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Writing Research Papers with Confidence Review by Tina Rice

By Sheila Moss
Broadman & Holman Publishers
127 Ninth Avenue North, MSN 114
Nashville, TN. 37234
FAX: 615-251-3914

Writing Research Papers with Confidence is a complete high school level research-writing course. It consists of two softbound books, a student worktext and a teacher edition. The teacher edition includes the student text, an answer key, tips for helping students, answers to the SAT preparation prompts, as well as an excellent introduction on the topic of choosing the right curriculum. The appendices contain timelines for research, an example of a working outline, an example of a final outline, a sample note card, a sample bibliography card, a sample of a cover page and portfolio contents, and two samples research papers. The appendices alone are worth more than the cost of this curriculum!

Written specifically for homeschoolers, Writing Research Papers with Confidence can be used as a four-week or eight week course. The eight-week option is for the average student with a moderate course load. Students should plan to spend four to ten hours per week on this course. The four-week option is for the advanced writer with a light course load. Plan to spend a minimum of eight hours per week with this option.

The introduction describes this program as flexible. I agree. It will work well for different types of students. Here is Mrs. Moss's paragraph on methodology:

Which type of curriculum is Writing Research Papers? It depends on how you and your student choose to use it. . . . It can be traditional, using the concepts of researching and writing as interactive discussion and learning activities. It can be self-directed, as students use the programmed material and thereby demand less from the teaching parent. It can be a unit study, integrating the subjects of research and writing into projects and activities. You and your student decide what you want to accomplish and how to use the material, accordingly.

The curriculum begins with an introduction to writing research papers and moves step-by-step through the process: researching, writing, proofreading, publishing, and presenting the research portfolio. Each chapter begins with an overview of what is to be covered (a very good item for the visual student) and ends with a sample student essay. Woven throughout the chapters are SAT tips and exercises. The sample student essays have an accompanying evaluation guide that the student uses to grade the essay as if they were an SAT evaluator. Students also get to see how an SAT evaluator graded the essay. This is great practice for the SAT essay portion as well as the typical college entrance essay. When your student finishes the curriculum, he or she will have written a research paper similar to what is required by many high schools and most colleges.

We are using this product as an 8-week unit study. It is replacing ALL of our formal English curriculum, SAT verbal preparation, and most writing assignments. I would not recommend using the course in addition to daily English grammar lessons, spelling, vocabulary, SAT preparation, and writing; your student would probably become overwhelmed!

I like Writing Research Papers with Confidence very much! I looked at several research-writing curriculums at the GHEA convention in May 2006, and of those that I examined, this was the most thorough and easiest to use. When I say easy to use, I am not implying weak or simple. The author "speaks" to the student in a friendly and straightforward style. Her instructions are clear and easy to follow (for both the teacher and the student). I am not an expert on writing, especially research writing, but I can highly recommend this product to my fellow homeschoolers without reservation. A student who does the work assigned in the course will be well prepared to write a research paper as well as a college entrance essay or SAT essay.

Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2007