Beatitudes Copywork Pages

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount contain His “Blessed are …” blessings called The Beatitudes, one of the most loved portions of the Gospel.

Jesus describes a character trait or action that is often not associated with blessedness. He then describes the reward or blessing of such people who follow God’s ways.

I have created these Beatitude Copywork pages which include a detailed discussion of Charlotte Mason’s Copywork approach, the full Beatitude Scripture followed by a copywork page for each verse with a personal response or interpretive writing prompts.

Charlotte Mason’s  Copywork lessons are power-packed and very naturally offer short lessons where the child can practice beautiful handwriting, develop correct grammar and improve spelling, increase vocabulary, and seamlessly teach good writing style.

More importantly, these Scripture Copywork lessons provide an opportunity for your child to learn, understand, memorize and make the Scriptures a meaningful personal part of their lives. (Read this post describing Copywork stages in detail.)

Back in 2010 I created a Beatitudes slide strip page to help memorize the scriptures.

The child inserts the 2 strips and slides them to match.

 

For greater mastery,  when the child knows the verses well, she can leave one strip out and memorize the missing part of each verse.

A great way to help memorize the scriptures.

 

For fun, I made a Matching Beatitudes Card Game.  Here 2 or more people can play “memory” with the Beatitudes cards.

 

Here are your  Free Beatitude pages ~

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

Blessings, Nadene

  • Subscribe Click to receive all my new posts packed with practical tips, projects, plans, pages & art ideas by email
  • Facebook Follow Practical Pages on Facebook

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

  • Subscribe Click to receive all my new posts packed with practical tips, projects, plans, pages & art ideas by email
  • Facebook Follow Practical Pages on Facebook

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
  • Subscribe Click to receive all my new posts packed with practical tips, projects, plans, pages & art ideas by email
  • Facebook Follow Practical Pages on Facebook

Natural Language Arts

Most people think of Language Arts as a formal, tedious grammar program. but essentially, language flows naturally from listening and mimicking (copying) and speaking to reading and writing.  (Think how a baby learns to speak.)

Reading good literature is the best way to learn grammar.  Using living books and reading aloud regularly, your child  will not require formal instruction to naturally learn new vocabulary and the essential grammar concepts for quite a few years.

Begin this natural language learning with this simple Charlotte Mason approach = Read aloud + active listening followed by oral narrations (retelling the story in their own words).  For older children, continue with dictated narrations (child tells the story while mom jots or types it word for word.   (Read my post Mom the Narrations Scribe) and finally the child’s own written narrations.  No formal written Language Art lessons yet.

I discovered how true this was when my preschooler narrated the story I had just read aloud to her.   When she retold the story, she used an unusual, new word, “skittered”.  She enjoyed this lovely, descriptive word in the story and made it her own in her narration.   A 4-year-old can narrate with detail and passion!  Read how I capture preschoolers and junior schooler’s narrations in a jotter.

You can start some Copywork once your child starts mastering their handwriting.  Select a simple sentence or two, such as a memory verse or from a reader and encourage your child to first read it aloud and then copy it out neatly.  This daily practice reinforces meaningful handwriting practice, but, more importantly, it provides daily examples of good language and sentence structure.  You’ll be amazed how such a simple activity can build your child’s own language and writing skills!  (You can find loads of my free copywork pages here.)

Wait until your child is about 9  or 10 years old before including formal grammar rules and language art lessons.  Use extracts from their current read aloud (or other suitable examples) and examine the building blocks; the formal aspects of how the sentences are built and arranged.

Now, don’t get too stressed about what extract to use.  Your extract can be anything simple.  Bible verses, memory verses, famous quotes, poems or simply a sentence or two from the real aloud will be good.  I must emphasize that this is the great part of this natural language learning = it is meaningfully in context.  In other words, your child is not doing numbered sentences or lists applying a rule to random sentences, but can see its significance and importance in the relevant extract.

Ruth Beechick’s “A Strong Start in Language” (ISBN number in my Book List page) is perhaps the best simple book on how to teach language!  Ruth Beeschick gives loads of basic examples, lays out all the suggested grade levels and makes simple and easy-to-apply suggestions.  With this book in hand, you can create all your children’s language arts lessons! 

