Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Non"-Waldorf Resource: IEW

For the past year or so, we have been using I.E.W.'s (Institute for Excellence in Writing) program to support our home education endeavors.

IEW's program is great for "Waldorfers" or others who want to use their own source material. In fact, IEW strongly suggests you use your own material. It is a writing program that is based on imitation -- sounds a bit like Waldorf, right?

So for instance, we studied Roman times last year (6th grade). I read to my son from Kovacs' book. Then, I would go to and find something along the lines of what we were reading about -- this was the "source" text that my son would use for the writing via IEW's methods. IEW recommends that the source piece be slightly below your child's reading level.

The program begins by teaching how to do a 'key word outline.' From there, different stylistic techniques are introduced, such as using -ly words and strong verbs.

From the IEW perspective, this program can be started as early as 2nd grade and used all the way up to high school. However, from a Waldorf, developmental, Moore or just customized homeschooling perspective, I would have to say it just depends on your particular child. We did not begin this until 6th grade. Some may be ready at 4th or 5th grade, but I wouldn't really think before 3rd grade.

This year, we moved on to Medieval Times and I did purchase the Medieval Book from IEW. The themed books are very nice saving you the time of finding a source text. All of the IEW stylistic techniques are integrated into the program.

For more info, go to At first, the range of products may be a bit overwhelming. However, it is recommended that you start with the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. This is designed for the teacher to view/learn. They have a student program as well, but I did not purchase it as I knew I wanted to use my own source text from our Waldorf-themed studies. They do, however, have a number of theme-based books (such as the Medieval one) that dovetail nicely with Waldorf curriculum themes.

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