I have been homeschooling for about 14 years now, and there are very few products I have actually used with all of my three of my children. But one of them is Lightning Lit & Comp from Hewitt Homeschooling.
I have used their 7th Grade Lightning Literature program, and their Shakespeare Literature program, so when I had the chance to review another of their programs naturally I took it! I received the American Literature: Early-Mid 19th Century. This is designed to be a comprehensive program covering literature and writing for one semester at the high school level.
- It is well organized – I received a student guide, which is a softcover book, and a loose leaf teacher’s guide. The teacher’s guide is not too long, but it is very comprehensive. It has detailed rubrics for grading writing, a semester long schedule broken out by week and answers to the all the comprehension questions. It also includes discussion questions and project suggestions.
- It covers literary elements -some of the topics covered are sources of ideas, persuasive writing, conflict, and meter in poetry.
- The book and selections covered are classics – Some of the selections covered are The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, an essay from Washington Irving, Fredrick Douglass’ Autobiography, The Scarlett Letter, Moby Dick and quite a few poems. All of these are easy to find at the library, and many are available free for e-readers..
- The way the work is laid the student does a reading assignment, answers basic comprehension questions about the reading and then completes one or two writing assignments about the selection. The first part of the book covers the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and that is what my son worked on. My son found the book fairly difficult to read since he is not used to reading older language, but the story of Franklin’s life was engaging. The amount of work given each week seemed quite reasonable, but it was definitely more than in the Middle School Lightning Literature my son used before.
- My son did not like writing out all the answers to the comprehension questions (no surprise there), so some days I let him just answer verbally.Â I think doing it verbally works better for us in general, but on days when I am busy it is convenient to have him write the answers.
- There were eight possible writing projects to pick from at the end, and it was good that they provided a range of choices. The possible essay choices included writing about your or Franklin’s character traits, writing about a hobby, researching some of Franklin’s accomplishments, and writing about moral quality of yourself and Franklin. Before my son picked the writing assignments I could have easily predicted which two he would pick, and I was right! He chose to write about one of his hobbies and a report on Franklin the Inventor.
I can see that as we go through the course I am going to have to do some of the writing topic selection for my son, because left to himself he would never choose to write about something like moral characteristics, or a story involving dialogue. So in order to have him stretch himself and become a better writer I am not going to be able to let him always choose his own topics.
This program is designed to be a one semester high school course. My son is just starting 8th grade, and he started this immediately after finishing the 7th Grade Lightning Literature program. I chose not to use their 8th grade program mainly because my son had already read all the books covered in that. The level is definitely challenging for him, and because he is younger we will probably slow this down and spend an entire year on this, instead of a semester.
Hewitt Homeschooling has a number of other programs that other bloggers reviewed, so click the button below to see more reviews. One of the nice things about the Lightning Literature program is that you can mix and match, and chose a semester of World Literature, followed by American Literature or Shakespeare. So it is very easy to follow your child’s interest, or pick literature than corresponds with the time period you are studying. I will be checking out the rest of the reviews to see what programs I might want for the future!