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#1 Mommy to monkeys

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 09:03 PM

I spent over a year with my oldest two trying to make it 3/4 of the way through SWI B. We took breaks and I gave them other assignments in there. I ended up sending it back and then just finishing out last year giving them reports, essays, narrations etc.

 

This year my oldest is doing EIW  and my 12 year old is doing GATB. Im really not happy with either program for us and know I won't continue with them next year. 

 

I asked both of them what has helped them the most in our homeschooling years and what they've like the least.  Both of them said "Mr Pudewa" is at the top of the list for what has actually helped them with their writing. (Wordsmith Apprentice was their least favorite in case you're curious)

 

So I'm wondering if I should give it another shot next year. You know....because I'm a crazy person.

 

If you've struggled making IEW in the past but stuck with it and made it work, can you tell me about it? If you think I'm just nuts, I'm open to hearing that too. This year had a very rocky start for us.  I've changed so much of what we started with.

 

 



#2 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 09:16 PM

I would ask myself why it didn't work before.  Is it that it was a poor fit for how you picture writing instruction to be?  Were your kids not seeming to pick up the instruction well?  Was it too time consuming for what you wanted/had the ability to put into writing instruction?  Etc.  Ask that question and break it down into EXACTLY what you think went wrong.  Why EXACTLY did you feel you had to send it back.  Write down anything and everything you can think of.  Then write ANY positives that you observed.  See if the negatives you experienced before are things that can be tweaked/overcome now.   And if the positives outweigh the negatives.  If not, then don't try it again.  If so, then maybe it will work much better this time around.

 

FWIW, I found that SWI-B worked better as a collaborative effort here.  (And full disclosure, I also own TWSS and watched those videos to help me understand the system better).  I sat with the kids (we also had a friend coming over) and we watched the videos and did the writing assignments together.  Literally, I did them, too. We also did the first writing assignment of each type by brainstorming together, as a team, on a dry erase board.  Lots of discussion and sharing of ideas.  I broke it all up into fairly small pieces.  Once we had brainstormed together, then everyone wrote out what we had on the board then they were allowed to add in additional details if they chose.  Then we all read our versions and talked about them.  Then we did the next assignment outline together, but the writing on the same concept (but with a different base source) mostly on our own.  It did work well that way.  Time consuming but worth the effort.


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#3 Cnew02

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 12:11 AM

I went through the SWI-C with my teen last year and didn't love it. I'm doing Myths, fairy tales and legends with my younger son this year and it's a world of difference. So maybe give one of the subject books a try.

#4 Mommy to monkeys

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 10:18 PM

I would ask myself why it didn't work before.  Is it that it was a poor fit for how you picture writing instruction to be?  Were your kids not seeming to pick up the instruction well?  Was it too time consuming for what you wanted/had the ability to put into writing instruction?  Etc.  Ask that question and break it down into EXACTLY what you think went wrong.  Why EXACTLY did you feel you had to send it back.  Write down anything and everything you can think of.  Then write ANY positives that you observed.  See if the negatives you experienced before are things that can be tweaked/overcome now.   And if the positives outweigh the negatives.  If not, then don't try it again.  If so, then maybe it will work much better this time around.

 

FWIW, I found that SWI-B worked better as a collaborative effort here.  (And full disclosure, I also own TWSS and watched those videos to help me understand the system better).  I sat with the kids (we also had a friend coming over) and we watched the videos and did the writing assignments together.  Literally, I did them, too. We also did the first writing assignment of each type by brainstorming together, as a team, on a dry erase board.  Lots of discussion and sharing of ideas.  I broke it all up into fairly small pieces.  Once we had brainstormed together, then everyone wrote out what we had on the board then they were allowed to add in additional details if they chose.  Then we all read our versions and talked about them.  Then we did the next assignment outline together, but the writing on the same concept (but with a different base source) mostly on our own.  It did work well that way.  Time consuming but worth the effort.

 

I will admit that trying to even remember why it didn't work is difficult. We started strong with it but as we went on, the checklist became more and more tedious, which in turn made the process more difficult. Because of that, we spent longer and longer between IEW lessons and other "homemade" by mom lessons. I eventually dropped the checklist which did help, but by that time we had spent sooooo long trying to get through it, that *I* needed to be done. Just having it around was giving me guilt.

 

What DID work......well, my kids both say that it helped them more than anything else we've done. I liked that it had ONE video lesson per assignment rather than a little each day. We did watch lessons together, discussed the assignment, and then I helped as needed.  Also huge for me was being able to combine my oldest two instead of having to come up with and teach two different lessons.

 

I went through the SWI-C with my teen last year and didn't love it. I'm doing Myths, fairy tales and legends with my younger son this year and it's a world of difference. So maybe give one of the subject books a try.

I'm not opposed to this idea, but I haven't been able to find theme books for high school?



#5 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 10:25 PM

Ah, o.k.  At least in my house I had to learn to be flexible.  As posted up thread, we did the lessons collaboratively.  And I was not rigid regarding the checklists.  I watched TWSS to understand the system, then watched SWI with the kids, did the writing lessons with them, and modified as needed.  I had to look at it as a tool in my toolbox and sometimes we have to use tools a bit differently then what they were originally constructed for.  Does that make sense?

 

If the kids feel that the program worked for them then I would seriously consider going back to it.  Perhaps if you were willing to study the lessons ahead of time that would help you feel confident to tweak and flex and adapt the program as needed so you would be less frustrated with it?



