Copywork Errors


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  • JSchaaf

    What should I do about errors in copywork? My girls (8 and 7) copy 1-3 sentences per day out of one of our read alouds, a Bible verse, etc. Even though the model is right there on the piece of paper for them to copy, they still misspell words, forget punctuation, etc. What to do? Should I have them redo the work or just try again the next day?




    Charlotte Mason was adamant that children should not have mispellings ‘imprinted’ on their minds. To that end, as Sonya has directed in Spelling Wisdom, we correct mispellings immediately. Sonya has you put a little sticky over the mispelling and then the child corrects it. We go a bit further with that, which you can read under the Spelling Wisdom thread.



    Sonya Shafer

    Hi, Jennifer –

    Copywork is a little different animal than dictation. At first glance this seems to possibly be a lack-of-attention issue. I think I would do a couple of things to get that “rail” corrected. (Referring to “laying down the rails,” as Charlotte called laying good habits 🙂 )

    1. Sit with each girl in turn and watch her as she copies. In that way you will be able to spot and correct any omissions or mistakes immediately. Cindy is right that we don’t want them to see misspelled words. Be careful not to make your presence a punishment. Rather, let your girls see your participation as a way to encourage and help them in their task. You’re on their side, and you’re going to work together.

    2. Temporarily “back up” on the required copywork to fewer words/smaller portions. For example, when you sit down with daughter #1 to do her copywork, ask her how far she thinks she can go with no mistakes (which includes leaving out anything). Assure her that this isn’t a contest; you want her honest answer. “Don’t say three sentences if you don’t think you can do all three with zero mistakes. Are you sure?” Suggest smaller portions that will retrain that habit of attention; i.e., the lesson will be over before she loses attention. Then as that attention “muscle” gets stronger after a few days of shorter lessons, start gradually increasing the time/amount she copies.

    Hopefully, the combination of your expectant, encouraging presence mixed with the retraining of that habit of attention will do the trick, and soon you’ll be able to assign the work as independent study again in the near future.

    Hope this helps!


    Thank you both so much! Your suggestions have helped.


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