Homeschool Co-op: Syllabus for Research Writing Readiness

Homeschool Co-op: Syllabus for Research Writing Readiness. By request, lesson plans and suggested syllabus for Research Writing Readiness curriculum.

Homeschool Co-op: Syllabus for Research Writing Readiness. By request, lesson plans and suggested syllabus for Research Writing Readiness curriculum.

Homeschool Co-op: Syllabus for Research Writing Readiness

One of the popular courses at our local homeschool umbrella school is the Research Writing Readiness class. It teaches older tweens and inexperienced teens the process of writing a research paper. (7Sisters Research Writing Readiness curriculum is the  downloadable text used by our local class students.)

Research Writing Readiness text is a first-research paper curriculum.

In all the years of homeschooling our kids and teaching other students, we have noticed that these first papers can be overwhelming for teens and parents. SO, this curriculum is designed for parents and homeschoolers to work together. It is a team-effort text!

We have received requests for a syllabus for other homeschool co-ops. As you know, we 7Sisters always say that there’s not ONE right way to homeschool (or to teach research writing in co-op). However, we can share the syllabus we use. You can feel free to adapt at will for your tweens and teens.

Also, the first thing we are sharing in this post are the Lesson Plans for Research Writing Readiness class. The lesson plans simply lists the major topic for each lesson in the syllabus. It is a tool for teachers. Note: In the Research Writing Readiness downloadable text, there are lots of links and ideas for the adults who are working with the young writers.

For more practical planning tips for teaching homeschool co-ops, check out this post.

Research Writing Readiness

Lesson Plans for Research Writing Readiness

Week 1:  Discuss plagiarism — why it is important to avoid and how to do so (Step 1)

  • Practice summarizing and paraphrasing using suggested websites (Step 2).

Week 2:  If your student(s) struggles with summarizing and paraphrasing skills, continue to practice this week with additional material — online articles or sections of real books.

  • If your student(s) has a good grasp on these skills, move on to Week 3.

Week 3:  Have your student(s) choose a topic (Step 3) and get a general concept of that topic and the aspects they would like to cover.

Week 4:  Discuss the importance of reliable sources (Step 5) and recording bibliographic information (Step 6).

  • Instruct students to find at least 3 sources to begin and create a working bibliography to record the bibliographic information.

Week 5:  Practice skimming a book source together in class, finding relevant information and creating a few sample notecards.

  • Instruct your student(s) to collect information and create notecards from their sources following this method. (Step 7)

Week 6:  Consider giving your student(s) an additional week to research and create notecards.

  • They should find additional sources as needed.  Use class time to evaluate individual notecards and discuss any improvements needed in record keeping, paraphrasing, or summarizing. (Step 8)

Week 7:  Demonstrate outlining (bubble or written) in class using a familiar topic.  (Step 9)

  • Give your student(s) the assignment to create an outline for their topic.

Week 8:  Demonstrate filling in details for the outline you already used together in class. (Step 10)

  • Assign filling in of student outlines.

Week 9:  Evaluate your student(s) outline and notecards and advise if they need to continue research to provide adequate information.  (Step 11)

  • Assign additional research and notetaking as needed.

Week 10:  Discuss organizing notes based on outline and good practices for writing.

  • Practice writing a section of your demonstration topic together.  Assign the rough draft of the main body of the paper. (Steps 12-14)

Week 11:  Practice writing an introduction and conclusion to your demonstration paper together.

  • Assign the introduction and conclusion of your student(s) paper.  (Step 14)

Week 12:  Spend time with your student(s) going over their rough draft and evaluating it together, pointing out areas that need work.

  • Encourage your student(s) to revise according to the evaluation.  (Step 15-16)

Week 13:  Demonstrate editing by reading paragraphs with errors together, finding problems, and correcting them.

  • Assign editing and formatting of your student(s) paper.  Provide instruction in word processing for formatting as needed.  (Step 18)

Week 14:  Discuss the importance of crediting sources in light of plagiarism dangers.

