Where are they now? Brenna Fisher: Criminologist-in-Training

Jun 13, 2016 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Ever wonder if you made the right decision to homeschool? If your hopeful expectations for your children will be realized? I recently had the opportunity to interview Brenner Fisher, who is now studying at Pennsylvania State University. Having used IEW for much of her homeschool career, she agreed to do a short interview for our new blog feature: “Where are they now? Wednesdays." Brenna is quite an impressive young woman, and I am sure that her experience of success in college writing, which she considers due in large part to IEW, is not an exception but a commonplace occurrence in this generation of home-educated children.


Tell me a bit about yourself.

I was homeschooled from fourth grade until I graduated high school. I am currently a rising junior at Penn State. I’m a double major in criminology and sociology with multiple minors. I’m also in ROTC, so I will be joining the Army Reserves after college. When I graduate, I would either like to go into law school or join the police academy. I would like to eventually practice criminal law.

When did you start using IEW?

I started with Classical Conversations in fifth grade. They used Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons, which was my favorite IEW course that I used. We also used U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons in sixth grade. And then we used other IEW tools from seventh until ninth grade.

Why was Medieval History-Based Writing your favorite?

It was my first year with the program, and I was very excited to start. I also was very interested in medieval history at the time. My favorite assignment was when we were asked to write based off three pictures and make up our own story. I remember that being the best assignment of the year!

Do you feel like IEW has helped prepare you for college?

I definitely think it helped me prepare for college. At such a young age, it took away all the fear from writing a five-paragraph paper or a report about something. Since that fear was eliminated when I was very young, now writing a twenty-page paper is much less daunting. I also feel that it has taught me to write much better than my colleagues. They seem to have a much more difficult time picking the right words, making their sentences sound eloquent, not creating run-on sentences—all those little things that IEW just naturally teaches with sentence openers and dress-ups.

What type of writing do you enjoy most?

I still enjoy any type of writing. I don’t get to do as much creative writing in college, though. But I don’t mind sitting down and writing a research paper—it’s even enjoyable for me. I am very good at taking information from multiple sources, condensing it into my own words, and adding my own spin on it.

Do you feel like IEW has helped prepare you for your future after graduation?

Absolutely. I credit my success in writing to my parents and to IEW. I don’t know of a program that teaches kids to write in the same way. It was really beneficial to me, and now writing is a strong suit for me. I’ll be able to use these communication skills in many different ways throughout my life.

Lastly, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to enjoy writing when I was younger before it became all about grades, while it was more of an enjoyable task.


Homeschooling can be intimidating. Thoughts like, “Am I teaching my children as well as a school teacher could?” or, “Will they be prepared for college-level writing?” can sneak into the minds of even the most dedicated and determined home educators. Have faith, your children have a bright and exciting future ahead of them, and armed with powerful stylistic and structural techniques, they too will be able to use these communication skills in many different ways throughout their lives.

Growing up in the Pudewa family, Christopher Pudewa was exposed to the IEW method from a very young age. During high school he had the privilege of competing in the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, where he was able to apply the skills he had learned through IEW. Chris is currently attending the University of Oklahoma, majoring in Criminology and Psychology.

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