Honest to Pete


I’m alive. I think. Anyway, it feels like it. The pulled back muscle is starting to ease up. Which makes sitting at the desk easier, but I’ve been inundated with stuff to do… 

Did I mention we are homeschooling the Little Man for his sophmore year? Yes. That’s… an adventure. He’s enthusiastic about it, except when he isn’t. Today we had to argue over essays, and I’m trying to make the point that learning how to write fluently and how to cite sources will save him a lot of pain later in his career. He wants to believe that all essays are fluff and filler and since it was so easy for him to throw one together on Churchill (his hero at the moment). 

I don’t know what to tell him, to be honest. I enjoy essays. I rarely get the chance to write proper lengthy well-researched ones the way I like them. These days I’m much more likely to sit down at the keyboard when I really ought to be doing something else and pound out something weird and rambling and not at all to any point. 

Besides which, the First Reader is summoning me to bed. 

Can anyone recommend really well-written essays that might appeal to a kid who is running a Minecraft server, teaching himself Korean, contemplating emigration to Australia, and obsessed with WWII? 




6 responses to “Honest to Pete”

  1. I think Jerry Pournelle was compiling a book of essays and other writings, intended for use in home schooling. There may still be mentions of it on his blog, or Alex will know.

    1. I’ll ask Alex. I’d love to see it published. And I can dredge through his blog. He had some wonderful posts.

  2. Dorothy Grant Avatar
    Dorothy Grant

    Glad t o hear you’re alive, and feeling better! I shall poke Peter to see if he has any suggestions on essays for WWII. Otherwise, hmm, toss him a copy of PJ O’Rourke essaying forth on, say, All the Trouble In the World, and explain this is how you make an essay informative and entertaining?

  3. Kathleen Sanderson Avatar
    Kathleen Sanderson

    What about LawDog’s blog posts? And really, the PragerU videos are short essays in video form, and there are quite a few on history topics. Analyzing (or just reading) transcripts of those should give him the basics on how to write an essay.

  4. I don’t know that mine are any good. I do know that I have a number of papers that I was required to perpetrate to graduate from college and now from my masters. There is nothing literary about my stuff. But APA standards are met. A position is stated and supported. A conclusion is drawn. Sources are cited. Etcetera until I’M bored. And I’m a tech, not a humanities person so just imagine how much worse it is for the soft sciences. Show him some of the stuff you did for your bachelors’. Essays prep you for that kind of work.

  5. Chesterton?

    He doesn’t give footnotes, at least not often because he was writing for newspapers, but he did do a lot of research– and he’s freaky for reading about WWII, because he was dead before WWII, and that didn’t stop him from writing rather accurately about it.

    He also would walk you through a variation of the five paragraph essay type format (introduce the topic , tell at least three different points, wrap up what you told) in a way that is hard to identify even when you can feel that it worked.