Copywork for Homeschoolers – What You Need to Know

June 30, 2022

Sarah Shelton

Sarah Shelton

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If you are new to homeschooling, you may not be familiar with what copywork is. Learn everything you need to know about copy work and explore tons of free resources to get you started on this great daily habit for your homeschool. Be sure to scroll down to a big list of 75 free copywork downloads.

Copywork for Homeschoolers - What You Need to Know text with image of child writing


If you are new to homeschooling, you may not be familiar with the word copy work. Many homeschool families enjoy this daily writing habit for their children. It is the physical act of writing and copying down sentences or passages from a book or Scripture.

Copywork has become quite popular and lots of curriculum companies may even include copy work in their curriculum. There are even thematic copywork books that you can purchase to go along with whatever subjects or time periods you are studying. 

What is copywork?

Copywork is a method that educator Charlotte Mason used to teach children their letter formation and handwriting skills. A model of good writing is presented for the child to copy. This is usually famous quotes or meaningful passages from literature or Scripture.

Up until the 20th century, students learned how to write by simply copying works from master writers. Your child reads the text presented to them and then copies it down onto a separate piece of paper, a notebook, or their copywork books in the best handwriting they have.

Does copywork improve writing?

Copywork improves writing from repetition. Your child is supposed to focus on what they are writing and do it in the most beautiful handwriting they can. If copywork becomes a normal part of your daily homeschool routine, you will drastically notice that your child’s handwriting improves.

Not only will their handwriting improve, their writing skills will as well. Copywork helps to create a better writer because your child starts to recognize patterns in grammar, spelling, vocabulary and punctuation. The more great works they are reading and copying down, the better they will get at writing themselves.

When should I start copywork?

As soon as your children are able to form their letters properly they can begin doing copywork. Young children do not have to be able to read to do copywork, they can just start copying the letters down. This can begin in Kindergarten and helps prepare them for writing on their own. 

First, you will want to sit down with your child and show them what they need to do. Next, explain that they need to do their best work. You can start very small with one sentence and build up.

Older children can start copywork at anytime. If they need to work on their handwriting you may want to start with just one or two sentences. Once their handwriting is improved, they can move up to copying larger passages.

You can choose  if your student should write in print or cursive. There are many benefits of cursive writing. Copywork is great for cursive handwriting practice and using the most beautiful handwriting they can use. 

How do you use copywork for homeschooling?

There are many ways that you can use copywork for homeschooling. Firstly, you can pick and choose your favorite quotes, Scriptures or passages from books. Then, have your children copy the selections in their best handwriting onto a piece of paper or notebook.

You can print things out for them to copy. Additionally, you can write it down so they can copy your handwriting. Or, they can copy directly from a book or the Bible itself.

Copywork Notebooks

There are also copywork notebooks that you can use. These already have passages for your child to copy, so you don’t need to look for them yourself. Some of these include lines for your child to write on, while others require you to use a simple spiral bound notebook.

Many families enjoy using copywork for morning basket time in their homeschool. You can even sit down with your children to make sure they are focusing and using their best handwriting. This only needs to be done for 5-10 minutes a day.

What is copywork and dictation?

Copywork is where the child copies sentences and paragraphs from a text. They have to pay close attention to what they are writing down to make sure they are copying it exactly.

Dictation is when the parent or teacher reads a selection out loud, pausing as the child writes down what they hear. They are to make their best effort spell the words and put down the proper punctuation.

Dictation is usually done after a child has mastered being able to copy a passage in neat handwriting and without errors.

What should students copy?

If you have young children you can start off with simple sentences and short passages. Older students can use selections from some of their favorite passages from a favorite book or even movie quotes. If you are studying a specific time frame in history, you may want to give your students quotes from famous historical figures.

Benefits of Copywork 

You may be wondering what are the benefits of copywork? This simple practice only takes about ten minutes a day and reaps so many benefits.

Girl doing copywork

Improves Muscle Memory 

Copying something down by hand really engages the brain. It helps develop the connection between your brain, what you are reading, and your pen or pencil on the paper.

The more your child does copywork, the more easily they will remember what they just looked at. They will be able to write it down right away, without having to look back at the text. You will notice that they will get faster and be able to recall what they read as they are writing it down.

Increases Focus

Copywork helps your child learn how to focus on the task at hand as they concentrate on writing out one word at a time in their best handwriting. It teaches students to pay close attention to what they are doing and builds a great habit of attention. 

