How IEW Changed My Life...No, Really

Dec 20, 2017 | Posted by Kristin Patterson


Each day throughout the week I am privileged to interact and correspond with parents and students who are either just starting their IEW journey or continuing through it in the hope that their child will have acquired good writing skills by the time they’ve graduated high school and are ready to strike out on a new and exciting adventure of higher studies. As it seems to be a running theme in my life, my story is just the opposite. I didn’t discover IEW until after I had just graduated from high school. While there are definitely aspects of this to bemoan, I believe it afforded me a different take on our methods and how they can be applied. When I started working through Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, I didn’t have children or students to directly apply the methods to, so I found myself applying them to certain aspects of my life—and they really worked!

One example is the process versus product idea that Andrew teaches. This concept really struck me, and I began to think about it within the bigger picture of my life—where I’m going and who I want to be. This was a great thought to have as a just-graduated high schooler, and as I moved into my twenties, it continued to evolve and take on new meaning. At first, it said to me that if you fail, it’s okay. A mistake is a learning opportunity—even if I learned to NEVER do that thing again or that there might be a better way to do something. What is key is forward motion. This thought helped me to be patient with myself and to see the value even in the failures while at the same time keeping the goal (the product) in mind as I began again. As I got older and moved into positions of management, I began to apply this principle to those with whom I worked. Adopting this principle for training was tremendously helpful as it gave me the perspective that we are all constantly in training, and I myself am no exception! With IEW, there isn’t a set “training period” and then ”that’s it, you’re done, and you’d better get it right from here on out.” Not at all. There are just levels in the process, and it requires a smidgen of humility to ensure the process continues to move forward. It’s amazing how this relieves the pressure for all involved and, in my opinion, produces quality education.

The checklist and the topic/clincher rule have also become regular parts of my life. Even for the smallest of tasks, I will whip out my phone or sticky note pad and jot down a checklist, even if for just one or two tasks. It’s all about those endorphins. I think I’m addicted. And I don’t care who you’re talking to or what you might be trying to get across to them; if you use the topic/clincher rule, you will be significantly more effective in your communication and come across as if you’ve really got it together. Who doesn’t want to do that? Both are so easy, and yet so powerful!

So no matter who you are—mom, dad, teacher, student, couch potato, or president—I believe there is truth within our methodology that can be gleaned and immediately applied to your life. You can start small right now with our podcast or articles. The worst thing that could happen is you discover it’s not for you, and you make a small step in your process of knowing what will work for your journey. Conversely, you could also, as I did, make a discovery that changes your life.


Kristin Patterson grew up as part of a large homeschooling family in the rolling hills of Northeast Oklahoma. In addition to working in IEW's customer service department, she also assists the Director of Marketing. Teaching IEW classes for a local homeschool co-op, she has especially enjoyed being an assistant teacher to Andrew Pudewa. She enjoys snow, singing, teaching, traveling, being with family and friends, and working with and for IEW.


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