Friday, June 12, 2015

Schoolhouse Review: IEW Deluxe Combo Level C #hsreviews

IEW Review

A sweet friend of mine first introduced me to the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) several years ago when I was sharing with her the struggles we were having finding a really solid writing curriculum for my family.  She explained what a difference IEW had made in the writing skills of her children and I was super excited to try it out at Long Leaf Academy.   When the opportunity to review one of the Deluxe Combinations arrived, I couldn't wait to get on board.  I requested the Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package Level C [FIX-3 & 4]  which includes both A Word Write Now and Portable Walls to use with my children as we wrap up our current school year, throughout the summer, and into next year.  I had heard about just how wonderful the entire program was from all of my friends on the Crew who had been using it for years, and frankly, I was just a wee bit jealous that we had missed out.

You might remember that we used Fix-It! Grammar earlier in the year as a review of basic concepts and it was a great confidence booster for my children.  The Eagle Scout and the Princess both loved it.  As in, they actually reminded me that we needed to do it each day.  (I don't know about you, but it's an oddity for my kiddos to remind me that we need to do any subject.)  We found Fix-It! to be a solid grammar review, so I was excited about the opportuinity to use the writing components of the program.  I was drawn to the words "ease" and "confidence" from the description on the website and I wanted to see if they were true.  I knew that my kids had good ideas locked inside their heads that were just waiting to get out and onto paper.  I yearned for them to feel confident in their abilities and I hoped that teacher Andrew Pudewa would give them that sense of ease as they learned to craft their writing skills.  As you can tell, I had high hopes for the Deluxe Writing Combo  . . . and I was not disappointed.
IEW Review

The Deluxe Combo writing curriculum is HUGE -- and INTENSIVE -- but it is also PERFECTLY put together to provide the most extensive lessons that I have ever seen.  There are 5 different components that make up the complete writing system and although each can stand alone, you're going to want to have your students use them all for the most complete educational experience.  Trust me.  This stuff is good.

The 5 teaching Components of the Deluxe Combo are as follows:
  1. Teaching Writing:  Structure and Style is a DVD-based seminar (which includes a Premium Subsription to streaming video and e-Resources) taught by Andrew Pudewa.  This is the ultimate teacher's "guide to teaching" that explains everything you need to know to help insure your student's success.  The 12 DVDs may seem a bit daunting, but they are entertaining and informative and provide the backbone for the entire course.  Included with the seminar is a practicum workbook that offers a hands-on approach to learning.  Designed to help you lead your students to listen, speak, read, write, and think, Teaching Writing:  Structure and Style is a must-have.  You are going to want to begin working through the seminar now.  It is continuing education at its finest -- a guarantee that we never stop learning.
  2. Student Writing Intensive Level is a graded DVD-driven lecture series with workbook for students that assumes absolutely no prior knowledge and walks them through the proper fundamentals of writing over a 15 - 30 week timespan.  (We are using Level C since my children are 9th and 11th Grades.)  Each student needs their own 3-ring binder and student packet of writing pages.  Because I am using this with two students, I purchased an additional binder and extra set of notebook pages.  The student notebook contains handouts, lesson plans, charts, and fun ways to enhance your writing skills through banned words and phrases.  With 5 DVDs and oveer 100 pages of activity, this resource is invaluable.
  3. Two Fix-It! Grammar levels which provide two years of intermediate grammar.    The Deluxe Combo offers a physcial copy of the Teacher's Manuals and an e-copy for students.  This allows me to print copies for each of my children to complete as needed while I follow along in the Teacher's Manual.  Both are spiralbound, softcover books of 200+ pages.   We received Books 3, Frog Prince, or Just Desserts and Book 4, Little Mermaid and have been working out of Book 3 for purposes of this review.  Remember I told you that my kids LOVED Fix-It! Grammar earlier this year?  They are just as excited about Book 3.  We will definitely be completing it AND Book 4.  My kids enjoy it THAT much.
  4. A Word Write Now is the just the coolest little book ever.  At 107-pages, this spiralbound thesaurus helps students find new words to increase their creativity in a thematic format. Students can find a plethora of words to use to describe character traits such as courage, compassion, and generosity, words that describe time, place, and appearance, and words that describe texture, movement, and shape.  It's a simple concept that makes writing more effective.
  5. Portable Walls are a handy little cardstock fold-out that offers a private space for learning and puts word lists, writing prompts, and strategic tips right before the eyes of your student.  This is a neat little tool for any student.

Just how did all of this very cool stuff look in action at my house?  We chose (or I chose for us) to watch the video lessons together.  This served as a refresher for me and allowed me to be able to answer questions more easily since I actually knew what my kids were studying.  Plus, I was learning alongside them which helps them to understand just how important I think this is.  I received both the physical DVDs and premium access to streaming videos so that we could watch at home and on-the-go.  Mr. Pudewa is most entertaining, keeping our full attention as he teaches, so there was never a moment of boredom.  Once we view the videos, I have the Eagle Scout and the Princess move to separate parts of the room so that they can do the assigned writing tasks on their own without distraction or interruption.  This gives me the chance to answer individual questions and explain concepts not immediately understood.

After they have completed their writing assignments, we come back together to share and correct. This has been perfect for us because after a busier than usual school year, we were craving structure and needing help to make it so.  It has been easy to use the entire curriculum 4 - 5 days a week.  We have used the Fix-It! Grammar lessons right alongside the writing intensive as we wrap up each day's lesson.  Correcting literary passages from favorite childhood stories is fun and short lessons daily keep them interested.  My kids have made good use of A Word Write Now as they work to add a little zing to their assignments and the Portable Walls have been put to the test as both a barrier from one another and a quick reference when mom's not immediately available.

All of this and we haven't even scratched the surface of what IEW means to my family.  We have been using this package for the last two months and will continue using it until completion.  Both the Eagle Scout and the Princess have shown vast improvement in their writing skills already and I look forward to watching their progress as they continue to grow and stretch from reluctant writers to professionals.  It really is that good.

IEW has specific package options designed to meet the educational needs of both special needs students and regular learners so there is something here for everyone.  For more information about all of the many options available from IEW, please visit the following Social Media platforms:

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package Level C [FIX-3 & 4] as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

IEW Review
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