Institute for Excellence in Writing: A TOS Crew Review

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Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Writing Intensive Level B is the first real writing curriculum I bought brand new for my children’s homeschool writing instruction. I started out a frugal homeschooler and made my own unit studies, borrowed library books, and only purchased second hand curriculum found at used sales. Fast forward seven years. I have graduated my first student from twelve years of homeschool education and I can now brag. I’m seasoned, a veteran, an experienced homeschooling parent, so listen to my wisdom. One important thing I have learned over the years is when it comes to curriculum, free, used, or cheap is worth exactly what you pay for it. In the early elementary years “cheap” may work fine, but when you are laying down the foundations for writing, be choosey and don’t pick something haphazardly or secondhand – you will regret it later. I was eager to do this review of Student Writing Intensive Level C as it has been awhile since my older two sons first met Andrew Pudewa and took his fabulous writing instruction program (Level B). I was then, and am now still pleased with the course. Here I am posing, happy for you as the wind gently tosses my hair.

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IEW is an established, award winning program, and along with being a proficient writing instructor, IEW founder Andrew Pudewa is a homeschooling dad. I love that he understands me and what homeschoolers need. There are several writing courses to choose from at IEW, and you can read reviews of some of the other products at the Crew Review Blog.

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Student Writing Intensive Level C is a complete writing program geared toward the highschool grades or 13+ age. It is not a prequesite to have used levels A and B prior to C. Each one has a similiar framework and techniques with the main difference being the level of difficulty is made appropriate for the age group. It will carry you through a full school year if you watch the DVD once a week and use the other school days to work on the assignments. Some of my friends met weekly and completed the course as a mini co-op. This worked so well for them they did both B and C this way.

This course requires no teacher prep, which makes me, Mrs. Convenience, love it even more. You can familiarize yourself with the specifics of the program by selecting Teaching Writing: Structure & Style, which is mainly an intensive seminar on writing (using IEW techniques) for newbies. Besides giving you a hand held tour through the Writing Intensive syllabus and core methods, Mr. Pudewa entertains you with side stories and blesses you with invaluable tips for grooming and producing accomplished writers. The student course can be bought with or without TWSS. Level C with it costs $249. That includes the 5 DVD instructional videos and notebook/handouts for the student’s course, and the TWSS 10 DVD seminar and notebook summary for you, the teacher:

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Without TWSS the course is $109 and you will receive:

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The TWSS is not a must have to successfully use the student course, rather a resource for those families who want to have access to ten lecture hours by Andrew Pudewa, writing virtuoso.

For this TOS review, I had my 10th grader Benny assist me. Benny and Andrew Pudewa go way back. Now 16, Benny finished Level B when he was 11. Watching level C DVD’s brought back fond memories and a few chuckles. Although some highschoolers might think the DVD’s could use some 21st century updating, Mr. Pudewa’s presentation is polished. He is articulate, professional, and has an obvious sense of humor, swaying towards the dry side, which matches my son’s. Here are Benny’s thoughts on his experience with IEW:

Mr. Pudewa teaches his class in an easy to learn format that keeps the student engaged. He talks with the class (those in the seminar where it is filmed as well as the home audience) with his non-threatening style that is often humorous. He offers many practical tips that will improve essays and short stories. Now that I am close to entering college level English, I will use many of his writing principles and techniques. For example, the paragraph rewrites were especially helpful. After reading the paragraph selected from your own readings or the one provided you would then outline each sentence choosing up to three key words that would serve as memory triggers. From this outline you would rewrite the paragraph selection. Here is an example of my rewrite of a paragraph from Lesson 1. The selection was from a Jefferson historical house tour:

Music, Jefferson, and The Declaration of Independence By Benny Davis

The Declaration of Independence writers consisted of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, who were all in agreement on the first draft of the document. The draft contained the basic ideas, but they all concurred that the final version needed to be inspiring, precise, and artistic. Adams was too rough, Franklin was sickly, and Paine too controversial a man to pen the final draft, which meant the task was left to Jefferson. His landlady journaled the struggle he had with the completion. She wrote of his pacing day after day with no progress. He was stalled. Jefferson then sent home for his violin and after it arrived he she could hear him play for half an hour and then followed by silence. The music was his muse and the silence meant productivity. After only a few days of this cycle the document was ready for presentation. The violin unleashed his creative genius, and infused the art, precision and inspiration the men were looking for. Few people know that the violin played such a pivotal role in the founding of America.

Benny continues:

I would highly recommend this class to anyone who needs an understanding of the principles of writing, or who simply want to improve their existing skills. Oh, and you should be warned he is strict about one thing, and I have never forgotten this important principle of writing: He said that you should only use pens but if you do use a pencil, don’t use the eraser….

“If I ever catch one of you using your pencil to erase, I will come over to your table and bite your eraser off.” Andrew Pudewa

The Institute for Excellence in Writing and the witty Andrew Pudewa has Homeschoolbuzz’s stamp of approval, and we plan to continue to use the Student Writing Intensive Program with our last (sniff, sniff) – our youngest son Will.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to read more reviews of this product at the Crew Review Blog

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