Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Institute for Excellence in Writing Review

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"Words — so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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     Have you ever opened up a new curriculum as a homeschooling parent and wished someone had taught it to you in the same way as a child? Fix it! Grammar by the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) was just such a program for me. I was given the opportunity to review Book 1 "The Nose Tree" a softcover, spiral-bound, physical copy of both the Student Book and the Teacher's Manual.

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     IEW has a unique way that they have developed their complete grammar program. They use classic literature and turn the student into the editor. Each week there are new "mistakes" in the literature's text that the student must watch out for and correct. In Book One, The Nose Tree, they are learning valuable language arts and grammar skills such as identifying parts of speech, which homophone is a appropriate in a certain sentence, end marks, quotations, indents, and more. All while learning a classic story from literature.

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    Fix it! Grammar has curriculum for third grade and up, we were just on the cusp of this age range, since our oldest student has just entered the third grade and is not, as of yet, a strong reader or writer. There is a placement test provided on their website to help you decide which books is the best fit for your student. The language in the book was not too difficult for him and though he has not had extensive practice learning his parts of speech or practicing correct grammar in his writing practice, this program was actually a perfect fit for him!

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     He enjoyed the story and often asked to go on further, because he was curious to know what would happen next. Though his printing and spacing are still not strong yet, this curriculum is an opportunity to practice his writing as well by copying his sentence each day into a notebook and by looking up the definitions of a new word and copying them as well. The lessons take only 15 minutes a day, which makes them VERY easy to add into the rest of your English curriculum without adding a cumbersome amount a seated schoolwork to your day. The spiral-bound  format of the workbook is also excellent for the practicality of our typically crowded table filled with books and materials.

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     The Student Workbook is available on the IEW website for $15 and the Teacher's manual for $19. We truly found this program to be an invaluable tool as part of our English studies. Not only was it helpful for my son to learn many of these important skills for the first time, it truly helped me as his teacher, brush up on a lot of grammar skills that had become foggy to me over time.

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IEW has a taped webinar available on their website, if you would like to learn more about the program before trying it. Click on the link below to check out more reviews of IEW's Fix it! Grammar, especially if you have children in grades above third and would like to learn more about the programs designed for them.

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