Sharing Students’ Finest Work—Magnum Opus Magazine

Jun 18, 2019 | Posted by Danielle Olander


“If I had a dime/dollar for every time I’ve done __________...” How often do we moms and teachers think (or say) something like this? Repeated or mundane tasks sometimes feel as if they are never-ending, even though in our heads we know that grading the math papers or doing the dishes have a reward of their own. Yet sometimes, having someone recognize your simple efforts brings a boost to those mundane activities. A simple thank you. A shout out on social media. A note of recognition in a program.

Perhaps our students have the same feeling. “If only I could get a ________ for every paragraph I write.” We know there is an intrinsic reward in repeating the nine units of Structure and requiring the stylistic techniques over and over—eventually they will become natural and habitual for our students. And to be honest, most of those assignments will never see publication. But what if your students could be recognized for some of their outstanding work?

Enter IEW’s Magnum Opus. First invented by Dr. Webster as a way to collect and showcase his students’ work, Magnum Opus Magazine recognizes outstanding student work, gives students a chance to say “Look what I did,” and provides samples for teachers.

Being published has many rewards for students. One of our online instructors, Marci Harris, often requires students in her co-op classes to submit work to writing contests. “Having something published can give a student confidence, which can lead to working diligently on writing skills and maybe even finding a newfound love for writing. . . . Frequently, it is one of my not-top-of-the-class students who wins because he or she puts the time into the contest entry and writes from the heart.” The same is true for submitting student work for publication to our Magnum Opus.

Throughout the year, teachers and parents can view samples of work from each unit. A subscription is free and also adds you to the mailing list for the print edition. Perhaps you have a parent in your co-op class who wonders where all this key word outlining is going. You can show her an example of a later unit so she can see the goal. Maybe you have a student who needs an extra example of a critique or an essay. Sometimes, moms will contact IEW’s customer service, requesting additional samples to show their children who just need to “see” it. Magnum Opus can help with all of this. Released monthly, the e-newsletter provides samples at Levels A, B, and C for the nine units. These are all archived on our website, so you can go back and view several years for multiple samples.

Additionally, each year we produce a print edition, giving students an even greater feeling of accomplishment when they see their work in print. Our print theme for the 2020 edition is “Perseverance.” Did your class write about an inventor who tried many times before he succeeded? We would love to see it. Maybe you assigned (or could still assign) a personal essay about facing a hard task and persevering through it. Send it our way. Submissions for the print magazine are open now through the summer. We also accept outstanding student work that doesn’t exactly fit our theme. After all, just showing up each day and doing work is persevering.


The Magnum Opus staff is waiting with great anticipation to see what your students will send our way.


Danielle Olander, an IEW® Accomplished Instructor, is the author of Rockets, Radar, and Robotics. Married to her college sweetheart, Ray, and a homeschooling mom of five amazing children, she teaches several of IEW's online writing classes. After graduating from her parents’ homeschool in the pioneer days of homeschooling, Danielle graduated summa cum laude with her B.A. in English/History Education from Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI.

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