Foundations of Copywork is written for use with students in grades K-12. Students are provided with 180 lessons per year to practice handwriting skills and copy Scripture, including the Torah, Proverbs, the New Testament, and other selected passages from Psalms and the Gospels. Our weekly lesson plans are based upon the copying of Scripture passages. All instruction and worksheets are provided for beginning writers, while high-school students copy directly from their Bibles onto paper or into journals (as you prefer).
Copywork has many benefits. It provides students with excellent writing models and it gives opportunity to gain accuracy, work on spelling, learn proper sentence structure and more. Copywork improves grammar, reading ability, dyslexia, handwriting, vocabulary, memory, and reasoning abilities.
Perhaps the biggest benefit is the opportunity to discuss the material being copied. Often times we even end up digging for more information about the person or topic. (See Deuteronomy 6:6-9.)
We were inspired to begin using daily of copywork of Scripture when we read the following two passages:
“And when [the king] sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear YHWH his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20, ESV).
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, ESV).
We’re training up kings and queens in the service of the KING OF KINGS, who wants us to help build His kingdom. Copywork is much more than just handwriting practice! This is actually one of the most important subjects of your child’s day, because this is the time when YHWH’s Word enters his heart so that the Spirit of God can write His Torah on your child’s heart.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130, ESV).
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11, ESV).
If you have time for nothing else, do copywork!
One mom wrote this about her teenage son, who does lots of copywork every day, even though he struggles with a genetic language-based learning disability (and was told he would never read, write, or communicate) and Asperger’s:
Since being a man of God is important to him, we encourage him to continue with his copying of the Bible. I can truly say that this has vastly improved his reading ability, and writing ability. He sits and copies the Bible word for word for two hours a day. Then after each chapter he is required to draw a picture and write a one-page journal on that chapter. His copy work is then used to discuss grammar, and his writing is used to check spelling and grammar.
Are you inspired? I hope so!
How to Use This Curriculum
We’ll provide you with daily schedules for kindergarten through 12th grade. The lessons will also include helpful ideas, handwriting techniques, and more — to help you as you coach your children with their copywork.
But mostly, copywork is just that. Copying Scripture verse by verse.
From kindergarten to third grade, your student will do copywork directly on the worksheets provided.
- Kindergarten — Letters of the alphabet with Bible verse phrases.
- Grade 1 — Letters to match Phonics Level 1, copying Genesis 1:1-2:7.
- Grade 2 — Letters to match Phonics Level 2, copying selections from Matthew and John.
- Grade 3 — Letters to match Phonics Level 3, copying selections from Psalms.
Beginning in fourth grade, have your student copy from the worksheet directly into his composition book, using his best penmanship from the examples provided. Remind him often that he is handling the Word of YHWH, so therefore he needs to be extremely accurate and careful in his copying! Each level is the same except that the size of the handwriting example gradually gets smaller and the number of verses copied per day increases each year.
- Grade 4 — Copying Genesis 1:1-25:17 (4 verses per day), as well as Proverbs 1:1-7:15 (1 verse per day).
- Grade 5 — Copying Genesis 25:18 – Exodus 2:25 (5 verses per day), as well as Proverbs 7:15-14:10 (1 verse per day).
- Grade 6 — Copying Exodus 3:1-38:31 (6 verses per day), as well as Proverbs 14:11-20:15 (1 verse per day).
- Grade 7 — Copying Exodus 39:1 – Numbers 7:89 (7 verses per day), as well as Proverbs 20:16-26:15 (1 verse per day).
- Grade 8 — Copying Numbers 8:1 – Deuteronomy 34:12 (8 verses per day), as well as Proverbs 26:16-31:31 (1 verse per day).
High-school students will copy directly from their Bibles into their composition books, using the schedule we provide.
- Grade 9 — Copying Genesis 1:1-48:8 (8 verses per day), as well as Matthew 1:1 – Mark 13:10 (9 verses per day).
- Grade 10 — Copying Genesis 48:9 – Leviticus 7:38 (8 verses per day), as well as Mark 13:11 – John 10:42 (10 verses per day).
- Grade 11 — Copying Leviticus 8:1 – Numbers 21:35 (8 verses per day), as well as John 11:1 – 1 Corinthians 7:40 (11-12 verses per day).
- Grade 12 — Copying Numbers 22:1 – Deuteronomy 34:12 (8 verses per day), as well as 1 Corinthians 8:1 – Revelation 22:21 (14-15 verses per day).
Try to have your student do his copywork at the same time and place each day. The room should be orderly, uncluttered, and without too many distractions. A predictable daily routine has been shown to create a state of mind that is conducive to learning. (We enjoy playing soft music in the background during this time.)
Have your student face in the same direction each day, working at a comfortable table. This will help orient your student in space and in the awareness of left-right directionality.
Just like the kings of Israel, students will be copying Scripture into their very own copywork books. We recommend that they use composition notebooks such as these because they lie flat and will store nicely.
- Parents and students may want to refer to these handwriting reference forms, which also include a short introduction to cursive that you can use as a refresher course.
When a copywork book is full, label the front cover with the passages of Scripture it contains, and store in a special place, such as the student’s bedroom. As Deuteronomy 17:18-20 says, encourage your students to actually read from their own copywork books every day for their own devotional and prayer time.
Note to Busy Moms
We greatly encourage you to schedule a time to swap books and correct the day’s work. (We also enjoy hearing what our children learned from that day’s copywork!)
If you find mistakes, urge your children to fix them! Again, they are handling Scripture, which is inerrant. (This would be a great word to have your children look up in a dictionary, then discuss with them how carefully scribes have copied the words of Scripture through the centuries.)
By the way, if your day is full and your energy is waning, your husband would probably enjoy participating with this.