High school writing can be overwhelming with preparing for SAT and college applications so I was excited to receive High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing for my daughter. Lauren loves to write creative stories and books. But, I do find that she needs help with her more structured school papers. So, I was so excited when we were able to review this high school essay writing program. So. Incredibly. Excited!!!

high school essay intensive review

General Overview

  • Price: $79
  • DVD course that covers 4 separate parts to essay writing, including:
    • General high school essay writing
    • Preparing for the new SAT essay
    • Preparing for the new ACT essay
    • Strategies for a personal essay (what a student would need to write for a college application or scholarship)
  • Course also includes student handouts, 6.5 hours of instructions via DVD and a wall of essay tips/suggestions

As a homeschool mama, I love it when others teach my children…in my home. They learn other teaching styles and often give more credence to what someone else is teaching because this other teacher may know it better, if that makes sense. And, I find that for certain subjects it’s best to have an expert speak on a specific topic. In this case, it’s Andrew Pudewa with Institute for Excellence in Writing. Although there are four sections to this program, we spent our time focusing on General Strategies for Essay Writing (part one of the four part series). This is covered in DVD #1.

Although Lauren can write really well, I wanted to start with the basics because writing techniques can always be tweaked and honed. After all, practice and repetition is what makes us better writers. Right?

How We Used This Program

The kit we received in the mail contained three main components:

  1. DVDs
  2. Student handout
  3. Portable walls for the essayist (which is a laminted “cheat sheet” of the important elements of writing an essay)

high school essay intensive review

The first thing we did was watch DVD #1. We broke this out into sections so that she could let the material sink in. Mr. Pudewa strongly encourages note taking, so she practiced her note taking skills as well.

The student handout is meant to be a consumable by the student. She’s writing on it and taking notes, as directed. It contains a section for each of the components and DVDs. It’s also meant to be condensed enough that she can flip through it later on when she’s practicing for her SAT/ACT test later this year. Once she gets through the general essay writing portion of the course we’re going to focus on the SAT prep.

The Portable Walls for the Essayist explains the different types of essays, essay models (like the 5-paragraph essay), specific models (for each type of essay), the essay writing process, the TRIAC paragraph, essay writing strategies, how to create sentence pattern variety and a very long list of transitional words, phrases, and propositions. I find this to be extremely useful as it explains essay writing in a nutshell. And, it’s a great way to remember what Mr. Pudewa is teaching in the videos.

We watched the video together with Lauren taking notes and then she wrote any assignments as they were given. It’s a pretty simple learning method and one that will work well in our homeschool.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this is a really great program. Lauren loves to write and she is really working hard to master what Mr. Pudewa is teaching. To me, that in itself is reason enough to continue. He makes the videos entertaining enough that Lauren is laughing and listening intently, but still stays on point so that she’s learning.

I’m seeing her writing get better and to me, that’s a win-win situation. First, she’s all-in with this program and secondly, she’s using what she’s learning and applying it to her writing.

I honestly can’t wait for us to continue the writing lessons. I think they are going to be very beneficial to her when she takes the SAT this year.

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