Note:  Do language arts as a short separate lesson and not while reading aloud.  If you constantly pepper reading aloud with grammar and vocabulary extension tips and lessons, you will kill your child’s enjoyment and frustrate their listening.  I did this in my early years of “mom-the-teacher” enthusiasm and in my desire not to “miss a learning moment”.  Silly me.   When I learnt to trust a child’s natural learning process through listening, reinforced with short, sweet separate LA activities, I relaxed and let the reading flow.

What are the basic Language Arts?  Grammar is the building blocks of language. Essentially it is not necessary to get too technical and do sentence analysis and sentence diagraming.  Simply let your child find the proper nouns or nouns/ or verbs/ adjectives/ etc. in the given extract.  My kids loved underlining, circling, boxing, ticking or highlighting the correct words.  They enjoyed drawing ticks and arrows above punctuation marks.

LA 001

an example of what my kids called “circles and squiggles” LA

Include some word searches, dictionary work, finding or writing their own antonyms and synonyms and you have a great vocabulary extension exercise.

LA 001-001

Look up definitions in a dictionary, or find/ match words to their meanings or find antonyms and synonyms expands a child’s vocabulary!

Then, importantly, encourage your child to apply this in their written work.  I often include a “make it your own” prompt and encourage creative writing.

Another important note:  Don’t kill your child’s own written narrations with grammar corrections! No one enjoys seeing red pen marks all over their work!  Make a side note when you notice repeated, glaring and important grammar mistakes in your child’s written narrations and then find examples in extracts from readers to point out the grammar rule.  in a short copywork exercise, let your child practice this rule and then encourage them to apply it to their written work.  Keep reinforcing the grammar activity until you see that they have understood and can apply it naturally in their writing.

Be creative with language arts.  Use relevant magazine and newspaper articles or comic strips, especially for older children.  (Read my suggestions for a Charlotte Mason approach for Remedial Course For Older Children.)

Once you embrace the nature language learning method, you can apply short, formal English lessons to the same extract for 5 days, focusing on new skills each day as follows:

  • Monday = Copywork  (copy the passage, taking note of new, unknown words, sentence structure and punctuation)
  • Tuesday = Language Arts  (analyzing the grammar elements)
  • Wednesday = Vocabulary Extension and Spelling (learn thematic words, work on spelling rules or spelling lists)
  • Thursday = Creative Writing (apply the concept from the extract or reader in a creative written exercise)
  • Friday = Dictation (The child reads and learns the extract each day and now writes it as a formal dictation without looking at the passage)

These are all about a 10-minute lesson.  Keep your formal English lessons short and sweet!

I trust that this post encourages homeschool parents who feel concerned about their child’s formal language arts.  Relax.  Trust me.  It will work!

In Grace, Nadene

 

Save

Save

Use Comics to Teach Reported Speech

Previously, I described our effective lesson we enjoyed using our own Solar System comic strips to learn to write direct speech.

In this lesson, I wanted to teach reported speech.  My daughter chose her most dramatic comic strip story and she pretended that she was a news reporter, changing her speech dialogue into reported speech.

Solar System Mercury

Once again, we looked for examples of reported speech in our read aloud literature books.  Charlotte Mason’s principle to teach grammar and language arts through living books and good literature is amazingly effective!

We then used the Usborne Book of English Grammar for a clear lesson demonstrating the basic rules of writing reported speech.  These are the rules we summarized ~

  • Report what someone said using your own words.
  • No need for inverted commas.
  • Change the verb to the past tense.

Next, we worked through one or two comic blocks, converting the speech bubbles into reported speech.  Check those verb tenses!

My daughter then worked on her own and wrote her comic strip as a wonderful news report.  Here’s an extract ~

Mercury Expedition Reported Speech

She typed her report on MS Word as a simple report.  I used her enthusiasm in the lesson to teach her how to change her report and create a newspaper article, complete with huge headline, large byline, her name and the report.  She learnt how to create columns and add a clip art illustration.  Saved, and printed, she had a fabulous report which she proudly read and showed to dad!

I love finding simple and effective lessons, and this was a winner!

Note – this is a good LA lesson for advanced middle schoolers or junior high children.

Blessings,

 

Use Comics To Teach Direct Speech

We had such fun creating dynamic comic strip stories for our Solar System studies.

Solar System Jupiter 002Because comics convey loads of information and visual detail, they are a wonderful resource for language arts and creative writing activities.

Most the comics include dialogue written in speech bubbles.

