If you were to do a survey among homeschool families and ask for their favorite curriculum publishers, it won’t take very long before you hear “Institute for Excellence in Writing“, or “IEW”. You might remember my previous review of their writing curriculum. Or when I listed them as a top curriculum pick. Anytime I see their name pop up for a chance to do a review, I leap for joy. This time, I was offered not one, not two, but THREE excellent resources to review!!! These resources would make an excellent addition to any homeschool library. I received Timeline of Classics, Teaching with Games Set, and A Word Write Now. I received the physical products of each.
Timeline of Classics
Format: Spiral-bound ($29), PDF download ($19)
Author: Gail Ledbetter
I love to incorporate great literature into our studies but often find it very difficult to find that perfect book at the right time. Even when I search for keywords in my local library’s search engine, I often find a book I’d rather use too late. And honestly, the books the library recommends are usually current literature and not the classics that I really want my children to be reading.
The book covers 5000BC to present time and is broken down into the following categories:
- Ancients (5000BC – 400AD)
- The Middle Ages (400AD – 1450)
- Renaissance and Reformation (1450-1850)
- The Modern World (1850-present)
Each page of the book contains an easy to read chart that lists everything in chronological order. There is a column that contains a description, the title of the resource, the author and then the last column indicates the level. Levels are indicated by “E” for elementary, “M” for middle school and “H” for high school. I especially love the quotes that break up the chart on each page!
Since we are currently studying Ancient times, we basically started at the very beginning! Easy-peasy. There are sooooo many resources listed that it was easy to find ones that were readily available to us. Using the descriptions, if there was a resource that was especially intriguing, I could always order it.
I will note that not only is literature listed but there are also additional resources including videos, audios, etc.
Teaching with Games Set
Level: Teacher Resource to be used with grades 3 and up (although I think some games would be adaptable for younger ones too)
Format: Spiral-bound book ($19), CD/DVD set ($29)
Pages/Minutes: 112 pages/ 130 minutes (*the ebook on the CD is 118 pages and contains two additional games)
Author: Lori Verstegen
The introduction covers the benefits of including games in your teaching environment – not only is there the fun aspect but helps to increase retention and develop critical thinking skills. The games are divided into five different game type categories:
- “no prep” games
- matching card games
- question games
- math fact games
- “make as you teach” games
Within each category, multiple games are given. The directions are clear and then some ideas are given. You can make your own game pieces to correspond with what you are currently teaching but some cards are pre-made for you.
Last year we studied the human body. It was nice to see that one of the pre-made card sets we could use immediately by just printing them off on cardstock and do a quick, but fun, review!
The DVD/CD set includes 2 DVDs and 1 CD. The DVDs show an actual teaching seminar on how to teach with games AND shows the audience participation. I would LOVE to attend one of these seminars! As stated above, the CD is the PDF version of the spiral bound book along with a little bonus.
Since I am a visual learner, it was great to be able to watch the DVDs as I read about the games in the book. It was also very easy to navigate both the DVD and the book so I could find a game in the book, quickly pop in the DVD and watch the segment on that game style.
A Word Write Now
Format: spiral-bound ($35)
Author: Loranna Schwacofer
I love this resource!! I love to read and to write. Being a lover of words, there is nothing more frustrating that reading a book that has the same boring phrase repeated over and over. I want to give a copy of this book to every author that writes like that! This resource is fun to read and not your ordinary thesaurus.
The book is broken down by character traits, words to describe, and words for movement/senses. For each of these sections, there is a simple definition of the word and then usually a quote. Remember how we love classic literature? Well, for each word there are also excerpts from great books to go along with the word being studied. Then comes the thesaurus portion; there are alternatives listed by various parts of speech.
But wait! There’s more!
There’s also a great review of parts of speech literary devices.
We previously received a copy of this as part of the writing curriculum we reviewed so my boys were thrilled to get another copy! This means they each can have their very own and do not have to share.
Whenever we are doing writing assignments, I will have them pull this reference out if I am seeing a lot of dreary words. They have learned to appreciate the use of more descriptive words. We often discuss this not only in writing but when we are listening to music and paying attention to lyrics.