10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Wrapping up

Here are the posts from this series, for your convenience:

We’ve reached the end of the series and I hope you have gained the desire and confidence to take these techniques and include them more fully in your homeschool.  I will leave you today with some links to continue your research and give you further tools to make copywork and dictation work for your family.  I hope you discover the versatility they provide in teaching and reinforcing (nearly painlessly) many, many concepts and skills!

Please include any questions in the comments if you feel you need more information.  I’d be happy to help you further!

Copywork printables:

Resources for good literature (and thus good places to find quality passages!):
Hop on over to my Facebook page.  If you “like” it, you will have access to a pdf of all of the eighty passages I listed in this series!  I will have it available until July of 2012, so be sure to download it soon.


Thanks for visiting!  And don’t forget to catch up on all of the posts of my friends at the iHomeschool Network!

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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.

You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivate curiosity, teach with Legos, and much much more!

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10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Character training

You can find the rest of the series here:

Reinforcing character with copywork and dictation

It is no secret that the words and images that go into our minds every day affect our thoughts and values, and even, over time, can affect who we are at our core.  There’s a heck of a lot of junk out there– on TV, the internet, and in books– amidst the good.  Using copywork and dictation intentionally alongside the character training and habit forming of our children is a natural extension of the language benefits of these techniques.
One easy choice is the Bible.  The passages that can be used to teach, build up, and reinforce values and character go far beyond the obvious Proverbs tidbits, to the very heart of the stories and lessons of both the Old and New Testaments.  But though it is our primary one, the Bible isn’t the only resource for character-building excerpts.  There are many wholesome and exciting picture books and novels that teach with stories.  Use the following passages in your daily language exercises, and to spark discussions about godly character traits that we can seek to develop together with our children.
Here are some passages that model examples of positive character traits, or learning experiences:


Level 1 (Copywork)

     Little Pear had some trouble with his leaves.  The wind kept blowing them away as soon as he had raked a few together, and they went in his face and down his neck!  At last, however, he managed to get some into his basket before they blew away, and he was very proud then.  He could rake leaves just like the others! ~Little Pear and His Friends, Eleanor Frances Lattimore

     When he had finished, Mi Fei looked into Sui Jen’s eyes.  He was astonished to see that the dragon was shrinking.  In a whisper rather than a roar, Sui Jen said, “Thank you, Mi Fei.  You have found the way for me to sleep once more.  Truly, the strongest thing in the world is love.” ~The Paper Dragon (picture book), Marguerite W. Davol 


Level 1 (Dictation)

     Betsy mounted on a soap box and began joyfully to wash the dishes.  She had never thought that ever in her life would she simply love to wash dishes beyond anything else! ~Understood Betsy, Dorothy Canfield Fisher

When little Fred
Was called to bed,
He always acted right;
He kissed Mama,
And then Papa,
And wished them all good night. ~Little Fred (from The Children’s Book of Virtues, edited by William Bennett)

Level 2 (Copywork)

     A thirsty Crow found a pitcher with some water in it, but so little was there that, try as she might, she could not reach it with her beak, and it seems as though she would die of thirst within sight of the remedy.  At last she hit upon a clever plan.  She began dropping pebbles into the pitcher, and with each pebble the water rose a little higher until at last it reached the brim, and the knowing bird was enabled to quench her thirst. (Moral- necessity is the mother of invention) ~Aesop’s Fables

     But it turned out that the best thing he had to offer the people of Korphe was his knowledge.  In the United States, Greg worked as an emergency room nurse, and he had a medical kit with him.  He began to go from house to house, doing what he could to cure injuries and illnesses with simple tools –– antibiotic ointment to keep wounds from getting infected, painkillers to ease suffering.  Peopl in and around Korphe began to call him “Dr. Greg,” no matter how many times he explained that he was really a nurse. ~Three Cups of Tea (Young Reader’s Edition), Greg Mortenson &David Oliver Relin

Level 2 (Dictation)

‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again;
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again;
Then your courage should appear,
For, if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear;
Try, try again. ~Try, Try Again (from The Children’s Book of Virtues, edited by William Bennett)

     Deeper in the forest, the sounds became more like whispers that seemed to come from the plants, the trees, the ground.  Listening intently, the knight and the boy heard evil chants, warnings to turn back, whisperings that made their hearts faint.
     But the boy knew how to guard his ears, for he knew the first command of the scroll, “Listen only to words that are pure.” ~The Squire and the Scroll, Jennie Bishop

Level 3*

     Hopeful tried to keep his head above water.  But the River was so deep that Christian sank again.  He was more frightened now than he had ever been, even in the Valley of the Shadow.  A great darkness and horror fell upon him.  For this was the River of Death.  And he feared he was drowning in it.
     But the troubles a man goes through in these waters are no sign that God has forsaken him.  All at once the sun was visible through the mist.  The pilgrims felt new strength within themselves, the water became less deep, the ground was firmer underfoot.  And so they reached the shore. ~Dangerous Journey, Oliver Hunkin (based on Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan)

     “I was the lion.”  And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued.  “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis.  I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead.  I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept.  I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time.  And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”
     “Then it was you who wounded Aravis?”
     “It was I.”
     “But what for?”
     “Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers.  I tell no one any story but his own.”
 ~The Horse and His Boy, C. S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia)

*Once my children reach 5th grade we no longer to copywork exercises, but continue dictation twice per week.  Use these harder passages as they would best fit your family.



