A Father’s Influence

Jun 15, 2018 | Posted by Danielle Olander


My teacher training began around age eight. After my grandfather died, we moved to be closer to my grandmother, and my father changed careers from accounting to teaching. This is truly his gift. He took a job at small private school, teaching middle school science, history, and anything else they needed taught. Infectiously, he taught the students to love science through the experiments he led, weekend field trips he scheduled on his own time, fun films, and as few lectures as possible, referring to the textbook only when necessary. He didn’t want his students memorizing long definitions for the test; instead, he encouraged them to write them in their own words so that he could see they understood. Many nights my mom stayed up late typing tests because Dad didn’t want to use the ones that accompanied the textbook—too many multiple choice and true/false questions. Oh, and he never, ever, got to the end of the textbook. The result? Parents who came to him, sometimes with tears in their eyes, telling him this was the first time their students had enjoyed science. Some of his students had even changed their possible career path to something science-related, all because a teacher was passionate about his subject and desired to awaken a love of learning in his students.

How does this connect to IEW? When I first watched Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, something resonated deep within me. The same strong teaching skills I had seen in my father in his science classes were being taught by Andrew Pudewa in the context of writing classes. When someone asks me if the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style set is necessary for teaching writing, I always reply that it is necessary for teaching, period. The teaching methodology Andrew presents gave me concrete ways to teach any subject, particularly writing, that fit with the type of teaching my father had modeled all those years ago. Strong teaching skills plus a love for students and a love for learning brings a love of learning to those students. Most homeschool moms already love their students and enjoy learning. Add to that the teaching skills taught in Teaching Writing: Structure and Style and you have a recipe for success.


Danielle Olander, an IEW® Accomplished Instructor, is the author of Rockets, Radar, and Robotics. 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, MI.

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