Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
  • Hi,

    Okay…I am, once again, emotionally exhausted! I am trying to decide how to do IEW, if I should do IEW. I have an opportuntiy to buy a used set of videos, not DVD’s. Has anyone used IEW, Teaching Writing Structure and Style and the Student Writing Intensive? This would be for my daughters going into 8th and 9th grade who have had no formal writing instruction what so over.

    Hope everyone is well this evening!


    “Older” mama to 7 children


    I LOVE IEW! Watching the videos has been inspiring to me, as well as watching Mr. Andrew P. in person. He is gentle and kind and really seems to get girls writing vs. boys writing. Having said that, let me give you a couple of reasons I really can appreciate the way he teaches us to teach our kiddos.

    1) He teaches kids how to outline things and do an oral narration based on the outline.

    Now, I was a Community College Teacher by trade and my subject… public speaking. This is by far the best way I’ve ever seen to teach someone to do this type of speech.

    2) Once a child narrates it orally, all he/she has to do is write it down. There’s no struggling with what to write and dawdling and crying. After doing the narration, they know. Then, after a day or so, the child can come back and add extra dress up words (ways to make it sound better). This teaches an ability to self-edit and play with words so the child can find his/her voice.

    Just for fun, I help edit some friends who write Christian fiction. Many of the things he teaches, I’ve learned through that process. I started using IEW before I learned of CM’s ideas about when to start writing. Consequently, my fourth grade son had to write quite a few things last year. 🙂 He did it without complaining, and managed to produce work that astounded me.

    Since I’m new to CM, I’d be happy to hear some other ideas/counter arguments… BUT I think this combines the oral narration, written narration, and teaches a purposeful self-editing to boot. It sounds like CM to me, but maybe I’m missing something.



    Hi Kim

    The great thing about the Student Writing Intensives are that Mr. Pedewa does the teaching for you. Also your children are able to do their work independantly and then share with you what they wrote. We did this a couple of years ago and now I am considering pulling it back off the shelf this year.

    I too am curious what CMers think about IEW. My big question (and maybe you can help with this Jen) is will it help with written narrations or take away from the ability for them to “think” on their own?

    Kim, are your girls doing written narrations already?

    My girls are not doing written narrations yet. I am still trying to pull everything together and get a plan in place. I had thought I had a good used set of tapes but the lady decided not to sell. I am not sure that I can even get it now, the used sets on ebay go for as much as a new set.

    Anyway…I had, at one time, thought about just doing IEW SWI as the people at IEW said we could do that BUT…Then others say we need the tapes soo…just not sure what to do, or if there is something, just as good..but a lot cheaper. I also really want something they can sort of do on their own. LA, Writing, Grammar…not my area of expertise, which is probably why I need the TWSS tapes..huh? GRRRR…


    Kim, I just started using IEW with my 8th and 9th graders, as well. I have to say, I am very happy with it. I had a set of the TWSS tapes/syllabus (bought it used probably 2 years ago and never actually did anything with it until this summer). But what the kids love is the SWI DVDs.

    We bought SWI-C for them. They are working through all the units this summer, wrapping up in mid-August. We actually found 3 other families who are doing this with us. The kids meet once/week for the DVD lesson, etc., then work on writing assignments at home. If you could find some local families who were interested, this would be an excellent way to share the cost of the DVDs/tapes. Each family would need their own notebook (or one per student), but the most expensive part would be shared. Also, the DVDs/tapes have excellent resale value, as you know, so you could use them short term and resell for a large percentage return. But if you have younger children coming up, you might be inclined to keep it.

    We’ve been CMers for… well, for many, many years. I always would think about what CM said about not teaching composition. And I totally understand what she meant by that. But at this age, they’ve got the oral narration, they’ve done written narrations for years, etc. I do think some of the IEW stylistic teachings at this level are really redundant for my kids, but I like the fact the it draws attention to careful word choice. But mostly, they need to write formal essays and research papers, etc., and they need some instruction in how to do that. The IEW materials are just so logical, which takes the mystery out of it. And Andrew Pudewa is just so much fun to listen to on the DVDs! 🙂 All the kids at the weekly writing class enjoy him on the SWI-C.

    Since we’ve only been using the materials firsthand for a few weeks, I don’t know that I can recommend them without reservation, but so far we are very happy with them. We have even tossed around the idea of getting the SICC-C next just because the kids all like listening to him so much! lol

    Oh, and as for whether you need the TWSS…. You could get by without it if you had to, particularly if you watched the SWI with your kids. It would be ideal to get the TWSS. The SWI-C doesn’t cover all 9 units, so you’d be missing some there, and you would probably want to strongly consider at least getting the TWSS syllabus and reading through that with the SWI units. Still, the best option might be to go in with some other families — or buy it and charge people to watch the seminar with you so you can recoup some of the cost.