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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.


You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!


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10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Editing practice




Use these links to make your way through the previous posts in this series:

Editing

Once the passage is chosen, implemented, and completed, I either edit my children’s work, or guide them in editing it themselves.  We use the basic editing/proofreading symbols and a red pen (the red pen is a silly staple at our house– I enjoy it a little too much, and my kids screech in mock horror when I pull it out) and go through the passage, looking at the original and comparing it with their work.  It’s always been surprising to me how many of their own errors they miss even with the original right in front of them.  Proofreading is definitely a skill that must be practiced!

For an extra dose of fun, have your child take your place as the teacher and you take the dictation.  It will give your child the practice with reading aloud (pacing, pauses, and inflection) and allow him to edit your work.  Be sure to make a few intentional mistakes for him to catch (shhhh…I won’t tell if you won’t *wink*).


Here are some examples in three levels of difficulty:


Level 1 (Copywork)

     Joggetty, joggetty, jog.  Then suddenly the wheelbarrow stopped.  “Is this the fair?” Little Pear wondered, and he peeped out very cautiously from under the onions with one black apple-seed eye.  Yes, they had reached the village of Wuku. ~Little Pear, Eleanor Frances Lattimore

     Next a hedgehog came snuffling along.  Having spent the day looking under wet leaves for things to eat, he decided to move into the mitten and warm himself.  The mole and the rabbit were bumped and jostled, but not being ones to argue with someone covered with prickles, they made room. ~The Mitten, Jan Brett

Level 1 (Dictation)

     In that hour they saw sixteen shooting stars, and they each made sixteen perfect wishes. ~The Eagle (Lighthouse Family series), Cynthia Rylant

     Outside, the rain had stopped and the clouds had gone away and the sky was so clear it seemed like I could see every star ever made. ~Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo

Level 2 (Copywork)    

     “What are you crying for, Ermengarde?” she asked.
     “I’m not crying,” answered Ermengarde, in a muffled, unsteady voice.
     “You are,” said Jessie.  “A great big tear just rolled down the bridge of your nose and dropped off at the end of it.  And there goes another.”
     “Well,” said Ermengarde, “I’m miserable –– and no one need interfere.”  And she turned her plump back and took out a handkerchief and boldly hid her face in it. ~A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

     “Oh, botheration!” exclaimed Henry.  “Now what’re we going to do?”
     “Well,” suggested Ella, “why don’t we go to Fanny’s house for a change?”  Fanny was Henry’s special chum outside of the family.
     “Nope, we can’t.  We’re mad at each other.”
     “Again!”  Sarah was amused.  “You’re forever mad and glad at each other.  Can’t you get glad just for today?”
     “No, I’m not going to––ever!  She’s a big tattletale.  I’m never going to speak to her again!” ~All of a Kind Family, Sydney Taylor

Level 2 (Dictation)

     Betsy came to herself out of her momentary daze and snatched Molly’s hand.  “Hurry! quick!  We must find the Wendells before they get away!”
     In her agitation (for she was really very much frightened) she forgot how easily terrified little Molly was.  Her alarm instantly set the child into a panic. ~Understood Betsy,  Dorothy Canfield Fisher

     Walking on the moon was so easy.  If she didn’t watch herself, she would be running without even knowing it.  She tried to slow down to a kind of shuffle, dragging her feet along the dust as she walked.  In some places, it was definitely looser than in others.  One spot she stepped on seemed to give way rather easily. ~Miss Pickerell on the Moon, Ellen MacGregor and Dora Pantell

Level 3*

     The potatoes, unluckily, were in one of their bad moods.  Peggy and Susan kept on prodding them, almost as if each potato was a Voodoo doll being prodded to make a great-aunt uncomfortable, but for one reason or another they would not get soft.  And the two mates had set themselves to make a really good dinner, with the hotted pemmican and the potatoes coming along at the same moment instead of letting the potatoes lag behind and come dawdling in when the meat course was over, so that they spoilt the taste of chocolate or apples that might be meant for dessert. ~Swallowdale, Arthur Ransome {I just love the idea of potatoes in a bad mood, and dawdling…don’t you?}

     The world saw Leonardo as courtly and charming.  But at heart he was a solitary man.  “If yu are alone,” he once wrote, “you belong entirely to yourself… If you are accompanied by even one companion you belong only half to yourself, or even less.”  In the peace of his aloneness, Leonardo could imagine, create and dream.  It is easy to picture him, then, in his room by himself, writing in one of his famous notebooks.
     He began them when he was about thirty.  Over the years he filled thousands of pages with the outpourings of his amazing mind.  There were drawings of grotesque faces, drafts of letters, sketches for future paintings, lists of books he owned, plans for inventions, moral observations, pages copied out of books he had borrowed, notes of things to remember, designs for weapons, drawings of anatomy, and observations of nature. ~Leonardo da Vinci, Diane Stanley

*Once my children are in fifth grade, I cease copywork exercises and continue with dictation twice per week.  Use these more challenging passages to best fit your family.

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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.

You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivate curiosity, teach with Legos, and much much more!

………………………………………

10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Parts of Speech

If you’ve missed the previous posts, you can find them right here in one handy-dandy list:

Be sure to like my Facebook page to get a free pdf of all of the 
passages in the series at the end of the week!


