A Parent’s Perspective: The Value of Teaching Writing: Structure and Style

Nov 12, 2021 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

Recently in IEW’s official Facebook Group, mom Marcela B. wrote a post in which she explained how valuable she found the teacher training she received in Teaching Writing: Structure and Style to be. Her testimony was an encouragement to so many in the group that we decided to reach out to her directly and learn more about her experiences with Structure and Style so that we could share them with a broader audience. Keep reading to learn more about Marcela and her family’s experience.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.

I am originally from Colombia. I moved to the United States when I was seventeen years old. I have been married to my husband for almost twenty years, and we have five children: one girl and four boys. We live on a forty-acre cattle farm in Northwest Georgia. Our children have never attended school; they have always been homeschooled. Prior to homeschooling, I used to work as an oncology nurse.

How did you learn about IEW?

The first time I heard about IEW was at the first homeschool convention we attended. Later, I met many, many people who recommended the program, as it had worked well for their families.

What was your family’s first experience with Structure and Style, and how did it go?

After visiting the IEW booth at our first convention and hearing all the rave reviews from so many people, I felt confident that IEW was the right composition program I wanted to use with my kids. Without hesitation I purchased the theme-based book Bible Heroes, prepped all the pages and cards and whatnot, and set out to teach it by just briefly looking at the Teacher’s Manual. We worked on it for a couple of lessons, and then I decided it was not for our family. I didn't know what I was doing, how I was supposed to do it, or why. I had more questions than answers, naturally, because I had not taken the time to get to know the program. I didn't read the Teacher's Manual prior to teaching the lessons. let alone take the TWSS teacher training. I was quick to start, quick to quit, but not quick to obtain teacher training and get familiar with the program first.

What inspired you to attempt to teach Structure and Style again?

Around 2017 I started listening to IEW’s Arts of Language Podcast. At that time I was not considering using IEW’s materials at all. I was merely interested in Andrew Pudewa’s wisdom. The podcast introduced me to many ideas and other authors that have changed and shaped who I am now as a parent and as a homeschool educator. As the years rolled by, I realized that if the podcast was that good, surely the product they developed was good as well. One summer I decided to invest the time and resources to take their flagship product, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS). At this time we were not doing a formal composition program. We had been exclusively doing composition as oral and written narrations across the subjects, but felt we should introduce formal composition to help us organize our thoughts and give them more style. I included myself in this endeavor as well because I wanted to improve in this area since English is not my first language. To my surprise, the course was very interesting, and I learned so much about composition, style, and organization. I kept telling myself that if I had only had this program when I was in college, I would have not struggled so much in this area of my education. Instantly I knew that I wanted to give my children that advantage. I finished the TWSS and purchased the Structure and Style for Students Level 1B program for my middle schooler.

What did you do differently the second time?

By doing the TWSS program first, I was equipping myself to know what the program was about, how it worked, why it worked the way it did, and what was the end result we would look for. I feel like all the questions I could possibly have about the program were answered in the teacher training. Now I am confident I can do a great job coaching my kids in the Structure and Style method of composition. I can answer any questions they have, serve as their editor, and grade them properly.

What are your key takeaways from your dual IEW experiences?

Watch the TWSS first. Do not skip this valuable step. You would not be saving time or money by not doing the TWSS first, even if your children are doing the SSS programs where you are not doing the teaching. The TWSS is a vital component of the IEW experience, and you as a parent-teacher will grow not only in your composition abilities but in other aspects as well.

What courses are you presently working on with your children?

We are currently working through Structure and Style for Students Level 1B, Fix-It! Grammar Robin Hood, and Bible Heroes. Fortunately, I didn't get rid of my first Bible Heroes program, and I'm using it now with one of my children who is dyslexic and is thriving with it.

We would like to thank Marcela for sharing her family’s experiences with IEW, and we wish them all the best as they work together as a family to write with Structure and Style. We are thrilled that the podcast has been inspirational and gratified that Marcela decided to give IEW’s teacher training and materials another try. We hope that her experiences will encourage and inspire you as well.

* To learn more check out the blog post “Do I Really Need Teaching Writing: Structure and Style?”

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