Monday, November 1, 2010

IEW = Success

This school year the boys and I decided to join a co-op that meets once a week at a local church.  Well, really, the boys decided they wanted to join.  I had looked into it...and realized immediately that co-op life was going to equal lots more work.  For the boys.  And for me. 

I don't know about you, but I don't like extra work so much myself.  I really prefer to stick with a bare-minimum workload whenever possible.  I'm slack like that.

But the twins?  They were thrilled with the concept of hanging out with other homeschooled kids and making new friends.  They bubbled with excitement each time I brought up the idea of co-op.  And I kind of liked the thought that they'd have to meet deadlines and be accountable to someone else as well as Mom.

So, we joined. We picked classes.  We bought materials.  We attended.  We worked.  We've found that while co-op does, in fact, create monstrous loads of work for Mom to finish every Monday and Tuesday...well, we ALL enjoy it anyway.  We like all of the families we've gotten to know.  We like hanging out at lunch with our new friends.  We like the atmosphere and the spirit of encouragement we found there.  We like the extra challenge.

And we like IEW. 

IEW stands for Institute for Excellence in Writing.  It's a literature-based writing class.  The class that my boys take is one based on Ancient History.  I was hesitant to put them both into this course for several reasons.  One, I have had one very talented writer and one reluctant to put a pencil in his hand.  Two, it meant buying an additional writing/composition curriculum that I didn't need because I'd already purchased one that had gotten great reviews!  Third, I wasn't sure how we would fit anything else into our week on top of General Science, World Geography, History of the Middle Ages,  Pre-Algebra, Grammar, Literature, Spelling, Vocabulary, Bible, lunch, a little Spanish, some Greek and Latin roots, getting dressed, having fresh air, exercising, cooking dinner, showering at some point and trying to sleep...

Let me state for the record:  I am SO GLAD we took the plunge, bought the curriculum, and tried IEW.  My reluctant writer is non-existent.  Gone.  For good.  This program is JUST what he needed.  Ten weeks into this course, my not-so-good writer can churn out a top-notch paper, a short story, an essay and is learning to write a critique.  Want proof?? 

Here's an example from his 6th grade journal: 



And here's an example of this year's work: 




Can you see the difference?  It's amazing.  And I'm not just talking about the fact that he's typing and double-spacing all of his work now, either.  The underlined and highlighted words are part of the "dress-ups" the students have learned to include to add style to their writing.  The kids have learned to make things more interesting by using vibrant words, adding adjectives and adverbs correctly, using alliteration and sensory words, and so much more.  I love this writing curriculum.  Have I said that yet??

And let me just also take a moment to say this:  The blog that our other twin writes?  Yes, it's totally his own.  He writes what he wants and he publishes when he/if chooses.  The only stipulation is that it had better never include words or topics that wouldn't be appropriate...but that's never been a problem with him.  I have been accused by certain family members of proof-reading, editing, rewriting or even writing the posts for him.  (Like I have the time.) If you know anything at all about 13 year old boys, then you know they don't take kindly to mom sticking her nose into their business.  Also, the boy?  Well, he just happens to be bright enough to write a thoughtful post, use good vocabulary, keep tabs on his grammar AND use a spell-check.  Well, he IS thirteen.  And he ISN'T an idiot.  And he DOES take IEW.    IEW works.  Just sayin'.

Which is wonderful because SAT's are just a couple of years ahead of us. 

1 comment:

Adelaide Dupont said...

Excellent!

I often read 13 and 14-year-old students blogs, and I think your son's work would compare wonderfully with them.

And they could learn so, so much from him.

That alliteration was so excellent. (Moses' bushes).