    Stacey 🙂


    Okay Stacey, since you are a seasoned CMer what do you think of using SWI with a 7th grade boy who hasn’t done many written narrations – and who has blank paper panic attacks? I’m just pondering whether I should have him master written narration first-before moving into IEW…or not. Do you think SWI would help him with his written narrations or hinder him? I hope that makes sense.


    And what age would you start using IEW?

    I use the spelling program and love it and the boys don’t get fustrated like they use to .. I also know many people who use this and love it.


    I’m not “seasoned” like Stacey, (and I obviously take a while getting back to you–sorry) so I’d be curious to see her response to your note. The only thing I can think that would be terribly different between cm and IEW is the way he has the students write their notes. He goes sentence by sentence through a text and has them re-write it in their own words. From what I’ve been reading, CM taught that the child should pull out the things he/she thinks important. When you go sentence by sentence, the child is attending to the whole. Having said that, my fourth grader stopped having white paper panic attacks! This might help your son overcome some of that and in turn be able to branch out a bit into more written narration, cm style!

    Stacey, I’d love your thoughts on this and how old you think the students should be when they start.

    Well, I may be a “seasoned CMer” but I am very new to IEW, so take this FWIW. 😉 The short answer is that I don’t have a firm answer for you (sorry!), but I’ll share some reflections. Sorry it’s kind of long and rambling and perhaps not well-organized… I put this response together at various points during the day. lol

    First and foremost, I realized in my kids’ early elementary years that although I had studied CM principles, I wasn’t really implementing them as consistently as I thought I was. Yes, they always had living books and we did nature study, but that does not a CM education make. 😉 I would look at the written student examples in the back of Volume 3 (?) and wonder how those kids did that! But then I started to really pay attention to CM principles and compare that to what we were doing, I decided that if we were going to “do CM” then I needed to really do it. And I have to say that this shift in *my* mindset was very beneficial.

    My older kids started doing written narrations years ago (maybe age 9-ish?) after years of oral narrations (and oral narrations continued on, concurrently). Worth noting: they would often write stories for fun and such, so writing wasn’t a big obstacle for them. CM has wonderful ideas on that solid base of oral narrations and transitioning to written — I really think that was the way to go for us. Working into written narrations gradually can help the reluctant writer (type up his oral narration so he can see that he’s already doing it in a different form; have him start an oral retelling while you type, then let him finish typing; other ideas like that). So I wouldn’t want someone to slight that process, nor would I want anyone to feel like it was necessary to spend tons of money on a “writing program” like this.

    BUT, of course every child is different, and family dynamics (and seasons of life) can greatly impact that as well. I do think IEW would help a child to organize their thoughts and pay attention to stylistic aspects of writing. Even with the SWI, the point is to teach them structure and style that can be applied to anything they want to write about. Andrew is so much fun on the DVDs — I would think his “presence” would help quell the fear and panic that accompanies writing for some. It could be used to help transitioning to written narrations in a more formal sense. But my children seemed to have absorbed a lot of that through reading volumes of high quality classic literature and following those CM principles during their elementary years. The written component is just naturally a part of them, an extension of their vocabulary and thought processes. However, even with all of that, I can see that one of my older ones still struggles with organizing her thoughts on paper in a way that is logical and complete to other readers — not really for straightfoward written summary narrations, but in more formal types of writing.

    If you decided to use IEW at a younger age, I would think it would be best to be sure you’re working on integrating writing into your subjects (history, literature, etc.), rather than making it a distinct subject. I guess what I’m saying is that if you go with IEW, I would just suggest that you use it as a tool to assist — don’t let it dictate to you or overwhelm you with feeling you “have to” do it this way or that. In addition to the TWSS, you might want to start with an SWI or theme-based book to help you teach them the structure and style, but if I had done that when my kids were younger I think I would’ve ended going up from product to product and getting away from integrating it into our regular (CM) readings. But that’s just me. lol

    My whole purpose of getting into IEW this summer is to build into critical essays, literary critiques, research projects, that kind of thing. And that’s just because of the age of my older kids — I just feel that is what they should be doing at this point. And in all honesty, I don’t really care <gasp> if it’s technically “CM” or not, because I feel like this is what they’re supposed to be doing right now. But I do think IEW can be completely integrated into a CM education… with attention given to the larger goals of your educational philosophy.



    Just a quick comment on the outlining “sentence by sentence” as was stated in an earlier post. I don’t see that as a problem because that process is really just used at the very beginning IEW units as it is easier to show the process.

    This is not unlike having a child who really struggles with oral narration beginning by narrating one sentence at time. It helps them understand the process, but they don’t stay there for very long. Soon they will be giving oral narrations whole paragraphs, chapters, etc. A similar process is undertaken with IEW note taking — outlining key ideas for paragraphs, topics, etc.


Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • The topic ‘IEW question’ is closed to new replies.