Friday, June 12, 2015

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package Level C and MORE!

Fair warning to you~ this may be a slightly more lengthy review than usual, which would only be in keeping with the quantity/quality of the material being reviewed. Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) sent me the Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package Level C (Fix-It! 1 and 2),   A Word Write Now and the Portable Walls. What a HUGE set of material!

*Note: other crew members received a variety of levels, and/or other products, including some special needs packages which include the Bible Heros Student and Teacher books, and the Primary Arts of Learning Reading and Writing Packages. Please be sure to follow the link at the end of my review if you are interested in any of these products, to see what they thought of them. I have not see the Bible Heros books, but I wrote a (non-special needs/non-remedial)  Primary Arts of Learning Review in 2012, and back in 2011 I wrote a fairly comprehensive Level B Teaching With Structure and Style/Student Writing Intensive Review, which is the only reason that this review isn't insanely long~ I'm hoping that you'll check out what I had to say back then, because much of it still holds true!

The Student Writing Intensive (SWI) Level C appears to cover much of the same basic instruction as Level B, but uses some different literary pieces, geared towards the student's age and maturity level. For instance, when we reviewed level B, one of the first stories was more of a  Jr. High novel science type of story that my daughter remembers to this day (smile). The same lesson in Level C used material about Thomas Jefferson, and another piece about the development of standard time zones.

Looking ahead, Level C also goes on to tackle various styles of essays, which is most appropriate and useful for the high school student.

The core of this material is made up of the Student DVD's and the Student Notebook with Handouts and Lesson Plans. Watch the Video Lesson, do the work on the handouts, following the lesson plans, hand it in to mom~ pretty simple to follow!

What exactly does SWI do? Rather than rewriting my thoughts, I'll quote from my first review:
The units move at a fairly steady pace and build writing skills, focusing on just a few techniques and structural elements at a time. I should mention here that if your student has an extremely creative literary bent and is ALWAYS writing, this program might feel a little stifling.  However, Andrew Pudewa has taken pity on the poor souls who never know what to write about, and has given them specific excerpts to re-write. The basic concept is that it is too hard for many children (And adults) to concentrate on learning how to write AND come up with their own content at the same time. I think that depending on your student, and possibly allowing them to choose their own topics, even prolific stream-of-consciousness writers can gain some insight on how to "dress up" and improve their writing.
It's much easier to solidify one's voice or style once one understands the structure of good writing.

My Middlest has expressed a desire to continue with this course through his next school year, as he enjoys the video classes, and the scheduled assignments. Not much higher praise than a student AND the parent/teacher wanting to continue with a specific curriculum.

After 15 years, the Teaching Writing with Structure and Style (TWSS) seminar has been updated! Please do go visit my previous review, because much of the innate program remains the same, but now there is MORE material, and the workbook has a streamlined, updated look.

Here is a chart detailing the differences between the 2000 and 2015 editions:

IEW has put together a pdf detailing more of what's new, with highlights of Workbook updates, the new Premium Subscription, and the Streaming Video Subscription, which helps to keep up with these more techno-mobile times. Great for families who school on the go!

Fix-It! Grammar has a very Charlotte Mason-ish feel to it. By this I mean that the lessons are very short~ 33 lessons meant to be completed in 15 minutes (or less) in 4 exercises per week. Who doesn't like that? When chosen for this review we requested books 1 and 2 just because my Middlest was a little rusty with some of his grammar. After a few lessons, he felt that these would be great books to zip through in the summer (moving a little more quickly than one exercise/day~ perhaps a full lesson/day), as a refresher course before the new school year. IEW suggests that the high school student could go through one book per semester if they doubled up on the exercises. Fix it Grammar makes an excellent elementary, remedial, or refresher course.

The lessons start simply, and focus on learning the notation or proper use of one or two new things each week. For example, the first week covers nouns, end punctuation marks, and the [there, their, they're] homophones. The next week covers articles, but all of the previous notations must still be used, and so on. This is one instance where one can see how the cumulative effect works.

A Word Write Now is a thematic thesaurus for the writer~ a quick reference for some of the more common topics that might come up in a student's daily writing: Character Traits, Words to Describe, Words for Movement and Senses, and an Appendix with more information. Middlest hasn't needed to use it much yet, but he knows where to turn when he is searching for a more interesting word choice.

The Portable Walls is a great tri-fold quick reference folder that lives in Middlest's IEW Binder. If one had a distractible student, it would be very useful as a "study corral" to help them keep distractions at a minimum, while having useful material nearby, but Middlest mostly has it at hand so he can pull it out if he needs a specific word, or to reference the topic of a specific unit.

If these resources intrigue you, I highly recommend visiting IEW on the world-wide web. They have a vast amount of information to share with you, and help you on your journey to helping your children become Excellent Writers!
IEW can be found on
Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
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