George Washington's Slow and Beautiful Work

Speaking of copywork, this was read to my daughter this year. It wasn't planned (as it rarely should be) to inspire her copywork, but how could it not?

Propped up in front of George, one winter day, between a pewter inkwell and a jar of sand for blotting was a faded, green book. George was preparing to copy it. He took a bite of an apple. Then he dipped his goose quill, and on the first sheet of his copy book, carefully wrote this title:

He copied as many pages as he could that day, and more the next, and kept on until he had come at last to number 110.

"Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celstial Fire called Conscience."

He misspelled "celestial" but he finished off with a fine flourish of scrolls and the Latin word

Meaning THE END!

He had the rules. Now all he had to do was to practice them!


Genevieve Foster, she of the famous horizontal-view-of-history books -  George Washington's World, Abraham Lincoln's World, The World of William Penn, The World of Christopher Columbus, The World of Captain John Smith and Augustus Caesar's World - has also written this sweet set of books to introduce our elementary students to some important American heroes.  They are full of her excellent style and lovely illustrations. Titles in her Initial Biography series include George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Each book has some fabulous 2-page illustrations.

A special treat when you've finished George Washington is this virtual tour of Mount Vernon.  Very cool!

A free download to make your own copy of Washington's Rules of Civility, a staple resource for copywork, can be found here.

And here you can view George Washington's actual slow and beautiful work.



  1. We love these. I'm missing Roosevelt :( When we visited Mt. Vernon his copy work caught our attention tremendously!

  2. Are these the same as the newish paper backs? I'm confused. Which isn't difficult. ;)