Teaching Writing: Structure & Style – Curriculum Review

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’s System

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!


8 thoughts on “Teaching Writing: Structure & Style – Curriculum Review

    • Thanks for coming by. We really did have a very fun and successful first year with IEW. I’m excited to be working with our co-op teachers as we implement IEW. It should be another fun year!

  1. Came to your blog through IEW’s website. So did you not begin with the Teaching Writing: Structure & Style, but went just to the Student Intensive? I’m interested in IEW but can’t afford the TWSS and thought if I don’t get that, I can’t use the curriculum at all.

    • I did begin by watching TWSS the summer prior to starting SWI A with my son. Have you checked out the iew families items for sale yahoo group? You can list that you’re looking for a used TWSS or see if there is a used copy currently for sale. Another thought to keep costs down is to purchase the curriculum with a friend or two and watch it together, or rotate the curriculum. We are going to offer it as optional parent training through our homeschool co op this year and the parents just have to buy their own manual. With all of that said, I’d there is no way for you to get TWSS, I think you could still use SWI with your child as Mr. Pudewa really does all of the teaching. I would be hesitant to move on to any of their other writing curriculum though, if you haven’t yourself gone through the training. I hope that helps!

      • Thanks, that helps clarify. I appreciate you taking time to answer my question. I will get on the yahoo group and see about items for sale. Thanks again.

  2. Pingback: Affordable and Contextual Grammar Program: Fix-It (Curriculum Review) | Intoxicated on Life

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