Institute for Excellence in Writing Review


This article is in collaboration with the Institute for Excellence in Writing.

Have you ever heard of the Institute for Excellence in Writing?  Our crew members certainly have, and today they are going to share their experiences with two products from this company that are NOT about writing!


Several of our crew members received Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day on DVD.  During this 80 minute talk Andrew Pudewa lays out the reasons why boys and girls learn and respond differently to the same environments based on credible research.  He explores the neuro-physiological differences in response to the same situations. He explains what motivates children, and what kills their motivation.  He then gives specific ways parents and homeschoolers can use this knowledge when working with their children in academics as well as life.

Other crew members will be sharing their reviews of three levels in the Excellence in Spelling program: The Phonetic Zoo.  This spelling program acts on the premise that spelling is sequential.  When looking at a written word it is seen as a whole collection of letters that, in many cases, gets stored in a child’s brain in a jumbled sequence and then comes out the same way – mixed up.  The Phonetic Zoo uses audio CDs to input words letter by letter in the correct sequence, ensuring proper storage.
After a short introductory lesson the regular spelling lessons have a jingle each week that introduces the spelling rule or hint.  This is shown to the child with a large flash card and each corresponds to an animal or two whose names show that jingle in action.  For example, when talking of ai and ay, the animals pictured on the card are a caiman and a manta ray.  Each lesson has 15 words, which are on the back of the large card.  After introducing the new lesson to your student they will independently practice with the audio CDs daily, which test them on those words and help them self check those tests.  They move on to a new lesson after achieving 100% on their test two days in a row.  Smaller zoo cards are given to the student as they begin or complete each lesson (your choice)as a motivational tool and reminder of how far they have come.

Every fifth lesson in a Personal Spelling lesson.  Your student practices words that they have been misspelling in their regular academic work.  Special cards with spaces to write these words are given.

The Phonetic Zoo is not a beginning phonics program.  It is for students age 9 and up.  When beginning your adventure with the Phonetic Zoo you purchase a Starter Set in level A, B, or C, which includes:

·    The Spelling and the Brain DVD: a video seminar and introduction to the Phonetic Zoo for the parent.

·    The large Lesson Cards: These contain all the words for all 3 levels, you will not need to purchase new cards for each level.

·    Personal Spelling Cards: to use every 5th lesson with words your student typically misspells in other academic work.  These can be purchased separately for subsequent students using the program.

·    The small Zoo Cards: which serve as a way to practice the jingles and motivate the student.  These can be purchased separately for subsequent students.

·    The Audio CDs – for the level you choose to start with.  Each level has 5 or 6 CDs.

As your student finishes the level they start with you will then only need to purchase the audio CDs for the subsequent levels needed.  You can learn much more about how the Phonetic Zoo works on their website here.

Please click on the links below to read what the members of the TOS Crew had to say about their experiences with these products from Institute for Excellence in Writing.

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To view the list of reviews please Click here.

Special thanks to First Mate Tristan from Our Busy Homeschool for writing this introductory article.

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