Homework Help for High School English Papers

Parents are often called upon to help their children with high school English and History papers. While different types of papers, such as expository and research papers, have different requirements, there are some general guidelines that will help with any essay. This article outlines a few all-purpose pointers for parents who need to help their children with high school papers.

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High school English and history classes often require student written papers or reports. While different types of papers, such as expository and research papers, have different requirements, there are some general guidelines that will help with any essay. Here are a few tips for parents who need to help their children with high school papers.

Prewriting

The first step in writing a quality paper is to methodically plan the structure and content based on the specific requirements. Although many students view prewriting as an unnecessary and tedious step in the writing process, it is the foundation of a well-organized, high-scoring paper.

To help facilitate the prewriting process, explain your thoughts out loud to a friend, family member, or just in front of a mirror. Organization and formality are unimportant at this point; just get the creative juices flowing and ask questions frequently to refine your thoughts on the topic.

Next, construct an outline that organizes and prioritizes the ideas and points that were developed earlier. When building an outline, keep in mind that the final paper must include an introduction that sketches out the points to follow, and a conclusion that ties everything together. Between these two paragraphs, the supporting paragraphs should begin with the strongest point, and include a paragraph that deals with possible objections and other points of view. Include transition words when starting new paragraphs that help the ideas flow together.

Support

The most common mistake that high school students make when writing papers and essays is the failure to provide concrete support. For each of the main ideas developed in prewriting, include concrete, specific examples that directly support these ideas. For example, a research paper needs specific quotes from references, while an essay on The Scarlet Letter needs to include specific examples from the plot that backup the point being made.

If you don't provide specific examples to support your main ideas, the paper will seem weak and lackluster. Even if the points you make are relevant and original, without specific support, they will be no more than unfounded assertions.

Common Pitfalls

Although different classes and papers have different guidelines, the mistakes made when writing them are often the same:

  • Contractions
    • Although used in everyday speech, contractions should never be used in a high school paper. An easy way to avoid this problem is to search for apostrophes using your word processor once the paper is written. Any apostrophe that is not used in a possessive (Mom's, Bill's, the child's, etc.), should be changed.
  • First and Second Person
    • When writing a high school paper, it is unnecessary and incorrect for the author to refer to him or herself, or the reader. First and second person pronouns (I, we, you, etc.) should be removed.

Final Draft

For many students, especially those who struggle with paper writing, editing is just one more frustrating and loathsome step in the writing process. Read your paper aloud to a friend or classmate. Most common grammar mistakes and organizational problems can be identified much more easily when heard rather than read.

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