Kim Murphy, Hybrid School Teacher

Jul 28, 2016 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


In recent years, more and more parents have opted for a new educational approach that many believe offers the best of both worlds: hybrid schooling. While hybrid schooling still allows for a hands-on experience with your children’s education, it also adds an aspect of expertise that many parents seek. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Kim Murphy, a hybrid school teacher. In addition to homeschooling over the past fifteen years, she has also taught in a homeschool co-op and now teaches at a hybrid school that uses IEW’s curriculum.

Tell me a bit about your hybrid school.

Veritas Classical Schools of South Carolina serve K–12. We meet one day a week for humanities classes, so basically the kids get English, composition, history, logic, and Bible. There is the option for elective classes such as math and science, which meet on a different day. I’ve been teaching there for a year and a half. I do most of the grading—the parents do some. I pick the assignments and the students go home and work on them with their parents, and later we go over them in class.

How were you introduced to IEW?

At a homeschool convention where I heard Andrew Pudewa speak. I was struggling at the time with my oldest, who was in fifth grade. I couldn’t really get her to write, but when I found IEW, it all changed.

What is the biggest change you see in your students?

Most of the kids really enjoy playing with the stylistic techniques. I see them having fun with the writing tools and using them to express themselves in new and creative ways. They love the concrete expectations IEW provides.

What are your thoughts about teaching IEW to students with different levels of experience?

I love teaching IEW in the classroom because it works equally well for brand new students and experienced students alike. Teaching at a hybrid school, I find that some of the students come having some IEW experience, either at home or in a co-op. These students usually have a basic understanding of how to follow the structures, and they're already proficient with some of the stylistic techniques. Since we start back at the beginning every year, those students can benefit from the review as I teach the dress-ups and openers to the students who are unfamiliar with IEW. Plus, the customizable checklists mean I can have different expectations for different students depending on their current skill level. Moreover, I don't have to worry about inadvertently judging the writing of challenged students more harshly than students with natural writing ability. Because both are evaluated objectively via their own checklist, the evaluation process is simplified. Everybody wins!

What is your favorite unit to teach?

I think this might make me sound like a nerd, but I really love Unit 4: Summarizing a Reference. I love teaching the “topic-clincher rule.” Kids need to learn that a paragraph must be topical. Applying the topic-clincher rule helps them do that. That’s when the light bulbs go on. Plus, Unit 4 is the stepping-stone to the upper levels; it’s when things take off.

Have you had any students published in IEW’s Magnum Opus Magazine?

I have had several students published in it. I actually had a student a few years ago that was crying on the first day of class. That was in September; by November he had written a paper that was published in Magnum Opus. So once he got those tools under his belt, he found out he really had something to say, and he had the skills to express it. I think that’s so cool.

Do you feel hybrid schools are helpful to parents?

For a homeschool parent that wants a bit more accountability and structure, a hybrid school is a great option.

What do you most enjoy about teaching IEW?

After teaching IEW for several years, I have to admit that one of the parts I love the most is when new students try out the style techniques. It's so much fun to watch them put together awkward phrases and sentences as they "test their new tool." They're highly enthusiastic...and I'm highly entertained. Plus, what teacher is not gratified to hear a parent marvel at their child's willingness to work on their IEW homework? I've seen it again and again. Students without confidence suddenly find that they're eager to "try out" that new tool they've learned. I've had moms laughingly accuse me of some kind of voodoo, they're so shocked at their child's eagerness to write. I assure them it's not voodoo, it's just IEW!

The hybrid model of schooling is something to get excited about. While providing students with both accountability and instruction, it lightens the load for parents. Parents continue to be an important part of their children’s education, but passionate teachers like Kim are eagerly waiting to help.

Click here to learn more about using IEW in a hybrid school.


Growing up in the Pudewa family, Christopher Pudewa was exposed to the IEW method from a very young age. During high school he had the privilege of competing in the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, where he was able to apply the skills he had learned through IEW. Chris is currently attending the University of Oklahoma, majoring in Criminology and Psychology.

Live Chat with IEW