Parts of Speech

Even the youngest children can use their copywork and dictation passages to work on their parts of speech.  Here are some fun ideas for extension exercises:
  • Use colored skittles or m&m’s to mark the different parts of speech in a given passage.  Even young children can find the verbs and nouns (and eat the correct ones when they’re finished!)
  • Have young children act out the verbs, or draw pictures of the nouns (making sure to draw them as the adjectives insist, if applicable)
  • Using a list of prepositions, take a simple sentence skeleton from the passage and add a prepositional phrase to the beginning or end.  Take turns with your child changing the prepositional phrase until one of you can no longer think of one to use.  (For example: “She ate the bagel in her pajamas.  She ate the bagel behind the couch.  She ate the bagel under the umbrella.”
  • Once he has finished the exercise, have him diagram the sentences.
  • Go through the passage and replace every noun, verb, and adjective with another, sillier one, a la Mad Libs!
  • Edited to add: My friend Amy over at Milk and Cookies has a post today on teaching parts of speech with Legos!  Be still my boys’ beating hearts!

Level 1 (Copywork)

     Karl sat down and looked out the window.  Toward the west was Vienna, where he’d played horn duets with his father and sung songs with his sisters and mother.  “Oh,” he said, “I wish I could say farewell to this place.” ~The Boy Who Loved Music, David Lasker

     Hank was the oldest of the horses, and he was never very sure of anything except that he liked oats better than anything in the world.  “I don’t know,” he said slowly.  “I guess it would be all right.  Some animals would be all right, and then again, some wouldn’t.  I wouldn’t want elephants or tigers.  Or polar bears.  Or giraffes.  Or––” ~Freddy the Detective, Walter R. Brooks


Level 1 (Dictation)

     By this time it was noon, and Almanzo had not seen his pumpkin yet.  But he was hungry, so they went to dinner. ~Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder

     “There’s only one cure for the shrinks,” said Mr. Twit.
     “Tell me!” she cried.  “Oh, tell me quickly!”
     “We’ll have to hurry!” said Mr. Twit. ~The Twits, Roald Dahl

Level 2 (Copywork)

     But he soon stopped laughing when he came to consider that it was now very late and dark and cold, and he was in an unknown wood, with no money and no chance of supper, and still far from friends and home; and the dead silence of everything, after the roar and rattle of the train, was something of a shock.  He dared not leave the shelter of the trees, so he struck into the wood, with the idea of leaving the railway as far as possible behind him. ~The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

     “Surrender instantly!” answered General Jinjur, standing before him and frowning as terribly as her pretty face would allow her to.
     “Surrender!” echoed the man, astounded.  “Why, it’s impossible.  It’s against the law!  I never heard of such a thing in my life.”
     “Still, you must surrender!” exclaimed the General, fiercely.  “We are revolting!”
     “You don’t look it,” said the Guardian, gazing from one to another, admiringly.
     “But we are!” cried Jinjur, stamping her foot, impatiently; “and we mean to conquer the Emerald City!” ~The Marvelous Land of Oz, L. Frank Baum


Level 2 (Dictation)

     Hunca Munca tried every tin spoon in turn; the fish was glued to the dish.
     Then Tom Thumb lost his temper.  He put the ham in the middle of the floor, and hit it with the tongs and with the shovel –– bang, bang, smash, smash!
     The ham flew all into pieces, for underneath the shiny paint it was made of nothing but plaster! ~The Tale of Two Bad Mice, Beatrix Potter

     Then suddenly he remembered a story which Christopher Robin had told him about a man on a desert island who had written something in a bottle and thrown it in the sea; and Piglet thought that if he wrote something in a bottle and threw it in the water, perhaps somebody would come and rescue him.
     He left the window and began to search his house, all of it that wasn’t under water, and at last he found a pencil and a small piece of dry paper, and a bottle with a cork to it. ~Winnie-the-Pooh, A. A. Milne


Level 3*

     “You mean then, Mr. Peabody,” remarked Mr. Theo when the other had finished, “that you would be quite willing for all kinds of men to come here and trample the face of Basidium, making a public place of it and breaking these peaceful lives and changing everything forever?  I said little on the journey here, because I thought that perhaps the sight of these innocent Mushroom People might change your mind.  But I see that it hasn’t.  And I can only say that I feel you are wrong, very wrong, to be determined to force events ahead so quickly.”
     “Yes,”agreed Mr. Bass.  “You are wrong, Mr. Peabody.  Therefore, for your own good I am afraid that you must be forbidden ever to set foot on Basidium again.”
     At these words Horatio let out a kind of hoarse bark which was no doubt meant to be laughter. ~Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet, Eleanor Cameron

     The man had rolled over in falling, and lay face up in the light of the fire, and for the first time I saw his face.  Not a face of the blue-eyed savages we thought of the Saxons as being; blue-eyed, certainly, but just a man’s face, weather-beaten, square-cut, neither young nor old, the kind of face one might have thought of as dependable.
     So that was my first experience of war.  Despite the last year’s skirmishes, despite all that was to come so soon after, it has remained, my first experience of war, in my memory ever since. ~The Shining Company, Rosemary Sutcliff


*Once my children reach 5th grade, we stop copywork exercises but continue with dictation twice per week.  Use these harder passages as you see fit.



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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.


You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivate curiosity, teach with Legos, and much much more!





