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aspiecat
05-11-2014, 05:53 AM
Are there any workbooks that help middle- and high-schoolers to write essays? I think something solid and step-by-step might suit DS.

Aspie

crunchymum
05-11-2014, 10:32 AM
These are the two I am considering. I don't have them so I can't comment on them - sorry! It's on my list for this summer to nail down the plan.
Help for High School (http://www.bravewriter.com/program/home-study-courses/help-for-high-school/) I am leaning towards using this program first and then following it up with the MCT materials. I think I will start with the Essay Voyage program because if it is too young for my high schooler I can use it for my middles.
MCT: Homeschool Writing Program - Series by Royal Fireworks Press (http://www.rfwp.com/series/mct-writing-program#book-advanced-academic-writing-vol-2-student-book)

roy.speed
05-11-2014, 01:30 PM
Hi, aspiecat.

I'm new here just introduced myself in the Introductions and Welcomes (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/introductions-welcomes/) forum.

I'm a homeschooling dad, and in my professional life, I teach writing to business folk. I'm very much engaged with the challenges of:

teaching essay-writing to my own kids (a son who's now a freshman in college a daughter who just turned 14);
teaching it to the larger world of high-school-age homeschoolers.

I'm not going to recommend a particular resource; rather, I'm going to suggest two principles I consider vital and overlooked in the teaching of the essay form:

Principle No. 1: Essay appreciation. It seems to me bizarre that we ask our kids to produce writing in a particular form, the essay, before they've actually read any. We press on our kids the five-paragraph thing, but what they need to know is that the larger world of essays is an astonishingly rich world, fertile with thought and creativity. We need to show them the best essays written across a variety of fields to stimulate their imaginations and help them see what it might look like for them to find their own voice in the essay form.
Principle No. 2: Understanding their purpose. What I think all kids need to know is that across the world, all the great issues in any field science, history, literature, politics are discussed and debated in the form of essays. So being able to write essays means learning the equipment you need to join and participate in the wide world of intellectual discussion of all the great issues of our time.

Hope this is helpful, aspiecat.

Avalon
05-11-2014, 02:07 PM
Hi, aspiecat.



Principle No. 1: Essay appreciation. It seems to me bizarre that we ask our kids to produce writing in a particular form, the essay, before they've actually read any. We press on our kids the five-paragraph thing, but what they need to know is that the larger world of essays is an astonishingly rich world, fertile with thought and creativity. We need to show them the best essays written across a variety of fields to stimulate their imaginations and help them see what it might look like for them to find their own voice in the essay form.



THIS! I totally agree! I think it is utterly bizarre that we ask kids to write these lame 5-paragraph essays when they have never actually read any. My daughter learns kind of intuitively, and she would pick it up easily if I could just show her a lot of really good examples of essays. Unfortunately, nobody in the real world writes a 5-paragraph essay, and I can't say I've actually enjoyed reading the samples I have found.

The purpose isn't that easy, either. It's mainly an academic formula, and I don't think people use it once they've left school.

dbmamaz
05-11-2014, 02:24 PM
MCT talks about that issue, at least in essay voyage, and has lots of examples of essays in the book.

Bravewriter takes a less academic and more personal approach. She leads the kids through exercises to find your voice, exercises to brainstorm, and describes the process in a .. . idk, maybe more holistic way, but it really worked well for my teen. Although, actually, we used Essay Voyage from MCT in 9th and 10th, and Help for High School in 11th and 12th. I also had him write up summary papers (with a set format) for the chapters of Zinn he read. So, instead of using a curriculum, have them read a book about a subject and write a summary of each chapter, or choose a topic to do a research paper about

roy.speed
05-11-2014, 02:53 PM
You're right, Avalon; they don't use it once they've left school.

I think we have to show kids the real world of essays and then let them know that this five-paragraph-essay thing is really just an exercise: to real essays, the five-paragraph essay bears the same relationship as push-ups bears to tennis or basketball.

The five-paragraph essay may be necessary, but it's really just preparation for the real deal.