Copywork and dictation used to be my kids least favorite subjects. I got nothing but complaints when I said it was time to do copywork. And the complaints from my dictation takers were usually worse. I started out using the dictation exercises from Writing with Ease, but in the upper levels of the program the dictations were soooo long! They caused nothing but heartache, so I ditched them. I do have moments of doubt when I wonder if I should have stuck with it. I just keep telling myself that no one is likely to do poorly in life because of less time spent in dictation!
Our much more relaxed copywork/dictation consists of:
On Mondays, we do Benjamin Franklin quotes. The kids are all reading Benjamin Franklin biographies for history and this guy has so many amusing quotes that make for fun copywork! I copy a relatively short (4-6 word) quote for James. The older two get longer quotes and I dictate them. They get to look at the quotes for as long as they like before I dictate, so that they can check the spelling and punctuation. Then I dictate and they write. I usually only read the quote twice. With the shorter dictations there is less frustration and less need for me to repeat myself endlessly.
On Wednesdays, I choose copywork/dictation sentences from one of the books we are reading. I let the kids choose which book they'd like the sentence(s) to be from. I copy a short sentence for James to copy from, and I try to be nearby while he's working so that I can remind him to capitalize and notlethiswordsruntogether. For Christopher, I choose a longer sentence or two short sentences, aiming for ones that have interesting vocabulary or some punctuation. Grace is allowed to choose her own sentences (usually two or three) that she would like to have dictated. I encourage her to choose a passage with unfamiliar words , or at least a passage with plenty of punctuation.
Then, both Christopher and Grace spend time familiarizing themselves with the sentences.When they are ready, I dictate to them. If needed, I prompt them as they write. When they're all done, they check their work against the book and correct any errors. Copywork and dictation sheets are kept in a folder and added to each week. When the sheets are full, they are filed in three ring binders.