This major assignment, which will
probably last several weeks, offers parents plenty of chances to help. But it also includes some times when parents should stay away. Here’s how to get involved . . . and when to stay away:
When choosing a topic:
• Encourage your teen to choose a subject that interests him. There’s nothing worse than slaving away on a boring subject.
• Limit the topic. There’s no way to cover the Civil War in 10 to 20 pages. (On the other hand, it’s hard to find information on a topic that’s too narrow.)
When doing research:
• Help think of questions to guide your teen in his search for information. What are some related subjects that might include helpful information? (In addition to doing research on “Honduras,” he might also check “Central America” or “Hurricane Mitch.”)
• Remind your teen that no matter how interesting the fact, if it doesn’t relate to his topic, he needs to toss it out.
• Make sure your teen has a good supply of note cards. Even if you have a home computer, first-time term paper writers need to have their information on cards. That way, they can arrange and re-
arrange the information.
When writing the outline and first draft:
• Stay out of the way. Just make sure your teen allows plenty of time for the outline and first draft, which always take longer than teens think. And remind your teen that first drafts are written so they can be rewritten.
When writing the final draft:
• Encourage your teen to polish and rewrite.
• Make sure your teen proofreads the paper carefully. Sometimes parents can read also, but it can lead to fights. You be the judge.
• The bibliography is not a place for creativity. Make sure your teen follows instructions exactly.
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