I really like IEW products and have used them before, but this one I couldn't make work. I tried using it with my home schooled son, but this curriculum didn't lend itself to an individual instead of a classroom. It really was geared for a home school coop or regular classroom setting. I found making the teachers guide and student guide work together was quite frustrating and confusing. I am returning my Elegant Essay books back and switching to another program IEW offers that uses DVD's.
Very Frustrating to Use....IEW needs to update this one.
May 29, 2017
We've used IEW products for several years, including the Student Writing Intensives, Fix-It, and some of the theme-based writing books. I was greatly disappointed with Elegant Essay. The teacher book did not go along well at all with the student book. I was constantly having to flip back and forth between the two. In addition to that problem, the teacher book is just not set up as a very user-friendly product.
Most of the writing samples that the students were supposed to rewrite were difficult to use. They just seemed outdated or old fashioned or something. I'm not sure how to explain it, but they certainly weren't very kid or teen friendly at my house! Certain parts of the program also lacked in giving examples. One of those may have been the lesson on transitions, but I can't remember for sure.
I cannot recommend this program to anyone. Hopefully IEW will read feedback like this and decide to totally revamp this program! There is some good information in Elegant Essay, but it's buried under the poor set-up of the books. It would also be nice to have it geared toward a co-op class OR just an individual homeschool student. Much of it right now seems to be geared toward using it in a co-op class type of setting.
We've been using and impressed with IEW for many years. This product did not impress us at all. It has left me, the teacher, feeling disorganized, and my 8th grade daughter feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed in her writing. I would not recommend this product.
We've had great success with other IEW programs such as SWI-A, SWI-B, SWICC-A, SWICC-B, and Ancient History Theme-Based Writing, but this product, The Elegant Essay, was just awful. I have a B.S. in Education and M.S. in Library Science, am a published freelance writer and have taught composition in public schools for 11 years and this book was laborious even for me, much less my 9th grade daughter, who absolutely hated it. She is, by the way, an A student, and does not struggle academically. Up until now, she has loved and excelled in writing, having participated and placed in two national writing competitions. Now she looks at writing time as drudgery (and I dread teaching it with this course). Trying to coordinate the teacher edition with the student edition was time consuming (they don't appear to go together at all). Explanations for students were unclear and probably over the heads of most college-age students. I had to constantly re-write so my daughter could do the assignments. I am currently looking for a replacement because I don't see that her writing is improving, and the joy is certainly missing!
We have been successfully using IEW for a few years. So when my son finished SICC-B and the little flowchart said to use The Elegant Essay next, I bought it. I am used to students working very independently with IEW. But TEE is *extremely* teacher-intensive. It is geared toward classroom/co-op use, and if the teacher is not available or not able to teach the material, the student simply can't do it. The teacher's guide is very vague, and in order to teach, the teacher must use the student book in addition to the teacher's guide - all of the information is not in the teacher's guide.
I am very unhappy with this purchase and am looking for an alternative to teach my son the same material so we can get back to IEW for SICC-C. We have managed to slog through about 3-4 chapters, and those have been an utter disaster. I simply can't do any more.