Strengthens Fine Motor Skills

The simple task of gripping a pencil properly helps to strengthen fine motor skills. Since copywork is to be done with great attention to detail and with the best work in mind, your child will concentrate harder on forming the words properly. This extra focus will really help them with their fine motor skills. 

Teaches Proper Grammar

Copywork gently helps your child to learn grammar through reading and putting it down onto paper. As your child is writing they are practicing the formation of words, sentences and proper punctuation. They are learning how to become great writers before they are even composing their own writing.

Free Copywork Pages

If you are wanting to use copywork in your homeschool, you can print off free copywork pages for most any subject from our list below.

Early Elementary Copy work:

Early elementary is a good time to start using copywork in your homeschool. These free copywork pdf downloads will be a great starting place.

Geography Copy work

Help your students learn the states, capitals, and some American symbols of the United States using free geography copywork. You can even teach your students geography terms with our free copy work.

Science Copywork

There are lots of science themes that you can use for copywork. These free copywork printables are an easy way to help your child remember animal facts, weather facts, and the human body.

History Copywork

In history studies there is a lot to learn and remember. Enhance your homeschool curriculum for history with printables to practice writing out the Declaration of Independence, learn about the American Revolutionary War, famous explorers, battles and more.

Bible and Character Copywork

Scripture copywork is a great way to work on good character traits while memorizing Bible verses at the same time. Read the Sermon on the Mount, practice the Lord’s Prayer, learn about the Golden Rule, the famous love chapter, and immerse your children in the Psalms with these free resources.

Biblical Feasts Copywork

The feasts of the Bible are so fascinating to learn about. If you are studying them in your homeschool or family Bible time, these Biblical feasts copywork pages will be a great fit.

Holiday Copywork Pages

Easter is such an important holiday for Christian families. These free Easter copywork poetry pages will help your children to think and reflect on this special time of year and what it means to them.

Vocabulary Copy work 

Vocabulary copywork is great for building vocabulary. We have a lot of vocabulary copywork for you below, ranging from grammar terms, to weather vocabulary and other science terms. 

Language Arts Vocabulary Copywork

There is a lot of vocabulary that needs to be learned in school. Help your kids work on the grammar and poetry terminology as well as big geometry terms with these vocabulary copywork pages.

Weather & Natural Disasters Vocabulary Copywork

Weather and natural disasters are very interesting for kids. They can be scary, but when you learn more about them it can make them easier to understand. Introduce your kids to the different terminology of natural disasters and learn about weather vocabulary and cool weather phenomena with these free printables.

Botany Vocabulary Copywork

Does your family enjoy nature and getting outside? You can teach your children about plants using botany worksheets as well as by using copywork. These free copywork notebooks will teach them more about plant temrinology and vocabulary words that have to do with Botany and plant life.

Science Vocabulary Copywork

There are so many vocabulary terms to memorize and learn in science. Thankfully there are lots of extra helps with these science themed copywork notebooks for rocks, space, planets, the human body, natural resources and earth science. So, if you are learning about space or another topic like human anatomy, these free printables will come in handy. 

Ocean & Bodies of Water Vocabulary Copywork

Working on a study of bodies of water? Practice vocabulary words and terminology for things you may find in a coral reef, lakes and rivers and the ocean. Learning about the ocean is a lot of fun, especially in the summer. 

Animal Vocabulary Copywork

Animals are so fascinating and kids love learning about them. If you are studying animals in your homeschool, these animal vocabulary copywork pages will be a great addition.

History Vocabulary Copywork

Are you studying the middle ages, colonial life, or learning about the Constitution? Reinforce what your children are learning in history with these vocabulary copywork notebooks.

Government Vocabulary Copywork

Learn about the U.S. government and how it works by learning key government vocabulary terms and their definitions. 

Other Vocabulary Copywork

Looking for fun copywork resources for electives and unit studies? Learn sewing terminology, cooking terms, ships, cowboys and fire fighting with these printables.

Other Copywork Downloads

Do you need some additional resources for your homeschool? Get organized with copywork goal sheets and monthly copywork sheets perfect for planners and notebooks. There is even copywork that you can use with nature studies

In Conclusion:

Copywork is a simple daily task that can greatly improve your child’s focus and attention span while helping them to improve their spelling, grammar and handwriting. It is something that can be very simply added to your daily homeschool in a fun and delightful way.

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