Homeschool.com’s Product Reviews

Ages K-12 & Parents

When my daughter turns 16, I’m going to have to pay for an extra Driver’s Ed lesson—the one that teaches a student how to drive a stick shift. I can drive a stick shift—I know how to do it. But I don’t know HOW I do it—I certainly don’t know how to explain it to someone else.

For me, it’s the same with writing. I can write. I have always been able to write. It’s just something I do. I don’t know HOW I do it—I just do it. Teaching it? I have no idea where to begin!

The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), does know where to begin. In fact, IEW gives parents the structure and the tools they need to:

  • teach their students to write well
  • think clearly
  • express themselves eloquently and persuasively

Wow! How great is that!?

Regarding the IEW courses–

  1. The DVD format provides helpful information for the teacher. In the DVDs, Andrew Pudewa shows parents how to put his methods into practice (it turns out, it’s quite easy!).
  2. The student DVDs (optional, but recommended) provide additional support and modeling for you and for your students.
  3. The student materials contain all the source texts, checklists, and assignments that are needed for the course (making it easy for everyone). Student materials include model paragraphs, stories, and report source texts so your students can focus on the how of writing rather than on the what of writing.
  4. Students are taught note taking skills, how to write paragraphs, stories, essays, reports, critiques, and how to write creatively.
  5. Stylistic techniques are taught as well.
  6. Information is taught incrementally to help students move from the basics into more independent, sophisticated writing.
  7. It’s easy to use IEW courses year after year—so there’s no need to shop and switch curriculum. Your students can just move to the next level. That’s a plus!

I received the Teaching Writing/Student Writing Value Package Level B. This package makes it easy for parents to help their middle school student(s) write well.

The Teaching Writing: Structure and Style course includes all of the following:

  • 10 DVDs:
  • Six DVDs with instruction on the nine structural models and multiple stylistic techniques covered in the course. This includes 10 hours total viewing time—it can be watched prior to starting the course, or viewed one disc at a time throughout the school year—or both.
  • Tips & Tricks for Teaching Through the Nine Units, a two hour supplemental DVD refresher course.
  • Three DVDs of sample student workshops at three different grade levels to help you with your first lesson.
  • The TWSS Seminar Workbook, which serves as the syllabus for the seminar and contains charts, word lists, sample lesson plans, and more. With the workbook, you can highlight important information—I certainly marked my copy up!

The Student Writing Intensive Level B (Middle School) course contains four DVDs. With this course, students learn how to use a wide range of structural models and stylistic techniques in their compositions, as they write on a variety of topics—both fictional and non-fictional (I like the combination of both).

I like the two courses very much, for the following reasons:

  • The courses are thorough.
  • The courses are enjoyable and insightful. I enjoyed sitting at my laptop and watching the DVDs. I wasn’t staring at the clock, wishing it was over—I enjoyed the insights. By the way, Mr. Pudewa would encourage me to use a Thesaurus, and find similar words to replace the word enjoy—I shouldn’t be using the same word with such frequency J.
  • Listening to Mr. Pudewa is a pleasant experience. He’s just likable! I’ve listened to educational DVDs, where the speaker drove me a bit crazy—this was not my experience with Mr. Pudewa.
  • Because the information is on DVDs, you can easily review it as necessary.

What else does IEW offer that might be of interest?

  • IEW offers theme-based writing courses—in history, literature, science, and more.
  • IEW offers online classes which include access to live instruction, class recordings, handouts, and helpful feedback on written assignments.

You might want to check out the Institute for Excellence in Writing . It’s a great (and enjoyable!)resource for homeschooling parents.