Good Essay for a Homeschooler? 6 Questions that Help

HERE’S A QUESTION ON ESSAY WRITING I RECEIVED RECENTLY:

Hi, Firstly, thank you for answering all of my questions. After a careful look I was able to find all the downloads and have listened to the first 3 lessons. The Essay Course is quite different from your Writing Course.

How would you advise a homeschool mum who has very limited experience with essay writing? I have a reluctant 15 year old daughter who understands the importance of learning how to write clearly but has a fear when it comes to writing essays.Does this program give a step by step guide on how to write a great essay and give essay tasks or do I need to come up with writing tasks? I read that you suggest that my daughter re-write her essay until it is great, do you have some information for me on how I can help guide her or mark the essay? I’m not sure I could even tell her what a good essay or what isn’t.​

Homeschool Mom (Nadia)                 

HERE’S MY RESPONSE:

Yes, I do think the Essay Course will give her plenty of direction to become good at essays. I’m assuming she can already write pretty well…if not, she needs to go through The Writing Course and practice some more. There isn’t much of a point of working on something formal like essays if the student can’t yet manage ‘made up’ sentences and paragraphs (The Writing Course)

Given what you’ve told me, I think I might first begin with getting her to do a number of book reports until she gets good at them (at least 5). Of course, I mean book reports done the way we recommend:

THE 5 STEPS TO GREAT BOOK REPORTS

From there she will be getting more comfortable sharing her view about something in writing.

Next, move to writing 5 different essays, with one re-write on each.

Finally, make one essay the object of writing and re-writing until it is great and she knows what is needed.

This isn’t a ‘single day’ process for any of the things I mention above (unless she just wants to spend a whole day on something). You are growing a skill which takes a little time.

In evaluating an essay, think about these things and give feedback accordingly.

1. Do I know the author’s opinion now that I’ve read the essay?2. Is the language and grammar fine or is it distracting?3. Do I understand the aim of the essay from the beginning?4. Is the essay organized and easy to follow (using major points)?5. Does the essay make sense?6. Is there a good review/summary at the end of the essay?

REMEMBER: Always ask, “Would this sound a little better with ____________________________?” when you are making a suggestion or giving feedback (as we teach in our Writing Course).

Well, that should be a good start!

Hope that helps,Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand Jr.

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