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Preparing for College: Teaching How to Write an MLA Research Paper

Did you know that a large majority of colleges, especially those here in Missouri, require the MLA documentation style for papers written by the students? Some classes, especially science type classes, may require the APA style, but the differences between MLA and APA are not that great. If your student learns to write and document well using MLA, he or she can easily make the transition to APA style.

Where can you find out how to write an MLA paper? A good book source is Writer’s Inc.: A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning. Even their website in the link here has information on MLA and APA at the top of the page.

You can also google MLA and find several university sites like Purdue’s, The Owl at Purdue , that have great information writing paper using MLA documentation.

Writing is hard when you first start learning the process, but the more your write, the better you get. Have your students write several papers each year starting their freshman year. If you don’t feel qualified to “grade” it, find a college student who has recently taken their freshman writing courses and made good grades. Let them mark up the paper for accuracy, grammar, even checking their thesis statements.

Learning Styles and Choosing Curriculum

People usually say that you should choose a curriculum based on your child’s learning style, but you should also take into consideration your own learning style. You will be a more successful and enthusiastic teacher using curriculum that appeals to you. If you like traditional book curriculum but have a hands on student, adapt the traditional curriculum to fit your child. Have him or her use manipulatives like Cuisenaire rods while doing his math workbook, or have her do the experiments in the science textbook, don’t just read about it, or read literature books aloud for your child who is an auditory learner.

By using the same curriculum for all your children, you will also save money and time. If you buy more than one type of curriculum, your preparation time will increase. However, after using a math program for your oldest child, when the next child begins using the same program in a couple of years, you will teach with more confidence because you are familiar with it and will even be more skilled in adapting it to fit his or her learning style.

You need to remember that you are part of the school too, not just your children, and that by maintaining flexibility even in the way you use your curriculum, you can meet everyone’s needs.