Famous Music Quotes Copywork Pages

Introducing new free Famous Music Quotes for Copywork ~

I have created a collection of 50 Famous Music Quotes copywork pages, in separate print and cursive downloads.   This bundle contains one Famous Music Quotation copywork sheet a week for a whole year!  

These copywork pages also include a personal response or interpretive writing prompts, offering you a power-packed application if you follow Charlotte Mason’s 3 copywork stages ~

I.  Copywork (Grades 1-2) is simply copying a passage ~

  • copy carefully & slowly,  practice beautiful handwriting in context, reinforces the habits of observation, best effort, and attention

II.  Transcription. (Grades 2-3) copying from memory ~ 

  • looks at/ studies the word in the passage, then writes it from memory, and double checking his spelling right away

III. Dictation (Grades 4–12) an advanced skill of writing out the prepared passage as the parent or teacher dictates it to him ~

  • The child studies the passage ahead of time, taking note of the spelling, punctuation and capitalizationParents dictate the passage phrase by phrase.

Here are your free Famous Music Copywork pages ~

Pop over to my Copywork Pages for all my other free downloads.

Blessings, Nadene

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Laminated handwriting charts too slippery?

A reader recently asked ~

“I’m interested in your handwriting charts. But I’m wondering, does the child need more initial feedback from the paper than a laminated copy might provide? I’m wondering if this is too slippery and potentially frustrating for a newbie. Is it better to start with a chalkboard or actual paper that provides some friction in the learning process?”

Here is my response ~

What a good question regarding the need for friction or feedback when starting to learn handwriting on a laminated handwriting chart!
I suppose it would depend on your child, but all my children found the smooth, gliding feel of the whiteboard maker on the laminated chart eased their hand and finger-grip stress.
My youngest child didn’t have much finger and fine-motor strength and her pencil work was very faint and wobbly when she first tried writing with a pencil.  Using a laminated chart and marker was a huge help because the whiteboard marker made a lovely, clear, wide, bold line without her needing to apply any pressure which built up her confidence to write.
As she played finger strength games and practiced her handwriting daily using the chart, her finger pressure improved and she then made the transition to using mechanical pencil. (Read my Practical Tips on mechanical pencil here.)  She used softer B pencil lead instead of HB lead because the soft lead made a clearer, darker mark.
The only problem I have seen is with left-handed writers may smudge their writing when using whiteboard makers on laminated charts.  They need to adjust their hand position so that they don’t smudge over the wet marker as they work.  Also, in an attempt to avoid smudging, a left-hander sometimes develop an excessively rounded “claw” wrist position, where the child writes “above” their writing.   This extreme wrist angle puts too much strain on the wrist and down into the fingers.  Remember that a left-hander should try sit on the left-hand side of a desk, especially when sharing with another child.

Handwriting Tips Booklet

Pop over to my Packages Page to order your copy of my Handwriting Tips booklet where I share activities, games and exercises to build up gross and fine motor strength, teach the correct pencil grip, and sit with good posture to help create a stress-free handwriting experience. 
Hope that this information helps your child master their handwriting lessons with ease!
Blessings, Nadene
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Nature Copywork Pages

Don’t your just love a bargain?  When an advert declares,

“And that’s not all … there’s more!  Included in this special offer we also give you …..  But, wait!  There is more …. you will also receive this amazing bonus of ….”

Well that’s how I felt when I discovered Charlotte Mason‘s Copywork.  Although her approach seems deceptively simple, it is power-packed with skills and range of difficulty that will teach, reinforce, strengthen and develop your child’s handwriting, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and writing style, all the way from Grade 1 to  high school graduation!

Charlotte Mason approached copywork in 3 stages ~

Copywork

Transcription

Dictation

Gently moving from one stage to the next as the child is ready, the child will very naturally learn beautiful handwriting, develop grammar and improve spelling, increase vocabulary, and seamlessly imitate good writing style.

Copywork (Grades 1-2) is simply copying a passage

  • Once a child has learnt to write each letter using my laminated handwriting charts, beginners begin to copy each sentence, done slowly and gently, with an emphasis on quality not quantity.
  • Careful copywork gives a child the opportunity to practice beautiful handwriting in context.
  • Copywork reinforces the habits of observation, best effort, and attention.
  • Lessons are kept short (5–10 minutes) and the goal is beautiful work.

Copywork leads to Transcription. (Grades 2-3) copying from memory ~

  • Once the student has mastered the mechanics of handwriting, he can start concentrating on the spelling of the passages he is copying. 
  • At this stage he looks at/ studies the word in the passage, then writes it from memory, and double checking his spelling right away.
  • Rather than copying letter for letter, he begins to write whole words from memory, working his way through the passage.

