My high schooler needs to learn how to write a research paper—where do I begin? Homeschool mom Becky Cooke shares some practical advice, on today’s Home School Heartbeat with Mike Smith.
Becky, many parents find that writing is a very difficult subject to teach—often, it’s easier to demonstrate than to explain. Can you offer some suggestions for the parent who has just assigned a research paper to his or her student?
Well, you know, Mike, it’s important for the parent to not only encourage the children in their writing, but also provide specific guidelines for the assignment. Begin by giving the child a list of narrow topics, because children often choose ones that are too broad, resulting in a superficial paper. Then also provide a list of suggested sources to use for investigating their topic. Of course, this means the parent must familiarize himself with these ahead of time. Having the children formulate an outline will help to organize their ideas in the order of presentation, giving their papers a good flow. Also, it’s helpful to start with a short research paper (five pages) before working toward longer ones—say, 10 pages. Remember, though, for all of us the most difficult part of writing is, really, getting started. Even with the best teaching, best course of study, it comes down to practice, practice, practice. That’s the most effective tool in becoming a good writer.
Becky, that’s very helpful. Please join us next time. And until then, I’m Mike Smith.