Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) seems to be first and foremost a parent/teacher training tool. The core of the curriculum, Teaching Writing: Structure & Style will teach you as the parent to do exactly that. It will teach you how to gradually and systematically train your child to be a competent writer.
IEW has a number of pieces of curriculum that can be used with students of many different ages. We decided to use the Student Writing Intensive A for our first year of IEW. SWI-A is a video curriculum with lectures featuring IEW’S founder, Andrew Pudewa. The curriculum includes easy to implement lesson plans to complete the course in either 15 or 30 weeks.
We followed the 30 week lesson plans to make this a year long curriculum. Bradley loved weeks when he was able to watch the DVD, which we did about every other week. Andrew Pudewa is a fun, engaging teacher, and so Bradley much preferred him to boring ole’ mom.
IEW works on a checklist system. With each assignment the student is given a sheet with what is expected, and the student checks off what they have completed. The checklist worked great with Bradley. He loved having straightforward directions and expectations for his essays.
IEW emphasizes the importance of teachers modeling and offering plenty of help as a child is learning to write. Working through sentences together was a common occurrence. We would often come up with several different ways to say the same thing, and Bradley would choose the one he thought sounded best. I found our large white board to be useful as we worked through the key word outlines together. Plenty of parental involvement and assistance is encouraged by IEW.
For Tired Hands
Throughout the school year, I acted as a scribe for Bradley. Because his hand tires easily and the mechanics of writing is often frustrating for him, I didn’t want this to prevent him from learning composition. We used his final draft as copy work. I usually had him copy for 7-10 minutes at a time, thus giving him a chance to work on penmanship.
IEW’s Additional Help and Training
The Yahoo loop is a great help. IEW employees are always available to help answer questions. This is great for those with unique situations. The individuals offering suggestions are eager to offer informative, creative advice and support to confused parents. IEW also offers free webinars to further help train parents to be excellent writing teachers.
Ideas for Homeschool Enrichment Groups
I was able to be on the planning committee for our local homeschool enrichment group. I suggested we streamline writing for K-12 and use IEW materials. I’m very excited that we will begin to implement using all IEW curriculum to teach writing for this coming year.
Next year Bradley will be in the 3rd/4th grade class at our local homeschool co-op. The teacher will likely be using either All Things Fun and Fascinating or Fables, Myths & Fairy Tales, either of which will be a great follow up to what Bradley completed this past year. Bradley made great strides in his ability to compose interesting and varied writings throughout this past year. I’m excited to see how his writing improves even more this coming school year!