Here’s our review of IEW Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons. We’ll give you an inside peek into what’s included and how we used it so you can decide if it might be a good fit to use in your homeschool.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
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IEW Writing Curriculum
We reviewed the 5th edition of Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons by Lori Verstegen. If you want to purchase the new 6th edition, then you can find the updated curriculum on the IEW site.
You will need a copy of the Student Book and the Teacher Book.
For those of you already familiar with the IEW method of teaching writing, here’s what you need to know from the Introduction:
The lessons in this book teach Structure and Style in writing. As they move through ancient history themes, they incrementally introduce and review most of the models of structure and elements of style found in the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Teaching Writing: Structure and Style.
In addition to the student book and teacher book, when you purchase this curriculum, you gain access to these digital downloads:
- reproducible checklists
- student resource packet
- advanced additions lessons
- sample key words outlines
- literature suggestions
Here are some examples from the digital & downloadable Student Resource Packet:
The student book also contains students’ sample compositions for extra inspiration or clarification.
Scope & Sequence of IEW Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
These writing lessons from Institute for Excellence in Writing are intended for students in grades 4-7.
Here are the writing topics that are covered:
- Note Making & Outlines
- Writing from Notes
- Retelling Narrative Stories
- Summarizing a Reference
- Writing from Pictures
- Summarizing Multiple References
- Inventive Writing
- Formal Essay Models
- Formal Critique and Response to Literature
- Fun with Vocabulary
There are 30 lessons, which would take approximately 30 four-day weeks to complete. This allows a lot of flexibility for your individual homeschool schedule.
The history content that is used for the writing assignments includes:
- The Wonders of the Ancient World
- Sumer, Egypt, Israel, Greece
- Ancient Greece
- Ancient Rome
- Asia & the Americas
- Prominent People of the Ancient World
IEW Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
The student book is a consumable workbook.
The teacher’s manual shows student book pages and also includes instructions, answers, and sample key word outlines. Some instructions in the teacher’s manual seem geared toward a homeschool co-op teacher who has a class of students working through the material together. You can modify these instructions for a one-on-one homeschool situation.
The lesson pages include everything you will need for the lesson – including instructions, source texts, worksheets, and checklists.
This resource includes 30 lessons covering 9 units. The suggested weekly schedule is written in the student and teacher books for each lesson. It is based on a four day week and clearly instructs students as to what tasks to complete.
How We Used IEW Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
I wanted to try these writing lessons with my seventh grade son who is studying Ancient History for his social studies requirement this year. It seemed like a great way to dovetail two content areas with a similar theme.
This is the first time this child has used IEW writing curriculum. We have previously used another homeschool publisher.
It was easy enough for him to understand how to write key word outlines from history-themed paragraphs. He learned how to create the outlines, then rewrite the text based on the key words, symbols, and abbreviations he had used.
Now he has moved into what IEW calls “dress-ups” – or adding things like:
- strong verbs
- quality adjectives
- because clause
- who-which clause
Your student will also learn how to write a 5-paragraph essay. Along with this, he will learn how to construct:
- topic & clincher sentences
- attention getters for the introduction
- clear conclusions
After learning to write 5-paragraph essays from their own knowledge, your student will move onto writing a research essay and then literary analysis (the Critique Model).
The lessons also teach four new vocabulary words per lesson and encourage your student to use these new words in their writing. Weekly vocabulary quizzes are included in the Teacher’s Manual.
These lessons are broken up into four days of instruction per week. My seventh grader found that he didn’t need all four days to complete the assignment, so we moved more quickly through the lessons.
Parents will be happy to know that there are grading rubrics for each lesson’s writing assignment. This will help you objectively assess your student’s progress and help them see where they need to improve.
We did not use the literature suggestions to include related books and stories. However, if you choose to read the recommended historical fiction novels, you can also use their literature-response page templates for additional assessment.
We didn’t access the advanced lessons, but it is certainly an option if you want to go further with your student.
Because of the literature suggestions and the access to advanced lessons, this curriculum seems very adaptable to a wide range of abilities. It gives you the tools to challenge students who need the challenge, or give a strong foundation to students who just need that foundation.
Since we used the older edition, you will want to check out the new version of Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons.
All in all, we highly recommend this curriculum. It is flexible enough to do more or less work each day as needed for your individual child’s needs.
Looking back, I think this would have been an excellent choice for our dyslexic student who needed a more gentle approach to writing well.
And because this is written for students in a range of grades, you could have multiple kids in your homeschool work through the same material. That’s a definite plus!
We hope this IEW Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons Review has given you a good sense of how the curriculum works and if it would fit with your homeschooling style.
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