Posted in 2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge, Blogging A to Z Challenge, writing

Blogging A to Z – “E” is for Energy, Excitement, and Enthusiasm

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter E

Welcome to day 5 of my Blogging A to Z challenge.  The letter for today is “E” for Energy, Excitement, and Enthusiasim.  Our four children have an incredible amount of energy.  They remind of the Winnie-the-Pooh character, Tigger, bouncing from one place to another.  They bounce from one thing to another.  Sometimes, when they start talking it seems like they could go on forever.  I often wish I had half as much energy as they have.

“E” is also for excitement.  Sometimes the simplest things excite them.  Recently, my husband and I were out shopping and came across a poster my husband felt our daughter had to have.  So we bought it, brought it home, and presented it to her.  The shrieks of delight she produced made it worth every penny we spent on the poster.  Later, her oldest brother saw the poster and his reaction was equally loud.  Our second son finds excitement when playing online games with his cousins and friends.  Our youngest son finds excitement in playing his instruments, participating in band and arranging musical compositions.  Oh yes, he also became very excited when my husband and I bought a Music Composition book for him when we were out shopping.

Finally, our children demonstrate enthusiasm.  Our oldest son became enthusiastic about the guitar first, then the cello and now it comes from playing his upright bass.  Our daughter becomes enthusiastic when she creates an amazing drawing by hand or digital drawing on her computer.  Our youngest son becomes enthusiastic when he hits a note just right on one of his instruments or when he finds just the sound he is looking for in a musical composition.  Our second son becomes enthusiastic when he finds the perfect book to read or scores well in his game.

So what comes to your mind when you see the letter “E”?

If you want to read my other posts in this series, click here.

Posted in #grammar, Homeschooling, IEW

Review of The Nose Tree (Book 1) of the Fix It! Grammar Program from IEW


I am so excited to share our review of The Nose Tree [Book 1] part of the  Fix It! Grammar program from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).  Throughout our years of homeschooling, Institute for Excellence in Writing has become one of our favorite companies.  IEW has a way of making subjects interesting for children, and especially our children.

For this review, we received the spiral bound Student Workbook and the spiral bound Teacher Manual.  This is the first book in a six book series.  Our 16-year-old daughter was the one completing the work.  I felt it would be a great grammar curriculum for our family to use.  The lessons in the book cumulatively tell a story by the end of the course.

The course is meant to be completed over thirty-three week, with about fifteen minutes a day for four days a week.  My daughter was happy to have the fifth day off.  Of course, what day of the week, we did not do IEW depended on our schedule for the week.  I loved having the extra flexibility that plan provided for us.  The Teacher Manual provides detailed instruction for completing the coursework, how to download the extra material needed for the course along with detailed instructions for completing the daily assignments.  My goal is to speed up and complete two lessons in a week by the time we reach the midpoint of the course.

My children started off hating writing and grammar, so finding IEW early in our homeschooling journey was a blessing.  We started with the writing programs, but with two children now in high school, grammar still needs to be covered.  Because our daughter had never really used Fix It! Grammar in the past, I decided to have her start with Book 1.  Although we started out at the traditional pace of one lesson a week, I expect as we move farther into the book that we will go at a faster pace.  I wanted to make sure she understood what she was supposed to be doing and what was required of her before speeding up.

The Teacher Manual provides detailed instructions for completing the coursework, how to download the extra material needed for the course.  The downloadable materials include Fix-It! Student Book 1 (ebook), Mastery Learning e-audio, and But, But…What about Grammar? e-audio.  The Teacher’s Manual provides clear and concise guidance about what the students are expected to know and do for each lesson.  I love how there are no distractions on the page, literally, everything is in “black and white”.  Here are some sample pages from the Teacher’s Manual.



The course covers everything from recognizing paragraphs, proper end markings (or punctuation), nouns, verbs, articles, homophones, adjectives, adverbs, and more.  Each lesson builds on the material presented in the previous lessons, so the students are getting constant reinforcement.  I really appreciated this connection and practice.  I allowed our daughter to use a word processing program to do the vocabulary, rather than having her write it all out.  But, when it came time to rewrite the paragraphs and mark the book, she did those activities by hand.  At the end of the Student Workbook is a glossary with all the important terms.  I feel this would be extremely useful for students who are younger or do not have a strong background in grammar.  Here are some pictures from the glossary.




For each lesson, the student reads the sentence and looks up a word in the dictionary and writes that definition down in their notebook using keywords and using the proper labels.  On the first day, my daughter and I read the instructions together and completed the necessary steps for the first paragraph.  Then, we discussed anything she might have missed, that way she could learn from her mistakes.  On days 2-4, she used the abbreviations at the top of the page along with the grammar cards to remind her about how to mark the paragraph.  Once again, I helped her with anything she missed.  Finally,  after making the corrections and discussing the section with me each day, she rewrote paragraph making sure to double space and not including any markings.

Since our daughter is 16, she had no difficulty with following the instructions or understanding what she was supposed to do.  However, I expect younger children may require more guidance and direction with completing the assignments.  I love how in the Teacher’s Manual, parents are told, “If your children start to groan when you say, ‘Time for Fix It!’ something is wrong.”  So far, my daughter is enjoying what she is doing.  Here are some sample pages of what she has been doing.


Overall, our daughter is very pleased with this grammar point.  It gets to the point, explains clearly what needs to be done and allows her to finish the assignments in a reasonable amount of time.  She loves being able to learn to mastery rather than just learning things for a test.  Of course, it helps knowing Grammar is something she will use for the rest of her life.

Our family has loved all the materials we have acquired from IEW, including their grammar program and their writing program, through the years.  Of course, we could be biased since my oldest son had the opportunity to ride in an elevator with Mr. Andrew Pudewa at a homeschool convention.  To this day, we still talk about the meeting.  Of course, I think almost everyone in our family has interacted with Mr. Pudewa in some way.  We absolutely love the writing and grammar products from IEW as it is called around our house.

You can find the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

So if you are looking for a grammar curriculum that is relatively fast and easy to use, check out Fix It! Grammar program from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing this curriculum this week.  So if you want to read other reviews about this level or if you want to read reviews about other levels, click here or on the graphic below.