One of our goals is that of excellence in what we do, and with that in mind, we are working on beautiful writing, both in appearance and in content. Unfortunately our children here in the UK are not known for the beautiful handwriting that I see, for example, from my French nephews and nieces. I chuckled at the comment from one of Bertie’s French colleagues that when her mother saw her UK-educated granddaughter’s handwriting, she was convinced there was something seriously wrong with her! Nope, that’s how everyone writes here, was her response!
So for the moment, our concentration has been on letter formation and copywork. Two years ago she disliked writing and did it rarely, certainly never working out a spelling by herself. It is great to see how this has changed.
September 2010 – sorry for the blurry picture!
Copywork is simply copying an (excellent) piece of writing slowly and carefully. Not only are you working on letter formation, but it is preparing you for spelling and grammar, which we are not doing in great detail yet. Initially, we just used an ordinary exercise book, but I discovered a proper handwriting exercise book in WHSmith which has really helped (it has four lines, we use three of them), as well as writing out a key for LissaLou to refer to, though she uses this hardly at all now.
The idea is that she copies the given passage in a period of ten minutes and then makes sure to check through for any errors. She was using a pen but actually it is much easier using a pencil and rubbing out errors. The choice of passage varies, it can be Poetry, Literature, Quote, Proverb or Bible verse. Sometimes she chooses it, often it comes from a current book, and I am increasingly trying to introduce or reinforce a grammatical point ie Capitals for months or use of commas. But we always try and make it an interesting or exciting passage – though this can be challenging with her current maximum of 20 words! It is worth working out the maximum number of words they can do well in ten minutes and sticking to that, it saves much grief!
Additionally LissaLou is working on french cursive or en attaché which is quite possibly her least favourite activity and the source of much frustration! We are still on individual letters right now, but will eventually move on to words and then sentences. I love the practice on Charlotte Mason Help of writing six perfect letters, and we aim for this. I will say that concentration and attentiveness are definite areas for improvement, whilst on my part, remembering not to put copywork and cursive one after each another would help.
March 2011 – Octonauts to your stations!
CassCass has much more of a scrawl and so it has been a real challenge for her to produce beautiful writing. However, she has been doing a letter (or two) a day, again, six perfect examples (though she will get carried away!) and I am thrilled at the difference in her writing now! First we did the alphabet in small, now we have nearly finished it in capitals. Next we will move on to words and then very short sentences. We have stopped the french cursive for a while but will get back to it next term perhaps. Interestingly, she takes great pleasure in constantly writing and is very happy to work out spellings for herself, generally correctly and always logically!
And let’s not foget JoJo! Right at the beginning of his journey, he is just mastering pencil control (our friend taught us about the tripod grip and he mostly remembers that) and can write a few letters, usually those in his name. Bravo!