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Sep 30, 2014

The Nose Tree ~ An IEW Review

The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) was started to help students develop listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking skills.  IEW uses a program created by primary schoolteacher Mrs. Anna Ingham in the first half of the 20th century.  In the 1970's, her nephew Dr. James B. Webster adapted Mrs. Ingham's lessons for older students and began to teach other instructors in her methods.  Mr. Andrew Pudewa was one of those instructors and brought this method to the United States.  I recently received IEW's Fix It! Grammar books, Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Teacher's Manual) and Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Student Book), for review.

Fix It! Grammar Review

Fix It! Grammar was written by Pamela White.  Mrs. White also teaches for IEW.  There are six levels of Fix it! Grammar.
  1. The Nose Tree, which I will be talking about, and
  2.  Robin Hood
  3. Frog Prince, or Just Deserts
  4. Little Mermaid
  5. Chanticleer
  6. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 
The Teacher's Manual and Student Book are durable soft-cover with a spiral binding.  The student book can be downloaded as well.  Which brings me to the incredibly generous copyright policy which you can see in the image below.  IEW knows, acknowledges, and meets the needs of the homeschooling family and community.  Amazing.

The student book consists of the lessons, a grammar glossary, grammar review cards, and a certificate of completion. The Nose Tree begins very basically with nouns, homophones, end marks, and paragraph indentation.  By the end of the 33 weeks of lessons, the student will have a good working knowledge of basic grammar.  There are lessons in capitalization, contractions, clauses, and more with regular review weeks throughout.

This compulsive mama gave the cards to the boys to cut out.  You have to let go at some point and say, "Fly little birds.  Here are the scissors.  Please don't ruin our cards."  When I looked at some, I was going nuts and wanted to trim them all when I noticed they don't line up on both sides.  Fix It! Grammar's one, tiny flaw.  *smile*  I put two envelopes in the front of Malachi's notebook.  One holds the cards we have used or are introducing and one holds the rest for future use.

I love the look of the pages with plenty of white space for marking corrections.  That fact alone helps Malachi remain more focused on what he is doing and where he should be doing it.  Ahem.  "Should be."   There really is more space than there appears here.  Mal just writes really large letters.

And he flat out refuses to cross out homophones with a line.  Once he started X-ing, he continues X-ing.   My stubborn boy.  Each day consists of editing just *one* sentence.  No one needs to get bogged down, feeling overwhelmed.  Very few students can't correct one sentence, look up one word in the dictionary, and rewrite one corrected sentence.

The lessons begin with a page highlighting the week ahead.  There is an explanation of the new grammar topic with examples and a reminder to pull out the applicable grammar card.  This is followed by the basic instruction that remains pretty much the same each week.  Read the sentence, look up the vocabulary word(s), fix the sentence, and rewrite it.

First, Mal reads the sentence out loud.  He then decides on the end mark and locates the parts of speech we are working on or reviewing.  So far, we've covered nouns, articles, pronouns, quotation marks, and homophones.  Next, he determines what word to look up in the dictionary.  It's the bolded word or phrase in the sentence.  After looking it up, he writes it in his personal dictionary.  Then, he turns to the back of his notebook and rewrites the edited sentence.

His dictionary is a children's dictionary which was also chosen because there is plenty of white space and a couple of pictures on most pages.  That means that occasionally, one of the words or phrases he needs to look for isn't found in that book.  The Teacher's Manual contains a definition for all of these words.  All the answers are right there as well as plenty of teacher's notes and comments directed at "grammar lovers" intended to clarify anything that is considered too advanced for your Nose Tree reader.  The TM also has the scope and sequence listed for each of the 33 weeks and a grammar glossary.

With purchase of the Teacher's Manual, you will have access to a download of the Student Book and two helpful audios.

The Nose Tree Teacher's Manual costs $19.
The Nose Tree printed Student Book costs $15.

Even though IEW clearly states The Nose Tree is for grades 3 through 12, I like to teach the boys as much as I can at the same time.  With the unforeseen dictionary sharing hassle, I decided to have one boy look up all four words at once while one boy rewrote the four sentences that day, and one day to correct all four sentences.  This took only three days instead of four.  Three VERY long days.  It only took one week of that to realize that was a bad idea.  It was a horrible idea, actually.  I tried Xav on The Nose Tree for two weeks before I finally admitted it was just too much for him.   If it ain't broke, applies to a certain grammar program, too.  We're back to using it as intended with Malachi only.

Interested in IEW, but not sure where to start?  Go to IEW's decision tree
Interested in Fix It! Grammar?  Take the placement test.  Which, by the way, left me completely in over my head in moments. 
Learn more by watching this Fix It! Grammar webinar.

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See more reviews of The Nose Tree as well as most of the other books in the series.

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