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10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Punctuation



Welcome to the second week of 10 Days of Copywork and Dictation!  If you missed the first week of the series, you can find the posts here:

Punctuation Practice

Punctuation is defined as, “symbols that indicate the structure and organization of written language, as well as intonation and pauses observed when reading aloud.” (Wikipedia)  Copywork and dictation are perfect tools to use not only to practice marks that your children have learned, but also to introduce new marks that they will learn as they progress through grammar studies.  Punctuation usage is also a matter of style to some degree, as different authors prefer certain marks over others, and copywork passages from a variety of authors who wrote in different decades can provide discussion starters alongside the written work.

  • For a fun exercise, write each individual word of a passage on a slip of paper and use different types of small candies in place of each type of punctuation mark (chocolate chips for commas, skittles for periods, sweettarts for quotation marks, etc.).  Mix them all up and have your child build the sentence– and eat the candy!– before she copies it.
  • Have your child change some of the punctuation marks and then read the passage with the new marks.  Make sure there are clear differences between them.  This is a great exercise in fluency and public speaking as well.
  • With your solid readers, compare the punctuation usage between authors.  Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, A. A. Milne, or L. Frank Baum are examples of authors with unique ways of using punctuation.
Here are selections in three levels, with a focus on different types and uses of punctuation marks:


Level 1 (Copywork)

     “Perhaps you could get him some pipe cleaners,” said Mrs. Brown vaguely.  “He’s always running out.”
     “Pipe cleaners!” repeated Aunt Lucy, looking most upset.  “I’d like something more than that!” ~Paddington on Top, Michael Bond

     “What’s the good,” asked Pod, “of things behind glass?”
     “Couldn’t you break it?” suggested Arrietty.  “Just a corner, just a little tap, just a…” Her voice faltered as she saw the shocked amazement on her father’s face. ~The Borrowers, Mary Norton


Level 1 (Dictation)

     The day came, as I knew it would, when I could not get the shoes on at all.  Ma had to be told. ~In Grandma’s Attic, Arleta Richardson

     “Rain, rain, go away,” chanted Janey, watching the drops falling through the leaves. ~The Moffats, Eleanor Estes

Level 2 (Copywork)

     “Hello, Moffats,” he said sneeringly, pretending he was going to bump smack into them but veering quickly aside just before crashing.  His tone had improved very little since the ghost in the attic, but at least he no longer pulled Sylvie’s curls and Jane’s braids.  He didn’t honk his bicycle siren right in their ears, nor did he bark like a dog at Catherine-the-cat. ~The Moffats, Eleanor Estes

     Calvin, his face screwed up with grim determination, did not relax his hold.  The man with the red eyes nodded and three of the men moved in on Calvin (at least it took three of them), pried him loose, and held him as Meg was being held.
     “Mrs. Whatsit!” Meg called despairingly.  “Oh, Mrs. Whatsit!” ~A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

Level 2 (Dictation)

     “Tell us!  Tell us!” echoed the others.
     “Yes, Johnny, you had better tell them now,” said Mrs. Woodlawn.
     Mr. Woodlawn still hesitated, his eyes deep with thoughts of something far away, something beyond the warm room and the ring of bright, expectant faces; something less bright and warm and happy. ~Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink

     Our room became cumbered with rods, wires, tubes, copper plates and glass jars filled with evil-smelling liquids.  It was difficult to move about without touching something likely to produce one of those hair-stiffening shocks. ~Ben and Me, Robert Lawson

Level 3*

     “Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?” asked Scrooge.
     “I am!”
     The voice was soft and gentle.  Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance.
     “Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded.
     “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
     “Long past?” inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature.
     “No.  Your past.”
     Perhaps, Scrooge could not have told anybody why, if anybody could have asked him; but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap; and begged him to be covered. ~A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

 “Very well.  We will do as you tell us,” said Tricksey-Wee.  “And now, if you please, how shall we go?”
     “Oh, that’s our business,” said the first spider.  “You come with me, and my grandfather will take your brother.  Get up.”
     So Tricksey-Wee mounted on the narrow part of the spider’s back, and held fast.  And Buffy-Bob got on the grandfather’s back.  And up they scrambled, over one web after another, up and up–so fast! And every spider followed; so that, when Tricksey-Wee looked back, she saw a whole army of spiders scrambling after them.
     “What can we want with so many?” she thought; but she said nothing. ~The Light Princess and Other Fairy Tales, George MacDonald

     “Patrick!  Did you stick a pencil into Omri?”  (Such a thing was not unknown during assemblies when they were bored.)
     “No, Mr. Johnson.”
     “Well, be quiet when I’m talking!”
     “Another jab, and this time Little Bear meant business and kept his knife embedded.  Omir shouted “Ouch!” and jumped to his feet.
     “Omri!  Patrick!  Leave the hall!”
     “But I didn’t–” began Patrick.
     “Out, I said!” shouted Mr. Johnson furiously. ~The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynne Reid Banks

*I stop requiring copywork at around 5th grade but continue to assign dictation twice per week.  Use these harder passages as they would best work in your family.

………………………………………
The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.
You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivate curiosity, teach with Legos, and much much more!

………………………………………

Photo credit

10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Poetry

Welcome back!  It’s day 5 of 10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- we’ve completed a whole week!  Here are the first four posts:

Poetry

It’s National Poetry Month!  Copywork and dictation are perfect supplements to your other poetry activities, and easily reinforce what your children are learning about this wonderful artistic genre.  Poetry often does not follow traditional rules of punctuation, formatting, and capitalization, and also includes much more figurative and expressive language.  There is so much to choose from in deciding how to use it in your weekly copywork and dictation passages.


