Posted in 2020 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, IEW, writing

Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level C from Institute for Excellence in Writing® – A Review

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.

If you have struggled to teach writing, I encourage you to check out Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level C from Institute for Excellence in Writing®. Very early on in our homeschooling journey, we discovered Institute for Excellence in Writing® and more specifically Mr. Andrew Pudewa. Our oldest son, in the fifth grade, detested writing with a passion. Teaching writing took on nightmarish qualities and resulted in tears. Once we discovered IEW, writing became less of a chore.

 Institute for Excellence in Writing® provides a wealth of writing resources ranging from the Structure and Style®, Fix-It! Grammar, Spelling, Teacher Helps, Professional Development and more. The Structure and Style® for Students Level C consists of a Printed spiral bound Teacher Manual, a three-ring student binder along with access to streaming videos. When we first encountered IEW years ago, the videos came in the form of DVDs. Streaming the videos allows families to take less with them if they are on the go. Also, it eliminates the concern of damaged DVDs.

One our family’s (especially my three sons) favorite things about these courses resides in the source literature choices. Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level C provides students with step-by-step instructions and guidelines for becoming proficient at writing. Designed for high school students, I feel our sons have a firm grasp on writing. With our middle two sons preparing to enter college within the next year, and a daughter nearing the end of her high school homeschooling journey I felt this course would be perfect for reviewing writing skills.

The lessons include streaming videos, exercises and homework. One of our favorite parts about the videos remains the lessons being presented in front of a live classroom. The instructional portion from the streaming videos allows me to concentrate on other things besides preparing lessons or figuring out what I want our children to complete when writing. Check out these pages from the Student notebook and the Teacher Manual.

Our daughter (and our sons when they utilized the program) appreciate being told exactly what they need to do to complete each writing assignment. The expectations provide guidance on what will be graded and what needs to be done. My daughter watches the video, follows along the assignments, completes the homework, and then hands it to me to be graded. Once graded, she places it in her notebook and moves on to the next assignment.

In Week 3, which our daughter is currently working on now, the source material is “Caesar and the Pirates”. Literature suggestions are also provided. Optional assignments from Fix It! Grammar provide an additional source of language arts material. Check out what she completed so far this week.

You can find IEW® on Social Media at the following links:


Truly writing produces anxiety and more in both parents/teachers and students alike. Trying to convince reluctant writers to actually write provides difficulty in the best of circumstances at times; however, Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level C from Institute for Excellence in Writing® allows families to embark on a writing journey that provides writing instruction along with the ability to include grammar and literature in a way that sheds meaning on the subject.

The biggest excitement one of my children ever had (and even though he turned 24 this summer) resulted from our oldest son riding in an elevator with Mr. Pudewa at a homeschool convention. Both in person and in the videos Mr. Pudewa’s personality and passion for writing come across. So if you are looking for a writing curriculum, I strongly recommend checking this product out for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew share their experiences and thoughts about this product this week. So click here or on the graphic below to read their reviews.

#hsreviews #iewsss, #iewfreelessons

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.



Posted in Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, IEW

Review of Institute for Excellence in Writing’s High School Essay Intensive



High school writing can be overwhelming with preparing for SAT and college applications so I was excited to receive High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing (or IEW as it is commonly known) for our family.  With three students in high school, a college-aged son and a husband who is planning on getting his Master’s degree, this program seemed like a perfect fit for our family.   We have used other programs from IEW, so I already knew my children would probably like it and it would be a good fit.  Since I already had plans for our children to do this program, I was excited for this opportunity to complete this review.  This course includes DVDs and handouts for the student use.  Ther are approximately 6.5 hours of video on the DVDs to watch.

The program consists of four different parts.  The first part, which makes up the majority of the program examines general strategies for essay writing.  This is very general in nature and goes over topics such as what an essay is, different types of essays, and other basic topics common to any type of essay a student may be called on to write.

The second part of the program goes over understanding and preparing for the NEW ACT Essay.  This section examines topics that are specific to the NEW ACT Essay.  It covers general guidelines from ACT, types of Essay prompts, deciding topics and details, and streamlined outlines.  Students and parents are encouraged to visit the NEW ACT Essay website to get additional topics for students to practice writing essays for the New ACT Essay.

The third part looks at understanding and preparing for the Redesigned SAT essay.  It examines general guidelines from the College Board, understanding a critical anaylsis essay, annotation, and templates for easy outlining.  Again, it is suggested to visit the SAT website to get additional topics for the students to practice.

The final section provides strategies for the Personal Essay.  This section includes general guidelines, types of essays and prompts, determining topics and details, along with standing out from the crowd.  This section is geared entirely towards the type of essay students may be called on to write for college applications that tells about themselves.  , The course concludes with final practice.

I decided it was best for our family to through these sections in order.  So we have been working on the General Strategies for Essay Writing.  The seminar begins with Mr. Andrew Pudewa providing some general information.  Then he goes over two different topics for the students to possibly write about for 20 minutes.  Once he reads the topics, the DVD is paused and students write for 20 minutes.  I felt this was good preparation for  timed essay writing.  My husband and oldest son finished before the 20 minutes was up.  However, my younger three could have all wrote longer.  My daughter even complained that she did not finish.

The seminar then moves into what an essay is as well as the different formats for essays. My one complaint with this part is that Mr. Pudewa is writing on a white board and I was unable to read what he wrote.  If a student has bad eyesight, this may prove problematic if watching on a television set from a distance.  I did like the fact that Mr. Pudewa encouraged notetaking.  I feel it might be helpful if students had some prior knowledge about how to take good notes, or if they may need to re-watch portions of the seminar to make sure they get everything.

This the first program from IEW my husband has done with us.  He was pleasantly surprised by how much the children enjoyed the program.  I think he was also somewhat astounded at how much our youngest (our only daughter) enjoyed writing and expressing her opinions.  He was impressed by how involved our children became in the seminar.  He also appreciated how Mr. Pudewa was able to keep the students and our children engaged.

The pictures below show what came in the kit the we received from IEW.  I like how the box keeps everything organized and is able to stand upright on my bookshelves.


These pictures show samples of the inital timed essay some of our family wrote.

The pictures below show some of the notes members of our family took during the seminar.

If you wish to read more reviews on High School Essay Intensive, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Excellence in Literature, family, history, Homeschooling, IEW, Seminary

Not such a good start


Well I am not off to such a great start for this blogging challenge.  But I am at least off to a fairly good start preparing for our new school year which begins on July 7th.  We will be starting our new history course (Diana Waring’s 2nd History book for Answers in Genesis), IEW’s SICC-B, and Excellence in Literature’s “An Introduction to Literature”.  In addition, we will begin Latin.  Then probably in September we will add in Greek.

Dennis has been officially accepted into Liberty University’s Seminary pursuing a master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry.  So he will be starting courses in the fall.  Jacob will be starting work on his associates degree in the fall.  In the meantime, I am working on blogging, writing, and running the home and homeschool.

What is up in your world?  I would love to hear from you.