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madteaparty

When/where do kids learn to do research/write a research paper?

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Mine have not actually had a specific class for research papers but it has been part of several other classes (online and co-op) they have done. Both older boys have taken a dual enrollment composition class that has focused on academic research writing.

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Mine just took Bravewriter's six week MLA Research Essay class.

Edited by Penguin
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IEW for my daughter. Our first year of homeschooling, Sonlight had it in their LA program for 7th grade, but it was overwhelming for her to learn and for me to teach. I wrote research papers throughout my career and had no clue how to break it down for a 12 year old, much less assess her grade wise that year. A wise mom told me to drop it at that point and look for another program for the next year. Luckily we started IEW the next year at our homeschool group and it worked quite well. Now she knows what to do and I know how to grade it. :) 

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Shortly after they learn to write independent paragraphs, my kids start writing simple reports by taking notes from 2-3 simple articles and synthesizing the information into a single report.  At this point there are no citations/no quotes.  The goal is to learn how to collect information, synthesize, and not plagiarize.

 

Sometime around 6th-7th grade, they learn to start incorporating supporting quotes. By this time writing longer reports has been going on for a while.  I don't worry about the "correct format" for citations at this point.  I introduce how to do it, but as long as it is fairly close when they first start, I don't worry about it too much.  I want the focus on learning to support, not citing.

 

By 8th grade, they should be able to search for information, collect notes, write a supported paper, and start to cite more accurately.  By high school, I want the focus on improving their style and argumentation vs. learning "how to."  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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One, through years of science fair participation (research report was required, and I just walked alongside each year, gradually helping her be more independent in the process until I wasn't needed in junior high. She participated 5th-10th grades).

 

The other, through Essentials in Writing by Matthew Stephens, in high school (too many writing issues to work on it sooner).

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The WWS series has a nice progression of learning to take notes, structuring short papers, learning to cite sources and incorporating quotes. It was a fairly seamless transition to using the book TWTM recommends for writing the research paper, though in between we did some more work with developing a clear thesis.

 

The best thing about using a class like Bravewriter might be the deadlines and accountability. That sort of thing is teachable, but enforcing mom-deadlines for a longer research paper with a young teen has been more difficult than teaching the writing piece! Science fair would be good for that, too; the deadline is firm, but you can help with planning and organization.

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We use IEW, so the beginnings of report writing are covered in the late elementary and middle school years.  Formal reports are taught in early high school. 

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The WWS series has a nice progression of learning to take notes, structuring short papers, learning to cite sources and incorporating quotes. It was a fairly seamless transition to using the book TWTM recommends for writing the research paper, though in between we did some more work with developing a clear thesis.

 

The best thing about using a class like Bravewriter might be the deadlines and accountability. That sort of thing is teachable, but enforcing mom-deadlines for a longer research paper with a young teen has been more difficult than teaching the writing piece! Science fair would be good for that, too; the deadline is firm, but you can help with planning and organization.

Hi, my kid is going through the Rhetoric sequence WWS class, and I agree that it's nice and incremental. I guess I'm wondering more about the research bit as so far, he sources have been provided.

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Hi, my kid is going through the Rhetoric sequence WWS class, and I agree that it's nice and incremental. I guess I'm wondering more about the research bit as so far, he sources have been provided.

We use(d) the books rather than the online classes, but if I remember correctly, they are writing and researching their own topics at the beginning of the second book. Actually, I think it is at the end of the first book, but I'd have to look. Then there is a pattern of learning a new "topic" where sources are provided, followed by practice weeks where they write based on the pattern, but brainstorm their own topic and find their own sources. By the end of the series, they are putting their own papers together by arranging a number of different "topics" of their choice.

Edited by Penelope
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Here is another DIY idea: assign a paper that has to follow National History Day guidelines. You have to use primary sources and create an annotated bibliography. There are sample papers available online, too. My son did an exhibit this year, and even that was a great way to boost his research skills. Plus, he had to turn in the process paper and annotated bibliography.

Edited by Penguin
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