From Poetry for Young People Emily Dickinson



Here are a few ideas:
  • Compare and contrast two different poems by poets who have very clear stylistic differences.  Try e. e. cummings and Robert Frost, for example.  Talk about rhyming vs non-rhyming poetry, cummings’ choice to use almost no capital letters, sentence structure, etc.
  • Use poetry from children’s books and talk about rhyme scheme, then have your child draw a picture to accompany their copywork.  Use different colored m&m’s or skittles at the end of each line that rhymes (for example: an ABAB stanza might use red/yellow/red/yellow in candy).
  • Find uses of metaphor (comparison of two contrasting things or ideas without the words “like” or “as”) and simile (comparison with the words “like” or “as”).  Draw pictures representing them.
  • Here is a wonderful Squidoo lens on poetry in your homeschool by Jimmie at Jimmie’s Collage.
  • Choose a dozen or so descriptive words in the poem you’ve used and give your child a thesaurus.  Have him look up synonyms and rewrite the poem with the new words he found.
  • Many children’s picture books are written in poetic form and are a pleasure to look at as well as read.  Use these for copywork or dictation and then have your child identify verbs, adjectives, etc.
  • To help your child get a feel for the rhythm of a poem, have her listen a few times as you read it, take it down in dictation, and then read it outloud herself while stepping around the room only on the strong beats.


Here are a number of poetry examples for copywork and dictation, in increasing order of difficulty:





Early Bird by Shel Silverstein

Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird, be an early early bird–
But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

From Singing by Robert Louis Stevenson

The children sing in far Japan,
The children sing in Spain;
The organ with the organ man
Is singing in the rain.

From The Library (picture book) by Sarah Stewart

She didn’t like to play with dolls,
She didn’t like to skate.
She learned quite to read quite early
And at an incredible rate.

Fog by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

From The Library by Sarah Stewart

Elizabeth Brown
Walked into town
Summer, fall, winter, and spring.

Elizabeth Brown
Walked into town
Looking for only one thing.

She didn’t want potato chips,
She didn’t want new clothes.
She went straight to the bookstore.
“May I have one of those?

From Dreadful by Shel Silverstein

Someone ate the baby.
It’s absolutely clear
Someone ate the baby
‘Cause the baby isn’t here.
     We’ll give away her toys and clothes.
     We’ll never have to wipe her nose.
     Dad says, “That’s the way it goes.”
     Someone ate the baby.

Summer Grass by Carl Sandburg

Summer grass aches and whispers.

It wants something; it calls and sings; it pours
     out wishes to the overhead stars.
The rain hears; the rain answers; the rain is slow
     coming; the rain wets the face of the grass.

From Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee (picture book) by Chris van Dusen

The pair left the dock at seven o’clock
And motored their way around Eagle Egg Rock.
They passed by the lighthouse and by the old wreck
With Magee at the wheel and Dee on the deck.

They suddenly spied off the bow to the east
A big pod of whales (there were fifty at least!)
Splashing about in the bright morning sun,
Feasting on shrimp and sardines by the ton.

Ebb by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I know what my heart is like
Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
Left there by the tide,
A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the ledge.

Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not see before?
Only a question less or a question more;
Nothing to match the flight of the wild birds flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

From The Wild Swans at Coole by W. B. Yeats

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

I have looked upon these brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Don’t forget to like my Facebook page (sidebar) for a free pdf of all of the series’ passages at the end of next week!

………………………………………
The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.

You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivate curiosity, teach with Legos, and much much more!

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10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Vocabulary

Happy Thursday!  Welcome to day 4 of the 10 Day series on copywork and dictation!  If you missed the earlier posts, you can find them here:

Vocabulary in Copywork and Dictation

There are so many wonderful books out there that have challenging vocabulary.  There is no need to waste our or our children’s time on books that are fluff (or “twaddle” as Charlotte Mason called them) especially when we’re trying to use books as teaching tools for language.  Look in books that are beyond your child’s reading level for copywork and have her read the passage aloud before she copies it.  Help her with the pronunciation of any difficult words and then let her write.  If the passage is for dictation, your choices shouldn’t have as many unknown words; let your child know ahead of time if there is something that might cause some trouble but that he should just do his best to sound it out based on the rules that he knows and you’ll correct it together when he’s finished.  I sometimes coach a bit (for example, “what combination makes the ‘shun’ sound if it’s at the end of a word?” or “this word doesn’t quite follow the rules; it is an exception.  Let’s work it out together.”  I even might give the spelling of a challenging word and have my child write it at the bottom of her paper for reference before we start the dictation.)

Once the passage has been written, edited, and corrected, turn the challenging words into a dictionary exercise.  Have your child write out the tough or unknown words on a separate sheet of paper, define them, list their parts of speech, and use them in a sentence of their own making.  If it’s a dictation passage with few new words, choose some words for your child to alphabetize so that his practice is enhanced.
Here are some copywork and dictation examples with a focus on vocabulary.

