The broader definition of an essay as given in Webster's dictionary is this: "A short composition that deals with a single topic." To add more content to this here is an excerpt from "Learning Essay Writing" by Marvin Eicher (Rod and Staff.) "The four kinds of prose (nonpoetic) writing are expositiion, argumentation, description, and narration.
An EXPOSITION explains an idea or process;
an ARGUMENTATION sets out to prove a particular point of view;
a DESCRIPTION shows the reader how something looks, sounds, or feels;
and a NARRATION tells a story."
It is possible for one essay to contain elements of all the above. From my experience younger children deal best with the last two, description (e.g. This is my best friend and what we do together. or, My Favourite Hobby), and narration ( e.g. Our Trip to Oregon, or a story from their own imagination. The more stories they read, the better their stories become.)
Hey," Maybe my child has already actually started writing essays!" you say. But, is there a particular format to follow? And, how can they improve in their essay writing? In brief, yes, there is a format and by becoming acquainted with the following steps to writing a person's writing is bound to improve.
Step 1. GETTING STARTED What is the first question a prospective writer asks? We have all heard it before. "What am I going to write about?" Yes, The first thing is to choose a topic. That takes a little thought, maybe a little prompting or a list of suggestions.
Step 2. It is important at this stage to keep the TOPIC narrowed down to a manageable field. E.g. 'Literature' is a very broad topic. 'Literature in the 19th Century' narrows it down. Choosing one specific author from that century would narrow it down further 'Horatio Alger, A Favourite Author of the 19th Century'.
Step 3. Make an OUTLINE. The writer should ask, "What ideas do I have about this topic?" Asking questions about the topic helps a great deal. Write these ideas down in point form as they come to mind.
E.G. Horatio Alger
Step 4. ORGANIZE your ideas. Ask, "In what order should I set out these ideas?" Do some of them fit together? E.G. Horatio Alger First, the ideas about his personal life. Second, the ideas about him as an author. Third, my favourite Alger story. I think I will set this idea aside as a separate essay, a book report.
- where did he live?
- date of birth and death
- did he have a family?
- what were some events of his early life?
- when did he start writing?
- what was he like?
- what influenced his writings?
- why were his writings such a big hit?
- my favourite Alger story is ______
- etc. etc.
Step 5. Write an INTRODUCTION. This is the part that my children usually left off. Focusing on it for a few days in their daily writing and helping with suggestions, giving them models in other writings helped significantly. Here is an e.g. from our 8 year old daughter Rose's composition book: "I have a little sister who's name is Leah Grace Jagt." or "I like squirrels." These of course are very simple, but, they do the job. Following the e.g. of the Horatio Alger essay one could write, "Some of the greatest literature was written in the 19th century. Horatio Alger was one of those authors. He wrote exciting and adventureous stories about boys in America that even girls, like myself, love to read (a suggestion from Rose). Who was Horatio Alger, and how did he come to write such great stories?" The introduction has to, of course, lead to what is coming next.
Step 6. The BODY of the essay is what comes between the introduction and conclusion. It could be one or more paragraphs, depending on how many ideas you have. Go back to the outline and write about each of the ideas that are there. Some research, more or less, depending on the age and ability of the child, could or should happen at this point. Research, even from one source (such as the Book of Knowledge) helps ideas to be accurate, answers questions the writer had about the topic and developes the idea. It may spark new ideas as well that you then add to the outline. Use the outline to write the body of your essay. Warning: This may be a very sloppy process .... but...it does not end here.
Step 7. Write a CONCLUSION. This could simply be one sentence or thought. E.G. from Horatio Alger: "I believe Alger's stories are sure to be around for another 100 years. They are true classics." E.G. from My Baby Sister: "Babies are a lot of fun!" Certain lengthier essay's may need to conclude with a summary.
Step 8. REREAD your essay. Correct all the errors you find. Do I need to suggest a few? Check spelling (dictionary), check capitalization and punctuation (Learning Grammar Through Writing, is our favourite child-friendly help), take out unnecessary words (e.g. "In my opinion, I think that...." is saying the same thing twice, and starting every sentence with "Now" or "Then" ) , and change any sentences or words that do not seem right. Some parental help at this point is very helpful in building better essays.
Step 9. If necessary, REWRITE the essay and hand it in. Now it will look great. Way to go!
Since introducing the outline and roughcopy approach with our 12 year old son he has commented that it has become EASIER to write an essay. Yeah! Planning ahead is sure to improve the final product too! (And it has.)
Homeschooling refers to the process of educating children at home instead of sending them to public schools which are shared by students from different families. It happens when a child learns subjects taught in standard schools at home either by parents, brothers, sisters, or students from the neighborhood. Homeschooling is not for everyone. As we shall see later, it has been found out that homeschooling has its pros and cons and demands a lot of courage and commitment to make things go through.
Arguments Against Homeschooling
A parent may be having good quality education but may not be qualified to be a teacher. Teaching is an art that requires talent and ability to understand better the physiology of the child, and to do that you must have attended a course or training towards education of children. In this case, special needs of homeschooled children are not met because a trained teacher is not available to guide him or her. Some children at a certain stage require special learning aids and tutors who have had experience with many kids before; therefore they must be given proper guidance that might impact their education positively. Similarly, certain subjects require different methods of teaching aids and a parent may know only one method and may therefore train their child with an outdated tactic that may not reflect the current trends. Parents, having to manage work and household responsibilities while devoting some of their time to the education of their children, a situation known as homeschool burnout, become tired and stressed due to teaching for long hours at a stretch compared to many teachers that standard schools offer and would therefore not result in this scenario.
I do agree with this argument because a parent intending to homeschool their children may have created a specific timetable for teaching the children and will have to follow standard procedures in teaching. Because they devote their time to teaching, they would be looking for updates in the curriculum and update according to the world trends.
Homeschooled children are lonely, friendless and isolated in the event they don’t have siblings, as most of the other children in the estate go to standard schools, thus leaving the homeschooled children by themselves. Friendship in schools will help them learn the importance of sharing and being there for one another as opposed to being dependent only on their families and friends. This is actually the most critical argument that is leveled against homeschooling: it hinders development of the child by limiting social interaction. In a standard setting where children go to school, they are exposed to diverse cultural backgrounds and promote interpersonal skills as opposed to homeschooling, where this aspect is lacking, thus proving detrimental to the child. Schools give the children an opportunity to participate in various social activities for example debates, sports and other competitions. They expose them to the real world and therefore maximizing the child’s emotional, social and psychological development of children (Chen).
Homeschoolers do not regularly take exams, and even the exams taken may not be according to the required standards as the parent may base the exams on only what he has personally taught to the child and may not be appropriate for the child’s level. In standard schools, the progressive periodic tests given to the children prepare them for the next level which they mark symbolically by moving to the next physical class. The child sees that he or she is progressing in life physically and will even work harder so as to continue moving to the next level. At home, this symbolism is not replicated as there is only one house, hence the child does not get the progressive feeling of learning. The competition provided for by the other children in a school setting makes the child to seek improvement every term, and this increases the quality of his progress in academics, growth and development (Moor).
I do oppose the third and the second claim that homeschooled children do not take regular exams as well when they are isolated. Isolation is not an issue to reject homeschooling. After all, a child enjoys every minute with his or her family. On the argument about exams, it is very possible to find homeschooled children doing better than those in public schools. This is because parents tend to be more concerned of the welfare of their children and cannot afford to let them fail in their presence…
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