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Becca – I said the “thorn in the side” thing in jest – i don’t REALLY plan on being disagreeable or addressing IEW’s components in front of the other children or parents. I fully disclosed my concerns about IEW prior to joining Essentials and was assured that the parent is able to implement or not implement the rigors of its structure as they see fit. We’ve been meeting all summer with our CC group and I’m looking forward to the coming school year with them – hopefully if they felt my “issues” were an issue they would have let me know by this point as they’ve had the opportunity to hear samples of both my oldest girls writing. But perhaps I should just clarify with them again that we’re doing essentials in spite of IEW and not because of it and that we’re happy to drop out if that’s going to be a problem. I really can’t imagine that it is a problem as when I first considered CC, I spoke with the state director, who referred me to a veteran Essentials tutor as well as our own local director who is also serving as my daughter’s tutor. I’m still not convinced about the checklist because both of my daughters narrate stories beautifully and write so naturally when compared to the same children in their class that do stick to the checklist, but I’ll try to keep an open mind should I see them floundering.
Thanks for all your input and time!
I thought I would share on this post as we have been users of IEW for several years and have had great success. We used it in a co-op and all of those who have graduated went on to score at least a 6 on the ACT writing and most scored 9’s. So the 2 score is probably unfounded. I know there has been disagreement about the formulaic writing style but as the kids were used to the checklists they grew right out of them. They all write well and they don’t sound alike to me at all. They each have their own style but also use what they learned. My son won some scholarships with the papers he wrote. Others in the group did as well. They have all been complemented on their writing from outside teachers. I am not saying that everyone should use IEW but I am saying that it can be used with success.
Those who are in the non-formulaic camp have written to Andrew Pudewa with their reasons to be against it and he has answered them back with his rebuttal. I read both and felt very comfortable with Andrew’s answers.
Well, for what it’s worth, I also felt it very confining to write within the “formula”. I like your approach, Rebekahy. But maybe I’m biased…b/c that’s what I did with my kids too when we tried the Student Writing Intensive. I imagine the formula would be great for kids who write with little imagination or creativity, but it can kill the joy in a good writer to have to follow all the “rules” and checklists. Just saying…!Wings2flyParticipant
I have watched the dvd set for teachers to see if it is a good fit for us and I was impressed with what I saw. I can see us following their theme-based writing plans before doing it on our own incorporated into other subjects in a CM manner. I thought he encouraged creativity. I highly recommend watching his teacher set even if you decide to follow a different LA program. I have researched many programs and I like this one the best. I plan to follow it along with my children to improve my own writing skills. I think the way you teach the rules and check lists matters. I plan to be more flexible with it.ShellyjlParticipant
I just wanted to address the issues of writing with no creativity or imagination, and the use of formulas. IEW is not the only curriculum that uses a checklist. I think for early writers, it is a great place for them to get used to using the tools for good writing, whether they are creative writers/thinkers or not. What I have found it is that the children I know who use IEW get a great joy out of learning to use more descriptive words and new vocabulary, and it seems to spur more creativity on their part. Consequently, as another poster put it, they get used to using those tools and are eventually off and running on their own, applying all the right elements almost without thinking. My daughter is very creative as a writer, and she puts her thoughts down in an orderly manner. But introducing her to the ‘self-editing’ process, which is absolutely vital to creating a quality finished product, has been a happy boon to the whole writing process at our house!
Benjamin Franklin, they say, learned to write well by imitating the writing of others, which is more or less the premise of IEW. From there, by hearing and mastering the tools of good writing, children have a framework from which to run with their own creative thoughts and ideas, which, in my experience, are not hindered by the initial use of the formula approach. That’s been our experience anyway.
By the way, I would disagree that ‘good readers make good writers’, or at least I would say that it’s not true across the board. A common mistake parents make is to stop reading aloud to their children once those children are reading on their own. One of the points Pudewa makes so very clearly is that children need to hear words spoken/read correctly and they need to hear good writing ‘out loud’ for many years in order for it to affect their writing. (Sorry, just a side point about Andrew Pudewa that I think he makes a great case for! : )
I looked at several writing programs before finally landing on IEW. I like writing from the content areas. I am not a CM purist, but I love, love, love the CM approach on many, if not most, learning levels. I think that approaches to writing can vary, depending on the child and teacher, and so IEW is likely just one of several decent approaches. But the background of the method itself, plus the knowledge of Mr. Pudewa in teaching it and in furthering my concept of language arts learning, goes a long way at our house for finding IEW a solid basis for writing instruction.SueParticipant
I’ve been skimming through these posts with interest, and I’m wondering, at what age does IEW start? Just curious, as we have not used much in the way of formal writing curriculum; I’ve taught basic grammar in the elementary years and we’ve worked our way into written narrations along the way, but not much else. Well, except for the typical public school writing of friendly letters and minimal essays during the few years mine were enrolled in an online public charter school.TailorMadeParticipant
IEW now offers theme based writing lessons (TBWLs) from K-12+. I personally don’t begin using them until around 10 years of age. That’s just what has worked for us. I also require students in our co-op writing class to be 10 years of age, or older. Quite honestly, I do this for the benefit of those children who wouldn’t be ready for it before then. Success is the aim of this class. Waiting until 10 or older seems to allow more time for reading and pre-writing skills to be fairly solid for most of the children in our group.