Level 1 (Copywork)

     “You were locked out!” exclaimed the judge.  He gazed round the court in the hope of seeing who might be responsible.  “This is an outrage.  I will not have people prevented from appearing in this way.” ~Paddington on Top, Michael Bond
     “That’s it!” I exclaim, and Fats opens one eye reluctantly.  “We’ll go as a popcorn box.  No one will notice an old box that happens to blow into the store.  It’s a perfect disguise.”
     Raymond looks at me with admiration.  “It might work, Marvin,” he says.  “It just might.”
~The Great Cheese Conspiracy, Jean Van Leeuwen

Level 1 (Dictation)

     There was a bump on his forehead, and he felt surprised and dazed, and he didn’t know at first what had happened. ~Little Pear and His Friends, Eleanor Frances Lattimore

     “How long can a fox go without food or water?” Boggis asked on the third day. ~Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl

Level 2 (Copywork)

     She looked at White Fang, who snarled and bristled and glared malevolently.
     “He’ll have to learn, and he shall, without postponement,” Scott said.
     He spoke softly to White Fang until he had quieted him, then his voice became firm.
     “Down, sir!  Down with you!”
     This had been one of the things taught him by the master, and White Fang obeyed, though he lay down reluctantly and sullenly.” ~White Fang, Jack London
     There was a laugh just where he wasn’t looking, and when he turned that way, a patter of feet, and the whispering was where he had been looking a moment before.
     “Are you just teasing me?” he asked, and was answered by such an infectious little laugh that he couldn’t help laughing too.  After that there was silence, but it was a companionable, happy one in which presently he smiled and settled himself to sleep. ~The Children of Green Knowe, L. M. Boston

Level 2 (Dictation)

     Ramona despaired.  Nobody understood.  She wanted to behave herself.  Except when banging her heels on the bedroom wall, she had always wanted to behave herself.  Why couldn’t people understand how she felt?  She had only touched Susan’s hair in the first place because it was so beautiful, and the last time–well, Susan had been so bossy she deserved to have her hair pulled. ~Ramona the Pest, Beverly Cleary
     “I do,” he went on persistently.  “I don’t think I ever really wanted to see anything before, but I want to see that garden.  I want the key dug up.  I want the door unlocked.  I would let them take me there in my chair.  That would be getting fresh air.  I am going to make them open the door.” ~The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Level 3*

     As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open to every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn.  On all sides he beheld vast store of apples, some hanging in oppressive opulence on the trees, some gathered into baskets and barrels for the market, others heaped up in rich piles for the cider press.  Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears peeping from their leafy coverts and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty pudding. ~The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving
     “If so, it is a serious case.  Nothing less would bring a man out on such a day and at such an hour.  But I take it that it is more likely to be some crony of the landlady’s.”
     Sherlock Holmes was wrong in his conjecture, however, for there came a step in the passage and a tapping at the door.  He stretched out his long arm to turn the lamp away from himself and toward the vacant chair upon which a newcomer must sit.  ‘Come in!’ said he.
     The man who entered was young, some two-and-twenty at the outside, well-groomed and trimly clad, with something of a refinement and delicacy in his bearing. ~The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page to get the whole series of passages in a pdf file at the end of next week!

*I stop copywork exercises around grade five and continue with dictation two times per week.  Use these harder passages as you think they’d best work in your homeschool.


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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.


You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!


………………………………………

10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- The How-To of Dictation (vlog)

Welcome to Day 3 of this 10 day adventure about the benefits and practice of copywork and dictation!  You can find the first two posts linked below.  Be sure to like my Facebook page (on the sidebar) to receive a freebie pdf of all of the passages included in this series upon its conclusion.

  1. The Benefits of Copywork and Dictation
  2. Choosing Passages 

How we implement dictation:

     The thing, whatever it was, did look rather like a dragon–but then it was too small; and it looked rather like a lizard–only then it was too big.  It was about as long as a hearthrug.
     “I wish it had not been in such a hurry to get back into the wood,” said Sabrinetta.  “Of course, it’s quite safe for me, in my dragonproof tower; but if it is a dragon, it’s quite big enough to eat people, and today’s the first of May, and the children go out to get flowers in the wood.”

Here are some more passages to use, graded in three levels:


Level 1 (Copywork):

     When Miss Agnes read to us, she did all the people in different voices, and we forgot right away it was just reading.  It got real, like being inside the book.
     I didn’t want Miss Agnes to ever stop reading.  I felt as if I really was in that dark, deep forest with trees taller than you ever heard of, and when she stopped, I felt shocked, as if I’d come out of a dream. ~The Year of Miss Agnes, Kirkpatrick Hill

     Already he knew quite a lot.  He knew that Washington was a general and lived in Virginia and was six feet tall and married to Martha and was the first President of the United States.
     He knew that Washington rode two horses in the war, Blueskin and Nelson, but Nelson was his favorite because he was so steady in gunfire. ~George Washington’s Breakfast, Jean Fritz

Level 1 (Dictation):


     They grew large and brown and ugly.  Their big eyes bulged and their horny legs took them hopping everywhere. ~On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder

     “Give me my Bunny!” he said.  “You mustn’t say that.  He isn’t a toy.  He’s REAL!” ~The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

Level 2 (Copywork):


     Dr. Topman cleared his throat.
     “You know, boys,” he said briskly and sensibly, “it seems to me that before we all sit down and hear about your adventures, you should really have a good sleep first.  Look at Chuck–the boy’s positively staggering with weariness.”
     “But why would he be?” protested David, wanting more than anything to have a big breakfast and tell everything right now. “We slept almost all the way home.” ~Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet, Eleanor Cameron

