HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick

This week on HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick.

HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick. Tips for helping homeschool high schoolers develop skills for research paper writing.

HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick

Our friend, Dr. Kat Patrick, joins us for this episode to help guide through the important task of writing research papers.

Kat has helped us out with an episode about homeschooling in the United Kingdom and the United States AND in another episode, she shared how to teach Shakespeare and enjoy it.

Kat and her family have lived in England for 25 years (where her husband teaches at Oxford). They recently moved to Texas, where Kat was born. Kat started Dreaming Spires Home Learning, a Charlotte Mason inspired online program. She offers lots of popular live courses in lots areas.

Kat Patrick of Dreaming Spires Online Homeschool Courses, Interviewed on Homeschool High School Podcast

Photo used with permission.

Kat is an expert in teaching writing skills. She began teaching research paper writing during her graduate studies at University of Delaware. (Interestingly, just a few miles from where the 7Sisters live, we just never met at that time.) Kat loves teaching the skills of research paper writing, especially in taking notes and noting sources.

As Vicki points out, teens often complain about writing research papers while in high school because they are a LOT of work! However, they often come back to her to thank her for that requirement, because in college they more easily earn top grades in their composition courses. Even non-college-bound skills benefit from writing research papers.

Life skills that all teens gain from writing research papers include:

  • Building attention to detail
  • Building stick-to-itiveness and organization skills for doing large projects
  • Building patience for redos until things get batter
  • Building research skills for life (such as products, trips or services teens will need in life)
  • Building skills to evaluate sources (they can apply this to things they read on social media and elsewhere)

What are some resources Kat recommends?

  • Books (usually more than one book, including more than one perspective)
  • References from library
  • Good Reads website
  • Google Books
  • Sources listed at the bottom of Wikipedia articles (the sources cited in the article), not the article itself
  • Primary sources, including digital documents of out-of-print sources. (Simply Google search: *Primary source for…*). This is good because teens can begin to come up with some of their own thoughts by reading original docusments, rather than only discuss other people’s thoughts. (This is particularly helpful with MLA and Chicago-style papers that are thesis based papers.)

Discuss plagiarism.

  • Help teens understand: How long a quote can you use and how do you cite it? (Follow the guidelines for each paper style: MLA, APA, Chicago Style.) Teens in college can lose scholarships and fail classes if they plagiarize. Here is a post to help explain plagiarism to your homeschool high schoolers.
  • Discuss paraphrasing and citing the paraphrase. (Developing this skills is one reason Kat loves Charlotte Mason’s traditional paraphrasing of books!)

Teach note-taking skills:

  • Remind teens to research before they start the paper or even write a thesis. They need lots of information before they start writing their papers.
  • Use index cards for note taking. Put quotes, statistics and other important information. Put citation information. Number the cards. Using card helps prevent accidental plagiarism.
  • Mind map or spread out the cards on a table to help teens organize their thoughts.

Teach time management skills:

Work with teens with solid dates on when they start researching, finish their cards, complete the first rough draft, final draft, etc. 7Sisters freebie Scheduling Backwards can help with this. All of 7Sisters’ Research Paper Writing Guides are chunked out into day-by-day assignments to help homeschool high schoolers stay on track.

Kat suggests this order for writing research papers.

  • Research
  • Write the first draft of the paper
  • Read the paper and find the gaps in the information presented
  • Research to fill in gaps
  • Rewrite
  • Check citations
  • Edit for grammar, punctuation, etc
  • Complete a final draft

Kat also includes these 2 fascinating requirements that truly help her homeschool high school students succeed as writers:

  • Students keep a journal where they daily record what they have done on their research paper.
  • At the end of the paper, she has her students write a *review* of the paper-writing process. It is a self-reflection about what they have learned about the process and the topic.

There are many styles of research papers, however, these are the most commonly used papers for high schoolers:

Check out Kat’s online courses such as English Literature that includes writing extensions, including research papers as well as multi-genre experiences with Prezis and plays. Also visit her at:

Keep an eye out for Dr. Kat Patrick’s upcoming text on Chicago-style research papers. Also, download Kat’s FREEBIE: Shakespeare Copywork.

Join Vicki and Kat for this fun discussion on research papers, your teens will benefit from the tips you learn!

You’ll also enjoy these posts and this HSHSP episode with more information on research papers.

Suggested Syllabus for 7Sisters MLA Research Paper Writing Course

What are Chicago-Style Research Papers and Why Should Your Teen Write One?

High School Research Paper: Should You Choose MLA? APA? Other?

HSHSP Ep 144: Writing Research Papers, Interview with Kat Patrick

HSHSP Ep 82: Writing Happens, Make it Useful- Professional Writing Skills

This week on HSHSP Ep 82: Writing Happens, Make it Useful- Professional Writing Skills.

HSHSP Ep 82: Writing Happens, Make it Useful- Professional Writing Skills

HSHSP Ep 82: Writing Happens, Make it Useful- Professional Writing Skills

Homeschool highschoolers must have writing each year for their transcripts. Yes, writing happens, make it useful. Give them professional writing skills.

There is a greater need for professional writing-skills training in this generation. Because of the pervasiveness of the internet and the pervasively informal writing styles used in social media and blogs, teens often do not have the organic writing skills need for the many professional ways they will need to be able to communicate during adulthood.

Teens need to continually improve their communication skills if they want to find success in life. Professional Writing Skills development is one set of communication skills that they need.

Join Sabrina, Vicki, Kym and Quella the Seeing Eye Dog for an unusual discussion about this valuable kind of writing and 7Sisters’ Professional Writing Guide. This interesting guide will train your homeschool highschoolers in basic skills for the various kinds of writing they will need as adults. This is SO important! Whether they want to learn these skills or not, they WILL run into many of them either in work situations or during their service with church or community organizations.

7SistersHomeschool.com’s Professional Writing Skills course contains a semester’s worth of writing for juniors or seniors. There are 11 topics covered (13 lessons in all, each lesson lasts for approximately 1 week):

  • Business letter
  • Complaint letter
  • Newsletters
  • Meeting minutes
  • Advertising copy and press releases (and social media)
  • Product review
  • Book reviews
  • How-to instructions
  • Professional biography
  • Expository speech
  • Project proposal and abstract

Visit 7SistersHomeschool.com’s store for more information and to view samples from the text.

Here are some posts that you may find encouraging:

Give Career-Preparation Professional Writing Skills to Homeschool Teens

Here’s another important skill that helps teens be employable.

3 Reasons Why Courtesy is Cool and Makes You Cool and Employable

HSHSP Ep 82: Writing Happens, Make it Useful- Professional Writing Skills


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