Friday, May 13, 2011

Teaching Writing with IEW

I love to write but have a hard time teaching writing to my children. We have tried various things over the years---some with success, some not so much. My older kids were at a point where they needed more writing structure and I wasn’t sure how we should proceed. Thankfully, the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) sent the Homeschool Crew various levels to review, and I was given the exact level my older kids needed.

What is It?

It is a writing program for grades 3rd-high school. Andrew Pudewa is the director and gives a nice overview of the program on the IEW website.  (There is a new curriculum called Primary Arts of Language for children K-2nd)

I was given:


Student Writing Intensive B

Recorded live, this DVD writing course for students by Andrew Pudewa is comprised of four writing sessions on DVD. Each session presents structural models and stylistic techniques from our TWSS Syllabus. Included with the student handouts are complete teacher notes, source texts, and checklists providing fifteen comprehensive lessons to ensure your student masters each unit before moving on to the next. Since each lesson can take one to two weeks to complete, the entire package can provide 15–30 weeks of writing instruction.

• Four DVDs
• A binder with dividers
• A packet with the teacher’s notes, handouts, and checklists (about 100 pages in all)

What We Thought:

I had heard about IEW several years ago, went to the site and then was overwhelmed by all the terminology and abbreviations and left. I couldn’t figure out what I needed and it seemed like it was going to be difficult to implement. Now that I have finally had a chance to use the program,I have a totally different view----we love it! (I wonder though, if I was the only one scared away by the product titles and abbreviations?)

IEW: Institute of Excellence in Writing : The main website/program
TWSS: Teaching Writing Structures and Style : a DVD series that teaches the teacher
SWI: Student Writing Intensive: a DVD series plus materials the student needs to complete the program.

Basically the writing program teaches the student how to complete a keyword outline. This was a skill my 12yr. old and 11yr. old needed to know and I appreciated the way it was presented. Using source texts (text included with the curriculum), students were able to practice making keyword outlines and learned how to write from them.  This was a huge shift for my older kids and this concept alone helped improve their writing.

writingIEW We also enjoyed watching the DVD’s together. Mr. Pudewa has a sense of humor when teaching and that helped keep my kids involved with the lesson. (I found that it is necessary for me to sit with my  kids while watching so that I knew what the assignment was and how to assess the writing). I appreciated that I was not doing the direct teaching but rather just facilitating. Another plus was having all the source texts and assignments already planned for me. All I had to do was hand them out and make sure the children put them in their notebooks. We’ve completed a little over half of the lessons so far---taking more time when needed.

I was also sent a portable wall. It is a specially-designed file-folder of all the IEW terms and lists presented in the DVD curriculum (see the picture above). It is a wonderful reference tool and I found that I used it just as much as the kids.

This writing curriculum filled a need in our homeschool. We needed more structure and a writing plan. IEW provided that for us.  I hope to get my other children started at their levels for this upcoming school year.

If you want to learn more about the products IEW has to offer (they have more than just writing), check out their Magalog (magazine/catalog). It was a ton of information plus freebies linked in the articles and sidebars.

For more IEW Reviews See:
Disclosure: I am a member of TOS and I was given this product free for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Blogger Tiffany said...

I am so glad to see this review. I've seen IEW mentioned many times and finally decided to sit down one night and go through the website, because no, you're not the only one turned off by all the jargon.

I'd visited the site several times and thought, "No, this can't possibly be what everyone is raving about... This looks totally wrong for us." I'm glad I hunkered down and read it though.

Your review gave me a bit more info I didn't know about {the portable wall}, which I'm glad I found.

I'm excited to try it!

May 15, 2011 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Mozer said...

I'm so glad my review was helpful! :)

May 15, 2011 at 7:03 PM  

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