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I plan on using both this year, but not at the same time. My DD is going to start with WWS and get through the first 12 lessons, and then once she's done with that, we'll start IEW. I don't plan on her continuing with WWS until next year, maybe...I'm not sure which one she'll like best. If she decides that she likes WWS better, then I won't make her do IEW and she can continue with WWS, but if she likes IEW best, then we probably won't return to WWS. I'm not sure yet how it will all pan out. I do not plan to do both concurrently though, but they're both on the table...the decision is hers.

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We alternate weeks between IEW and WWE or WWS.  We alternate weeks with most of our subjects (ie science and history; my kids hate bopping back and forth every other day, and they want more time than doing everything every day allows).


Why use both?  I think good arguments could be made for using them sequentially just as well as using them simultaneously.  In our case, we did not begin homeschooling until they were halfway through 2nd and 4th grades, and did not start with any writing program out of the gate, so they were into the following year before we started looking at writing very seriously, as I was still trying to assess where they truly were in ability vs willingness.  


In our house, we also deal with dysgraphia issues, and I believe WWE is uniquely well suited to addressing dysgraphia as well as writing, as dysgraphia is more than a simple physical problem; it is a neurological issue that affects the ability to hold a sentence in your brain as you get it onto the paper, as well as the issues with forming the letters-- which pretty much sums up the early description of WWE!  Although we did the earliest levels at an accelerated pace, both of my boys began WWE right at level 1 and worked right on through until reaching ability level.  We saw very good results.  Once they hit their respective ability levels, we slowed to the expected pace, and began alternating with IEW.


By this time, they had the great exposure to copying and studying the words, style, and punctuation of professional writers (we are now also incorporating Bravewriter for this similar approach, though Bravewriter goes into some more depth in certain areas).  We added IEW for more attention to the craft of writing itself, in a very technical sense.  


WWE builds writing in a very . . . organic manner, while IEW focuses on helping the student to build a toolbox of writer's skills to be able to call upon at will when needed; one at a time, in IEW, they focus upon how to change a sentence out of passive voice; how to make a sentence more precise by choosing the correct verb instead of a nondescript verb; how to brainstorm a list of useful adjectives or adverbs and attach them to the most important words in the paragraph, rather than sticking them in just anywhere.  IEW deliberately overbuilds these skills, much as a martial artist overbuilds his reverse punch or a pianist practices his scales to the point of automaticity, not because he expect to do nothing but a reverse punch or because the pianist expect to give a concert of scales, but because this technique and these sounds underpin the skills used in a more fluid manner later in combination with other skills the artist needs to call upon without having to sweat over them.  


We are actually now adding in Kilgallon to the mix-- starting with the sentence building books, which focus on learning how sentence "chunks" are assembled and manipulated by published authors.  Together with the exposure and neurologic training from WWE, the technical toolbox from IEW, the vocabulary and grammar from MCT, and now the awareness of manipulating those phrases and clauses learned in MCT  as we work through Kilgallon, I am excited as we look forward to this year of writing with the kids (we are making time for this extra writing focus my lightening up on the formal grammar instruction for a year--  we will just use the practice books from MCT).  We started with kids pretty damaged by the public school ("Here are your journals.  Now write.  No, do NOT stop to think or plan.  Writing does not involve thinking.  It just means write as much as possible until the bell rings.  Spelling, grammar, thought, logic, and content do not count, only quantity."  I cannot believe I let my bright, sensitive, older child suffer through that for nearly five years . . . he was actually punished for planning what he wanted to write one year, accused of daydreaming instead of working . . .).  They are starting to be able to write again, about 2 1/2 years later.


I hope that helps!



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I've used and taught IEW for over a decade. I did teach WWS last year to a small group at co-op and I basically incorporated some of the stylistic techniques as we went along. I also used WWS class time to talk about topic sentences, the importance of a thesis statement, how that should imitate the title and the closing statement, etc. This wasn't something I went back and forth with like using lesson 1-10 with WWS and then an IEW theme book, it was just teaching the IEW stylistic techniques as we went along with the WWS program. WWS is very logical and sequential and talks and pulls out the themes of the source documents. It's takes into account lit analysis wheras IEW isn't really concerned so much with that.


I have found that WWE/WWs and IEW, and some of the other writing progrmas I 've looked at, tend to mimic each other in actual content- good writing is good writing-it's the presentation of it that is unique to each program.

I love how Jen explains IEW- I've heard for years that the stylistic techniques of IEW are awkward and build awkward writers but in the years of my teaching to dozens of students I haven't found that to be the case at all.


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I've used WWE and IEW (we're not to the WWS stage yet). I only use one at a time. We did WWE1 and most of 2 in 1st/2nd grade. Then for 3rd grade, we took a break and did some IEW SWI-A. We got through unit 3, then I realized my son's narration skills had slacked off, so I went back and finished WWE2. Now we're doing WWE3 this year in 3rd, and I will at some point set WWE aside temporarily and finish up SWI-A... Probably once his typing is proficient enough (we're working on typing daily right now).


I really like both. WWE's teaching of narration skills is excellent. The copywork and dictation are very beneficial. IEW helped get my son from the copying/dictating stage to capable of writing an original sentence (he had a perfectionism issue that was holding him back). The keyword outline is FABULOUS for my son. The dress-ups were useful also (and yes, you practice them until they're automatic... then they use them as needed). I really appreciate things like the story sequence chart, helping you organize a retelling of a story.


I plan to use WWS in 5th, but if he's not ready then, I'll use IEW across the curriculum that year and try WWS in 6th. I have TWSS (the teacher DVDs), so I can use the program with our regular history/science/lit if I need to.


I think overall, WWE/WWS are fine by themselves. I only used IEW because my son needed specific help making the transition to writing an original sentence. He was terrified that he would misspell something, and when doing narrations, he'd count words in his head to make sure that his narration would be shorter when he had to copy it or take it from dictation. With the "messy" rough draft idea (writing it in pen!) and using the keyword outlines, he got over that. He learned that he could write a whole page or even a page and a half (double spaced, wide ruled) in one sitting without dying, and that gave him confidence. :) So that was one specific need that he had that wasn't being addressed by WWE. IEW was worth the price to get him over that hump! Now his WWE oral narrations are back to normal length. The other day, I was supposed to pick 12-15 words of his narration to give back by dictation. His first sentence was 18 or 19 words (two independent clauses, separated by a comma and "and").

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I have used IEW-SWI-A and WWE concurrently. This coming year I plan to use IEW-SICC-B concurrently with WWS.


So far I have used IEW as my main writing program. Most of all I like how it teaches the stylistic techniques. I also especially like how it teaches outlining, taking notes from one or multiple sources for reports, and the story sequence.


I have used WWE mainly for developing listening comprehension and teaching how to summarize. I have not done much with the copywork or dictation exercises. The reason I didn't use WWE more is that I don't completely agree with the strategy of grammar level classical writing philosophy.


For this coming year, I am planning on doing half of WWS and half of IEW SICC-B with my 5th grader. Then for 6th, I plan to finish both WWS and IEW SICC-B. We will see how it goes.


In addition, I have also used Winning With Writing as a supplement (especially WWW3) for teaching paragraph writing and other common writing assignments (the friendly letter, compare/contrast paragraphs, etc.).


One reason I have found for using two or more programs is variety. It can get awfully dull for a kid to do the same type of exercises week after week.

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