Parent and Student Perspectives: Structure and Style for Students: Renee’s and Benjamin’s Views

May 11, 2020 | Posted by Jennifer


Recently we had the opportunity to catch up with one of the Level A Structure and Style Students along with his mother. Benjamin participated in both years of the Level A course, and Renee was there to support him and serve as his chief editor. We enjoyed hearing their reflections on their two years spent in Mr. Pudewa’s class. We hope you will as well.


IEW: What was your student's opinion and experience with writing before Structure and Style for Students?

Renee: Benjamin surprised me with how much he enjoyed putting pen to paper all on his own. I had not done much of a formal writing curriculum with him before he started the class in fourth grade, but I would often find little poems or half-written stories in notebooks lying around the house.


IEW: What surprised you about the course?

Renee: I was caught off guard by how little parent intervention was actually necessary. Everything he needed to know was thoroughly explained in class. For the most part I would simply sit with him at the table while he completed his assignment, mostly for moral support or to help when he needed to find a word on his word list or have a refresher on a certain dress-up.


IEW: What support did you provide to your student?

Renee: In addition to the above, I would always review his paper after he printed the first draft and provide editorial feedback. This was in exchange for neck massages, which I enjoyed thanks to Mr. Pudewa, who often reminded the students of their obligation to compensate their editorial staff. Additionally I helped Benjamin through the checklist to be sure he was fulfilling all the necessary elements to be included in his paper.


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

Renee: I sometimes needed to go back and watch part of the class itself in order to better understand what was being taught because I had no prior exposure to IEW materials. But it didn’t take long, and the concepts were so simple that often Benjamin could explain them to me.


IEW: What was the greatest change you saw in your student’s ability?

Renee: My son really started to take personal ownership of his work. By the end of the experience, I was thoroughly blown away by how much he had retained and how naturally he could write a good, solid paper all on his own without even an ounce of help from me.


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

Renee: Growth.


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

Renee: Mr. Pudewa has a calming, almost Zen-like presence. I sometimes thought of him as a sort of Pied Piper in the way that he had the students hanging on his every word at times.  You might say he’s like your sweet old grandpa, favorite fun-loving uncle, and exacting older brother all rolled into one. I think I most appreciated his unique interaction with the students. It was obvious that he has spent a great deal of time thinking seriously from a child’s perspective and contemplating the most effective, native means of teaching children how to write well in a natural, organic, and non-intimidating way.



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

Benjamin: Before the class I was okay with writing. I would sometimes try to write poems or short stories, and they usually turned out okay. 


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

Benjamin: Probably the dress-ups. I knew nothing about them before the class, and Mr. Pudewa taught me all about them during the classes.


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

Benjamin: No, I was not really nervous. I knew I had a good teacher, and I knew some of the other students already.


IEW: What was your favorite part of the class?

Benjamin: My favorite part of the class was usually during the middle when Mr. Pudewa would bring out fun snacks or visual aids to help make the story come alive.


IEW: What is your favorite writing unit or units and why?

Benjamin: The creative writing units were my favorites because I like to imagine characters and plotlines to make up whole new stories.


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

Benjamin: I was already a pretty confident person, but it did help me better my writing. It also improved my ability to write speeches for my NCFCA club and helped me structure my topics more clearly for my audience.


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

Benjamin: Kind. Mr. Pudewa was always able to give positive and negative feedback on papers without making it intimidating, unlike other teachers I’ve had in the past.  


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

Benjamin: I would tell them to pay attention in class and not just sit around clicking a pen.


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

Benjamin: I thought it was funny how so many students in the class came back from Christmas break with brand new fountain pens like Mr. Pudewa’s. There were so many ink leaks that the pens had to be banned from class.


Much thanks to Renee and Benjamin for sharing their thoughts.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out Structure and Style for Students, IEW is currently offering a free taste of the program along with a sampling of Fix It! Grammar and Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. You can access those free lessons by visiting Be sure to take a look at them!


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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