     “No, thank you,” said the prince, with a shudder.  “A daylight hunt is quite good enough for me, you silly pig keeper.”
     “Oh, well,” said Elfin, “do as you like about it–the dragon will come and hunt you tomorrow, as likely as not.  I don’t care if he does, you silly prince.”
     “You’re very rude,” said Tiresome.
     “Oh, no, only truthful,” said Elfin. ~The Book of Dragons, Edith Nesbit

Level 2 (Dictation):

     One group, especially busy, was gathered around an odd-shaped object of wood and metal about a foot long.  It was curved and had a point at one end; it looked, Mrs. Frisby thought, rather like the side of a small boat.  Could the rats be making a boat?  Then she saw that they were fastening a strong metal ring to the top of it. ~Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Robert C. O’Brien

     On the way home Pa said, “Well, Caroline, it’s pleasant to be with a crowd of people all trying to do the right thing, same as we are.”
     “Yes, Charles,” Ma said, thankfully.  “It will be a pleasure to look forward to, all week.”
     Pa turned on the seat and asked, “How do you girls like the first time you ever went to church?”
     “They can’t sing,” said Laura. ~On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Level 3*:

     Just as Anne emerged triumphantly from the cellar with her plateful of russets came the sound of flying footsteps on the icy board walk outside and the next moment the kitchen door was flung open and in rushed Diana Barry, white-faced and breathless, with a shawl wrapped hastily around her head.  Anne promptly let go of her candle and plate in her surprise, and plate, candle, and apples crashed together down the cellar ladder and were found at the bottom embedded in melted grease, the next day, by Marilla, who gathered them up and thanked mercy the house hadn’t been set on fire. ~Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery

     “A stowaway in the hold, sir,” said he in a very businesslike seafaring voice.  “I just discovered him, behind the flour bags.”
     “Dear me!” said the Doctor.  “What a nuisance!  Stubbins, go down with Bumpo and bring the man up.  I can’t leave the wheel just now.”
     So Bumpo and I went down into the hold; and there, behind the flour bags, plastered in flour from head to foot, we found a man.  After we had swept most of the flour off him with a broom, we discovered that it was Matthew Mugg.  We hauled him upstairs sneezing and took him before the Doctor. ~The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle, Hugh Lofting


*I stop copywork exercises around grade five and continue with dictation twice per week.  Use these harder passages as you think they would work best in your homeschool.


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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.


You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivate curiosity, teach with Legos, and much much more!


………………………………………

10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Choosing passages

Choosing passages 

I must admit that choosing passages for copywork and dictation is fun for me.  I’m weird like that.  I enjoy looking for exciting passages, or especially descriptive passages, that will spark the imagination and make the task of writing the passage less like work and more like a taste of something delicious, that the children feel they must have more of when time permits.  Here are some tips I’ve found help to narrow down your choices.

  • Know what concepts or skills you want your child to practice.  This could be neatness, quotes, vocabulary, cursive, sight words, paragraph format, style, prefixes and suffixes, proper nouns, poetry rhyme scheme, etc. etc. etc.
  • Know your child.  Does she get frustrated with passages that are too long?  Does he like a challenge?  Does she like books about animals?  Does he like fiction?  Choose things of interest to the particular child.
  • Look for vibrant words and dynamic images in the writing.  Choose cliff-hanger passages, or really silly ones.  Change it up each time so that the sentences are varied, the characters and topics are different, and your child is always mentally engaged.
  • Passages for copywork can be more challenging and you don’t have to talk through every concept your children come across.  The exposure to good language will sink in over time, so that when you do teach the concepts, the usage knowledge will already be there.
  • Dictation passages for very early grades should be mostly phonetic, but include some sight words or proper nouns for practice.  

Here are some examples in three different levels for you to use in your learning.  These levels don’t necessarily coincide with grade levels.


Level 1 (Copywork)

    She came to bed at last, looking spiky, like a washed-out golliwog, and Pod with a sigh turned over at last and closed his eyes. ~The Borrowers, Mary Norton
If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?”
~When We Were Very Young, A. A. Milne

Level 1 (Dictation)

     Little Bear, Emily, Lucy, Cat, Duck and Hen all came to Owl’s party. ~Little Bear’s Friend, Else Homelund Minarik
     Sarah closed her eyes and tried to sleep.  Then came a sound that made her open her eyes, and sit right up. ~The Courage of Sarah Noble, Alice Dalgliesh

Level 2 (Copywork)

    “I never realized it would be so simple,”said the king, stroking his beard and smiling broadly.
     “Quite simple indeed,” concurred the bug.
     “I sounds dangerous to me,” said Milo.
     “Most dangerous, most dangerous,” mumbled the Humbug, still trying to be in agreement with everybody. ~The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
     Her Swiss Army knife’s not here, which I would expect no matter where she was going.  She takes it everywhere.  But why aren’t her gloves on the peg?  Bando said the temperatures had been in the eighties by day and seventies by night.  Maybe she’s going to build a stone house at her new home site and needs her gloves. ~On the Far Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George

Level 2 (Dictation)

     Christopher was delighted.  He said, with his mouth full, “Gosh, you’re smart, Lester.”
     Lester put his hoof across his lips and pointed to Christopher’s full cheeks to indicate, “No talking with a full mouth.”
     Christopher looked up at his mother.  “Isn’t he smart, Mother?  Isn’t Lester wonderful?”
~Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic, Betty MacDonald

