The dreaded high school essay….remember that? Ugg.  That’s how most people feel about writing an essay.  Well, it doesn’t have to be hard. For years we’ve been using Institute for Excellence in Writing with our kids, so I was so excited to be given the opportunity to try out the High School Essay Intensive program.

First let me say that IEW is an amazing writing program.  All my Classical Conversations families out there know how much we love using their History-Based Writing books as part of our Essentials program.  It’s based on their Teaching Writing: Structure and Style program.  I’ve been using that program for 6 years and have tutored a class for 4 years, but I have NEVER done any of the high school level programs from IEW until now.


The High School Essay Intensive program is great.  If you don’t have any experience in IEW it is totally okay!  Andrew Peudwa will soon become your family friend as you invite him into your living room (or school room) when you watch the DVDs.  His funny personality has totally won me over…and he’ll win you over too!

Institute for Excellence in Writing High School Essay Intensive

What you Get

The set comes with a very nice CD/DVD leather-like case that holds all your DVDs.  There are 5 DVDs total.  You also get a student handout packet that can be copied for home use with multiple kids.  It’s a 28 page packet that is basically the text or guide through the program. Finally you get the IEW Portable Walls for the Essayist.

The Portable Walls is a folder type thing that opens up and contains amazing resources that students can use anytime they are writing essays! You can even prop it up and create a personal writing area and “block out” all those distractions!


What I Like or Dislike

First I will say that I’ve always like IEW so I don’t know if that makes me biased! 🙂 But I just haven’t found any of their products lacking in expectations! This one is no different.  I think that even for kids who have never used IEW or had much writing background, the program offers a great overview of how to write (following their TWSS system) and then helps them to grow and develop into a writer that can adapt their writing for different purposes.

The downside: Well, you can only make writing so exciting.  This is meant to be an “intensive” seminar meaning that you would watch and do the exercises over a short period of time.  Doing it that way does make it INTENSE.

The upside: If you have limited time and need to get your child up to par with writing, or improve writing for the SAT or ACT or similar, then this is amazing.  ALSO: you don’t have to do it in a weekend!  You can use the format here and stop and work on the skills more before learning the next part.  For example, you can watch the first DVD about strategies for Essay Writing (1a & 1b) then spend a few months working on essays!

Overall, I think for the high school student who isn’t confident about their writing or who wants to ensure that they are prepared for essays on tests, you will definitely want this program!


High School Essay Intensive {Institute for Excellence in Writing Reviews}

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