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Thread: Research Paper (L9): Recommendations on choosing topic

  1. #1
    Although this is our third year using TOG, this is our first year trying to implement the writing program. I really wish we'd started earlier, because I feel like we have a lot of ground to make up, but I'm really pleased with what we're doing.

    My 9th grade daughter is working on her analytical essays (weeks 8-10) and looking ahead at the 10-page research paper. I'm glad we're doing the 5-paragraph essays first; I had no idea that the idea of having topic sentences and a number of supporting points relating to one topic would be so difficult for her. We're really struggling with this, but we're coming along.

    She really doesn't want to do a major paper on any of the suggested topics, though - she wants to do a paper about fibers and cloth in that period. I don't know whether she can really fill ten pages with this without making the paper read like a scientific treatise. My other concern is that I can't think of a real thesis for such a report; it seems to me that it would be more a descriptive report and less an essay based around a thesis.

    On the positive side, I'm sure that she will have an easier time learning how to keep her paragraphs unified and organized properly when she's talked about something that she's passionate about. This assignment will be a real stretch for her in any case, since the five-paragraph essay is the longest structured writing that she's ever done. (On her own, on the other hand, she writes tomes.)

    Does anyone have any thoughts to share with me? Thanks!
    Beth
    TOG Year 1
    Doing TOG since 2005
    R (17), D (14), UG (9)
    Math: Singapore Primary Mathematics, Discovering Mathematics
    German, Spanish

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    AZ
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    25
    It does seem that a research paper on fibers and cloth might be challenging for her to do (given the scope of the assignment and her writing ability). Why not expand the topic to include clothing and fashion? That way her topic is a bit broader but she can spend some time and part of the paper on the area she is interested in.

    Lisa in AZ

  3. #3
    Guest
    BLT,

    What would be wrong if it sounded a little scientific? She could explore the reasons why different fibers became more popular for use during this time. (In Europe, sheep-farming became more popular than agriculture, due to the sweeping changes in the availablity of laborers)
    She could explore the different kinds of wool, where they obtained the different kinds of wool/longwool breeds of sheep, etc.

    It sounds like an interesting topic! I happen to be into the fiber arts. (weaving, spinning, knitting, primitive rug hooking, including differnt kinds of fiber prep - combing/carding)

    Maybe you can share it here when she's finished?

    Good luck to your dd!

  4. #4
    Originally posted by LisaNYork:
    I happen to be into the fiber arts. (weaving, spinning, knitting, primitive rug hooking, including differnt kinds of fiber prep - combing/carding)
    You sound like my daughter. She plans to own sheep and alpacas when she grows up. It started with embroidery when she was four. Her current favorite things are spinning with a drop spindle, knitting, and dyeing. When she was five or six, she announced that when she grew up she was going to be a fiber artist; I didn't even know what that meant! One of her first purchases ever was a book on dyeing. She was about six, but she insisted on buying the book, even though I told her that it was a grown-up book that called for lots of dangerous chemicals. I thought she would regret it, but I was mistaken. The only reason it isn't one of her favorite books today is that she's more into natural dyeing.

    I think she could go to town with this topic, if she can find enough information. Her writing ability improves dramatically when she's interested in the subject.
    Beth
    TOG Year 1
    Doing TOG since 2005
    R (17), D (14), UG (9)
    Math: Singapore Primary Mathematics, Discovering Mathematics
    German, Spanish

  5. #5
    Guest
    Well, bless her heart! Too bad you don't live nearby. She sounds like an amazing young lady! )

    I actually have two sheep. )

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    So. CA
    Posts
    61
    Hello Beth!

    Did you daughter write her paper on fiber arts or did she pick a different topic? My guys will be writing research papers later this year (probably 2nd quarter) - our umbrella school requires them annually for high schoolers. Year 3 should provide lots of interesting topics!
    Blessings,
    April

  7. #7
    Actually, we dropped backed to level 8, which doesn't require a paper, and worked on that. We worked more on pre-writing skills. She really fights me on that. This year we'll be doing level 9, and will try again on the research paper. We'll see how it goes.
    Beth
    TOG Year 1
    Doing TOG since 2005
    R (17), D (14), UG (9)
    Math: Singapore Primary Mathematics, Discovering Mathematics
    German, Spanish

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    So. CA
    Posts
    61
    I hear you on the prewriting fights! No one here particularly cares for it either, but this is the year Mom gets tough...
    Blessings,
    april

  9. #9
    We're also doing a co-op this year, and the students will be required to read their writing out loud. I think this will go a long way toward making the writing process easier and better.
    Beth
    TOG Year 1
    Doing TOG since 2005
    R (17), D (14), UG (9)
    Math: Singapore Primary Mathematics, Discovering Mathematics
    German, Spanish

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