Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Teaching Writing, Structure & Style {Review}

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We are still in the beginning of our homeschool journey, yet for years, I have heard about the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) and their main program Teaching Writing, Structure and Style (TWSS). My SisterL sings their praises and uses the program with her children as well. If you’ve been around my blog at all you know that we are fans of the Memoria Press Classical Core Curriculum and more recently MP has recommended IEW Bible Heroes Writing Lessons in Structure and Style during the Second Grade year and has even added in IEW Fun and Fascinating Writing Lessons in Structure and Style to the MP Third Grade Curriculum package.

Creative Madness Mama reviews the use of @MemoriaPress Classical Core Curriculum and @IEW #TWSS


I received this product free from Publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Teaching Writing, Structure & Style {Review}Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD Seminar Plus Seminar Workbook by Andrew Pudewa
Series: Writing with Structure and Style
Find the Author: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest
Also by this author: Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization
ISBN: 9781623412234
Genres: Educational Resources, Writing
Published by Institute for Excellence in Writing on April 1st 2015
Pages: 240
Format: CD-ROM, DVD, PDF
Source: Publisher
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This powerful and inspiring seminar will transform the way you teach writing to children (and perhaps your own writing as well)! You'll learn how to incrementally teach students to write with clear structure and compelling style. Begin with the basics—rewriting a paragraph—and continue all the way into advanced creative and essay writing. Learn how to nurture excellence in writing and thinking in students of any age.

*If you are reading this in a feed, you may wish to click through to the blog to be able to see the full details on the books.

TWSS is a twelve-hour teaching seminar on DVD (but also available streaming) with an accompanying seminar workbook in a notebook for the teacher. The seminar workbook has tabs and pages of notes with samples and an introduction writing workshop. The TWSS program has been around for many years and just in the last few years has been re-released and revised in an attractive blue package. While I cannot talk about the original product, this new product is very exciting. And overwhelming. The price tag alone is overwhelming, but it is easy to see why it cost what it does with the quality of the notebook and DVDs and the leather DVD case. All of it is durable and meant to last and that is before you get the quality of the actual product in the recording and curriculum.guarantee

Don’t ever let the price of something from IEW scare you away. It works and is worth the price. Otherwise, you can always know that they stand behind their 100% Money Back Guarantee. No limit, unconditional. IEW takes care of their customers!

What is in the box?

My product that I received for review is the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, Second Edition including the DVD Seminar, Workbook, and Premium Subscription which is nine DVDs with instruction and three DVDs of sample Student Workshops, one year of access to streaming video on the teacher training course and Student Workshops as well as a plethora of other PDF downloads and more. The neat thing about TWSS and IEW’s plan of study is that it doesn’t just throw the student in and make them struggle to survive, it builds upon principles and in increments goes more in depth and skills. Learning nine structured plans, students will be given the tools to be able to write a decent composition thanks to knowledge of note taking, writing paragraphs, stories, simple reports, writing from pictures, research reports, creative writing, essays, and critiques.

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Teaching Writing, Structure & Style {Review}Bible Heroes: Writing Lessons in Structure and Style by Lori Verstegen
Series: Writing with Structure and Style
Find the Author: Website, Blog, Goodreads
ISBN: 1623411173
Genres: Educational Resources, Writing
Published by Institute for Excellence in Writing on January 2013
Pages: 224
Format: Spiral Bound
Source: Publisher
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From Enoch and Noah to John the Baptist and Paul, students will get to know the heroes of the Bible while working through six of IEW's nine units. A variety of games teach vocabulary, reinforce elements of style, and add to the fun!

The Teacher's Manual eBook* (complimentary with purchase of Student Book) provides all the help necessary for the teacher and parent: discussion starter ideas, sample key word outlines, sample brainstorming ideas, and thorough instructions for the games and activities.


We are blessed to start at the beginning. In the consultation and set up for our first year joining on the Veritas Press Scholars Academy we discussed the likely-hood of skipping the writing exercises from IEW for this year and plan to start next year, as AppleBlossom is already a young six-year-old second grader. However, when she saw Bible Heroes there was no saying no to that. So in addition to getting ready for a review and for understanding the IEW TWSS program for myself, I included AppleBlossom along the way to prepare for Bible Heroes. I personally am very excited for her to continue to have this desire to learn how to communicate clearly and effectively which I believe she will get from this foundation which we are building with TWSS and the Topic-based writing intensives. We plan to continue with All Things Fun & Fascinating within the next year after we complete Bible Heroes. 

Bible Heroes is written for students in grades 1-2. By the time we complete the book, we will have worked through six of nine units of writing. All Things Fun & Fascinating is geared toward the Level A or 3-5 grade range and touches seven units of writing. Both are written by Lori Verstegen.

