Parent and Student Perspectives: Structure and Style for Students: Jenny’s, Eli’s, and Caleb’s Views

Jun 22, 2020 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


As a mom of two students who participated in the filming of IEW’s new Structure and Style Students, Jenny observed first-hand the difference that Structure and Style made in her boys’ writing. Caleb participated in the Level B class, and her other son, Eli, participated in the Level C class. Recently we reached out to the family to learn more about their respective experiences. First we begin with Jenny’s perspective and then follow up with Eli’s and Caleb’s thoughts. We hope you enjoy their reflections.


IEW: What were your students’ experiences with writing before the SSS?   

Jenny: The idea of teaching my boys to write has been intimidating to me since I began homeschooling.  I lacked confidence in my ability to inspire them to want to write. I ended up just avoiding it altogether.


IEW: What surprised you about the course?

Jenny: The two biggest surprises for me were how much my boys enjoyed writing and how quickly their writing improved.

IEW: What support did you provide to your student?

Jenny: My biggest support role was as their editor. I also had opportunities to listen to them as they developed their ideas and to guide that process if they became stuck.


IEW: Did you find the course assignment directions clear and easy to understand?

Jenny: Yes, they were able to jump right in and begin their assignments when they chose to do so. The discussions and examples Mr. Pudewa walked them through during teaching were very helpful in preparing them to begin their assignments independently.


IEW: What is the greatest change you saw in your students’ writing ability?

Jenny: Their self–confidence in their writing ability grew exponentially.


IEW: What did your students enjoy the most?

Jenny: They enjoyed Mr. Pudewa the most.


IEW: If you could describe your students’ experience in one word, what word would that be?

Jenny: Invaluable


IEW: What did you appreciate about Mr. Pudewa’s teaching the most?

Jenny: Mr. Pudewa's sense of humor and delivery of the material kept my students engaged. That is not an easy thing to do!


IEW: Now that your students have gone through the SSS, how do you feel about how well they are prepared for future writing assignments?

Jenny: I have complete confidence in my students' ability to complete future writing assignments. They enjoy writing now, so we do not dread writing assignments anymore.


IEW: What are your plans for next year’s writing coursework?

Jenny: We will be continuing with Structure and Style for Students next year. We are hooked!


IEW: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience?

Jenny: My grandpa died at the end of May 2019. During one of his last stays at the hospital, my mom took letters that Eli and Caleb wrote to their great grandpa. We video-chatted with my grandparents after they read them to him. They just gushed about those letters. They may have been a little biased, but they said they had never read anything so well-written by teenagers. The boys were able to communicate everything they wanted to say to their great grandpa to thank him for the legacy of faith and family he had instilled in them. They deeply blessed their great grandpa from eight hundred miles away.  From that day on, every time I spoke with my grandpa, he mentioned their letters. I don't think they could have communicated so clearly before doing the SSS. Thank you for being part of that blessing for our whole family.


Eli’s and Caleb’s thoughts

IEW: How would you describe your ability to write before the class?

Caleb: In a word, difficult. I struggled with stringing together sentences in a way that would make sense to the reader. My writing was all over the place, and I had trouble sticking to one specific point I was attempting to make. It was sloppy, bland, and rather vague. And part of it was due to the fact that I did not enjoy writing, either. It was always a job and nothing more. There was no element of fun or imagination whatsoever.

Eli: I believe it was less coherent and less smooth than it is now. Before the class it was incredibly choppy, and it didn’t flow as an essay should.


IEW: What is the greatest change in your writing since taking the class?

Caleb: The biggest change I have seen in my writing since IEW is how much more descriptive my words have become and thus how much easier it is to bring across my idea that I am trying to convey. And with the desire to clearly bring my point to the table, I found myself searching in thesauruses, which increased my vocabulary.

Eli: The class taught me how to write something that was creative enough to grab attention, informative enough to be worthwhile to read, and smooth enough to be effective.


IEW: Were you nervous about being filmed while in class?

Caleb: It is tough to say. On one hand I am not camera shy, yet on the other it definitely added a load of pressure on me to look camera ready every class and to stay that way for around one and a half hours. Always trying to keep myself from touching my face or doing something that could possibly look odd from a specific camera angle was always troublesome.

Eli: Yes. I had never been recorded like that before, and it took a while to get used to.


IEW: What was your favorite part of the class?

Caleb: My favorite parts of class were the stories we read. Not only the stories that were the sources from which we would be writing our papers on, but also getting to hear others' versions of the story when Mr. Pudewa would read them aloud (even though I was always nervous when he read mine). I would also like to add that I really appreciate the grading system IEW has. It never makes you think you have failed and still gives that sense of satisfaction when you pass.

Eli: Once I got used to the eye of the camera, my time in class was the most enjoyable. 


IEW: What is your favorite writing unit and why?

Caleb: My favorite unit was Unit 6, I believe. It’s the one where we took the large pieces of paper to research three different sources, make keyword outlines, and then create the final fused key word outline, which was a combination of all three.

Eli: Unit 5 was particularly fun for me because I found the process of trying to string together three pictures that were otherwise unrelated into a story that was somewhat sensible pretty fun.


IEW: Has the class helped your confidence? Has it helped you in any other ways?

Caleb: In a way, yes, it has helped my self confidence. Nothing will ever change the fact that if I stand in front of a crowd of people, I will always be nervous. But being in front of a camera for the entire class and sometimes having my own paper read has likely made me a bit more confident.

Eli: Yes. I feel very comfortable writing now as compared to before the class when I would dread writing assignments.


IEW: If you had to describe Mr. Pudewa in one word, what would that be?

Caleb: My one word to describe Mr. Pudewa would be “entertaining.” There were times when the camera crew would have to reset the cameras, and Mr. Pudewa would dance around the room to stretch his legs as we all giggled until the cameras were ready to record again. And you could always count on a joke before class would begin, whether it be a short “Dad” joke or a long joke that would require some thinking.

Eli: Lighthearted.


IEW: If you could give advice to other students about taking the SSS class, what would you say?

Caleb: My advice would be to not procrastinate; it only makes the writing worse. If you receive an “I” (incomplete) on one of your papers, do not be discouraged. Simply fix it up and turn it in again.

Eli: Try to embrace the process. At times it might seem long, tedious, or even cumbersome, but it is worth it. In the end it will help you to become a capable writer in your own right.


IEW: Is there a fun or funny memory from the class you want to share?

Caleb: I can recall a time when a wasp got into the classroom, and we were all trying extremely hard to not look at it, until eventually they stopped the filming, and Andrew and a few of the cameramen began to attempt to kill it as we were all laughing our heads off. They finally killed it or it flew away (I cannot remember), and the filming resumed.

Eli: While it probably resulted in a lot of burned film, or in our case hundreds of gigabytes of deleted footage, I enjoyed anytime that the class broke out laughing.


We really appreciate Jenny, Caleb, and Eli taking time to share their thoughts and memories about the class with our readers. If you would like to learn more about Structure and Style for Students, IEW is sharing the first three lessons for all three levels (A, B, and C) for free as well as a sampling of Fix It! Grammar and the entire first level of Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. To check it out, visit

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