Friday, September 16, 2011

Copywork and Handwriting

Take pains...to write a neat round, plain hand, and you will find it a great convenience through life to write a small and compact hand as well as a fair and legible one.
~Thomas Jefferson

As you can see on my Goodreads list, I am currently reading Has God Spoken? I was fascinated in reading how copyists or scribes would painstakingly copy every character of a written book and that the Bible was the most copied book of all times. I knew that but I think we tend to forget that before printers when men would copy entire books by hand and the handwriting was quite artistic. When I think about the classical approach to homeschooling, I realize that copywork was not just a tradition, but a necessary skill!

Princess' handwriting was quite neat when she was younger, so people remarked all the time, but has been quite sloppy for some time now and she has not been holding her writing instruments in the best position. My husband suggested that I just make her rewrite everything that was sloppy and I had been doing that all summer, but there was not much improvement. Besides that, there is just so much time in the day and it made both the Princess and me miserable. I think my Lord lead me to this book, because while I read it, I began to think about the scribes. I began to think about a better, more encouraging way to get her to want to improve her handwriting.

To appeal to her artistic side, to help her see that handwriting itself is an art form, we went to a craft store with a 40% off coupon and bought a felt tip calligraphy pen set of four. I also ordered books F and G of Getty and Dubay's Italic Handwriting, which we already had received; I had kept the teacher's manual from when we used books A and B.

I had her try to write a small "a" with the calligraphy pen so she could see that how she held the pen would make a big difference. I explained a bit about how scribes would use fancy lettering because each book was hand copied and each book, each page, each letter was beautiful artwork. After she realized the difficulty with making a nice "a" with the thinnest calligraphy pen, I explained I had her try the "a" because it is one of the most difficult so that she could appreciate starting with "i" to learn to slant the letters uniformly and to learn to hold the pen correctly. She enjoyed this exercise very much so I am hoping it works its magic eventually with her regular writing also.

If nothing else, my husband was impressed with my resourcefulness in appealing to her interests and talents.

~ My Lord, please inspire my daughter to make her handwriting an art form of beauty. ~

1 comment:

  1. YEs, I tried this with Star also & she loved workeing with the different coloured inks & nib sizes. Unfortunately her regular handwriting remain pretty illegible. Hope you have better success! ☺

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