Customer Service Answers: “How do I teach Structure and Style to multiple ages?

Jun 24, 2022 | Posted by Danielle Olander

“How do I use one writing course for my kids who are all different ages?”

We often receive this question in customer service. Whether your reasons are because of time limits, money constraints, or simply the desire to have your children work together on the same course, we have options for combining your students.

The Teaching Writing: Structure and Style course provides essential and practical instruction for the parent wishing to teach using IEW’s materials. It will explain to you how to plan lessons, how to work with different abilities, how to scale assignments, and how to include all your children in the lessons. There are tips and tricks presented throughout the video course and the Seminar Workbook that will help you make your writing instruction work across multiple ages. Additional support can be found in the blog posts “Flying Solo with Teaching Writing: Structure and Style,” Parts 1 and 2.

If you do not want to craft your own lesson plans, you have two excellent options: Structure and Style for Students (SSS) or theme-based books. For an easier way to implement instruction, our SSS video courses provide you with master teacher Andrew Pudewa presenting the lessons to your students. It is fully laid out and easy to implement. You can combine students if they are within the range of grades or abilities. Level A works best with students who are reading at or above the level of grades 3–5. Level B works best for students who are reading at or above the level of grades 6–8. Level C is designed specifically for students who are reading and comprehending at the high school level.

If your children are not within the same level, and you still wish to combine them, you will need to choose the level based on your younger students. Scale up the assignments for the older students. Older students can locate their own sources on the same subject or write an additional paragraph on a related topic. Please remember that the SSS courses have been designed for students in those ranges, so the style of instruction on the video and the students in the video class are at those levels. If you need more guidance for special situations, contact our team directly. We invite you to try out the first three weeks’ lessons by visiting

If you are looking forward to teaching your children yourself, then our theme-based books may fit the bill. Many of these materials include both simplified and advanced source texts to help you use them with multiple-aged children. Because you are the instructor, you can adjust the pacing and the checklists to fit the needs of your students.

What are the advantages of using one writing course for all of your children? First off, it saves you time. There is no need for you to plan multiple lessons for each age group. Also, students can enjoy learning from the various source texts. They can increase comprehension as they discuss what they have read. Working together, they can come up with their key word outline. Learning vocabulary is also more enjoyable when done together. Older children can help their younger siblings select appropriate and engaging stylistic techniques, such as quality adjectives, strong verbs, and -ly adverbs. They can laugh together when they discover a misplaced modifier. As they hone their writing skills, they can cheer each other on and recognize each other’s accomplishments.

Danielle Olander is an IEW® Accomplished Instructor. Married to her college sweetheart, Ray, and a homeschooling mom of five amazing children, she teaches several of IEW's online writing classes. After graduating from her parents’ homeschool in the pioneer days of homeschooling, Danielle graduated summa cum laude with her B.A. in English/History Education from Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. During and after college, she worked as a librarian’s assistant, which only increased her lifelong love of reading and writing as she discovered so many new means of locating fascinating facts.

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