This led to a fabulous LA lesson on writing direct speech ~

We used our literature read aloud books to find examples of direct speech and together formulated our simple direct speech rules.

  • Write down the spoken words or dialogue that appear in speech bubbles exactly  as they appear, but inside inverted commas.
  • Use inverted commas or quotation marks “…”  immediately before and after the spoken words.
  • Insert punctuation marks that suit the dialogue after the dialogue inside the inverted commas.
  • Use capital letters to start any dialogue, or any new dialogue that follows a full stop.
  • Question marks  & exclamation marks act as a full stop.
  • Use an appropriate attribution for each speaker and try be creative and vary using the word “said”.
  • Separate dialogue from the attribution with a comma.
  • ALWAYS skip a line and start a new line for a new speaker.

Then we took a block from the comic with speech bubbles and discussed and wrote out the direct speech on our white board.  My daughter loves to be dramatic, and so she instantly used a variety of words other than “said”, but you may want to discuss other more creative words.  We looked through this list ~

RIP said is dead

Comic blocks with a lot of visual information needs to be described in words. Adding this to the direct speech, and conveying a flow of action, thought and interest to the written dialogue is a more advanced skill. The more advanced student will automatically interpret and describe the comic strip blocks to make a wonderful, interesting story.

Here is an extract of Lara’s direct speech based on the comic strip above ~

Direct Speech example

My daughter was so enthusiastic and was really proud of her first effort!

When typing the direct speech on the computer, she reinforced her typing skills as well as the technical aspects of the written direct speech.  When she had completed her first draft, I noticed that she hadn’t left a line open between different speakers.  When typing, she needed to press ‘enter’ + ‘enter’ again to leave a line open and begin on a new line.

Normally we use our literature books and copywork or dictations for all our language arts, but this approach was fresh, personal and exciting!  Using a previous lesson that was very successful and fun,  really motivated the content of this lesson and it worked brilliantly!

Blessings,

What Works! Learning Language Arts

What Works! 

Once again I want to share what works when you use Charlotte Mason’s principles. In the more than 14 years of homeschooling until graduation my children have learnt the nuts and bolts of English grammar and language with copywork and dictations.

Dictations and copywork  = effective Language Arts lessons

Ruth Beechick’s “A Strong Start in Language” is perhaps the best book on how to teach language!

She explains the powerful and natural method of how to use reading and writing to teach a child language and grammar.

I highly recommend her book because she gives loads of basic examples, lays out all the suggested grade levels and makes simple and easy-to-apply suggestions.  With this book in hand, you can create all your children’s language arts lessons!

In essence, you will use these skills to teach writing, from forming a child’s name to writing an essay ~

copy, dictate, compare and repeat

Children are tutored through a natural writing process to learn language in the same way that Benjamin Franklin’s taught himself.  Instead of using textbooks and exercises with isolated parts of language and innumerable technical aspects, copywork and dictation leads from the whole-to-the-part.

What is the whole?

It is any meaningful piece of language or passage of writing. 

Writing in its natural setting.

From the passage, language is learnt in context.  They learn to identify the grammar basics and learn the mechanics just by reading and copying the extract.

Even if your child just copies a sentence or paragraph, and spends some time examining and identifying its nuts and bolts such as punctuation, capitalization, parts of speech, they will naturally learn language arts.

What is more fascinating is that they will naturally find these same mechanics during their read alouds.  As I read aloud my young kids call out, “There’s a compound word!” or “That’s a simile!”  Almost every week my kids would eagerly wait for “their” dictation paragraph to be read aloud in our chapter readings.

And may I share a secret?

I haven’t even done the “proper” Charlotte Mason dictations … the ones where the child writes the passage from memory, without copying.  Nope. Not once.  Not even my high schoolers.  We have tried it, but somehow we never arrived at that level.  Instead of feeling defeated, I simply carried on with what we found worked and we all coped with, and it was enough!

Also, even as an English teacher, I worked with a year plan, but never “did it all“.  Homeschool moms, you will have gaps.  Just breathe and let it go.  You will not cover everything.  Not even if you use textbooks and brilliant bells-and-whistles programs.  Use the grade levels as a guide line and trust that you cover most of the aspects as you go along.

But daily dictation lessons on their own will give your child a strong foundation to language arts and creative writing!