Dictation (Grades 4–12) is an advanced skill of writing out the prepared passage as the parent or teacher dictates it to him ~  

  • The child studies the passage ahead of time making sure he knows how to spell every word in it, taking note of the punctuation and capitalization.
  • Parents dictate the passage phrase by phrase.
  • Dictation cultivates the habit of looking at how words are spelled, reinforces correct punctuation and capitalization; sharpens listening comprehension; increases vocabulary through context; reinforces correct sentence structure; reinforces the habits of observation and attention. 

I have created a series of copywork pages, and updated my popular Nature Quotes with both print and cursive options.   The print version has new,  considerably shorter and easier quotes. These pages also include creative writing or interpretive writing prompts, offering you a power-packed application if you follow Ms Mason’s 3 methods.

Here are your free copywork pages ~

Pop over to my Copywork Pages for all my other free downloads.

I love Charlotte Mason’s simple, yet highly effective approach!

Blessings, Nadene
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How to Join Cursive Font Letters

For years I have used ABC Cursive Plain Font for our Handwriting and Copywork pages, but I never knew how to adjust the font so that the letters join each other, until a reader kindly gave me this tip ~

“You can get the letters to join if you choose “Advanced” and then turn the “Kerning option” on!”

With a little Google search, I found very simple instructions and, once I followed the easy steps, each cursive letter smoothly joined the next letter!  Here’s a pdf. of the instructions ~ Joining letters ABC Cursive Plain Font

In MSWord ~

You can apply these kerning settings to any font which will narrow the space between letters, and with cursive fonts, the starting and finishing strokes will meet to form a seamless line.

Oh, my heart flutters with joy to see the  smooth, joined, flowing cursive lines!  I just LOVE the Internet and my kind readers who helps me learn more!

References:

Blessings, Nadene
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3 Things to avoid in handwriting lessons

What Works! 

Are you new to homeschooling or facing a crisis with your child’s handwriting?  Here’s some practical advice ~

Here are 3 things to avoid in handwriting lessons:

  • Boring  laminated chartYoung children want to write real words as soon as they can and find endless pattern pages and those pages featuring one. letter. at. a. time. very boring.  These expensive handwriting books take almost a year to complete and many young children become frustrated and negative about handwriting.   We use laminated handwriting charts to learn to print and write cursive.  It is quick, free and painless, and within weeks your child will be able to start using copywork pages and practice their handwriting in real sentences.
  • Bad form – Everyone struggles and makes mistakeHandwriting arrowss when learning something new.  Some children become extremely stressed when they cannot control their fine motor muscles or struggle to remember how to correctly form each letter, and this adds to a negative attitude towards handwriting.    With my method, children use a whiteboard marker on the laminated handwriting charts which rubs out in a jiffy.  Any mistake is quickly and easily erased and the child feels much more satisfied at the end of their lesson.  To teach correct form, mom demonstrates writing each letter on the chart while talking through each movement and shape and then the child copies on the chart.  Watch carefully for correct starting points, directions of the stroke and when and where to lift the pen.
  • Basicshttps://practicalpages.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/p1070277.jpg?w=300&h=225Practice the basic letter formation.  Learn the upper case letters as soon as they master the lower case letters.  Go on to real handwriting as soon as possible using copywork pages.  Practice daily in short, sweet handwriting lessonsCopywork is an excellent handwriting exercise because your child will use almost all the letters, join cursive letters, combine upper and lower case letters in meaningful sentences.  This also is a great help in learning spelling and memorizing Bible verses. 

Here are some helpful downloads on my Packages Page

Handwriting Tips Booklet (US$R7.00 / ZAR70.00)   This comprehensive 20-page E-book is packed with practical tips and activities covers pre, early and basic writing skills .  It includes helpful activities and fun pre-writing games to build up your child’s gross motor strength, develop fine motor control and develop their spatial awareness.  Important guidelines to promote correct posture and pencil grip for maximum control and minimum stress while learning to write.  I recommend you also purchase the step-by-step guides below for specific guidelines to teach print and cursive.

Teaching Print step-by-step (US$2.00 / ZAR20.00)    An 8-page booklet with practical advice, clear examples and step-by-step instructions on how and where to place letters and how to form each print letter.  I share remedial and junior primary teachers tips, which have proven very effective in our in our homeschooling.

