Posts Tagged ‘copywork’

Homeschool Advice: Should we correct our children’s creative work?

Should we critique our kids' creative work?

How much correction should one do on a child’s creative work? My 8 y.o. daughter has a delightful continuing novel/journal/thing that contains all (if not more!) of the typical misspellings and grammatical errors of the age. We do separate spelling lists but I frequently see words that are spelled perfectly on a quiz misspelled in her work. {{exasperated sigh}} She is a reluctant writer and I am hesitant to put her off her work by “mining” it for spelling errors, even though it would be the most targeted approach.

What would you do?


Great question!

Let’s get things in perspective first. Your daughter is eight years old. That means she’s been talking for about six years. It also means that she’s been reading and writing for maybe a year or two at most. The number of spelling errors she’s making ought to be about the same amount (maybe even more) than she made when trying to construct a sentence in English at 2-3 years old.

In other words, she will have atrocious spelling at age eight!

If she is writing for love and is only eight, leave her alone. Read her writing. Better yet, let her read it to you. Enjoy the content. Laugh in the right places. Say, “Oh no!” when danger threatens. Ask her to reread your favorite section. And then ask her to read that same section to her dad in the evening.

If she can read her own spelling, you have nothing to worry about. It takes about ten years to become a fluent speller. She is eight. She’s got until she’s eighteen to “get it right.”

If she wants you to read her writing and you simply can’t because the spelling is so bad, you can suggest to her that she help you decode her spelling so that you understand how she is thinking phonetically. Ask her if you can jot down the words as you know how to spell them so that you can read her work properly (you might want to put those words on a separate sheet of paper so as not to mar the original work).

The point is this: Her active self-expression in written language is the act of growth in spelling. It shows itself by spelling errors. She will learn to spell more and more correctly by writing and reading, reading and writing, sharing her writing and explaining her spelling. This will take time. Lots of time. Years of time.

Your child’s active self-expression in written language is the act of growth in early spelling.

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In the meantime, make sure you don’t squash that exuberant, carefree, interested written expression. To regain enthusiasm for writing once it’s been crushed by zealous error corrections is far more difficult than naturally growing as a speller.

And remember: copywork is the better place to work on spelling anyway.

Again, great question!

Click to get oodles more copywork resources for your homeschool

Image of girl writing by anthony kelly

Monday is Martin Luther King’s Birthday

To celebrate MLK Jr. Day, I thought I’d post quotes from his speeches and letters. We’re taking the day off to observe the importance of this day.

When I studied black theology in my graduate school program I was struck by MLK Jr. and his amazing contribution to our country during the 1960s. He was a brilliant orator and has left us with some of the most memorable speeches in our culture; fragments from these letters and speeches continue to challenge us to think and rethink our assumptions even today.

Here are some of his thoughts that might make good copywork this coming week for those who are inspired by them.


All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.

All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

These come from a page of Selected Quotations of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.


Spring will be here soon, I promise! If you don’t already have a copy of A Gracious Space: Spring, click through for timely support and encouragement.