Institute For Excellence in Writing Review

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Long, long ago, at a home school convention far, far away we first heard of Andrew Pudewa and Institute For Excellence in Writing. Homeschooling friends that came with us to the convention attended his workshop and bought the program. I spent an entire school year hearing about how wonderful the program was, but the cost still turned me off. During the course of that school year our son had loaded several of the convention speakers sessions onto his Ipod. Our son went crazy over Andrew Pudewa! But I thought there is NO WAY I am spending that kind of money on a writing program when we have tons of notebook paper, pens and pencils right here in our own home for FREE!
That was in 2009. Guess where our writing program had advanced to by May of 2013 BEFORE starting The Old Schoolhouse Review Crews review of Institute For Excellence in Writing with Teaching Writing with Structure and Style Set (TWSS) and Student Writing Intensive Level A Set (SWI)?


Yes, exactly we were still at square one, having days, weeks and years of a student staring at a blank piece of notebook paper. My son would stare in wonderment at the blank paper wondering how on earth to take notes. Even though I thoroughly explained how to take notes (jot down the most important stuff! How hard is that?) It was a struggle for my son to fluff up a story that needed a few more lines, to write creatively or to write an essay. I knew how to do all these things, but I just was not teaching it in a way that was clicking with my son.
 photo Structurestyleset_zps12b6d638.jpg For this review we received the Teaching Writing: Structure & Style (TWSS) DVD Seminar and Practicum Workbook $169.00

 photo levela_zpsa4e5c6a2.jpg We also got the Student Writing Intensive-Preparing Students to Write with Structure & Style Student Seminar Materials Level A set for grades 3-5. $109.00. There are 3 levels. Level A grades 3-5, Level B grades 6-8 and Level C grades 9-12. The nice thing is that you just need to buy the student materials for each level, the teacher materials stay the same.

What this home school Momma liked about IEW

1. I really liked the parent/teacher training. I have know a few people that did not do well with this program, I am now seeing why, they did not buy the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. They were just trying to use the student materials.
2. I love how he chats about practicing musical instruments…lol…boy did that catch my son off guard! LOL.
3. Often times I wondered what was going on in our media room where my son watches the DVD’s, there was constant laughter coming from in there when he was watching Andrew.
4. He is so funny in how he chit chats with the kids while he is teaching them, I think sometimes I get WAY too serious when I am teaching.
5. After a few weeks of using Institute For Excellence in Writing with Teaching Writing with Structure and Style Set (TWSS) and Student Writing Intensive Level A Set (SWI),  my son started to put what he was learning to work. I had signed him up for a study skills and note taking class at the local college, after the first class the teacher wanted to talk to me...LOL…being the mom of a boy, I thought “Oh, no!” Well she was interested in where he had learned to take notes since he was the only student (grades 6-9) on the first day of class doing so without having been prompted. I was dumb founded, where did he learn to take notes? Well after finding out that he was using the outline system from IEW, I knew the material was taking hold and carrying over to outside school activities. SOLD!
6. That same week we attended a home school convention, I attended the IEW vendor workshop and purchased a few more items. I bought the Level C set and the book FIX-IT! Grammar and Editing Made Easy with Classics.
7. Love the “Dress Ups” that is such a great way to remind the kids to dress up their papers.
8. Teachers notes are AWESOME!
9. Andrew is so funny with how he read the stories and makes noises and such mayhem…lol. Definitely a boy thing!
10. The course schedule is so nice, I like something that I can cross off what we have done. It’s also nice to be able to look ahead at upcoming lessons.
11. There are so many take aways for me that will help me in teaching other subjects. Just the outlining format will help with research papers, history assignments etc.
12. I liked the Handouts, I put them in page protectors and used a magnet to hang them up on our dry erase board to use as a reminder. I made notes, drew arrows and pointed out many things from the Handouts.

What this home school Momma did not like about IEW:

1. Andrew was easy to hear, but the adults in the training DVD’s and the students in the Student Writing Intensive DVD’s that were answering questions were off mic and it was rather annoying to me that you could hardly hear them. This might be a minor annoyance to some but I have worked in radio/TV for many years and it drives me bananas to hear something like that.
2. I was a bit overwhelmed at how long the DVD’s were, DO NOT wait until just before school starts to make your purchase of Institute For Excellence in Writing with Teaching Writing with Structure and Style Set (TWSS) and Student Writing Intensive Level A Set (SWI). You will want some time to look over the materials and watch the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD’s. Don’’t fret though, there are Easy Start Instructions included in the student materials, but I highly recommend watching the teaching DVD’s first.
3. I did not like how he had said that grammar books can be dangerous, that could cause kids to become negative towards grammar books. He does go on to talk more about this, but I think it should be discussed in a different fashion when working with impressionable children.
4. I wonder if the Adverb and Prepositions sheets might become a crutch over time?

What this home school student liked about IEW:

1. I liked his humor.
2. Andrew relates well to boys and that is VERY helpful in writing because most boys don‘t like to write.
3. I like how the DVD stops at certain spots, because sometimes I don’t know where the remote is and it’s helpful to not lose my place on the DVD.
4. I like how he talked to the kids about everyday things such as practicing musical instruments.
5. I liked how he addressed those watching at home. It seemed like I was right there with the other kids.
6. Easy to follow along.
7. I liked how he talked about writing wild and crazy things in letters to friends and how we don’t always have to be formal in a letter.
8. The stories were fun.
9. I liked how he made words come to life in the writing, they were more colorful.
10. In the middle of this review I was enrolled in a note taking and study skills class at our local community college, the first day I started taking notes when class started. The instructor stopped teaching and commented on what I was doing. I told her I was taking notes, she walked around the classroom at that time and pointed out how some students were doodling, some were staring off into space, one was sleeping and I was the only one taking notes. She was very impressed, she even talked to my mom after class and complimented me in front of her. She was really surprised to find out that I was home schooled, I guess home schooled kids should not know how to take notes? LOL.
11. Later in the week we went to the state home schooling conference and I asked my mom if I could buy the Portable Walls which is the Handy fold-outs with writing models and word lists on it. She let me!
12. I like the way that Mr. Pudewa is so animated when he read the stories.
13. My favorite story was The Boy Who Cried Wolf, I like the way Mr. Pudewa got goofy in the way he read it.

What this home school Student did not like about IEW:

1. I can’t think of any thing that I did not like.

Institute For Excellence in Writing will give your student the ability to take notes, write stories, summarize using main ideas, write reports. Oh, I almost forgot, how to have fun with and fine tune creative writing skills. Another exciting thing that I found out through having the privilege of taking part in this review is that a friend of mine's son uses Institute For Excellence in Writing at his private Christian high school. I thought that was pretty cool that even brick and mortar schools use IEW. Please be sure to check out the rest of the website for many more great products for your homeschool. If you have a chance to attend an IEW vendor workshop at your local homeschool convention go for it! I attended one this spring and learned so much about IEW.

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My son has truly been blessed through this review, it's helped him stop struggling so much with writing, though he still has to gain more confidence before posting any of his work on my blog. We have a few more lessons to get through on Level A, we plan to skip Level B and move right on to Level C which I bought at convention.

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