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Copy Books I, II, and III Review by Tina Rice

Leigh and Cheryl Lowe
Memoria Press
4105 Bishop Lane
Louisville, KY 40218
1-877-862-1097 (toll free)
1-502-966-9115 (international or local call)
1-502-966-5024 (fax)

Do you know what a copybook is? Well don't feel alone if you answered "no" because 5 out of 9 homeschoolers I asked didn't know what a copybook was used for. A copybook is a book dedicated to copying! Sounds simple, but they are a wonder of school days gone by. Most students in 2005 do not utilize a copybook, which is a sad state of education, in my opinion. I have long been a fan of copying Bible passages, poetry, stories, and songs. Copying provides students with the correct models of spelling and grammar. It teaches students to focus on details. It strengthens hand-eye coordination. If you add a page for drawing next to copied work, you also get a mini art class.

My mother (who is 63 years old) remembers using a copybook in elementary school. She recalls practicing her letters over and over and over again. "Practice makes perfect" was the motto of her teacher. My daughters Katie and Melissa copied Scripture, poems, and rhymes from 2nd through 8th grade. I have slacked off with Abigail and Daniel, and they have not done much copying. This year I decided that copying needed to be a priority in our home and was delighted to find that Memoria Press had come out with a series of three books.

Copy Book I is designed for beginning writers. It assumes limited knowledge of printing. I would recommend its use in kindergarten or first grade. Book II includes more pages to copy and uses narrower lines. I would recommend its use for first or second grade. Book III assumes that the student can copy from one page to the next and write on narrower lines. I world recommend it for second or third grade. All a student needs, beside their copybook, is a pencil and writing area.

The Memoria Press copybooks come with complete directions. They follow a 5-day plan for each lesson. Day one is Bible story time; day two is for a language lesson; day three is for memory work and copying; day four is for proofreading and review of all memory work; and day five is for illustration. I follow a different approach in my home, but I like the Memoria directions. I am planning to combine their ideas with mine to come up with a new Rice family copybook plan. These books were written for use in Highlands Latin School but are perfectly suited for use in a homeschool without any modifications.

I am very impressed with the work the Lowes did in producing Copybooks I, II, and III. They are neat, uncluttered, printed on quality paper, and affordable. For about $40 you get three years worth of material for copying. For future editions of Copybook II and III, I would like to suggest to Memoria Press that they change their binding. Book I is stapled and lies flat for ease of use, but books II and III are glue-bound and hump in the middle--a definite bummer for a lefty.

I will definitely be using Memoria Press Copybooks with Abigail and Daniel. Abigail, age 9, suffers from messy handwriting. I decided to start her on book I and make her trace and then copy printed letters. She did the work but was not very happy. Within a few weeks, I have noticed a great improvement in her writing. She now enjoys copybook time and said, "I really love my copybook. It is a lot of fun. It helped me know how to make the letter H. I like the drawing I get to do." This is high praise from my 9-year-old.

Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2008