Writing is a hard subject to teach. What writing assignments should children complete at various ages? How much help should children be given when working on writing assignments? How should writing assignments be evaluated? All of those questions and many more often plague home educators. Home educators know that writing is a very important skill but are often unsure of the best way to teach the skill of writing.
In our homeschool, my oldest daughter has always been a natural writer. She likes to write, writes well, and handles a wide variety of writing assignments with grace and ease. My two younger boys, though, have not been eager or adept writers. After trying multiple writing programs, I have been so very thrilled with the writing curriculum that I used with them for the 2010-2011 school year - Ancient History Writing Lessons from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I used this course in conjunction with the Teaching Writing Structure and Style DVD course which is a 10 hour DVD seminar designed to teach the home educator how to teach one's children to write.
Imagine my happy surprise when I received the Student Writing Intensive Level B from the Institute for Excellence in Writing as a review item early in the school year! I was able to seamlessly integrate this wonderful resource into the writing resources from the Institute for Excellence in Writing that I was already using! I have been incredibly impressed with the Student Writing Intensive Level B and plan to continue using the curriculum next year.
Before I go any further describing the IEW Student Writing Intensive program, I want to share an example of a paragraph that my 9 year old son wrote using the IEW curriculum. This paragraph was part of a three paragraph essay about the Epic of Gilgamesh. Here is the first paragraph of my youngest son's essay:
- Gilgamesh, King of Urek, was forever remembered. Gilgamesh walked up towering mountains and swam through salty seas. Gilgamesh tied his ankles and pounced into the Euphrates River. Gilgamesh had one chance to grab the spiky plant. Gilgamesh came near the plant and snatched it out. Gilgamesh loosened his ankles and pushed himself to the surface. Anxiously, Gilgamesh carried the strange plant. Gilgamesh happily jumped up and down. He had succeeded.
If you are new to the Institute for Excellence in Writing's many writing resources and varied writing programs, I admit that it can be a bit confusing. Regardless of which of the specific writing materials are chosen, I recommend that the teaching parent watch the entire Teaching Writing Structure and Style DVD Seminar to understand the way in which writing is taught using the IEW method. Personally, I found the entire seminar incredibly motivating, instructional, and interesting. Andrew Pudewa is a delight to watch and the fast-paced seminar easily kept my interest. I am well aware, though, that finances are rarely unlimited in a homeschooling family, therefore, the Student Writing Intensive can be used without purchasing the Teacher's seminar. In the overview materials to the Student Writing Intensive that I reviewed, it is stated:
- Although you can successfully use the SWI without the teacher's course, watching the Teacher's program before watching the student lesson will provide you with many of the reasons behind the instruction given as well as other teaching tips to aid your student in writing. If you do not have the teacher's course, you can still use the SWI successfully.
Many home educators, after watching the Teaching Writing Structure and Style DVD Seminar, wished that Andrew Pudewa could just come to their house and teach their children writing! The Student Writing Intensive DVDs were created to grant that wish. The Student Writing Intensive DVDs are designed to take off where the Teaching Writing Structure and Style DVD Seminar ends - by actually teaching children to write using the structure and style method!
Focusing specifically on the Student Writing Intensive Level B, this four DVD course includes 15 lessons which are 45-60 minutes in length each. The course is designed so that one lesson is watched per week and the writing assignment is completed before the next lesson. Each lesson could easily be stretched over a two week period by adding an additional, similar assignment or by simply giving a struggling writer more time.
Over the course of the 15 lessons, all of the following units are covered:
- Note-taking and Summarizing
- Story Sequence (Narrative)
- Reports from Multiple Sources
- Creative Writing.
In addition to the DVDs, the Student Writing Intensive B includes a binder with tabs and over 100 pages of teacher's notes, handouts, and checklists. I found the teacher's notes to be incredibly helpful and the other materials to be a true asset as well.
If you would like to learn more about the Institute for Excellence in Writing and all of the wonderful materials they have available, I encourage you to visit their information-packed website.
Every time I visit their website, I learn something new - it is SO packed with helpful information for the home educator. The Student Writing Intensive in Levels A, B, or C is available for $99.00 at the IEW website.
I received the Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Writing Intensive Level B for my honest review of the product. No other compensation, monetary or otherwise, was given for this review.