Teaching Cursive step-by-step (US$2.00 / ZAR20.00)   A comprehensive 8-page booklet with practical advice, simple instructions, clear examples, step-by-step descriptions on how and where to place letters and how to form cursive letters.

Pop over to order you handwriting booklets on my Packages Page.

Wishing you every blessings, Nadene

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Good Work = Green Pen

Positive, specific praise is such a motivator.

When teaching handwriting I used to ask my kiddies to do their very best and, at the end of the handwriting session, to circle their best letter or word.  They always found the best, on their own , and I merely confirmed it.

green penHere’s an excellent article on Bright Side where they describe the effect of using a green pen to highlight the child’s best work, rather than use a red pen to mark their mistakes, and how this leads to a child’s happiness.

Focus on your child’s best.  Be specific.  Integrate this approach in all areas of schooling and parenting.  Positive comments such as, “You made your bed so neatly,” or “I love the way you packed away all your toys in their boxes,” or “Gosh, you washed these glasses so well!” will make your children (and this applies to others too) feel that their efforts are  noticed and appreciated.  They love it and it motivates them to keep doing their best.

This is especially important when a child struggles and is despondent.  Find just something positive and focus on that.

Blessings, Nadene

Practical Tip – Mechanical Pencils

mechanical pencilHere’s a homeschool practical tip ~ Use a mechanical pencil

 Here are some benefits ~

  • The constant, fine point prevents smudgy, messy writing.
  • Mechanical pencils points never become dull and blunt,
    and doesn’t require constant sharpening with all the mess and wasted time.
  • Select a pencil with a soft, rubber grip for comfort.
  • Some pencil grips are 3-sided, ergonomic shape which is helpful in establishing the correct pencil grip.
  • A child who struggles with  very light hand pressure should use a soft 2B pencil lead.  This lead will allow a darker line even with light hand pressure.pentel eraser
  • A child who presses too hard should use a harder than normal HB pencil leads such as a H lead.   This lead forms a lighter grey line even when pressed quite hard.
  • Use a good eraser to avoid smudges when rubbing out mistakes.  We all enjoy the Pentel pen-shaped eraser.
  • Mechanical pencil leads last a long time.  Encourage your child not to drop any pencil as this breaks the lead.
  • Some artists use mechanical pencils for their sketches.  It is not just for school work.

I teach handwriting with laminated charts and whiteboard marker.  Once my child knows her letter formation, she goes on to do daily copywork.  Children should write in pencil until they are very confident in cursive before moving on to pens.   Gel pens are wonderfully smooth and flows easily, and older children love to use glitter pens.

Read more details in my post Handwriting Tips #2.

When you tailor-make your homeschooling, you make choices to suit your child’s age, stage and ability.  Chosing a mechanical pencil is practical and helpful.

In Grace, Nadene

 

All New Handwriting Page With Updated Print and Cursive Pages

Some serious “interior decorating” has taken place here on Practical Pages!

I have combined my Print and Cursive Handwriting pages all together on my new Handwriting Page in order to streamline searches and downloads.

Not only that, but I have completely refreshed and updated my handwriting charts, rewrote my Handwriting Step-by-Step guides and put excellent finishing touches to my Handwriting Tips Booklet.

Please update your old downloads with these new pages!

Blessings,

Reader’s Question ~ Why such a fuss about cursive handwriting?

This week I would like to share another interesting reader’s question ~
 She writes ~
“My 10-year-old son makes a huge fuss about learning to write in cursive!  He seems stressed, angry and tearful when he tries to write in cursive.  What can I do to help him?”
Here are some of my comments, hints and suggestions ~

Handwriting chart & copywork pages

Handwriting chart & copywork pages

  • Anger and tears usually represent some kind of frustration or fear.
  • Try diffuse the lesson with some handwriting activity that is really easy and fun, such as letter recognition / search games, pattern play, use fun “writing” mediums such as shaving cream on a window!
  • I would ask,
    • “Is he  ‘ready‘ for cursive?
    • Does he know his alphabet?
    • What is his fine motor control like?
    • How does he hold/ grip his pencil and how accurate is he doing small movements?
    • Is his eyesight okay?
    • He may have physical difficulties and require some therapy or extra help.
  • Teach the lesson with a large, clear laminated cursive lower case cursive chart and whiteboard markers. This is a quick, easy way to teach all the letters before going on to copywork.
  • Tell him that he can quickly and easily wipe away any mistakes when he uses a whiteboard marker.  Some kids hate to make mistakes!  Although pencil rubs out, whiteboard markers are super-quick to erase!
  • Whiteboard markers make lovely bold, smooth lines, therefore no need to pen pressure = less stress.
  • Demonstrate each letter and talk through your movements.  See my Handwriting Hints tips and booklet.
  • Girls love to use gel glitter pens.  Find a favorite pen for a boy!
  • Find or make ‘olden days’ letters or manuscripts to read.
  • For fun, let him make his own with quill feather and ink on paper aged with tea!  Let him make invisible ink and write secret spy letters.
  • Only use cursive for formal handwriting lessons, but allow him to continue to use print for his own notes and notebooking.
  • Select really funny/ interesting copywork for him to practice.
  • Practice daily.  Provide a short copywork piece / extract from his favorite book.  Pop over to my free copywork pages.
  • If all these tips do not help, I would suggest you take your child to a therapist for more precise testing. Remedial therapy is often presented in fun activities and yet produce great results.
What other suggestions would you give this reader?  Please share in the comments below.
Blessings,
 

