(Last Updated on September 12, 2022)
(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!
IEW Curricula We’ve Used
My oldest son is in 8th grade now. Here’s a quick rundown of the various IEW curricula I’ve used for him over the last four years:
- IEW Student Writing Intensive Level A (SWI-A)*
- IEW Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course Level A (SWICC-A)*
- IEW FixIt! Grammar Book 1: Nose Tree (3rd edition)**
- IEW FixIt! Grammar Book 2: Robin Hood (3rd edition)**
- IEW Structure & Style for Students Year 1, Level B (SSS-1B)
*Side note: First, don’t let the abundant acronyms scare you off. Second, “SWI” and “SWICC” are the old version of IEW’s main writing course. They’ve since been revised and are now known as “SSS” parts 1 and 2.
**Another Clarification: The FixIt! books we used are 3rd edition. The newer 4th edition books now use Robin Hood for Level 3. A different story, Town Mouse and Country Mouse, is used for Level 2, 4th edition.
My second son, now in 5th grade, has also used IEW SWI-A and is starting IEW SWICC-A this school year.
We’ve also dabbled in the IEW Poetry Memorization curriculum as a family.
In future posts in this series, I’ll go into more detail about each of these specific curricula. But first, I want to start things off by sharing my overall experience with IEW as a company.
Institute for Excellence in Writing, LLC
If I had to sum up my thoughts about IEW, LLC in one word it would be… “IMPRESSIVE!”
If I was allowed a few more words, I’d say… “IEW is a well-run, responsive company that creates quality, rigorous-yet-achievable curricula that my kids and I have all benefited from.” And, if you’re reading this Mr. Pudewa, my apologies for ending with a preposition.
But, thankfully, I’ve got unlimited words at my disposal… so I’ll just go ahead and explain my thoughts about the Institute for Excellence in Writing company in more detail.
Also, for the record, I am an affiliate of IEW. This means if you make a purchase at IEW by using the links on this page, I’ll receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) which helps support this blog. I only have affiliate partnerships with companies I’ve used personally and would recommend to family and friends.
OK, enough about that. Back to this homeschooling mom’s opinion of…
The IEW Founder: Talented & Delightful
I’ve had the privilege of seeing Andrew Pudewa, Founder/Director of IEW, speak in person on a number of occasions and I’ve come away impressed and encouraged every time.
Whether he’s addressing homeschooling moms at a conference, sharing nuggets of wisdom on his podcast, instructing my kids live at an IEW in-person workshop, or teaching them through his video curricula, he’s simply one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen teach.
He embodies the ideal combination of confidence, humility, and witty humor that puts even the most writing-phobic student at ease. I’m not exactly sure how he does it, but his teaching style encourages kids (and adults) to strive for their full potential without the stress or pressure that other rigorous programs sometimes add.
Mr. Pudewa certainly isn’t the only person behind IEW (you can see their full leadership team and authors listed on their website). But he is the founder and the main speaker. For better or worse, the characteristics of the head of a company tend to trickle down throughout the organization. In this case, that’s a good thing.
The IEW Company: Responsive & Dedicated
At the risk of sounding like a gushing teenage fan, I’ve only got positive things to say about the IEW company, too. As a repeat customer, I’ve observed them for the last four years and I’ve really liked what I’ve seen.
I especially appreciate their dedication to ongoing improvement. It seems to be a theme with them. Among other things, they recently revised their core writing program which, I imagine, was a huge undertaking. I’ll talk more about the specific curricula updates and improvements later in this series but, long story short… success!
The flow and content of their website has also continued to improve over the years. Helpful introductory videos and tools like their Decision Tree and IEW Pathway help newcomers navigate a potentially overwhelming amount of information.
And IEW is not just dedicated to their own improvement. They also place a high value on the professional development of their students’ teachers (homeschooling parents and classroom instructors). Their entire Teaching Writing: Structure & Style course was created to train the teacher. And IEW’s seminars, webinars, podcasts, articles, website forum, and live chat are all helpful ways they support parents and teachers.
As a homeschooling mom, I want to know that the companies I’m buying curricula from will be there in the future when I need them. Will anyone answer the phone when we have an issue mid school year? Will extra consumable workbooks be available three or ten years from now so my younger kids can use the curriculum, too? Will those “lifetime access” codes still work by then or will the company be non-existent?
My experiences with IEW have shown me that I can count on them. They’re well known and respected in the homeschooling community and I feel confident that they’ll be there to support me if needed.
The IEW Curricula: High-Caliber & Effective
If you can’t tell by now, I’ve really been pleased with IEW. But, admiring the founder and liking a company’s website and friendly customer service only gets you so far. At the end of the day, the product has to do its job. The curriculum has to work.
Thankfully, there’s no surprise ending to this post. IEW products get results.
The writing, grammar, and poetry curricula we’ve used so far have been very effective in teaching my kids. They are rigorous programs but not stressful. Just like the IEW name says, the goal is “excellence” – but they achieve this in a very doable, incremental way. Even my anxiety-prone kids and I have felt calm and successful as we’ve worked our way through IEW courses.
In the rest of this series, we’ll take a closer look at each of the IEW courses my family has used. I’ll share our experience, the pros and cons, and I’ll give you my detailed two cents on each product.
IEW is a company I’m sure my family will be coming back to time and time again for the remainder of our homeschooling journey. To browse the products we’ve used or to find links to free and recommended resources, take a look at my IEW affiliate page here.
Check back soon for the next post in this IEW series!
Subscribe today to receive new posts via email!