Many homeschool diploma programs and English curriculae require a seven-to-ten-page research paper. This is often met by parents with a "You are going to do this whether you like it or not" attitude, and by students with thinly disguised fear and trepidation, often manifested by a whiny attitude. However, research papers can be fun as well as educational, if approached as something positive instead of negative, and if certain steps are taken to keep it from being a nightmare.
It is important to do some preparation before sitting down to actually write a research paper. The last thing you want to happen is to be a couple of weeks from the end of the school year, and realize your student doesn't have enough information, or has a poorly chosen topic, and that they are going to have to start all over again. Here are some tips to lay down a good foundation for the research paper.
Writing the Paper
Acutally writing the paper is probably the hardest part for many students. They may know their subject inside and out, but then experience writer's block. Here are some tips to keep them focused and make the writing process go smoother.
Remember, the last thing you want to happen in the writing process is to convince your child that they hate to write. If they like art, let them draw pictures to include in the paper. If you can take a field trip that has to do with the paper, do it. Encourage them to share their paper with other family members, and praise them for progress. Many people are very self-conscious about another person reading what they write, and it helps if they get positive feedback. Don't let the student get away with poor grammar or sloppy construction of a sentence or thought, but don't be overly critical either. Above all, be creative and keep the process fun.
Successful homeschooling requires an honest assesment by parents, who must decide if they're fit for the job. Are you?
The bad news is that there are indeed some potentially negative effects of homeschooling. The good news is that if parents are aware of them, they can all be overcome successfully.