Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Copywork & the Right-Brained Child

Cindy Rushton has a very informative post on how she's used copywork over the years with her children, told in typical Cindy style. It's definitely worth the read.

My children have all been very reluctant writers. Actually holding a pencil or pen and forming letters was (is) a torturous act to them. They all take after their father! While I had "perfect" penmanship, I've had to realize none of my kids will ever have beautiful penmanship unless each one decides it is an art form worth developing. Right now I'm happy if it's actually readable. I might even say that my youngest has some disgraphia, but I have learned that right-brained children struggle mightily with symbolic language. In Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World, Jeffrey Freed writes in the first paragraph of the chapter on writing:

There's a reason I've saved writing for last in this program for the right-brained, ADD child: Writing is, almost without exception, the most difficult subject for children with this learning style to master. The right-brained child will manifest problems with writing from the time he first picks up a crayon. His fine moteor skills may be lagging during the formative preschool years, so even learning the correct way to grip a pencil can be a formidable task. His multidimensional visual orientation also makes him more prone to errors in copying letters and numbers; he may reverse them or write entire words backward. Hea has a diificult time bringing thoughts from his mental blackborad onto paper. It's very difficult for a right-brained child to do more than one thing at a time. As he struggles to translate pictures into words and to form letters, spell, and punctuate, his mental picture becomes distorted. Even attempting to write his name can be an exercise in frustration. He hates to fail; his perfectionism keeps him from trying again. His teacher, however well meaning, may be correcting every little mistake rather than helping him build confidence in expressing himself. ( pg. 137)

Maybe this coming year we'll be able to incorporate copywork into our day. I would like to be able to use it to help my son develop his abilities to express himself. Right now we use memorization of verses and poetry to help develop his linguistic skills. In the meantime, patience, patience... and working on keyboarding skills.


  1. Hello! Just found your blog. I didn't really work with my boys on their writing/penmanship until they were 8 grade. I did put them through some paces then, so they could have legible handwriting and some semblance of same size letter/words. I'm glad I waited. My 17 yo nephew (who moved in with us 5 years ago) probably has Asperger's and although it was a struggle and he has to concentrate to keep his writing consistent, he has improved dramatically and he is finding writing in general to be less of a chore, although he doesn't like to do it.

    He is beginning college (a distance learning program) in the fall. He will be able to handle the work now. It was definitely worth waiting.

  2. Hmmm, I never got notification of your comment, Pam, & I've just found it today!

    Thanks for that encouragement. So often boys who are delayed think they can never learn something, when they really need the support and safety of home education to let them learn at their own pace and in ways that complement their abilities.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  3. On a slightly related note, you might want to check the book A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers will Rule the Future, by Daniel Pink. It's not directly applicable to homeschooling, but the arguments he makes, regarding career choices in the future, make a lot of sense.

  4. Thanks for the heads up, Rusty. I'll have a look for that book.


Thanks for posting. I really appreciate it.