It never fails that at some point during the day, I can glance around the room and see most, if not all of my children, enjoying a good book. We enjoy time spent sharing a great read aloud. However, I do not want my children to just enjoy literature; I want them to develop the skill of thinking and understanding the purpose or worldview presented by an author. I want my children to be able to discern fact from opinion; to tell when an author is biased toward a certain stance or belief. Along with building that ability, I want my children to be able to communicate effectively in a written format.
Over the past several weeks, Bekah (8th grade) has been utilizing a course from Hewitt Homeschooling. Lightning Literature and Composition for 8th grade. (*Please note that this course can be used for a grade lower or higher depending on the level of your student. ) While Bekah has read books at the high school level such as Pride and Prejudice, I felt that using the 8th grade course would be a good start for her; challenging yet not overwhelming. (I’m sure it didn’t hurt that one of her favorite books, The Hobbit, is part of the course.
How Does Lightning Literature Work?
We received three books: Teacher’s Guide, Student Guide and Student Workbook (you can also purchase the books used in the course or utilize your public library) . As the mom of eight children, it is always a help when my older, more independent learners have curricula that help facilitate independence and easy implementation is important as well.
The teacher’s guide gives you a concise explanation of the different areas of learning. A schedule is provided that breaks the course into two semesters; 18 weeks in each semester. You are encouraged to let your student work at their own pace. Bekah moved on a bit quicker than the suggested schedule and her work was well done so I let her set that pace. The teacher’s guide provides answers for the discussion questions, gives information on the literary lessons, answers to the student workbook, etc.
The lessons in the student guide cover introduction of the author and story. The “While You Read” gives the student a question to think on while she is reading; a great aid in analyzing a piece of literature. A vocabulary list is provided for words that might provide a challenge and comprehension questions.
Study continues further with Literary Lessons covering items such as: author’s purpose, setting, or imagery. A mini lesson is also provided teaching on taking notes or free verse. The lesson wraps up with writing exercises. Choices are given for the writing exercises so the student can have a bit of flexibility on the writing aspect. Some are more challenging than others and all depending on where your child is with writing, you can do one or all of the writing suggestions.
One key point from the teacher’s guide about writing was to be as positive as possible. While you should note mistakes, you don’t want to kill the interest in writing. Use judgement on when an assignment needs to be rewritten or just tweaked a bit. It is a year long course of learning how to write better!
The student workbook provides extra learning through crossword puzzles, practice in reading short selections to identify setting or understanding source material. She may complete a worksheet on creating a character or creating an outline for a five paragraph essay. Bekah has really enjoyed the workbook!
The required books for this course are: Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children, Treasure Island, A Day of Pleasure, A Christmas Carol, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Hobbit, My Family and Other Animals and A Day of Pleasure. You can purchase all of the above books from Hewitt Homeschooling.
Bekah has really enjoyed this program. The literature selections are excellent, the course is easy to implement and the assignments provide a nice challenge without being overwhelming. I like that she can study independently and we have meet and discuss sessions as needed.
I also appreciated a tentative schedule being provided. Bekah is my oldest so I sometimes feel overwhelmed with how to handle higher learning. While I allowed her to pace herself, I had a reference point to make sure our pace was good.
As a family on a budget, pricing is always a key point. Lightning Literature provides a quality product for a reasonable price. It has been a well loved product (it is one of the first items completed each day) and I’m looking over possible options for next year.
Hewitt Homeschooling provides a selection of literature courses for high school, so if you have an older student you may want to take a peek at those. There is a Lightning Lit course for 7th grade as well. Elementary resources are available as well; including a test course of Lightning Lit for 1st grade. (It is free!)
A great way to learn about a product is to see what others think about it. Make time to stop by The Crew as several different products from Hewitt Homeschooling were reviewed. I’d love to hear what Hewitt Homeschooling item interests you!
**Disclaimer: As a member of TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of Lightning Lit for the purpose of this review. No compensation was made. The opinions/thoughts expressed in this post are my own.