Popular Questions at Our First Facebook Party

Apr 14, 2015 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

Last night we launched our first “Facebook Party,” an event that included over five hundred parents and educators. Andrew Pudewa and other IEW commentators were among the participants as they answered some challenging questions.

Here were the top five questions and the answers given by some of our staff:

From Terri: I’m insecure about teaching writing!

“I am a mom who is an insecure writer and do not feel qualified to help my kids. Do you have any suggestions for me to learn those skills?”

  • Sabrina Cardinale, IEW Exhibitor and Teacher: “Our teacher seminar, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style will equip you to be able to teach your children.”

  • Laura Craig Bettis, IEW Author: “Watch the TWSS, and be empowered to teach your children. You will have fun, and you will feel the tension leaving your shoulders as you see how easy it can be.”

  • Jill Pike, IEW Author: “The best way to learn something is to teach it. Get the TWSS/SWI so that you have your teacher training coupled with Andrew teaching your kids on DVD. I have learned so many teaching skills from watching Andrew over the years.”

From Reelika: When to Start Spelling?

“I have a soon-to-be 7-year-old. We've worked through all three All About Spelling (AAS) books with him. Is he ready for The Phonetic Zoo? The words seem way too difficult for him (based on the pre-test).”

  • Andrew Pudewa, IEW Founder: “Most kids using The Phonetic Zoo are 8.5 to 9 years old and up. However, if he's pretty swift at getting letters and words on paper, he may do okay. The only danger is the speed of the real-time program, although you could show him how to pause the CD player. Or you could administer it verbally at a speed that works for him.”

  • Jill Pike, IEW Author: “You know, you don't have to "teach" spelling every year if your student is getting it. If your 7-year-old has completed the first three books of AAS, how about just pulling words from his readers or from misspelled words on his writing? That is just as effective as anything else—more so because it is tailored to him! Then you can start The Phonetic Zoo when he is 8 or 9.”

From Autumn: What about grammar?

“Ok, sorry if this is a silly question, but IEW is just a writing curriculum; it does not take the place of a grammar curriculum. Correct?”

  • Jill Pike, IEW Author: “IEW is a full language arts program. Grammar is built in, but using Fix It! will ensure that your student can adequately edit his work, which is the whole point of grammar!”

  • Chris Jeub, IEW Education Consultant: “There is more grammar in IEW than you'd think. It is hidden within the teaching writing. Fix-It! is more intentional, but the Student Writing Intensives still teach it.”

  • Laura Craig Bettis, IEW Author: “Shurley Grammar is good, but Fix It! will bring you so much farther because the terminology is the same as what is used within the TWSS. You can spend more time on what you need to instead of "translating" Shurley Grammar when you are working on a writing assignment.”

From Amy: Writing with tears

“Writing from Pictures reduces my 8-year-old daughter to tears. Any advice?”

  • Andrew Pudewa, IEW Founder: “Skip it, or do it together. You help as much as is needed to get the outline done, and she can probably take if from there ... I cried the first time I had to do Writing from Pictures. I'm not very creative or imaginative.”

  • Jill Pike, IEW Author: “Do the writing assignment as a group project—you and she as a team. Discuss the pictures, decide on a central fact, and help her come up with the outline. That is the hardest part! If she still needs help with the writing, you scribe while she dictates, and you help her fill in anywhere that she gets stuck. When it is done, type it up, so it is beautiful. Let her color in the pictures to attach. Fun! An 8-year-old often needs a lot of help with many writing assignments, so that is very normal.

  • Chris Aldrich, IEW Exhibitor: “I find Writing with Pictures to be somewhat of a struggle for all ages. It is so different from all the other units. It's the bridge between Units 3 and 7 that seems hard to cross. I keep going back to the suggested questions. Oddly enough it is my favorite unit to teach, as the stories from the same three pictures can be so varied!”

From Paige: IEW and Dyslexia

“I have an 11-year-old son who is dyslexic and struggling with grammar, writing, and Saxon math. How can IEW help him, and which programs would you recommend?”

  • Jill Pike, IEW Author: “Drop the grammar, and only do the SWI A with him. (Get the TWSS for yourself!) He'll get plenty of grammar in the writing and learn it far better. Next year you can add in Fix It! You may also want to look for a different math if Saxon is too much. My dyslexic children only cried over their Saxon books. More hands-on methods such as Mathusee or RightStart Mathematics™ will likely help.”

  • Laura Craig Bettis, IEW Author: “I wish I could remember the name of the "Brain" DVD that Andrew sells at the booth! It is from FamilyHopeCenter.org, and it is wonderful for any kids (or adults) with any kind of brain-related issues.” [Editor note: It is Understanding Child Brain Development.]

  • Andrew Pudewa, IEW Founder: “We have had consistent and remarkable success with dyslexic students because we take the very complex process of writing and break it down into smaller, much more manageable steps. I have received literally hundreds of testimonials (letters, emails, calls, conversations) from parents describing a child much as you have described yours. Give it a try, but put the grammar stuff on hold while you do!”


There were many, many more people in the Facebook Party than this, and many more people other than IEW folks gave wonderful advice. Check out the conversation here.

What a fun time we had! We will have to do it again soon.

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