Do any of you have high school homeschool students who say, “I want to do something FUN this weekend; may I write a research paper, please??”
If you do, this post probably isn’t for you.
If, instead, the idea of an APA-style research paper writing assignment bringing a smile to your teen’s face seems like a Twilight Zone episode, read on!
Vicki Tillman has written an introductory guide to research paper writing following APA style guidelines. You can find it here in our ebookstore. A few years ago, my son wrote a 10-page paper using her guide, and the topic for his paper was an imaginary country! Granted, there is no real research to be done when one writes a paper on an imaginary country, but if what your teen needs most is practice writing according to very particular style rules and formats, this can be a great way to get the job done and have fun at the same time.
I talked with some homeschool friends recently who took on a similar writing project and imagined a country where the people groups were named for various muscles in the human body. One of the teen boys who is really into body-building told me that there were two primary classes of people in their country – the Triceps and the Biceps. The Triceps were the workers, the backbone of society, the responsible and diligent citizens. The Biceps were the “pretty boys” who looked good but didn’t really get much actual work done.
Adorable! I laughed so hard!
People groups decided, the kids were working on the topography of their land (I imagine it’s not a flat terrain…probably has lots of bulk and definition), the languages (lots of grunting, perhaps?), the weather (warm enough to break a sweat, no doubt), the history, the government, the economy, the arts, and so forth. Since an APA style paper is divided into sections with headings instead of the transitions required in an MLA paper, it lends itself neatly to this exercise. Inventing your sources so that you can correctly cite them is another fun activity in itself!
Certainly using Vicki’s guide to write a true research paper about a topic that can actually BE researched is ideal. But if your student’s needs would best be met by forgoing the research this time around and focusing on the style and format, following the directions to a T, why not get a little goofy and invent a topic instead?
Have you looked at the excerpts from Vicki’s guide in our ebookstore?
Take a moment and see how friendly and fun it is!