Jun 28, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Lightning Lit

Nate and I have been working together on a review for Hewitt Homeschooling  using their Gr 7 Lightning Lit Set .

He has never technically done a real literature program before. He pretty much taught himself to read at age 4 and has rarely put down a book since then. He has always been the kind of kid that would read anything I handed to him, and then tell you all about it. So I have never put the time and energy into making it a "school subject", he just reads and reads and reads. Mostly I just try to keep him in quality books to read and stay out of his way. However, high school is looming so he and I thought we would give this a try and see how we liked it.

 Lightning Literature and Composition Pack
Grade 7

We received four books: the Teacher's Guide; the Student's Guide; a workbook; and the anthology Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages. There are four other books that are required for this course, and you would get them as a part of the pack, but as reviewers, we were not given them. That was okay though, because they are pretty common classics and we own them all already.

The Guides and the Workbook all look alike, which honestly caused us some confusion. It was way too easy to grab the wrong book. They are all slick, paperback books, slim but sturdy.

The Teacher's Guide starts with an overview of the course. It describes all the different components and explains why they are there and how to use them to best fit your particular student. 

This section is followed by a weekly schedule. If you follow this schedule it will take you 36 weeks to complete the course.

Next, organized by chapter, are all the answers to the questions in both the Student Guide and the Workbook. There are also suggestions of things to keep an eye out for, expectations you should have, how to grade assignments, discussion questions, and other hints and tips.

The Student's Guide is written directly to the student and is the first book your child will turn to after they read an assignment. The schedule and assignments are not in the student's books, you have to tell them what to do when. 

Each chapter in the Student Guide has its own reading assignment. For example, the first chapter covers the reading of short story Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (found in the anthology) and the second chapter covers the entire book of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

The student should start the Student Guide before they read because each chapter starts with a brief bio of the author. Then there is a paragraph of things to look for while they are reading the assignment. For example, in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the student is asked to look for creativity in the book, "people, beings and things that could never exist in the real world".

Next is a list of vocabulary words with a quick definition that the student will find in the reading and might not know.


This is followed by comprehension questions. After that is a Literary Lesson, which discusses things like Plot Line, Dialogue, and Sound in Poetry. Then there is a Mini Lesson, which covers things like Choosing a Topic, Limerick and Haiku, Brainstorming, and Nonce Words. 

Finally, there is a writing exercise which is to be done after the Workbook exercises for that chapter.
There are seven different types of Workbook exercises but each chapter doesn't necessarily have one of each. Sometimes there are several of one and not any of another. The exercises are labeled in the workbook so you can easily tell what type they are. There are exercises for the Literary Lessons, and for the Mini Lessons. There are exercises for composition skills and thinking skills. There are exercises that review grammar, puzzles, and extra-challenge exercises. The last two are completely optional. The grammar is meant to be review.

We found this to be a fun program that was easy for us to implement. The hard part, in the beginning, was dragging him away from the anthology and keeping him from reading it straight through, cover to cover. But the benefit of his fascination with the book was that he was engaged right away in the curriculum as a whole. 

He is a literary, academic sort of guy, so we just stuck to following the curriculum as is. With the exception that it did not take him seven weeks to read Tom Sawyer. It didn't even take him seven days! 

He loved the reading assignments, he enjoyed the Literary Lessons, and he was fine with most of the Workbook exercises. The only part we really struggled with was when he was required to write. Not because there was anything wrong with the writing assignments, but simply because he loathes writing of any sort. So we compromised a lot. I let him type any answer requiring more than one sentence into a word document on his computer. I let him choose ONE writing assignment per chapter out of the three or four suggestions given, and I (figuratively) held his hand throughout each assignment. 

Hewitt Homeschooling offers an assortment of products for all ages, Kindergarten through 12th grade. They offer Lightning Lit for grades 1-3 and 7th and up. They are currently working on 4th grade. Although this is the first time we have ever used a Lightning Lit course, it has been highly recommended to us by several homeschool friends. Now I can see why! Nate and I are strongly considering using these for his high school literature courses.

Hewitt Homeschooling {Reviews}

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