I thought I was going to have a hard time convincing my daughter to use Student Writing Intensive Level B ($109) Set from Institute for Excellence in Writing. I sat down to watch the first session of Teaching Writing with Structure and Style ($169) on DVD when she just happened to be in the room. Mr. Pudewa was articulate and even funny, and I noticed her laughing to herself even though she wasn’t really “watching” my video. Afterward, I sat down with her and explained how and I why I feel that this writing curriculum is going to help her be a better writer. Clara really wants to write well, so hearing my honest evaluation of her writing and where I thought she could improve was a huge motivator for her. After that it was “When can we do the review product Mommy?”
Let’s talk a little bit about Teaching Writing with Structure and Style first. This set is for the teacher and really provided me with a solid understanding of the program and how it works. The set came with a notebook full of notes and a set of dvd recordings of training sessions. You can actually teach your child how to write using Teaching Writing With Structure and Style without purchasing a Student Writing Intensive level.
I love having Student Writing Intensive B though, because everything is all laid out for me and it includes dvd recordings for each lesson as well. I could have used Level C with Clara, but having level B is a nice fit for both Clara (age 14) and Jonathan (age 12) since it works for Junior High and early high school. You can easily use the in between level of two students, and you can speed up or slow down lessons to fit each student’s needs.
Besides having everything all laid out for you, one of the things I loved about the Student Writing Intensive is the incremental approach so you could start using what you learned in lesson one right away and apply it in your other areas of writing. I started using the method described in lesson one to take sermon notes and re-write the sermon each week. Clara was able to apply what she was learning in Student Writing Intensive to improve her own pet project, the fiction novel she is writing.
Clara and I also decided that it was more fun to work through the material together, so I don’t just give her the dvd and walk away. We watched the videos together and worked through the material together. She loves this one-on-one attention and it gives me a chance to demonstrate a teachable spirit. You certainly could give the Student Writing Intensive to your older student and let them self-teach if you chose to do so.
Clara was adamant that she did not want to be completing the Student Writing Intensive at the exact same time as her brother Jonathan, so we decided to give her a bit of a head start this summer, and I will let him start this fall when we get back into school full time. That way they won’t be working on the exact same lessons, and I can already tell you they will approach each lesson differently based on age and maturity.
My Bottom Line: We will be continuing to use the Student Writing Intensive Level B for the next school year and I highly, highly recommend both Teaching Writing With Structure and Style (the teacher training) and the Student Writing Intensive. This is exactly the style of writing curriculum I’ve been looking for with my older children.