My child is in 7th grade and having a lot of trouble writing a focused essay. I have gone back to basic grammar and broken down the essay into thesis, topic sentences etc but after several attempts we are having the same problems. Staying focused on the topic sentence and grammar. Any suggestions short of hiring a tutor? At what grade level is a child expected to produce a really good essay without a lot of guidance?
Frankly, by 7th grade kids could know how to write a good essay, if they were correctly taught. That being said, many of us were not and didn't learn until college. Don't sweat it. You needn't hire a private tutor, but practice makes perfect. Give your child a topic and have him write the essay. Show him where he has missed the mark and then give another topic. Maybe write an essay or two each week.
I have my 4th grade son write and then rewrite and rewrite. He is still focusing heavily on basic grammar so I found this grammar wheel for him that he uses to check his work before handing it in to me to go over. Then we discuss his areas that can be strengthened or that need to be corrected and I'll ask if the sentence goes with the main topic of the paragraph. Sometimes, I'll have him read what he thinks he wrote to understand better what he was trying to say. You could make a wheel for your child of simple mistakes they make all the time and then you continue to work with them and explain and help them understand what they did wrong or where improvement could be made. Also, read the sentences one at a time and have your child identify if it goes with the main topic. Good luck!