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IEW vs Classical Composition

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    IEW vs Classical Composition

    My original plan is/was to use Classical Composition for my 10 year old this up coming this year.

    However, I have a son that is a reluctant writer and have friends that have highly recommended IEW, especially for a reluctant writer.

    Can anyone who has used it and/or Classical Composition give any thought on the differences or why you like one over another?
    Last edited by Mama2Two; 06-19-2014, 10:30 AM.

    I've used both, and I've had both reluctant and willing writers among my children, and I think it's true that IEW is more manageable for the reluctant writer. It just breaks things down so much better. Classical Composition Fable (which I'm just now finishing up with my fourth grader) is a great program for a student who starts out already having no problem writing down a short narration, but if they're struggling to get any words down on paper at all (as my older two were), then the key word outline that is the basis of the IEW approach is just so much more doable. Now, IEW techniques could be used in CC, if you were already familiar with them, but if you're relying on the curriculum itself to do the teaching, CC, in my opinion, isn't fundamental enough for the struggling writer. I can see why MP uses it in fourth grade, though, as a follow-up to their third-grade composition book. If a student masters the skill of writing short narrations as presented in that third-grade book, then they would be ready for CC in fourth grade. But if they haven't and are essentially starting from scratch, and don't have a natural propensity to write, then I think CC would be too hard.

    I haven't seen the CC Fable DVD, though, so I don't know whether that would make a difference.

    I think there has been previous discussion of comparing IEW and CC on this board somewhere--maybe you could do a search?

    Good luck,


    DD 19 -- homeschool graduate attending community college
    DS 17 -- 12th grade using variety + MPOA Chemistry
    DD 12 -- MP 7A


      Yes, I also remember an article comparing the two. I think Paul posted it once upon a time? I've searched but can't find it perhaps because it was an attachment.
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      11th year HSing · 9th year MP
      @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
      11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School


        Thanks, I found the article. It was actually in a thread I had participated in last year when trying to decide on writing!

        This year we ended up doing CAP Fable since I didn't think my son was ready for CC. He really enjoyed it! nSo, now I am back to the same decision between IEW and CC.

        the article was a good re-read and helpful


          Great response Julie!

          We use IEW for my eldest and are still undecided for the Littles coming up. One will be using the 3rd grade curriculum next year so we have the Intro, but he loves Mr. Pudewa, so we may stick with IEW.

          Basically we used it b/c I found IEW first and purchased for my reluctant writer. It totally transformed his writing & his attitude about writing! I tried CC with him, but after so many disastrous writing programs (before IEW), he asked to stay with Mr. Pudewa. We thought that was a reasonable request. We started with Student Writing Intensive on DVD.



            Hi folks!

            My first was a reluctant writer, and it was IEW which helped bring her around initially. However, the benefit of it was actually shortlived, even though she was only a sixth grader. The ideas of writing having a structure, and the process having a formula, were helpful to her initially, but once she realized that, there was little to motivate her to continue making progress. Sure, we moved on to writing longer compositions, which were new, but were really just expansions of the same skills.

            She has seen what her brother has been doing in Classical Composition, and sees that there is much more there. So she is actually very excited to switch over and do the accelerated path of it.

            While she was a reluctant writer, I have not seen the same issues with my other kids coming along. Several things are different....they write more in their student guides than she did. They have had more writing practice in their Engish work. Also, I have not stressed over it!

            There is so much time for your children to develop in all the skill areas they need...perhaps they simply need to continue on in the writing across the curriculum before starting any formal program. Perhaps using.the Intro to Comp course would be a good first step, or, continue at that skill level, using your own content, until greater confidence is there. But I encourage you not to give up on CC entirely. The techniques they perform are deceptively rich,..and well worth the effort of getting used to the program.

            16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
            DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
            DS, 16
            DD, 14
            DD, 12
            DD, 10
            DD, 8
            DD, 6
            DS, 2


              I, too, had a reluctant writer. On top of that, I felt very unprepared in how to teach or appropriately evaluate writing. After some searching, I found IEW. I took my son to hear Mr. Pudewa speak and demonstrate his key word outline method, and he really liked him. I also felt that it was something that would equip me to effectively teach writing to him and my younger children. We purchased Teaching Writing Structure and Style and Student Writing Intensive A. It was a huge success, and I have continued using IEW for composition. I am not very familiar with Classical Composition, so I can not speak to that personally, but I know that it is highly regarded, as well.