Saturday, April 07, 2007

Copywork and Dictation

In my first years of homeschooling, I thought that Copywork was what a student did until they were advanced enough to handle Dictation. Dictation was the goal. However I have since changed my mind.

I now see Copywork and Dictation as two separate and equally important disciplines. You see, in Dication the student translates what he hears into words, grammar, and punctuation on the page. In Copywork the student translates what he sees into words, grammar and punctuation.

This was a new realization that came to me from having a child that really struggles with copying correctly. He would try his hardest and just be genuinely heartbroken when I showed him his errors. He was truly sure he had copied correctly. This same child, though he has no problems with his eyesight, also struggles in spelling. After much study I suspected disgraphia.

In the interest of making a long story short, I now see equal importance between Copywork and Dictation. My children are now required to do both. We have one day per week when Dictation and Copywork is required. Every other week that day includes Dictation and every other week that day includes Copywork.

I also choose different types of literature. Though my curriculum always chooses selections from the child's reader, I see importance in choosing selections from their Bible, their Literature, their Science books, their History books, etc. My reason for this is simple: the vocabulary and grammar usage from style to style and discipline to discipline is unique. I think it helps them to become familiar with the varying vocabulary and grammar usage of each discipline. I think Copywork and Dictation in foreign languages is also useful. If the child is studying in Latin give them a Latin selection as part of their Latin study, the same for Spanish or French or Greek, etc.

Copywork and Dictation are both useful disciplines. But I think it is important not to get stuck in a rut with it. Give it depth and variety.
(Graphic courtesty of

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