Help for High School

Written to teens directly!

Help for High School is a self-directed writing program for teens that both teaches rhetorical thinking in writing, as well as the academic essay formats for high school and college. Teens work independently of their parents, however models of completed assignments and rubrics for feedback are included, as well.

Brave Writer’s Help for High School is the solution to your writing needs for teens. Most high school writing materials are designed to explain academic writing formats. Help for High School goes further. It helps teens learn how to think, argue, and create their own powerful writing style at the same time.

Help for High School is written directly to your 13-18 year old student.

Modules include exercises and instruction for the following skills:

  • command of language
  • supported argument
  • rhetorical imagination
  • compare and contrast
  • the role of narrative writing in the academic format
  • exploratory and expository essay forms
  • writing thesis statements, identifying points and particulars
  • documenting sources
  • paraphrasing
  • viewpoint

Help for High School is great for the student who would like to work independently. Additionally, we have three online classes that cover the same content. These classes are great for students who would like teacher feedback and the interaction with fellow students afforded by our online classroom:

Help for High School is a digital product. Feel free to print it for your own personal use (see photo samples).

This product can be purchased with The Writer's Jungle, and it can also be paired and purchased with The Boomerang, the language arts program for high school.

  • Ages: High School students who have not yet learned the basic academic essay format. Usually 9th-10th grades.

    Format: Black and white PDF file, downloaded to your computer or tablet. 170+ pages. Permission to print also included.

  • Download a free sample of Help for High School in our sample set here.  

  • Help for High School is organized into writing modules. Each module gives your student clear descriptions of the writing element or skill targeted in the chapter. There are clear, step-by-step directions for execution of the assignment. The modules are concluded with real student samples (and in some cases, accompanied by instructor feedback to show how pieces can be edited for improvement).

    To get a feel for how it all works, download the first assignment free in our sample set. Be aware that this chapter is the beginning of the program. Each chapter builds on the last, creating momentum. The argument and essay format chapters are obviously more challenging. The format for how the course operates is consistent throughout, however, and this chapter will give you a good idea of what to expect both in teaching style and overall format of the lessons.

    The first half of the course gives students practice with word choices and writing flair. Students are guided to keenly observe ideas and discover how arguments are constructed through analogies, associations, and active, specific language. Think of the first half of the course as strengthening your student’s mental agility and verbal capacity to craft language and ideas in service of argument—the rudiments of rhetoric (the "rhetorical imagination").

    The second half of the course develops a student’s essay writing skills. We begin with argument: how arguments are formed, what it takes to see the inherent controversy or conflict in any topic, and then how to marshall those insights into a cogent, thoughtful essay. Help for High School covers both exploratory essays (those which explore a variety of viewpoints related to a topic) and expository argumentative essays where the student takes a position and develops it with adequate support.

    Chapter by Chapter

    Module One: Laying the Foundation. This module tackles the importance of skillful word choice in writing. Sometimes those middling years of junior high deplete a student’s writing of its inherent surprise and insight. Students resort to “getting done” instead of playing with language and exploring the myriad ways they might convey an idea so that the reader has a rich experience. The musical language exercise develops vocabulary for the purpose of reader impact.

    Module Two: Powerful Association. The most commonly practiced writing technique in published writing is the ability to take one experience, idea, or fact and correlate it effectively with another. Associations, analogies, comparisons—these build effective, persuasive arguments. This exercise causes a cognitive shift by working directly with imagery and experiences to convey specific emotionally charged ideas.

    Module Three: Keen Observation of an Idea. To craft an essay that explores a controversial topic, the writer must become aware of images, biases, prejudices, facts, loyalties, and hunches that inform and nuance that topic. This Brave Writer original tool busts open topics for writing, supplying students with an awareness of what they know and don’t know about their topic, giving them the raw materials for research and writing and a slew of words and ideas up front before the actual writing begins.

    Module Four: Telling the True Truth. More than picking a topic and writing about it, students benefit from discovering what they want to say about that topic before they start writing. This module takes teens on a journey of discovery that enables them to narrow the focus of their topic to a singular point of view.

    Module Five: Collage Writing. Once students have completed the first four modules, they are guided in producing a piece of writing that shifts viewpoint three times. The completed writing project gives them a satisfying piece that makes use of the skills learned in this first section of the course.

    Module Six: Incubation and Brooding. The final module of the first section of the book asks students to reflect on their writing process to help them identify how they write and what catalyzes their creativity and insight so that they can draw on those skills for future writing projects.

    The exercises in the first half of the book are meant to be used again and again as tools for academic writing.

    The second half of the book focuses on argument and essay writing.

    Module One of Part Two: Argument. Here students look at the role of argument in essay creation. Exercises designed to help kids get inside the controversy of any topic are included, including how to use Internet searches.

    Module Two: What is an essay? Students are introduced to the essay format and its various uses in academic writing. Thesis statement writing is introduced.

    Module Three: Open and Closed Form Writing. Most people associate the essay with argument, but there are a variety of essay types. Students are given exercises to help them identify different essay types in the published world, as well as student samples to consider.

    Module Four: The Value of a Good Question. Students are guided in the preparatory steps to planning their essays. The importance of learning how to ask questions that are controversial and specific enough for essay writing is emphasized.

    Modules Five - Eight: Essay writing. These modules give your students step-by-step processes for the production of two kinds of essays: open form exploratory writing and closed form argumentative writing. Each one requires a thesis statement and the use of points and particulars (the substance of the support for the thesis of the essay). Exercises for thesis development, research, and points and particulars are laid out in step-by-step format and examples for each are supplied. College-bound students benefit from practice with both kinds of essay forms.

    Module Nine: Expository Essay Guidelines and Rubric. The final module gives you tools for evaluation of your student’s writing as well as a short cut to future essay writing, and student samples.

    Help for High School continues in the tradition of the Brave Writer writing philosophy. This manual aims to combine a teen’s writing voice with the demands of the academic writing formats.

    Each chapter includes detailed explanations of the featured writing element followed by an exercise that gives the student the opportunity to put that writing principle into practice. Student samples follow the exercises and in some cases, tips for how to evaluate the finished product are included for parents. The writing processes detailed in this course can be used for all kinds of writing projects in literature, history, current events and more. The beauty of the Brave Writer materials is that they grow with your child. The formats and techniques offered have multiple applications in the homeschool.


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