*collaborative guest post
Writing an article is an often challenging endeavor for children as much as adults. Turning ideas and thoughts into words and structured sentences can seem like alchemy to most people. Fortunately, humans are, by nature, social creatures and born story tellers. People, including those deemed as children, have various ways of expressing themselves and getting their point across. So for children, the problem doesn’t usually reside in the generation of ideas or original thought, but in the implementation of the hodgepodge of rules that constitute an essay. And that’s where parents come in.
The majority of parents have, to some varying degree, gone through the process of essay writing in the past. It may have been a while since they practiced the subtle nuances of producing a polished and refined piece of writing, but at the very least they know the general steps, rules, expectations, and resources available to them. More importantly, parents can give context to an essay and can explain to their kids what an essay is and why they are being asked to write in a specific way. Articles write in a way that presents the writer’s ideas, arguments, and thoughts in a structured format to the reader. Children may have a difficult time following this structured way of writing since it is most likely a brand new concept to them. Parents must endeavor to patiently teach them its significance, importance, and method without totally alienating them to writing.
Research is a critical part of a well-written essay sample and is one of the areas that parents can significantly help their kids. Even in this age where a nearly limitless amount of information can access by tapping a couple of keys on the keyboard, finding the right information can be a bit of a challenge. Indeed, it can argue that it is even more challenging in this information-laden environment due to the amount of “noise” or irrelevant or inaccurate information that delivers to users with a little search on the internet. Not only do parents know the various types of information that can and should use in an essay, but they should also know where to find them as well (articles, peer-reviewed journals, trusted sources, etc.)
At this point the budding essay writer will not only be faced with having to write in a style and structure, they are not accustomed to, but will also hit with new information that they need to process. Parents can further assist by helping their child by showing them how to break down a seemingly impossible task. Just like in adults, essay assignments are better understood, handled and completed in bite sized tasks. It is important to make the children understand that while the piece is important, it need not complete in a single sitting. A good analogy to make would be to that of a big picture that needs to be colored. It may seem like a humongous task that requires lots of effort, but if you fill in a couple of squares every day, then the picture will be colored in no time at all. The essay structure acts like an uncolored piece of art. By filling in parts of the article every day, the assignment will complete promptly. Tackling an article one section at a time ensures that the child understands the task and what they are writing down. Furthermore, it discourages sloppy or hurried writing and allows the kids to focus on conveying their thoughts and ideas in a clear and concise manner.
Typing or writing the last letter and period of an essay does not mean that it is complete. Sure, the writing portion of the process may finish, but it is now time to edit and refine the essay. It is a significant step for adults as it is for children. Editing ensures that the article submitted will be free of spelling and grammatical errors. It will also ensure that the structure and format follow the conventions set out by the teachers. Usually, adults would turn to their peers or seniors to help edit their essays, but this may not be the best solution for kids. Instead, kids would have to rely on the experience and writing prowess of their parents to catch mistakes, and to find opportunities to polish their essay.
Parents need not be bystanders when it comes to their kid’s essay writing. They can play active roles in furthering their understanding and in developing writing skills for their children. One of the more understated roles that parents can play in essay writing is to encourage their kids to practice it more often.
Writing is a skill, and like many skills, it usually starts off undeveloped, dull even. But, repetition and practice will help them hone the skills, so that one day they will not just be proficient in academic essay writing, but may enjoy it as well.