Handwriting line upon line

You may wonder why preschool teachers use different sized lined pages in early handwriting lessons. You may simply assume that your child will simply learn write on store-bought lined paper, but this may lead to enormous frustration and stress for your young child.

Let’s establish one simple rule ~

Always teach large – to – smaller

  • Start with very wide spaces on blank paper.  Pre-school teachers use blank paper and fold it into quarters = 4 lines.
  • Then fold the quarters in half and = 8 narrower lines.  Teach young preschoolers to draw their lines or circles between the folded lines.
  • You can draw or print different colored  or dotted lines ~

Write the letters ‘sitting’ on the blue line, body of letter touching the red dotted line and the tall letter shapes touching the black line

Teach child to write between the dotted and the black lines

But you can appreciate that all these lines are very confusing!  Where does your child know where to start?

Here’s my proven CAT or MAN tip:Man in handwriting lines

  1. First, chose the line width to match your child’s skills – wide for beginners, narrower as they master their fine motor skills and spatial recognition.
  2. Draw a margin down the left side of the page.
  3. Now draw a cat in the margin.  The cat body is a circle that fills the middle body lines, the cat head fills to the top line and the tail hangs to touch the bottom line.  Many teachers draw the body line in blue: blue = bodyPrint Lower case with cat & arrows
  4. Now you can refer to every letter stroke ~
    • All letters sit in the body line.  Most letters start on the top body line. (There are body lines!  See why this is difficult for some children to ‘see’?)
    • Tall letters (like b, d, f, l & t) all touch the top head line.  Some start here.
    • Some letters have a ‘tail’ (like g, j, p, q & y) which hang to touch the bottom line.
    • All UPPER CASE letters and all numbers start in the ‘head’ line.
    • All UPPER CASE letters and all numbers ‘sit’ on the body line.
    • No upper case letter or number hangs below the body!
  5. Next, teach the child to draw a stick man in the margins of their lined page.  
    This is very important!  Once the child starts any handwriting lesson on lined paper, FIRST draw in the men!  This helps the child know where to start and finish each letter stroke. (This is not art, it is a quick reference!  Don’t let them waste time here!)Print Lower Case & numbers with stick man
  6.  Eventually, before any handwriting lesson, we used a quick abbreviation of the man = my children drew a DOT in the ‘head’ line and a VERTICAL DASH in the ‘body’ line, and skipped open a line.  A quick dot-dash-skip … dot-dash-skip … all the way down the margin prepared them for their handwriting or copywork lesson.  They started all body letters in the lines with the vertical slash and all uppercase or tall letters in the line with the dot.
  7. When buying lined exercise notebooks for your children, look for widest lined pages.  Don’t be afraid to use lots of paper and spread each letter over 3 lines (head, body & tail) and skip a line.
  8. Then your children can work with normal lined pages, again using 3 lines and skipping a line.
  9. Children work by then working on Irish lined paper. These are much narrower than the normal lined paper, but, working over the 3 lines and skipping a line, the size of the handwriting is much smaller and more like the normal handwriting size.
  10. Finally, when working on 1 line and writing ‘normally’  some children need to be reminded to work halfway up in the body line.  You may try ~
    • Draw in a faint pencil line halfway through the body line.
    • Place a special lined guide chart under the page – I simply drew black lines on cardstock to slide under the lined page and the faint outline could still be seen.  The halfway line was dotted.  This worked very well in my classroom where some children either wrote too small or too large, or varied their sizes too much.

Now, with these handwriting tips, you are ready to visit my handwriting pages for charts to laminate, handwriting tips and lined pages.

You can also find free handwriting lined paper downloads at Donna Young and  Activity Village.

Blessings,