I was a bit concerned because looking at their products could be a bit overwhelming and the program seemed quite intense. I am glad I decided to make the choice to use IEW.
We have moved very slowly throughout the units, which for us is just fine. Allowing them to enjoy and learn at the same time is much more important than finishing something we "have to get done", where all along with this kind of writing program the boys are able to work at their own pace and experiment with the different kinds of writing.
Here is the on-line video catalog: http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/index.php?q=page/video-catalog
My youngest absolutely is in love with this program. He is still working on a huge piece of writing he started back in the late Fall of this year titled "Mouse Island", based on the fable "The Mouse and the Weasels", he decided to create his own "version" and has been going at it ever since.
My older son seems to get tied up a bit in the sequential mechanics of the program so for him we make lessons quite short and to the point and do little chunks daily, for him this has worked. I did however consider, (where not every learner is the same) changing writing programs but after reviewing and discussing the advantages and disadvantages, we both agreed to remain with IEW and move on toward the other programs for upper middle and highschool levels once he finishes.
IEW has a families e group that to me has been such a gift of encouragement and support. The moderators are continually and consistently helping children who need help with the program or with writing/spelling in general. Their thoughtfulness, insight and help has been to use a real blessing. The groups links and files sections is continuously updated and offer a great deal of resources and guidance for the program.
Whenever someone asks us what do we use for writing I tell them about IEW and then refer them to the IEW group, because it is really there that you can get a full, accurate picture, of how the program teaches and progresses.
This is really a great program to check out if you have been struggling with other writing programs. For our boys IEW is what we will continue to use for our writing in our home.
Our 10 year old: The Little Man and the Magic Toad ( derived from The Boy and the Nuts)
There was one little man who was walking in the forest. He was looking for a pitcher of m&m's. He found it and reached for the pitcher. He grabbed and held the m&m's. He pulled and pulled and his hand got stuck. He tried and tried to get his hand out, but it did not work, so, he waited and waited until a young magical toad came. He was a tall green man, with a tall purple star hat and a purple star coat. The toad whispered quietly, " sometimes you have to give up a little to get what you want".
Then the toad quickly disappeared. The little man did what the toad said and let go of some of the m&m's and it worked! The little man said "who is that?", but on this day forward, he never would tell anyone about what had happened.
Our 12 year old: The Boy and the Purple Pickle ( also derived from The Boy and the Nuts)
One day a boy saw a pitcher full of candy. He took a fistful of candy from the pitcher, and his arm became stuck. Suddenly, he bursted into a peanut! He was shocked!! A magic purple pickle appeared with a mustach and an old singing Barbers hat, who said " Son, if you want to go back to normal you have to let go of some of the candy", so the boys did and POOF ~! He was back to normal~ and the pickle said " Sometimes you have to give up things in life to get what you wish", then he quietly disappeared.
Hmmm, I know what your thinking what imaginations they have... they seem to like purple and magical things that disappear...... they certainly enjoy their "creative" writing. :)