I’m not a writer. Or rather that’s a laughable statement as now I find myself a review blogger and I can tell you I never saw that coming in my future, looking at my past. Yet, I always was a poet and a hearty reader with a fondness for words and languages. My main fear in writing is confidence. If I have to edit it, I’d just as well rather not do it. But that’s just fear talking. Going through the TWSS program, I’m learning myself as well as how to instill in my students and future students that fear is unnecessary when it comes to writing, as you can get there if you try. IEW is recommended by Memoria Press in the Second Grade as a supplement with Bible Heroes, and truly in the Third Grade even in the Classical Core Curriculum packages with All Things Fun & Fascinating. IEW is recommended by Veritas Press with a plethora of options for programs to enhance and enliven studies. When my two main courses for studies recommend something so heartily, as well as SisterL… I knew it was something to pursue and I’m delighted that we have.

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Teaching Writing, Structure & Style {Review}All Things Fun and Fascinating (Writing Lessons in Structure and Style) by Lori Verstegen
Series: Writing with Structure and Style
Find the Author: Website, Blog, Goodreads
ISBN: 0980100526
Genres: Educational Resources, Writing
Published by Institute for Excellence in Writing on October 2012
Pages: 161
Format: Spiral Bound
Buy from Publisher
Find on Goodreads

"Humorous characters, cunning creatures, and meritorious men of history. 3rd-5th graders will enjoy writing with this new Student/Teacher Book. Moving through Units 1-7, students will take notes, summarize narrative stories, write from pictures, put together a mini-research report, and compose creative essays. An optional teacher's e-book helps keep the lessons fun & fascinating! The Teacher Supplement e-book is included free with purchase. Contains scheduling ideas, games, vocabulary, and more! Web purchasers receive this helpful resource automatically. Those who purchased All Things Fun and Fascinating at a convention or from a reseller will find directions for obtaining this resource on page 2."


What an enchanting experience it is, teaching and going through tales from my childhood and now sharing them with my own children. Yet in this manner, we are all learning from them and with them.

How are we using it?

As the instructor, I have been watching the DVDs and listening to talks from Andrew Pudewa and others for advice. Talks that include speeches on a variety of topics including: Nurturing Competent Communicators,Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education, On Listening, On Speaking, On Reading, and more. It is interesting how many things I have found that I know of that I did not know the reasoning behind. It fills me with confidence to be able to understand why to teach something in a particular way from the beginning. I hope that my children will never have the fear and stumbling blocks to writing which I have had. As I have mentioned with the IEW Poetry Memorization program, I can continually say the same with TWSS as well. As a witness to the evidence of her progress I can comment that it is indeed much like our violin training, which is touched on quite often in Andrew Pudewa’s talks as he mentions how he was a Suzuki violin instructor in a formal life and likes to apply such slow, “Easy + 1” method to almost all learning.


At first, I felt perhaps I was missing something, because it just seemed too simple, too gentle. But no. That’s the whole thing! We work on one task, do it slowly, do it entirely, and then once that is simple and easily mastered we add another little skill. The next thing I realize we were accomplishing Unit 1 and 2 without blinking an eye! My six-year-old second grade daughter is able to read a passage, create a key word outline (KWO), and rewrite the tale in a rough draft with enthusiasm and imagination filling her pen. We have even thrown in a bit of cursive practice as I’ve encouraged her to re-write her next drafts in cursive.

*Note, I said pen! That is something else that I have learned. Writing in pen is extremely beneficial. Andrew Pudewa has a talk on that too!

While after watching the Teaching Writing DVDs and listening (again and again in my case!) talks from IEW I do understand more and I am able to guide my daughter a bit. The seminar structure where I am doing lessons myself is very helpful for my own comprehension. But I do not know that I would be enjoying this quite as well without using Theme-Based Writing such as the books by Lori Verstegen. It is the perfect amount of hand-holding and scripted that at this point in our learning to write journey is exactly what I need!


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*Samples may be found on the website!

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IEW Poetry Memorization is a refreshed and in a beautiful way! Creative Madness Mama #hsreviews #readingreadiness #poetrymemorization Creative Madness Mama is extremely enthusiastic about the NEW @VeritasPress History of Art Curriculum #hsreview #artstudy #classicaleducation WOL Giveaway

About Andrew Pudewa

Andrew Pudewa

Andrew Pudewa is the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a father of seven. Traveling and speaking around the world, he addresses issues related to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity, insight, practical experience, and humor. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills.

About Lori Verstegen

Lori Verstegen

Lori Verstegen, an IEW Accomplished Instructor, is the author of many of IEW’s theme-based lessons, including all of the history-based lessons. She also wrote the Student Resource Notebook, Dress-Ups, Decorations, & Delightful Diversions, and Teaching with Games. Lori homeschooled her four boys for 24 years. Since 1996 she has been giving IEW instruction to hundreds of other children and their parents. Lori lives in San Juan Capistrano, CA, with her husband, John, who pastors a small Bible church.

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.