Co-op teachers: Make it your best year yet!

Jun 25, 2016 | Posted by Sabrina Cardinale

I love the sound of children giggling as they work together to choose a quality adjective or come up with a witty alliteration. If you are planning to teach IEW in a homeschool co-op next year, here are some ideas that you can use to create an enjoyable experience for your students and ensure that they remember what they are learning.

Parent Involvement and Orientation

Before the first class, plan to hold an orientation meeting for parents. Briefly explain how IEW works, and do a quick key word outline exercise with them. Explain the importance of helping their children with the assignments. Encourage them to sit in on classes to observe the lessons and/or to watch Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. Understanding the IEW methodology will enable them to help their children complete their compositions at home. Learning how to write requires a mentoring relationship, and meeting in a class once a week is not enough. Students need ongoing and consistent help at home to succeed. Schedule a few group sessions for parents to watch and discuss Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. Each family should have a Seminar Workbook to follow as they watch the training. At the very least, require parents to watch the Structure and Style Overview for a brief description of each unit. You can have several copies on hand for parents to purchase during orientation.

Public Speaking

Allow your students to share their work with the class. Most children enjoy reading their compositions aloud to their classmates. It is a joy to see their beaming faces as everyone claps and congratulates them for a job well done. I love hearing, “Is it my turn to read today?” as class starts. Keep a list of students who have read their work so that by the end of the semester, everyone will have had a turn.


Show your students how to turn their work into a portfolio. Printing a clean copy of each composition without the style markings and adding illustrations will produce a beautiful notebook that children can proudly share with Grandma. You can have them simply insert each page into a clear sheet protector in a three-ring binder or get as fancy as you want and bind the pages into a book at your local copy store.

Review Games

Set aside a few classes each semester for review games. Games are powerful learning tools. Students solidify their understanding of structure and style as they work together to answer questions correctly and earn points for their teams. Chattering with excitement, they race to list banned words, add dress-ups to improve a sentence, or create the longest alliteration. Students enjoy the competition and won’t forget the concepts they are learning as they play. On days that you finish teaching early, you can use the last few minutes of class to play a short review game such as Hangman. For game ideas, check out Dress-Ups, Decorations, and Delightful Diversions. You and your students will look forward to these special game times!

Most importantly, enjoy your students as you teach them one of the most important skills they will ever learn. It is so rewarding to see their faces light up when they realize that they can indeed learn to write well and enjoy the process!

For more help using our program in your homeschool co-op, click here.

Sabrina Cardinale began teaching IEW to her three children in 2002 and has been grateful to see their writing abilities develop from elementary paragraphs all the way to complex college papers. Teaching IEW classes in homeschool co-ops, Sabrina has been delighted to see the joy in her students as their writing and thinking abilities develop. In addition to teaching IEW classes locally, Sabrina is also an online instructor and exhibitor for IEW.

Live Chat with IEW