  • Demonstrate how to create citations using a book or internet article together.  Have your student(s) create and insert their citations into their own papers and create a Works Cited page.

Week 15:  Your student(s) should print their final copies and turn in for grading.

Grade and celebrate a job well done with a party, treat, etc.

And now, the suggested syllabus for student use. Adapt it for your homeschoolers’ needs.

Suggested Syllabus for Research Writing Readiness

Text: Research Writing Readiness


  • Attendance 10%
  • Class Participation 40% (this includes passing around homework- so you must keep homework current to get a good participation grade)
  • Homework 50%
  • Homework must be neatly done, stapled together, and handed in weekly.
Notes from teachers:
  • Late work will be penalized.
  • It is important that the students:
    • arrive on time for class
    • check emails
    • complete weekly assignments
    • print the homework & turn it in on time

 Week 1:

In class:
  • Discuss parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, and verbs) and what makes a complete sentence.
  • Discuss simple subject and simple predicate.
  • Practice writing complete sentences.
  • Complete grammar and writing assignment handed out in class.
  • Write a sentence about each (4) of the writing prompts.

Week 2:

  • More parts of speech discussion.
  • Mad Lib.
  • What constitutes a paragraph.
  • Complete grammar assignment handed out in class.
  • Take 2 sentences from week 1 homework and write a complete paragraph (at least 3 sentences for each).
  • Use some descriptive adjectives and adverbs to add interest to your writing.

Week 3:

  • In-class:
  • How to use a thesaurus.
  • Using strong nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in shape poems and haiku.
  • Complete thesaurus assignment.
  • Writing shape poems.

Week 4:

  • Prepositional phrases.
  • What is a sentence fragment?
  • Complete worksheet for recognizing fragments.
  • Complete the writing assignment: Write a “how to” about a simple task.
    • Bring the written directions and whatever is needed to complete the directions to school next Monday.

Week 5:

  • Writing description; more practice on parts of speech and phrases acting as parts of speech.
  • Grammar sheet; writing a description

Week 6:

In class:
  • Summarizing, choosing a topic for long paper, finding sources.
  • Introduction to plagiarism.
  • Summarize the passages handed out in class Choose a topic for your report Find 3 internet sources for your report


Week 7:

In class:
  • Summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting (which, when).
  • Learning to paraphrase.
  • Paraphrase the passages handed out in class.

Week 8:

In class:
  • Choosing subtopics – bubble diagram, dividing the topic
  • Take notes for ONE of your subtopics:
    • From ONE source write one summary, one paraphrase, and one quote.

Week 9:

  • In class:
    • Avoiding plagiarism, additional paraphrasing practice
  • Go to the library and find 2-3 sources.
    • Bring these to class next week
  • Take notes for ANOTHER ONE of your subtopics:
    • From ONE source write one summary, one paraphrase, and one quote.

Week 10:

  • In class:
    • Recording bibliographic information, book note taking skills


  • Homework:
    • Take notes for ANOTHER ONE of your subtopics:
    • From ONE BOOK source write one summary, one paraphrase, and one quote.

Week 11:

  • In-class:
    • Agreement; bibliography list
  • Homework:
    • Grammar; continue research; bibliography

Week 12:

  • In-class:
    • Organizing a section of the report
  • Homework:
    • Write rough draft for one section of report

Week 13:

  • In-class:
    • Academic language; proper vocabulary
  • Homework:
    • Write rough draft for second section of report

Week 14:

  • In-class:
    • Looking for fragments; Revising & editing
  • Homework:
    • Write rough draft for third section of report

Week 15:

  • In-class:
    • Formatting of report; introduction & conclusion
  • Homework:
    • Write rough draft of fourth section, introduction & conclusion;
    • Put it together & email to us by ____

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    Homeschool Co-op: Syllabus for Research Writing Readiness

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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