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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: IEW–Deluxe Combination Level A (TOS Review)

IEW Review

I was so excited to be able to review Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package Level A [FIX-1 & 2] from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).  I have heard so many great things about IEW, it is always highly recommended, and I can honestly say that I was NOT disappointed!

We received the following for this review (all part of the Deluxe Combo Package Level A)

I have to admit, when I first opened that box I was SO overwhelmed!  There was so much stuff and I wasn’t sure where to begin!  I took it slow….I started with the Teaching Writing DVD set and workbook.  Seemed like a good place to start!

Teaching Writing: Structure & Style DVD set & Seminar Workbook

With just the first lesson on the first DVD I was sold and even more excited to get this program started with my son (age 8.5yo).  So many things that Mr. Andrew Pudewa said really spoke to me and helped me better understand the struggles I have been having with my son in regards to writing.  Now, I had to change some of my expectations, and some of my habits in regards to teaching writing, in order to fully implement what he was saying.  This was NOT easy, and even after using the program for several weeks it is a struggle…sometimes I just have to leave the room when he is doing his work!  I don’t mean that to be negative, the program is brilliant, I just want to warn you that it may require some change on YOUR part! 

A few of the rules he implements is a no erase rule when writing, writing in pen (gasp!!) on rough drafts, pencils for final copies (actually makes perfect sense when you think about it!).  He talks about how spelling and writing are in separate parts of the brain, which is why kids frequently misspell words when writing.  He about the blank mind syndrome (I don’t think he called it that) when it comes to writing, and implements tactics to help get passed that.  In doing this, he also teaches note taking and implements this into public speaking as well.  I honestly can not say enough good things about this program, I loved these DVDs I learned so much from them!  I only watched the first few lessons in regards to what I was currently implementing, but look forward to watching and learning more as we work through this program!

The way the Teacher program is set up it enables you to implement his teaching methods with any materials available to you (so in other words you wouldn’t need the Student DVDs or notebook; however, I must say it is so much easier and more convenient to have them!)

Now that I felt a little more prepared on how this program works, we tackled the Student Intensive DVDs and Notebook.  Now, I made the mistake of thinking that we were to just work through the DVDs, somehow overlooking the actually lesson layout…into the 2nd or 3rd ‘day’ of the DVD lesson I was so confused.  I kept thinking, man he is moving FAST!  I went back over and realized my mistake so we back stepped a tad.  So pay close attention to the lesson outline, it breaks it down for you, super easy….I don’ t know how I missed that! (Well, actually I do, as I said there was so much stuff, I was a bit overwhelmed).  C really loved the DVD lessons, even though the first lesson is “Day 1”, we broke it up over several days.  The DVD has each lesson listed in chapters, so it’s easy to skip right to where you left off the day before (I loved this!).  Writing is a struggle for us, I didn’t want to overwhelm my son by diving in to deep.  This program can easily be self paced, another great thing about it!

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Student Writing Intensive DVDs Level A, including the Structure & Style Overview and Student Notebook with handouts and lesson plans

The lessons start with reading a paragraph on any given topic, they start with nonfiction and we got into the fiction ones as well during the review period.  They make keyword outlines (3 words for each sentence) and then using their keyword outlines they retell (and rewrite) the story.  As the lessons progress he has them change it up as they rewrite it to make it more their own.  This is great for that blank page syndrome I mentioned earlier!  It has been fantastic for my son. 

We usually take a day or 2 to do the outline, a day or 2 to do the rough draft and another day or 2 to do the final copy.  On average about a week per story.  It could be done faster, but again, writing is a struggle (the physical act of writing, as well as what to write).  My son loves Mr. Pudewa’s unconventional methods of using pen and no erasing!  He also loves that I have to spell words for him (though if I’m not there, I have him do his best, and I fix it later).

Here is one of the stories my son wrote.  This is a tremendous amount of writing for him!  I am so proud!  He has only ever written a story ONCE before….

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Fix-It! Grammar, Books 1 and 2 with downloadable student e-books

Next up is Fix-It Grammar, I actually reviewed this product last year and we were still using it.  We LOVE it!  I recommend it to anyone searching for a grammar program.  It’s so simple, it’s quick and easy…only one sentence a day!  My son loves it too.  He is often found reading ahead in the book (each sentence written comes together to make a story).  Much like diagramming sentences, the sentence of the day is labeled.  A new vocabulary word is also introduced each day.  They then copy the sentence.  So this grammar program also becomes copywork/handwriting, with just one sentence a day.  The student book is downloadable.  Pictured below is Book 1.

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A Word Write Now and Portable Walls

A Word Write Now and Portable Walls are just great tools that are easily accessible.  There are a lot of rule posters that you can print out, but the Portable Wall has all of these in one convenient place.  It’s perfect for your student to have right there with them at their desk, especially when there just isn’t the wall space available!  A Word Write Now is a very helpful tool when writing, it lists all sorts of words you can use, instead of the regular, common, overused words we typically use.  This helps them make their writing more animated and engaging!

Final Thoughts

My son still does not the physical act of writing, but amazingly enough he does like this program.  I think it’s taking a lot of the ‘pain’ out of writing.  He has now written 3 or 4 paragraphs (a different topic each) through this program.  That is something he has never done before!  I think part of it is that he is getting older and more ready to write…but I know a BIG part of it is the techniques and methods introduced in this program!  I am so excited to continue this program and to use other aspects of it in the future!

This kit is available $299.00 which is a savings of $79 if bought individually. If writing is a struggle for your child, I highly recommend this program! The consumable download products are available unlimitedly without expiration.  In addition to the physical DVD courses you also receive the courses as downloads, which do expire after a time period of a year. This allows you to reuse consumables (for as long as you need) and watch the seminars on the go for the first year!

IEW Review
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