Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
As a writer, I am always happy to help my children in their quests to be writers as well. Unfortunately, they are not quite as excited about the journey as I am. So, when I had the opportunity to review one of the top writing programs from Institute for Excellence in Writing®, I was ecstatic.
I actually have two struggling writers, both of whom get even more frustrated because they have an editor for a mother. I try to keep my expectations at their levels, but it was pretty clear early on that they would need someone else to help them learn to be excellent writers. We were already working on IEW’s Fix It Grammar!, so it was an easy transition to Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B.
This course level is designed for sixth through eighth graders, but I still encouraged my fifth grader to participate with his seventh grade sister. I was pleased that there wasn’t too much moaning and groaning from my reluctant writer!
I love that this kit comes complete with physical materials as well as a code for the online course. My kids were able to follow along in the book as the they watched the instructor, Andrew Pudewa, on the video. The instructor also happens to be the founder of IEW.
The videos are actually very engaging, which helped to keep my children engaged. And I was so pleased to see that they were actually following through with what he was encouraging them to do on the video.
For instance, they were learning about key words and writing them down to figure out how to make a comprehensive outline from the reading material. The teacher does a great job breaking down different stylistic techniques, such as “dress-ups,” “sentence openers,” and “decorations.”
The videos are a bit long; but if you follow the schedule in the binder that’s provided, you will see that the videos are actually broken up into separate days. I really liked the fact that the schedule was clearly laid out for me and that I didn’t have to figure out how to break everything up into separate days. Each day builds on the previous day and then adds another component.
The binder is also a wonderful way to stay organized. There is a tab for “Source Texts,” “Model Charts and Outlines,” “Work in Progress” (my favorite), “Finished Compositions,” “Stylistic Techniques,” “Banned Words,” “Punctuation Usage,” and “Documentation.” This is a great way for my very disorganized children to keep their papers all in one place. They were actually surprised the second week when I was able to easily locate their papers from the week before! (We’re working on being more organized this year.)
The teacher’s manual is a great resource as well. It helps me to see what the kids are working on and where they will be headed. But again, I am trying to stay out of it and let the kids take the course without too much disruption from me. I keep an eye on them from the next room, but they seem to stay pretty well engaged.
This is a great picture of the hard work they have been doing. My fifth grader has a lot of struggles with writing and is actually in occupational therapy to help him along. So to find a program that isn’t creating tears but is engaging him and encouraging him to write is definitely worth the money!
I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to review this curriculum as I believe we have finally found a writing program that could work for us.
But we’ve just used the first year grammar course and Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B. However, IEW has a variety of writing curriculum for all levels. Check out what the rest of the Review Crew tested: