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 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes for 2019, Blogging, writing

31 Days of Five Minute Free Write Prompts – Notice



Welcome to the next installment of my 31 Days of Five Minute Free Prompts.  Today’s word is “Notice”.

As we go through life, I wonder what things I notice and what things I miss.  In today’s world it is easy to get distracted and miss a lot.  I notice when our children (even though the youngest is about to turn 17), I see things I would otherwise miss.

At other times, I notice more things when I am a passenger in a vehicle I notice more than when I am driving.  When I sit still and do not let the things of the world distract me I notice more.

Sometimes watching a television show or a movie multiple times allows me to notice things I otherwise miss.

So what comes to mind when you see the word “notice”?  I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to read the rest of my posts for this series, click here or on the graphic below.


Posted in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes for 2019, Blogging, writing

31 Days of Five Minute Free Write Prompts – Other



Here is my next installment in my 31 Days of Five Minute Free Write Prompts.  The word for this installment is “other”.  What other paths would you choose to follow for your life if you could change direction now?  The other path I would like to have followed is starting to blog sooner and taking it much more seriously earlier.

However, I have to say I am glad I am on the path I am on currently.  Through blogging, I am meeting so many interesting people and learning so much. I am learning other ways of doing things.

Another path I am glad I am on is being part of the Home School Review Crew.  I am learning about other curriculum products I may have otherwise missed for our family.  Our family has really been blessed by this journey.

So what comes to mind when you hear the word “other”?  I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to read my other posts in this series, click here or on the graphic below.


Posted in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes for 2019, Blogging, writing

31 DAys of Five Minute Free Writes – Day 1 – Why?

Today is the first day of my series 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and today’s topic is “Why?”.  Let me start off by saying my “why” for participating in this challenge.  For several years I participated in a blog challenge of writing a certain number of days in that particular month.  This year I am again participating in that challenge.  Then a few years ago, I was introduced to Crystal Stine’s challenge for the month of October.  However, last year was the last year for that challenge.

So this year when I saw Kate Motaung asking about people being interested in her doing a 5 Minute writing challenge for the month of October, I was thrilled with the idea of participating, so here I am.

I love the accountability of having the challenge to motivate me to post.  So if you are like me and like a challenge, I encourage you to join us.  Even if you do not have a blog, it is easy to start one, or you could just write for five minutes either using a word processor or even on paper.

Let me know if you decide to join the challenge.  I would love to hear from you

Click here or on the graphic below to read all my posts in this series.

Posted in 5 Minute Friday Posts, Uncategorized, writing

5 Minute Friday – Distant

5 Minute Friday - Distant

Welcome to my post for the latest 5 Minute Friday writing prompt.  Today’s prompt is “Distant”.  Right now I feel distant and disconnected from many people and places.  We live in Texas far from our family and many of our friends.

In addition to feeling distant from family and friends, I feel distant from my feelings of when we first started our military journey.  At times it is hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since we first started our full-time military career (well my husband started his career and I have just walked beside him on the journey.

So much has changed since we began this journey.  We have lived in eastern North Carolina, to begin with, then moved to western Pennsylvania, then moved to central Pennsylvania and now currently live in Texas.

So what makes you feel distant or what comes to mind when you hear the word distant?

Click here to read additional posts for the 5 Minute Friday prompt.  I would love to hear from you.

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 2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge, Blogging A to Z Challenge, Uncategorized, writing

Blogging A to Z – “C” is for Charity, Church, Children, and Calm


This is my third post in my 2019 Blogging A to Z series, which means the letter for today is “C”.  “C” is for Charity, Church, Children, and Calm.  But I may change the order I discuss these.

First, we have four children living in our house (or at least they are still my children in my mind since I am their mother).  Our three sons are 22, 20, and 18, and we have a 16-year-old daughter.  So needless to say our home is anything but calm at times.  They fill our home with laughter, love, and noise.  And I know I will miss the noise when they all move out.

Also, “C’ is for charity.  Our family loves to use the King James Version of the Bible, and 1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite passages.  Here is a graphic for the last verse of this chapter.

1 Corinthians 13_13 (KJV) 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

And in this final verse, we are reminded that the greatest of faith, hope, and charity is charity.  Of course, charity is the same thing as love. So we need to show love for those around us.

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

Posted in #write28days, Homeschooling, writing

#write28days Challenge – Day 3

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Today is day 3 of my #write28days challenge. I am enjoying sharing tips, resources and other information from our homeschooling journey. Sometimes it is hard to know where to get started. And often it is just as difficult to know when to move on from a resource because something is not working. Over the years, we have tried and succeeded or tried and failed with resources that I have heard others rave about many times.  So today I want to talk about getting started in homeschooling.  Then tomorrow I will look at how to know when to move on to a different way of homeschooling, a different resource, or just changing how you use a resource.

