The Journey’s End: Written Communication

Jun 15, 2020 | Posted by Jennifer


Which IEW courses will help prepare your students for writing at the collegiate level? Most colleges expect students to be able to write proficiently. Across academia, professors often assign essays to gauge their students’ level of mastery. This blog post contains a variety of IEW course suggestions that will help equip your student to step foot on campus with confidence.

In an earlier post I made some suggestions about what skills and experiences I felt a student should have before attending college. One of the skills I mentioned, College students need to know how to write, deserves a closer look. Having three students in college in three different programs of study, I have learned that pretty much every class my kids have ever taken required at least one paper. Many classes required several. So this blog post contains a few solid suggestions.

First and foremost, teach your students to write using the Structure and Style method. The earlier you begin, the better. That can be accomplished with creating your own assignments, using the knowledge you have gained by taking the teacher-training course Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, using Structure and Style for Students, or teaching any of IEW’s theme-based writing books. Once you have established a firm foundation for writing using the Structure and Style approach, you can more deeply explore writing within other contexts, such as literary analysis. But your first priority should be to build the foundation.

Here are a few high school curriculum suggestions that will help you in your quest:

  • Structure and Style for Students Level C: The Structure and Style for Students courses are written for three levels (A, B, and C). They are suitable for new students yet are also the perfect place for seasoned IEW students to further hone their skills. Because it is a video-based course taught by Andrew Pudewa, the founder of IEW and a master teacher, the material is easy to implement and a lot of fun to learn. Students are engaged right from the start with compelling sources, clear instruction, and, of course, Andrew’s characteristic humor. It is an excellently designed course, covering a broad range of essay styles, including the personal, persuasive, argumentative, and expanded essay. To get a taste of what this course is like, take a look at the first three lessons offered for free here.
  • High School Essay Intensive: This course, which can be taught as an intensive or expanded to include a semester’s worth of work, is the perfect program to use to teach your students how to write for the timed SAT and ACT essay, but that’s not all it addresses. It serves as an excellent introduction on how to write essays and even addresses that unique college application essay, the personal essay.
  • Theme-Based Writing Courses such as Advanced U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons: Many of these theme-based courses feature options for a full year of literature. The Advanced U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons also include an optional syllabus for the course Excellence in Literature: American Literature. But even if you choose not to select that option, the course still incorporates some great literature embedded within the writing assignments themselves—Uncle Tom’s Cabin and To Kill a Mockingbird—among others. There’s plenty of practice, including instruction on how to cite sources and write in MLA style, and the assignments are engaging. If you aren’t studying American history that year, another course you might consider is Bible-Based Writing Lessons, which provides instruction for C-level students as well. Both courses teach a variety of essay structures.
  • Advanced Communication Series: This DVD-based course is designed to be completed in a single semester, and it teaches students how to speak and write persuasively, how to take advanced notes, and how to plan and write a college-level paper.
  • Fix It! Grammar: Don’t neglect grammar! All of my kids’ Composition I classes were heavily focused on the subject. In fact the in-class final was almost completely grammar based. If you have older students who have never done this program before, don’t worry. Even if they only complete the first three or four books, they will be very well-prepared for college-level grammar. To determine where to begin, have your student take the placement test. Another benefit of working through Fix It! Grammar is that your student will receive valuable practice for sailing through the English section of the ACT and the writing and language section of the SAT exam, filled with grammar questions that require students to practice their editing skills.
  • Windows to the World/Teaching the Classics/A Syllabus for Introduction to Literary Analysis: Once your student has spent at least a year or two learning how to implement Structure and Style, consider taking some time to study literary analysis. Many colleges and universities require students regardless of major to take a minimum of three English courses, one being a literature course.The combination of these IEW materials are a powerhouse of preparation for literary analysis. A Syllabus for Introduction to Literary Analysis comes as a free download through the purchase of Windows to the World.

Hopefully these recommendations will help you formulate your plan as you begin to structure your students’ high school years. Through all of the writing coursework, sprinkle in opportunities to read plenty of great literature. Be sure to discuss it with your teen as well! The combination of the two, writing and literature, will go far to help prepare your students for college. And enjoy these four years. Now that my time is wrapped up, I can truly say that it seemed to fly by. I am so thankful I was able to shepherd my children through high school. I hope you also find the homeschooled high school years filled with treasured memories.


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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