#6 Mommy to monkeys

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 10:37 PM

Ah, o.k.  At least in my house I had to learn to be flexible.  As posted up thread, we did the lessons collaboratively.  And I was not rigid regarding the checklists.  I watched TWSS to understand the system, then watched SWI with the kids, did the writing lessons with them, and modified as needed.  I had to look at it as a tool in my toolbox and sometimes we have to use tools a bit differently then what they were originally constructed for.  Does that make sense?

 

If the kids feel that the program worked for them then I would seriously consider going back to it.  Perhaps if you were willing to study the lessons ahead of time that would help you feel confident to tweak and flex and adapt the program as needed so you would be less frustrated with it?

  I tend to think I would feel more comfortable with it the second time around just knowing what to do differently.  I did sort of study the lessons ahead of time in so much as I read through it all and tried to break down how many days I thought would work for us on each assignment. 

 

IF we did try again, what level would we do? We made it 3/4 of the way with SWI B. Do we start over with SWI C this time? It will have been over a year in between.


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#7 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 10:45 PM

SWI-C is geared for a High Schooler.  If you think your kids are ready for High School level requirements/needs then you could get SWI-C.  If you still had SWI-B I would say just use that but since you sent it back, might as well get SWI-C.  The selections will be new and the videos, too, even if it covers a lot of the same material. It will also add in some lessons that were not covered in SWI-B, IIRC.  You can always get your own selections if you don't like the ones offered with SWI-C.


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 08 October 2017 - 10:46 PM.

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#8 kiwik

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:58 AM

I think you are only supposed to do one of the SWI courses. So you would finish SWI B then go on to the continuation courses. I have been researching and that is what I got from my reading.

Eta. Never mind you don't have it any more I see.

Edited by kiwik, 09 October 2017 - 12:58 AM.


#9 Momto5inIN

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 06:39 AM

We also do IEW without the checklists. I just tell my DC to make sure they've looked for opportunities to use dress up as part of their editing process, but there is no rule about how many per paragraph or per composition.
I don't know how far you made it with SWI-B but a lot if it is reviewed in SICC-B so maybe start there?

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#10 RootAnn

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 07:24 AM

I'm not opposed to this idea, but I haven't been able to find theme books for high school?


There is, for sure, a US History one and a Narnia one (vol 2?). I can't help with anything else, but I know this. There may be a couple of others.

#11 YodaGirl

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 08:14 AM

I have tried to dislike IEW. Really, I have. As a naturally creative writer, it's *not* my desired choice of writing. It's too formulaic for me.

But...I've had to begrudgingly admit that it works.

I'm actually a CC Essentials tutor, and we use IEW theme books for our writing portion. It really does seem to work across the board.

Pudewa insists that you can't help them too much. I had to keep that as my mantra last year.

I attempted All Things Fascinating with my 2nd or 3rd grader (now 5th) several years back. It completely bombed. Like you, I can't quite pinpoint why it bombed, but if I had to guess, I'd say that I wasn't providing enough support. The same thing happened when we attempted an SWI course.

Last year, it worked, but I struggled with how much she was actually retaining. Like I said, we do CC, so the KWOs were generally done in class. The next day, she couldn't remember what it meant, so I wrote a new KWO on the white board at home (she provided some suggestions). She dictated her rough draft while I wrote it down. I provided most of the proofreading & revising suggestions, and I typed the final draft. I felt like her papers were more mine than hers.

Then, the craziest thing happened. This year, she's doing it completely on her own! It really does work.

That said, I can't think of one program that works for every single person. IEW just might not work for y'all. I agree that a key thing is to attempt to pinpoint why it didn't work. If your kiddos are saying that it was one of the things that helped them the most, it may be worth considering trying again.

#12 YodaGirl

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 08:31 AM

I tend to think I would feel more comfortable with it the second time around just knowing what to do differently. I did sort of study the lessons ahead of time in so much as I read through it all and tried to break down how many days I thought would work for us on each assignment.

IF we did try again, what level would we do? We made it 3/4 of the way with SWI B. Do we start over with SWI C this time? It will have been over a year in between.


IEW's site isn't the easiest to navigate. I prefer a hard copy of their magalog, but you can find a digital copy here: http://iew.com/help-support/magalog

I'm not sure how old your oldest is, but your 12 yr old fits right in the middle, given that their programs are generally divided up into 3-5, 6-8, & 9-12. Unless your oldest was quite a few years older, I think shooting for the middle of the road might be beneficial. IEW's decision pathway might be helpful to checkout:
http://iew.com/shop/...sources/pathway

The 9-12 level has SWI-C, Advanced US History, and a 2nd Narnia book. Windows to the World & Elegant Essay would also be wonderful choices.

There are more theme book options at the 6-8 level...Rockets, Narnia, Geography, Ancient History, Medieval History, US History, World History, Australian History, & Canadian History. Truthfully, each student could probably choose his own theme-based assignment. The units would be the same, regardless. The only differences would typically be the source text and vocabulary words. Dress-ups and decoratiins are typically added at the same intervals. That may feel overwhelming, however, if you're not fully comfortable with the program.

#13 Mommy to monkeys

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 08:21 PM

At this point, Im definitely considering doing SWI C next year with my oldest two and then go from there.