Here’s an example  of dictation lessons for a third grade child up ~

  1. Select a passage from a “real/ living” book, a verse from the Bible, a well-known nursery rhyme.
  2. Let your child copy it carefully.  Very young kids start by tracing over the neat, large print.
  3. Next lesson, ask your child to print it out as you read or spell the words for him.
  4. Lastly, he should print the passage without looking at the selection.

For Language Arts ask questions from the same dictation passage ~

  • ask your child to find the full stops
  • find the capital letters, why are they there?
  • which word rhymes with …?
  • circle all the quotation marks
  • tick all the commas
  • why are the exclamation mark used?
  • who is the first sentence about? (this is called the subject)
  • underline the action words or verbs (what the subject is doing is called the predicate)
  • can you find a compound word (a word made up of 2 words)
  • draw a squiggly line under the shortest/ longest sentence
  • draw slashes through the word with 4 syllables (sound parts a word can be broken into)
  • draw a box around all the question words and draw an arrow from this word to the question mark at the end of the sentence

So, here’s an example from an easy Bible verse:

I love the Lord. (Psalm 116:1)

A young child can first trace, then copy, then write out this verse.  Each day he writes the same verse, finally writing it out on his own from slow, assisted dictation.  At the end of the week, ask the child to study it and write it from memory. Encourage him to compare and correct his own work  This will help him learn from any mistakes.   For Language Arts, simply reinforce the grammar rule: Every sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.  Can you find another capital letter?  This is a name.  All names are written with a capital letter and we call these words “proper nouns“.  And there you have it ~ 10 minute Dictation and Language Art lessons ~ short, simple and effective!

Let’s look at a nursery rhyme:

Lucy Locket 

Lucy Locket lost her pocket,

Kitty Fisher found it;

Nothing in it, nothing in it,

But the binding round it.

(from Mother Goose)

I look for the obvious grammar lessons in this rhyme, for example:

  • Circle all the capital letters.
  • Tick those capital letters that are people’s names.  These are proper nouns. A simple lesson.
  • Which 2 words rhyme in the first sentence?
  • Draw a box around a word that ends 3 sentences.  Can you find the 4th one?
  • Can you find all the commas?  There is a special comma with a dot above it.  Circle this punctuation mark.  It is called a semi-colon.  Why do you think it is used?  Look for examples in other nursery rhymes and try deduce the reason for a semi-colon.  Suggest that the child looks for this punctuation mark in the week’s readings.

Our weekly Dictation and Language Arts Lessons:

  • Monday = copy passage (10 minutes max)
  • Tuesday = copy passage & do language arts questions (10 – 15 minutes)
  • Wednesday = copy passage as assisted dictation (10 minutes)
  • Thursday = write out memorized dictation and do language arts questions (10 – 15 minutes)
  • Friday = free day (we normally only do our spelling test, but if needs be, we add the dictation)

P1070277

Often I use the copywork lesson to teach and practice handwriting.  Because the child must write slowly and clearly, this is the one lesson where I emphasize and encourage neat handwriting.

My young kids do their copywork with their laminated handwriting chart propped up in front of them.

I sneak mistakes that I notice in my children’s narrations into my language arts lessons.  This way they learn the mechanics from an “expert” author and apply it to their own written work.  I almost NEVER mention grammar when I mark my children’s narrations, because I want to encourage them to capture their thoughts and ideas.  But, here, analysing someone else’s work, we can tear it apart and pull it back together in a very objective way.

Finally, let me emphasize – keep it short & sweet!  Do language arts as fun and discovery!  My kids called our LA lessons “squiggles and circles” because I asked them to underline with a wiggly line and draw circles.  This kept the lessons short. Most the LA lesson is oral; with simple discussions.  There is very little writing and no tedious exercises.  Note, discuss and move on.

Here are some other copywork & dictation posts:

Once again, I encourage moms to share and ask their questions in the comments below as we discuss “What Works!”

Edited notes: In the years where I used Sonlight, I have bought Sonlight’s Language Arts programs which accompany their reading programs in which Ruth Beechick’s approach and principles are very effectively used.

Blessings,

Ruth Beechick’s books:

  • An Easy Start In Reading  ISBN 0-940319-00-4
  • An Easy Start In Language  ISBN 0-940319-02-0
  • An Easy Start In Arithmetic  ISBN 0-940319-01-2