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Our Homeschooling Family’s Experience with Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)

Our Homeschooling Family's Experience with Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)

(There are affiliate links in this post – click here to learn more. IEW® and Structure and Style® are registered trademarks of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. L.L.C. Fix It!™ is a trademark of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, L.L.C.)

We started using Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) products four years ago when my oldest son was in 4th grade. Since then, there hasn’t been a year we haven’t used at least one IEW product! 

Up until now, I haven’t had a chance to collect my thoughts and share about our IEW experiences. But that’s about to change! 

If you’re searching for a high quality language arts or writing curriculum, or if you’re wondering if IEW is the right choice for your family, you’re in the right place so read on!

Our Experience with CTC Math Homeschool Curriculum: A Mini Review

Our experience with CTC Math homeschool curriculum - a mini review

If you’re like me, you read more than one review when considering a homeschool curriculum purchase. 

And, if you’re like me, you get frustrated when the first half of every review repeats the same basic product info. 

So, in this review, I’ll skip all the basics. This won’t be “All You Need to Know” about CTC Math. And it won’t be the  “Complete Ultimate Comprehensive Guide” to homeschool math curricula. 

In this CTC Math Mini Review, I’ll assume you’re already semi-familiar with the program and you’re just trying to decide if it will work for your family. (If that’s not the case, check out the CTC Math website to see what it’s all about or read Cathy Duffy’s review for a quick summary. Then come back here for my two cents.) 

How to Plan Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) Curriculum

How to Plan BFSU curriculum

If you’ve read my review of Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) science curriculum, you’ll know it’s no secret that I love it!  

The content is awesome, it’s organized logically, and it encourages students to observe, question, and think their way through the lessons (rather than just memorizing science jargon that’s thrown at them). 

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my BFSU review to learn more about the curriculum and how it works. 

But, even though I love BFSU, there was a steep learning curve for me as I tried to actually implement it. The thing is, I was creating work and frustration for myself that could’ve been avoided! The steep learning curve was my own fault!

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) Review – Part 2

This is Part 2 of my review of Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) – the K-8 science curriculum my family has been using for years in our homeschool. In Part 1, I covered the basics – the overall approach and layout of BFSU. In this post, I’ll get into the more detailed pros and cons and share some bonus information to help you on your BFSU journey. 

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) Review – Part 1

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding BFSU Review Part 1

I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting years to write this review and the time has finally come! We started using this three volume science curriculum eight years ago when my oldest son was in kindergarten. He’s in 7th grade now and we’re using the final volume this year.

I don’t recall how I first found out about Dr. Nebel’s science series, Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU for short), but I’m so glad I did!

5 Key Reasons Every Student Needs Higher Math

5 Key Reasons Every Student Needs Higher Math

(The following article was originally published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC in the Summer 2020 print edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It can also be viewed online here.) 


Some teens love math and know they’ll need it for their profession. Others, pursuing a college degree, have reluctantly accepted the fact that many colleges require algebra, geometry, trigonometry, or even calculus for admission. Then there are the students who can’t imagine ever using, and certainly not enjoying, any kind of higher math, and they aren’t afraid to let you know it!

All About Spelling Curriculum Review

Sensible Homeschool Reviews All About Spelling Curriculum

When we first started homeschooling, I set out to find the perfect curriculum for each subject. 

You know, that magical product that would be a great fit for all of my kids, no matter what their personality. The one that I could reuse over the years to maximize my investment. The one that’s customizable but also requires zero teacher prep. Is that too much to ask?

Well, it’s been almost a decade since I started my search. I can now say there’s only one subject where I found a magic bullet that achieved all those goals. 

That subject is… spelling. 

A Tour of Our Homeschool: Art Closet

A Tour of Our Homeschool Art Closet

I’ve hesitated to write this post because our art closet is… well… ugly.

But, I’ve decided to give you this photo tour anyway. It’s a late addition to the Tour of Our Homeschool series.

Picture-perfect art rooms are often more discouraging for me than inspiring. I walk away feeling like I could never make it all so organized and matching and beautiful, and I give up before even trying.

So, because it’s not Pinterest-worthy, I’m hoping the pictures of our homely art closet will show you that working art into your homeschool is totally doable. You don’t need to wait until you’ve built a dedicated She-Shed or made adorable, color-coordinated mason jar labels to get started. 

10 Ways to Build a Career as an Architectural Engineer

10 Ways to Build a Career as an Architectural Engineer

Before I was a homeschool mom, I was an Architectural Engineer (AE).

Over the years, it’s seemed to me that AE doesn’t get the publicity it deserves. So I jumped at the chance to let homeschooling families know about it when The Old Schoolhouse Magazine did an issue on careers in engineering.

(The following article was originally published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC in the Spring 2020 print edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It can also be viewed online here.)