COAH Community

Poll: What is your favorite writing curriculum?


I use the Writing Curriculum from Teacher’s College at Columbia. The curriculum focuses on teaching kids to progress through the stages of the writing process, from planning and subject selection, to drafting, revising and editing. The year is broken into units, so that kids at each grade level learn to focus for a number of weeks on understanding different types of writing. Persuasive opinion pieces, nonfiction informational writing, personal narrative, etc.

The program is very self-explanatory, with specific suggestions to tailor the lesson to the child’s progress. Each topic in the curriculum is detailed in a series of lessons that pace out over a few weeks. I love that the program uses books as examples of good writing! You read together to notice specific techniques the author uses. Ultimately, this program is about developing various writing strategies to bring to the table, no matter the topic or the task. Writing is designed to be a daily, beloved task. When I get my daughter to actually sit down for her writing, she always ends up really liking it.


There are other materials from IEW that can be used prior to 3rd grade – look at "Bible Heroes."
My precocious 6 year old has been working through Bible Heroes this year and has really enjoyed it. It’s a remarkable program – IEW breaks the process down into bite-sized pieces that encourage confidence and mastery.


My son HATES writing!! So after reading your post I’m thinking IEW will be good for my son now :slight_smile: Questions…do they teach how to write letters too (beginning level) or just how to write sentences, paragraphs, etc.? And, does it teach any grammer or do you use a totally different curriculum for that? If so, which one & does your daughter enjoy it? Thank you!!!


What writing program do you suggest for Kinder? You mentioned IEW is more for 3rd and up…I have one Kinder & a 5th grader who I’m taking back a few grades to fill in gaps. Thank you!!!


For Kind-2nd grade, I suggest PAL (from IEW). It is called the Primary Arts of Language. It incorporates learning to read and learning to write. (They can be purchased separately).


@kathleennj I had previously overlooked IEW mainly due to the cost, but after much research into this program and the philosophies on grammar education that I’ve researched by Andrew Pudewa, I think I am hooked! We are maxed out on homeschool budget and time slots for the upcoming school year, but I am considering/planning on this for the year after when my daughter will be in 4th and son in 2nd. Their Web site suggests it is possible to do one program with multiple ages by working with the younger students where needed to accommodate. Would you suggest trying to put both a 2nd and 4th grader together in Level A or starting just the 4th grader there and keeping the 2nd grader on the younger supplemental materials until he reaches 3rd grade at least? I try to keep them on the same lessons/track when I can since they are so close in age, and my son who is currently in K is already finishing with 1st grade reading and is reading at least on a 3rd grade level (obviously not comprehension-wise though), so as far as skill level-wise I’m not too concerned. I would love your thoughts since you have experience with this program. :slight_smile:


Yes, I think it is fine to combine a 2nd and 4th grader in Level A. You will see where you need to adjust and it is easy to do so. For example if the suggestion is to write 2 paragraphs and you think it is to much for your second grader then you could just have that child write one paragraph. Also, the program is very adaptable in that you can use your own sources for writing. So both children could be learning the same lesson and then they write from what they are currently reading. That way they are both writing at their own reading/writing level.


@kathleennj Thank you! This information is very helpful!


Has anyone used “Writing Strands”? If so, what are your thoughts?


@Sara8091 I’m really curious about this too. I was just reading about Writing Strands in The Well Trained Mind. I hope someone gives us their opinion!


I have it for next year. It looks promising.


I am curious about this as well! Anyone know?


A lady responded to my question in regards to that…PAL from IEW :slight_smile:


I am using and loving Handwriting without tears for the early writing/learning letters stage, I have a K4 and a K who are both doing it and doing well. We have PAL writing but haven’t started it yet, will add it in next year after we get a foothold with PAL Reading. Which BTW works GREAT! my 4 year old is getting very confidant with reading. Hope this helps a little!


Did you use the teacher portion? Or did your child do the dvd’s level a,b …?


IEW also has a program called Fit It Grammar which I use with my 6th and 3rd graders and we LOVE it!


Just an addition to what mamamya said. Progressive Phonics (a free reading program) has handwriting too and it’s a similar style to HWT. I use HWT style with my son because I like the formation of the letters a, b,q, g…but you should know that just about EVERY resource that includes tracing letters will not have those HWT style letters. It’s very frustrating. If you go that route, here’s my pinterest page that has resources with semi-compatible letters:


Did you find Voyages in English to be very expensive?


Hello! Thanks for reaching out. In a nutshell, no, I don’t find Voyages in English to be very expensive. However, I don’t suggest purchasing the teacher manual for grades 3 and higher - there is more than enough information and practice in the student text and the student workbook. I also didn’t order the answer key - I was able to figure out answers myself. So knocking off the teacher manual and answer key definitely helps save quite a bit of money.
With that said, I have now used this program from grade 1-grade 5, and I have some VERY different opinions on it than when we first started using it. My opinion has changed so drastically, that we won’t be continuing with it after this year. A real bummer because I LOVED this curriculum for so long. I feel really badly that I spoke so highly of it on this forum - I even tried to remove all of my posts on it, but I was unable to. If you have any questions about my current opinions (the good and bad) with the program, please let me know. Otherwise, I hope I answered your question sufficiently about pricing.
Have a lovely day! Renee :slight_smile:


@triton17 I’m just curious as to what you don’t like about it? Was it after a certain grade level you didn’t like it anymore? I’m using the first level with my son (8yo) and it’s working well for us for now but I expect that to change. I havent found a curriculum I really like past third grade lol