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Six Weeks Left of Homeschool Before High School: Help with Writing


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I have an 8th grader who will attend a private high school next year. He has been homeschooled since 1st grade and is a fairly reluctant writer, although he’s made some great strides in recent years. We’ve done several levels of Writing and Rhetoric followed by a few years of IEW theme books. 

We’re kind of burned out on IEW anyway and I have six weeks left to homeschool him. I wasn’t sure that IEW was teaching him the specific types of writing he’ll need in school anyway. What resources would you use to teach high school-type academic writing in this short period of time? 

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That's actually 2 goals -- "specific types of writing" (kinds of assignments), and, "high school-type academic writing" (structure/format):


The specific types of writing he will most likely encounter in high school:
- reader response papers (most likely for Literature and History)
- essays of various types (personal narrative, definition essay, process ("how to") essay, comparison, cause/effect, persuasive (
opinion), literary analysis)
- informational research paper with citations
- argumentative research paper with citations
- science lab reports
- note taking from lectures

For all but the last 2 types of writing, the format or structure is to make a claim, and build an argument of support for that claim. Key to this type of writing is the ability to *think* -- so maybe use a program that helps to develop the kind of thinking required for debate or logical argument:
- think of a claim or opinion or position (one of the 3 parts of the thesis statement)
- think of points/reasons to build an argument
- think of specific evidence (examples, facts, statistics, quotations, anecdotes) of support for the points/reasons
- think of "commentary" -- the sentences that explain how/why the evidence shows or supports the points/reasons, and sentences that explain how/why the points/reasons support the claim


In essence, the essay structure is:

I. Introductory Paragraph
- "hook" sentence
- if needed: sentence(s) defining terms or background info
- if writing about literature: author & title + sentence summary/overview of what the work is about (for context)
- overview sentence to provide context for the essay
- thesis statement
   * topic (overall subject of the paper)
   * claim (opinion, position, or "take" on the topic - must be "debatable" (i.e. not a statement of fact, but something you must "argue" for)
   * direction (the major points or reasons that support the claim that are fleshed out in the body paragraphs of the essay)

II. Body Paragraph (each)
- transition + topic sentence (what point/reason of the direction is being discussed in this paragraph)
- if needed: sentences of detail, information, explanation, defining terms, etc.
- specific piece of evidence #1 (example, fact, statistic, quotation, anecdote)
- commentary sentence (explaining how evidence #1 shows/supports the point/reason of the paragraph)
- specific piece of evidence #2 (example, fact, statistic, quotation, anecdote)
- commentary sentence (explaining how evidence #2 shows/supports the point/reason of the paragraph)
- concluding commentary sentence (explaining how the point/reason of the paragraph shows/supports the thesis claim)

III. Conclusion
- transition
- overview / wrap-up (not just a restatement, but in light of the argument made in the essay as a whole)
- "clincher" - final thought or "bow on top" to wrap it all up for the reader -- often ties back in with the title or hook or intro

There are just minor variations on this structure, depending on what specific type of essay you are doing, so maybe use a program that teaches and practices essay structure?


All that said, maybe just write, write, write various types of essays to get the essay structure down and, do it in MLA or APA format to get comfortable with using a style format for the paper...??

BEST of luck finding what helps best for the end of the year, and wishing you both all the BEST with the transition into high school next year. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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If you are willing to pay money for a summer online class, I was in a similar position w/ one of my kids and had them do a short summer online class at Kolbe Academy. I think it was called Composition Bootcamp ($239) -- they have them for a few different grade levels. It helped quite a bit and was definitely worth it to me.

Edited by BookwormTo2
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  • 2 weeks later...

If you are willing to do summer Lantern English open their summer enrolment on the 24 May I think. They are $60 per 8 weeks.  Time4writing can be really good too and are only a bit more.

 

Edited by kiwik
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