books. My older kids have never felt so challenged in their copywork selections. We like the variety offered. I peeked at some of the books for beginners and they are so cute! I feel like there is plenty here to keep us busy for awhile.

The one thing I didn't like about the site was that I had to download the ebooks in order to look through them. I wish there was a quick and easy way to just skim through them before I downloaded because I am a visual person!

There are three levels of access for Homeschool Copywork. First, there's some stuff that you can check out for free. Next, you can purchase a Full Membership that gives you complete access to everything for one year. And finally, you can grab yourself a Lifetime Membership of complete access that doesn't expire.

Homeschool Copywork Review
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