Pretty much everyone in the homeschooling community has heard of Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). Their writing and grammar products are unparalleled. We recently received the Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package (Level C) for review. I could summarize my review in one word: WOW!! But I’m sure you’d like to know why I’m so impressed, so here we go…
IEW’s Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package Review
Included in our package ($299 value) was:
- Teaching Writing Structure and Style
- Student Writing Intensive Level C
- Fix-It! Grammar books 5 & 6 that included a hard copy of the teacher books for me and e-copies of the student book
- A Word Write Now – A thematic thesaurus
- Portable Walls
The program has 9 DVDs with 14 hours of total viewing time follow that the 9 Unit structure of TWSS.
The 9 Units are:
- Note Making and Outlines
- Writing From Notes
- Retelling Narrative Stories
- Summarizing a Reference
- Writing from Pictures
- Summarizing Multiple References
- Inventive Writing
- Formal Essay Models
- Formal Critique
The DVDs are a recorded seminar given by Andrew Pudewa. Along with the DVDs come a Seminar and Practicum Workbook– a binder filled with teacher notes and student handouts. The teacher notes follow along with the DVD, making it extremely easy to follow along.
– A personal note here –
I cannot learn by hearing or reading. I MUST be able to SEE and TOUCH in order to understand. The seminar / workbook combination are absolutely perfect for visual learners like myself.
Mr. Pudewa does an excellent job of lecturing on how to teach writing. I have watched the first few DVDs and will finish the rest in the weeks to come. I love that the teacher notes give you everything you need and WHEN you need it. It is so well organized!!
Student Writing Intensive (SWI) Level C*
*Level A is roughly grades 3-5, Level B is roughly grades 6-8 Level C is roughly grades 9-12
This course comes with 4 DVDs of lectures from Mr. Pudewa. They follow the same structure as the TWSS for the parent/ teacher. Level C is designed for high schoolers and assumes no previous SWI or IEW experience. It starts with making simple outlines from a paragraph and culminates with research papers and exquisite essays. This set truly is the holy grail of homeschool composition curriculum.
- 4 instructional DVDs
- Binder with dividers
- 100 page of student scope and sequence, teacher notes and handouts
- An overview of the TWSS on one DVD (this is nice if you aren’t able to get the TWSS program. It isn’t an equal substitution by any means but it does give you good information and a foundation on which to begin teaching)
We received the teacher book for levels 5 and 6. Within the teacher guide for each level is a code to go online and download a free student PDF copy of the book.
How does Fix it! Grammar work?
As indicated by the name, students are given sentences each day to inspect and fix. Fixes include structure and grammar. The sentences ultimately make up one continuous story that will be written out by the student.
It follows a 5-day schedule. Days 1-4 are spent correcting the assigned sentences and day 5 is when the corrected sentences are written out. The teacher’s guide has all the correct fixes along with the “why” behind the fixes.
There are 33 weeks of sentences so one book will last all year. Each lesson only takes 10-15 minutes a day.
There are six books in the Fix It! Series. If you aren’t sure where to start, there is a placement test you can download.
A Word Write Now – A thematic thesaurus for stylized writing
This book is just plain fun! It was created to encourage writers, of any age, to delight in playing with words in order to improve the quality of their written expression, while developing their own unique styles of writing.
A Word Write Now is organized into four sections:
- Character Traits – 23 different character traits are explored with lists of words categorized by nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, phrases and more.
- Words to Describe- Here you’ll find lists of descriptive words for appearance, color, size, temperature, texture and, shape.
- Words for Movement and the Senses- In this section, word lists are given for actions of feet, hands, hearing, seeing, smelling, speaking and thinking.
- Appendix- Included is an extensive list of common literary devices with sentence examples of each, as well as lists of words for transitions, prepositions and, literary genres.
The portable walls are essentially a folder size tri-fold poster that outlines the 9 unit structure mentioned in TWSS and SWI. This is an excellent resource!
How we used the products
I watched the DVDs as they were assigned to me in the teacher notes from the student SWI. I followed along in my practicum workbook and made LOTS of notes.
My sophomore, Oscar, used (and continues to use) the SWI. He has never been much of a writer and certainly never enjoyed it. Wow has that changed! He willingly does his work, willingly watches the DVDs, and best of all… he is proud of the work he is producing!!! That in and of it self is enough to make this program the best I have ever worked with. Mr. Pudewa made a statement at one point about kids not liking to write simply because they don’t know how. He was too right!
One thing myself and the children picked up was Mr. Pudewa’s policy on the pen. It’s the only way to go!! Double spacing is something else well all make a habit of now.
We have used Fix it! Grammar before and it is still the only grammar program we use. We love it!
The portable walls are super convenient for quick reminders. They stay in an easily grab-able place in our school room.
We used A Word Write Now a few times as a reference to spice up some writing. I’ve even used it a few times while writing a blog post!
This has been an unbelievable experience with amazing resources. These resources from IEW truly are homeschool composition and grammar at its best. Thank you IEW!
Curriculum comes and goes but this… this will stay on our homeschool shelf until Jesus comes back.