Saturday, December 22

Update on Rita's Teaching Writing to Boys and IEW's "12 Day of Free Gifts"!

Note: I have some affiliate links in this post, and IEW sent me some of their curriculum to review. All comments in this blog post are my own and completely honest as I LOVE IEW! Read all about my experiences using IEW's writing and spelling curriculum on my own boys in this post and register for the "Twelve Days of Free Gifts"starting Dec. 26th from IEW here or below.


I love homeschooling Imp (11, 6th grade) and Duke (14, 8th grade). We have an eclectic homeschooling method and we don't use many official curriculum. However, not using curriculum can take us down many crazy internet wormholes.

For example, I usually have one book I read aloud to the boys each day. Our book of the month is Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything.

Chris wrote about his experiences recording a music video of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on the ISS. So we googled his video and it was really good!

Then I had to show the boys the original David Bowie music video from 1969. It was both amazing and hilarious and reminded me of the movie Tron.

Am I dating myself? And yes, learning can involve watching classic 1960's rock music videos. ;-)

Anyway, this happens all of the time when we are learning. We  usually "school" via books, internet,  and documentaries. There is so much out there, and much of it is free.

However, sometimes you get what you pay for, and there are times that I prefer using a "real curriculum". Especially in the two subjects I get overwhelmed teaching like math and writing. We use the Life of Fred math books and the boys love them. And we use IEW's writing curriculum which ROCKS!

Years ago IEW contacted me and asked if I wanted to review some of their products and I immediately said yes, and we have been using IEW ever since. I believe that teaching the three "R's"(Reading, Writing, aRithmetic) well are essential, and IEW has made it easy for me to teach writing.

IEW isn't only for homeschoolers, it can be used on any student who wants to write better.

I know it is overwhelming when you first visit their site, but the Decision Tree really helps, and if you call or email them they have excellent customer service and walk you through everything. They are truly amazing.

I started Duke on Student Writing Intensive Level A a few years ago (5th grade), and Imp on the Student Writing Intensive Level B this year in 6th grade. Since then, Duke has also done the Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course Level B and Elegant Essays.  This summer Duke will start Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course Level C.

Neither of my boys loved to write. They love to read which I thought would mean they would naturally want to write, but reading apparently is much more fun (and much easier) than writing. But IEW has made it easy with video lessons and step-by-step curriculum (idiot-proof says this idiot!) and Duke's writing skills have improved greatly. He had to write a 5-paragraph essay on leadership for the Civil Air Patrol last summer and he wasn't overwhelmed, wrote it completely on his own, and it was very good. 

Imp has just started IEW few months ago and is excited about writing now. He even outlined a book (for fun) last month (using the IEW outline method) and he is working on the chapters.
I am a horrible speller and both of my boys aren't natural spellers either. I was worried about teaching them since memorizing long lists of words never worked for me. But then I started them on the Phonetic Zoo spelling program and they can spell! This method of teaching is brilliant. They listen to 15 words/lesson being spoken in sentences and then write them down. Here is a complete description of how it works. Since you repeat the same spelling rules three times with progressively more difficult words (A, B, C), it really sticks.

If you start with this set, you have everything you need for Level A, and you only need to get the audio part for Level B and C.

Imp just finished Level A and is starting Level B and Duke is almost done with Level B and will start Level C next semester. Did I mention this is also self-teaching which makes Mom really happy?

If you are a homeschooling parent or a parent who thinks your child needs writing reinforcement, please check out IEW. Writing is such an essential skill for college and life and IEW makes it easy to teach it yourself, even if you have no writing experience or skill. Heck, I am doing it!

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