A Collection of Excellent Resources From IEW (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

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To many homeschoolers, the name Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is a familiar when it comes to homeschool curricula. IEW is well-known for its amazing writing resources. And earlier this year I had the opportunity to review the writing intensive program from IEW and have been truly amazed and so thankful for a program that has helped my child who hated to write. In this review, I've had the opportunity to try out a few other great resources from IEW as well.

Review of a booklist, games resources, and thesaurus from Institute for Excellence in Writing

From the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), I received Timeline of Classics, the Teaching With Games Set, and A Word Write Now. All of these resources make great additions to the writing programs from IEW, but all of them are also very useful stand-alone resources as well.

Institute for Excellence in Writing

The Insitute for Excellence in Writing is a company that focuses on helping parents and teachers to prepare students to be good communicators by teaching the language arts- reading, writing, speaking, and listening. One thig that makes the company so unique is the ease of use of all of their materials. Dr. Andrew Pudewa teaches teachers and parents how to use the materials in DVD sets and audio files. And many of the materials are taught to the student with DVDs and audio materials as well. The IEW materials are so appealing to homeschool families because they are truly flexible. Students don't just work through a grade level. They work to build confidence and achieve mastery.

Timeline of Classics

I received a physical copy of Timeline of Classics. There is a PDF file of this as well. This resource is one I've been looking at and wishing for for some time. It is a super collection of living books and other media that match up with the time periods of history.

Timeline of Classics, a history-based booklist

In our homeschool, we study history primarily through a classical model. This means that we cycle through the time periods of history, with the kids digging down a little deeper as they get older and cycle through again. Usually, I have some sort of book that we use as a spine. That book is a lengthier book that gives an overview of time periods without digging in. Sometimes I use a textbook as a spine, although many textbooks are too dry and we don't get much out of them. Besides the book I'm using as a spine, I'll choose real, living books to read to cover different periods or people or events more deeply as we read. Nonfiction books that are informative but are interesting and exciting are good. Historical fiction is also an excellent way to learn more about a time period while reading an interesting story that we can really make connections with.

Timeline of Classics is an awesome resource for learning about history in the way. The book is divided into four major time periods- Ancients, The Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, and The Modern World. Within each of those divisions, the book is broken down into major times, people or events of that time period. And then come the book and media suggestions. For each time period, there is page after page of books and other media listed. To help you keep it even more organized, there is a description of the time period, person, or event covered in the resource; the title, including a note if it's a non-book resource; the author; and a suggested grade span- E (elementary), M (middle), and H (high).

Timeline of Classics, a history-based booklist

Timeline of Classics from IEW

When  I first received it, I spent quite some time just flipping through the book to get an idea of what was available. And then, as I began planning for the next segment of our school period, I began using it to find resources to supplement our history curriculum. I'm studying American history with the younger girls this school year. Although there isn't an American history section specifically, there are many American history resources in The Modern World section. I found books about the explorers and the founders of America- which is where we currently are. And I found some good reading about Westward expansion and The Civil War, which is coming up. I was also able to schedule Charles's supplementary reading this way. He, like the younger girls, has a history textbook as a spine and some suggested supplementary reading. But many of the books recommended for him seemed to be a little difficult. I used Timeline of Classics and easily picked out some alternates and was able to choose some that I thought would be more manageable.

Teaching With Games Set

I received the Teaching With Games Set which included a physical spiral bound book and a DVD set that includes two DVDs and a CDRom. I was particularly excited to see this set because I love to use learning games as we study academics. My two younger girls have particularly seemed to always enjoy games as part of school. Often I just make these up or use a game I've seen someone else use, so I was glad to learn some new games to play. As with Timeline of Classics, you don't have to be an IEW user to enjoy the learning games here, but there are some specific instructions for using some of the games with the IEW writing curriculum.

Teaching with games ideas and resources

The DVDs in this set are a workshop that teaches the teacher/parent some new learning games and how to incorporate those games. There are "no-prep" games, matching games, question games, math facts games, and "make as you teach" games. The instructor in the workshop explains each category of game, gives a few games in each category, and then the teachers in the workshop actually play some of the games. The accompanying book summarizes the information about each game and has materials to photocopy and use for many of the games. An Appendix in the book contains instructions for a couple of game materials and it includes information to adapt some of the games to use specifically with the IEW writing materials. The CDRom has a PDF file of the book. This could make it easier to just print off the game materials. And it has a bonus file with materials for three writing-related learning games.

Review of Teaching With Games from IEW

I read through the book and watched the workshop as well as looked through the bonus game materials. And then, the girls and I have had fun playing a few of these games. Here, we're playing No Noose Hangman which involves guessing letters to solve a phrase and then figuring out the answer or context of the phrase in the material you're learning about.

No noose hangman learning game

No noose hangman learning game


In this picture, we're playing a matching card game with vocabulary words and definitions.

Matching card game learning game


A Word Write Now

I received a spiral bound book version of A Word Write Now. This book is an excellent type of thesaurus that includes, not just synonyms that can be used, but a definition of the original concept, parts of speech of the synonyms, famous quotes that are about the concept, and uses of the concept in classical literature. As with the other two resources, A Word Write Now can stand alone or make a great accompaniment to an IEW writing course. We've already been using the book along with the writing course as a matter of fact. But I've also had the kids use it as a thesaurus when looking up words for other subjects.

A Word Write Now focuses on three main categories of words- character traits, words to describe, and words for movement and the senses. It also contains an appendix with some extra writing tools such as a definition of the parts of speech, transitional words, prepositions, and a list of common literary devices with examples.

The words that relate to character traits can help a student if he's developing a character in his writing or if he's writing about a book character in literature response. The words are listed according to concept, such as anger or criticism or generosity. In the descriptive words section, there are a few broad categories, such as "words to describe color" and then the word lists and reading examples. In the movements and senses section, the broad category will be something such as "Words for feet" with word lists that contain words that describe what feet can do. The appendix has some games you can play with words using the words in the thesaurus, lists of transition words and prepositions, information about literary genres, and good basic definitions for common literary devices.

A Word Write Now thesaurus


I've shown the kids how to use A Word Write Now for writing, and we've used it together when we want to look up words that help us to describe a character in a book that we're reading. It makes an excellent tool because it's very versatile and arranged in a way that's very easy to use.

A Word Write Now from IEW


In Summary


As with all things IEW, I loved these three resources. They are great to use as we're learning and writing through the IEW writing program, but they are also useful to me throughout our other learning as well.

Company: Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)
Products: Timeline of Classics, Teaching With Games Set, and A Word Write Now
Connect with IEW on social media:
https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinwriting
https://www.pinterest.com/iewriting
http://vimeo.com/iewtv
https://twitter.com/iew
https://www.youtube.com/user/iewtv
http://iew.com/help-support/blog
https://plus.google.com/+Iewriting/
https://instagram.com/iew/

Crew Disclaimer


Other Review Crew members had the opportunity to review this resource set as well as the Phonetic Zoo spelling program from IEW. You can see what they thought by clicking below.


IEW Review




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