     Ralph wondered if Matt had wound the clock in the lobby.  Perhaps Matt was searching for a broken motorcycle in the shrubbery at the foot of the steps of the Mountain View Inn.  Well, he wouldn’t find it! ~Runaway Ralph, Beverly Cleary

Level 3*

    Below the rapid was a second pool, and here, captured by the eddy, he was gently borne to the bank and as gently deposited on a bed of gravel.  He crawled frantically clear of the water and lay down.  He had learned some more about the world.  Water was not alive.  Yet it moved.  Also, it looked as solid as the earth, but was without any solidity at all.  His conclusion was that things were not always what they appeared to be.  The cub’s fear of the unknown was an inherited distrust, and it had now been strengthened by experience. ~White Fang, Jack London
     The coachman pretended not to hear.  He said:
     “Wonder at her now – I do really!  Hates kids.  Got none of her own, and can’t abide other folkses.”
     The children, crouching in the white dust under the carriage, exchanged uncomfortable glances.
     “Tell you what,” the coachman went on firmly, “blowed if I don’t hide the little nipper in the hedge and tell her his brothers took ‘im!  Then I’ll come back for him afterwards.”
     “No, you don’t,” said the footman.  “I’ve took to that kid so as never was.  If anyone’s to have him, it’s me – so there!” ~Five Children and It, E. Nesbit  {note: once my children know proper grammar, I find it fun to occasionally give a passage with colloquial, or cultural, language that might not follow the rules.  It’s a great conversation starter!}
Tomorrow I’ll be posting a vlog to demonstrate how I read and pace a dictation exercise.  Be sure to “like” Fruit in Season on Facebook (see sidebar) and at the end of the series I will provide a freebie on my Facebook page of all of the passages I include in the next two weeks.

*I stop copywork exercises around grade five and continue with dictation two times per week.  Use these harder passages as you think they’d best work in your homeschool.

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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.


You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!

10 Days of Copywork and Dictation- Benefits of copywork and dictation



Welcome!  It’s wonderful to have you join me for this 10 day series on the basics of copywork and dictation.  Today we’ll look at the benefits of these techniques, and then for the next two weeks I’ll supply you with some great examples to use in your own home learning as well as tips for extension activities.

Why copywork and dictation?



“Why should you use copywork and dictation in the early grades?  The purpose of copywork is to get into the child’s visual (and motor) memory the look and feel of a sentence that is correctly composed, and properly spelled, spaced, and punctuated.  The purpose of dictation is to have a child practice transferring his knowledge of the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation to actual writing.”

~Jessie Wise~
Master painters copy the works of those that came before to learn their craft; composers study, copy and take dictation from the music of earlier eras to absorb the structure and rules of composition.  So our children, in the same way, can learn the nuts and bolts of language simply by using the techniques of copywork and dictation from good quality literature.

The classical method and the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling both rely heavily on copywork and dictation for acquisition of language skills.  I came to use these techniques gradually, and over seven years have come to fully appreciate the benefits they provide to our homeschool.  Very simply, copywork is writing down exactly what one sees on the page, with a focus on neatness, precision, and absorption of the mechanics of language; dictation is writing down what one hears read to him, which requires short-term memory skills, and the recollection and application of the mechanics of language– spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

There is one piece to the copywork and dictation puzzle that actually has nothing directly to do with either one.  That piece is reading.  In my experience with my own children, exposing them to good literature, both independently and as read-aloud material, is the magic ingredient that bonds all language skills together.

I first recognized the power of reading good material when my son, then seven or eight and a voracious reader, used parentheses correctly in a paragraph of writing I assigned to him.  I had never taught him about parentheses specifically, yet he learned painlessly what they were and how to use them in his readings.  This seamless connection happened time and again between reading, copywork, dictation and writing.  My older two children soak up the rules of spelling, punctuation, and grammar in large part simply through this happy quartet of tools.  The younger two are soon to follow (I hope!).

So to begin this series, and end this first post, let me leave you with some basic do’s and don’ts for copywork and dictation, and a few links to explore as well.

DO start early.  By first grade most children can handle a short sentence or two of copywork, and even a short mostly phonetic piece of dictation.

DON’T overwhelm children with too many rules at once.  In choosing your examples, focus on a concept or two that you have recently learned or need to review.

DO use good literature and exciting passages. I will give you plenty of examples over the next two weeks, but you can easily choose your own as well.  Suffice it to say, there have been many times my children have said to me, “That sounds like a good book!” after completing an exciting piece of dictation or copywork, and happily taken the book to their room to read.

DON’T expect them to know something obscure.  Dickens, for example, uses semi-colons and colons prolifically and not always in a modern, obvious way.  Some other examples may contain unusual proper nouns.  I give a heads up in these cases as the children take dictation.

DO let them choose the book sometimes.  I have veto power, but the kids like being able to choose a favorite book and I then pick the passage.

DON’T let them get frustrated.  Make sure the passage is accessible, yet challenging.  And while copywork should have excellence and neatness as a goal, dictation will not usually be perfect the first time (and if it is, the passage may be too easy!)

DO read dictation examples dynamically!  Your children will be able to hear every exclamation point, comma, and parenthetical phrase if you read it well.

DON’T vary your readings during one session.  You can accidentally make a statement sound like an exclamation if you’re not careful.  Try to read the excerpt the same way each time.

You might be interested in:

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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.


You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivate curiosity, teach with Legos, and much much more!