We do CM type activities for language arts at home during the early years. I include family read alouds, narration, copywork, and dictation under that heading. I use Emma Serl’s PLL and ILL mostly orally prior to the incidental grammar usage in IEW. After PLL, I have had one use OMT for fine tuning grammar. Another used EG+. The third used strictly Serl’s and IEW. Fourth has used PLL, Essentials, and IEW. Fifth is doing PLL now. I’m not sure whether she’ll need anything other than IEW after Serl’s use. She’s very language oriented.
IEW does sell a program called Primary Arts of Language that is apparently CM friendly. It has components similar to those found in programs like Delightful Reading and All About Reading/All About Spelling. I’ve never used it. It’s only a fairly recent (last few years) addition to the IEW catalog. As the resources I’ve used previously have become a family habit, I’ve just never looked at it.
As far as writing instruction is concerned, I truly think it’s a readiness issue. If you have an 8 year old showing abilities that suggest it’s time for more formal instruction, go for it! Waiting won’t put them behind if it would be better. Even waiting until 12-14 years of age to begin formal writing is best in many situations. Once prepared, they take off and thrive.
I’d also note that if a child is already a solid writer, they may not need a formal program, unless it would possibly be to learn the MLA format. IEW teaches it thoroughly. Once my kids have a handle on assigned IEW papers, I no longer use a tbwl, nor do they have a checklist to help them through their editing process. They know what they’re doing by then and just communicate in their own style.
I won’t weigh in on the pro vs anti-IEW debate but Higher Up and Further In has a wonderful blog post this week on writing in a CM education. I highly recommend it.
I’m not extremely familar with IEW, but I just wanted to chime in that you might be interested in Susan Wise Bauer’s writing programs. Writing With Ease, Writing With Skill, and The Creative Writer. We have been using Writing With Ease, and I find it quite compatible with CM. I also have read several of Susan Wise Bauer’s books on other subjects and like her writing style, and combined with the fact that she’s a college professor and professional writer I feel very comfortable using her approch. Just 2 cents.SueParticipant
Approximately what grade levels are the Susan Wise Bauer writing programs recommended for? Where would one start an older child who hasn’t had much in the way of a formal writing progam?cherylramirezParticipant
Here is the link for the Higher Up Further In article: http://higherupandfurtherin.blogspot.com/kemahkacParticipant
Hi. I understand your concerns, but all of my children learned writing from IEW, and it was a huge success. After IEW, they continued to practice writing essays. My oldest daughter scored an 800, and my next daughter is likely to do very well too. I think the key may be to pick a curriculum that is right for your family, and don’t depend on a curriculum to do the work. Practice, practice, practice. The fact that Andrew does not have a degree does not bother me one whit. Self-education can be much more effective than a “class”. Isn’t that what we homeschoolers always say?:)
Nebby and Cheryl,
Thanks for the blog post info., and link. I will share it with our local Homeschool group. The families that don’t want to use a writing curriculum need to be reassured that their efforts will produce good fruit. 🙂 Thanks for helping me find a way to encourage them in their efforts.
Does a degree make someone an expert? No. Go to any university and have a normal conversation with any 10 professors. Then, come back and tell me how many of them could hold a normal conversation for longer than 5 minutes. I promise you that after you have done that then you will agree with this quote “Any idiot can get a PhD if they stay in school long enough.”
Henry Ford went broke 5 times before he got his patent approved. RH Macy had 7 failed businesses before his (current) company took off. The recipe that Colonel Sanders made for chicken was rejected over a thousand times, and it has now became the most famous secret recipe for fried chicken. No PhD, but he is certainly a fried chicken expert. Walt Disney was once told that he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. No degree- but certainly an expert in making people happy. Robert Munsch was a daycare worker with a mental illness- and guess what? I bet you have read at least one of his books, and he doesn’t have a degree in writing! Does someone need a degree to be an expert? no. Sometimes God uses the one with the biggest heart for teaching something to get the job done.
There is nothing wrong with IEW, or Andrew not having a degree.MissusLeataParticipant
We did CC for a couple of years and so my experience with IEW is that everyone loves it. I’ve never used it since my kids weren’t old enough to be in that program when we were in CC.
But, to my understand Pudewa has an ATI background. ATI is the homeschool program (but it’s much more than a program….at least it used to be) that the Duggar’s use.
My family used it and I would guess that Pudewa is about my age, so we should have similar experiences.
ATI was firmly against college. You were simply not to go to college. Apprenticeship was all that anyone needed.
I have to sort of laugh, because, without college degrees we always had an issue of how were we going to make money and the answer was, “teach a course or write a curriculum.”
I guess he did it! 🙂
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