My best advice for getting started is just to jump in and begin. In this day of technology, there are so many opportunities to preview materials online or even complete resources available online for free. It does not have to cost a lot to homeschool. Just because something is unbelievably expensive, does not mean it will work any better than free or less expensive options.


If you happen to be blessed to have friends who homeschool, see if you can get together to look at their materials. Check with your local library. Some offer homeschool materials that you can borrow.

But just pick something and begin. Taking that first step of starting often is the hardest.

Another frequent problem is knowing when the material is not working for your child versus knowing when your child just does not want to work at all. You know your child best, so take a step back and look at the situation from knowledgable eyes. If you find yourself constantly jumping from resource to resource to resource, something else might be going on rather than the material not working. Examine what else is going on with your child, family and outside influences at the time.


For example, one of our sons tends to enjoy being lazy. So if he does not feel like doing work, he will complain about the resource. He will attempt to convince me he is not capable of doing the work. However, I take the time to sit down with him while he attempts to work on the material I am able to see it is not an issue with the resource but the issue is with him.

On the other hand, if I sit down with him and I am able to see the resource is not explaining what our son needs to do, or if it not explaining things properly before expecting him to do the work, then I will look through the rest of the resource to see if it is only that lesson that is poorly written for my child, or if I anticipate having more problems in the future.


All three of our sons absolutely loved a particular science resource, It worked well for all three of them. Our daughter loved and excelled with the elementary books, but then she reached the Junior High/Middle School books and it was a horrible experience for us both. So in that instance, I quickly made the decision to move on to another resource.

When you spend a lot of money on materials, it promotes difficulty, disappointment and other negative emotions about moving on to something else. Even when you do diligent research prior to buying something, things come up. Maybe life throws you a curveball that necessitates a change in the direction of your homeschool.

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


Posted in #write28days, Homeschool Conventions, Homeschooling, writing

#Write28Days Day 2 – Homeschool Conventions


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Welcome to day 2 of my #Write28Days Series on Homeschooling Helps, Hints and Resources.  Today I want to give one of my favorite things that could go under all three categories.  My selection for today is Homeschooling Conventions.  These events have become one of the most valuable, anticipated and useful items for our homeschooling journey.

The first year we homeschooled we started in September with no real idea of what we were doing.  I knew becoming part of local homeschool organizations was important.  So we joined North Carolina Home Educators (NCHE).  After talking with a number of ladies who homeschooled locally in our county, we decided to attend the NCHE convention in May.  Attending for our first time, I really did not know what to expect.  However, I can say I was glad our friends provided a lot of helpful advice.  Their greatest piece of advice was to not buy on the first day.  Instead, we took detailed notes at each booth we went to and also brought back catalogs and other paperwork to review.  Then each night, my husband and I would review our finds and discuss our thoughts.

The other part that was really helpful was attending the various sessions, especially the keynote speakers.  When we first began our homeschooling journey, my husband was not necessarily overly enthusiastic about the idea.  However, hearing Christopher Klicka speak at one of the Keynote speeches provided my husband with our “why” we were homeschooling.  From that time forward, we both realized we were doing it to bring glory to God.

So if you are a homeschooling parent who has never attended a homeschool convention, take the time, effort and energy and go explore the possibilities.  You get to see and touch curriculum first hand.  You get to speak with others at the booths who are knowledgable about the various products.  Moreover, you get the opportunity to hear inspirational, knowledgable and motivating speakers talk about being in the homeschooling trenches.

Some of our family’s favorite conventions include:  NCHE, CHAP (the Pennsylvania Homeschool organization’s convention), Great Homeschool Conventions, the South Carolina convention and Teach Them Diligently.  So check out your area and find a convention to attend.

I would love to hear from you about your experience.  If you would like to read my other posts in this series, click here.

Posted in Five Minute Friday, writing

#FiveMinuteFriday – Where?


Today for the first time, I am joining the @FiveMinuteFriday community and blogging about “Where?”  Where is the place our family has had the most memories and how did it begin?

My “where” is Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  My husband took me there for our honeymoon in 1992.  That is over 26 years ago.  Where has time gone?  Through the years, our family has made many trips back to the theme park.  We have enjoyed the shows, the foods, and the rides.  Stepping into the shows always brings a smile to our faces.  On one of our most memorable trips, we enjoyed a special dining experience with some of the members of one of the shows.  It was fun watching our children participate in songs and dances with the cast members.

Going there brings back memories of the days I spent working at Carowinds on the North Carolina/South Carolina border during high school.  Truly, it was a memorable experience for me.

While we are in Williamsburg, our favorite place to stay is definitely the cabins at Fort Eustis.  Being in the military has its advantages.  One of those is being able to stay at the two-bedroom cabins with a loft, full kitchen (minus dishwasher), a screened in porch along with a deck that goes almost all the way around the cabin.  The views are spectacular as are the memories our family has made.  Thanks for stopping by.  Click here to visit other members who are writing today or to join up with your own #FiveMinuteFriday post.

I would love to hear about what your “Where?” is and why.