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Frequently asked questions

  • What age should a child start doing copywork?
    Every child is unique and develops differently, but usually between the ages of 4 and 6 a child is capable of holding a pencil and learning how to form letters. Our Level 1 collection is designed for children who can already write the letters of the alphabet correctly.
  • What is the purpose of copywork?
    The primary goal of copywork is to teach children how to become competent and effective writers, by making them slowly and carefully copy excellent writing in a variety of genres. Children learn spelling and punctuation in context; are exposed to rich vocabulary and complex sentence structure. They automatically learn about grammar, subject/verb agreement, verb tenses, syntax, word choice and more, creating a firm foundation for these concepts to be taught discretely as the child progresses. In addition, by copying the masters, children learn how words can be put together to persuade, inspire, teach, stir the emotions, provoke and create imaginary worlds.
  • Is copywork the same as handwriting?
    Handwriting practise focuses on the form and appearance of writing; copywork, though similar, develops the content of one’s writing. Children should always be encouraged to complete their copywork exercise with their best handwriting where possible to maintain excellent habits.
  • How do you 'do' copywork effectively?
    1. Do it daily if you can. 2. Ask the child to read the whole passage, poem or quote from start to finish before they start writing so they understand the sense of the text. 3. Encourage your child to ask you the meaning of any words they do not understand. 4. If your child is working independently, encourage them to set a 10 minute timer and aim to complete the exercise within this timeframe. (Some of our exercises could be done in less than 10 minutes depending on the child’s ability.) 5. Encourage the child to focus on the task and not get distracted. 6. Once they have completed the exercise, ask the child to read their writing through and check that they have not missed any punctuation marks.
  • What if my child struggles with reading cursive text?
    Levels 1 and 2 use print text. However, if your child is a confident writer but struggles with reading the cursive text in Level 3, then please try the Print Only version. The Print Only version is available for Level 3 as a full year bundle for the Classic collections in both UK and US spelling.
  • Are the Classic collections suitable for secular families?
    This is very much a subjective decision and people have different sensitivities in this area, so we want to help you make the right decision for your family. Firstly, the Classic collections do not include any specifically religious text, such as the Bible. There are however some references to religious themes such as: In Level 1 Abraham Lincoln refers to ‘God’ in one of his quotes; Victor Hugo mentions ‘God’s love’ in one of his poems; and Mother Teresa mentions ‘God loves me’ in one of her quotes. Also, there is a mention of ‘God’ in one of the Native American proverbs. In Level 2 There is one reference to ‘God’ in a quote from Benjamin Franklin, and one by William Blake in his poem. In Level 3 Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech promoting civil rights for African Americans references ‘God’ and Christian ‘brotherhood’; Winston Churchill’s speech makes a reference to ‘God’s good time’ and Queen Elizabeth I also refers to God in her speech. Demosthenes, speaking in 351 BCE references ‘God’ but he is living in a time of Greek polytheism, and it is likely his meaning is different to what many people might call ‘God’ today. All of these however are primarily historical texts and reflect the views of the writers at that time in history; they are not religious documents. The fictional literature, Gabriel and the Hour Book, is set in a monastery in Medieval France so there are some ‘religious’ characters in the story. Some of the poets (Yeats, Alcott and Howards), also reference ‘God’, while one of the poems references Prometheus who is explained as a ‘greek god’. Shakespeare of course has various religious words such as ‘heaven’ and ‘God’, particularly in Macbeth. If you are unsure about whether the Classic collection might be right for you, feel free to email us and we will endeavour to answer your question. If you decide the content is not 100% suitable for your needs, we would encourage parents to remind their children that the documents are a reflection of the mind of the author and they do not have to agree with everything they see written. However we respect this is an individual choice.
  • What's the difference between the Classic and Christian versions?
    Our Classic collections include texts from a variety of sources and genres that would generally be considered suitable for all people - including those of different faiths (or none). The exact content differs across the levels but includes writing such as poems, literature, quotes, proverbs from around the world, text from letters and speeches, and Shakespeare. The Christian versions are the same, except they include a passage from the Bible to copy each week in place of one of the other exercises. Click on individual collections to find out exactly what they include.
  • What governed your choice of text?
    When creating our copywork collections, we looked for texts which would be suitable for the suggested level, both in content and length. We aimed to use only texts in the public domain, and quotes from people who are likely to be recognisable to many parents. When choosing our literature, we looked for stories which contained descriptive language, and aimed to include paragraphs or sentences that would make sense to the average person when read in isolation. When selecting portions from Shakespeare in levels 2 and 3, when aimed for passages which were well-known, or at least could be understood with minimal background knowledge (not always possible!). We tried not to include quotes or poems which would be deliberately controversial. Overall, we aimed for a good balance of interesting texts which would stretch children but also feed their minds with noble thoughts.
  • Which version of the Bible do you quote in the Christian version?
    All Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The Anglicised version is used for the UK spelling.
  • Can I get a refund if I decide the product is not suitable for my needs?
    It is not our policy to provide a refund if you decide the content is not 100% suitable for your needs as the product cannot be returned. However, if you order the incorrect version (Classic or Christian) or spelling (UK or US) we are happy to send you the version of your choice free of charge, providing it is for the same level and collection that you had already ordered. If you have any other questions regarding refunds please email us and we will do our best to help you.
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