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X-Post: Trying to Decide Between IEW and CW

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My son (finishing 7th grade) has been using IEW for the last 3 years - all through outside classes. He has used SWI-A, SICC-A and History Based Writing. He does well with it, but I have a few issues with it being so formulaic. I think that some of the dress-ups make the writing seem unnatural. I would like the program to add to what he already knows.


If I switch, I guess I would go with Aesop/Homer for older beginners.


How difficult is it going to be for him and me to switch? Since there aren't dvds to help, like IEW has, is the teacher's manual very clear about how I should teach the material? Will he have to scrap what he already knows or will CW add new methods to help him write better?


If anyone has used both IEW and CW, could you compare the difference in difficulty and time needed to complete a lesson?


Any other advice, would be greatly appreciated.





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CW will add an extra dimension to the things you've learned in IEW, but you should be aware that Aesop, Homer, and the early units of Diogenes Maxim are foundational; the writing projects assigned will not resemble a typical modern essay until the final unit in Maxim. That said, I felt that the things taught in CW (especially Homer) did far more to teach critical reading skills than anything we did in a stand-alone lit course. The two are so different, that it's hard to make a side by side comparison. I also liked the way that grammar is folded into the mix; applying the grammar text lessons to analysis & imitation exercises helped my son nail down and retain grammar concepts.


Aesop for older beginners goes pretty quickly...at least that was my experience using it in a co-op. The newer CW editions are far more user-friendly than the first editions; the layout is straightforward. You and your student will be working incrementally and if you decide that the "lesson flow" presented in Aesop works for you, you can expect later volumes to be similar but with more complex material added in gradually. CW is not easy, but it's doable because each day's work is limited.


Older students should be able to do the CW lessons in four days per week. We used the fifth day each week for Teaching Company lectures, IEW's Advanced Communication Series, or Write Shop timed essays of various types.





PS I usually divided each day's work into three sections; (1) discuss the day's lesson and talk about the assignment, (2) independent work by student, (3) evaluate, discuss, and then revise (if necessary).

Edited by Martha in NM
logical consistency; add info.
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