Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hewitt Homeschooling: Lightning Lit & Comp 8

Over the years, I'd heard about Lighting Lit & Comp by Hewitt Homeschooling, but had never seen it in person.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to review the 8th grade level.  I received the Student Guide ($25), the Student Workbook ($25), and the Teacher's Guide ($20).


In this course, the student will read and write about several novels, along with short story selections and poems.  The novels studied are Treasure Island, A Day of Pleasure, A Christmas Carol, The Hobbit, My Family and Other Animals, and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Short stories and poems by Chesterton, Hawthorne, Whittman, Emerson, Keats, and others are also included.

The literary lessons (and additional mini lessons) covered in the 8th grade level are:

  • Author's Purpose/Taking Notes
  • Setting/Rewriting in Your Own Words
  • Vivid Imagery in Poetry/Free Verse and Ballad
  • Sharing Your Culture/Rewriting Your Own Words
  • Details in Writing/Citing Sources in a Paper
  • Character Development/The Narrator
  • Figurative Language in Poetry/Fun Poesm
  • Conflict/Genre Fiction
  • Symbolism/Sentence Structure
  • Humor/Bibliography
  • Meter/The Sonnet
  • Writing a Literary Analysis/Writing A Conclusion

There is a basic rhythm throughout the program, though the length of time spent on a particular work depends on its length:

  • Read the introductory material
  • Read the assigned book/story/poem
  • Read the corresponding lesson and mini-lesson 
  • Complete the corresponding workbook pages
  • Complete one or two writing assignments
  • Review and revise the compositions

Luke & Ezekiel worked through a portion of this program.  They are entering 8th and 7th grades this year.  Since we only had 6 weeks with this program before I needed to write this review, we began with Chesterton's short story, A Crazy Tale.  This chapter teaches about the author's purpose, and includes a mini lesson on taking notes.  According to the provided schedule in the Teacher's Guide, this unit should take about 3 weeks, and I think that is a reasonable amount of time to complete the chapter.  It took us a little bit longer because we were unable to work on it every day.  I had intended to also complete one of the poetry chapters, but the Waldo Canyon fire caused a disruption to our homeschool.

I broke the lessons down so the boys only had to a little bit each day.  They were able to complete much of the chapter by themselves.  There are several worksheets provided, and these worksheets focus on different skills.  For this chapter, the 8 worksheets focused on discerning the author's purpose (was it to inform, explain/instruct, persuade, describe, or explore), a short writing assignment (writing about the same topic with two different purposes in mind), capitalization and apostrophes, discerning fact and opinion, and taking notes.  At the end of the chapter, there are four different writing assignments to choose from, with different levels of difficulty--the easiest option is writing a paragraph or two describing everyday things as if you're seeing them for the first time, the most difficult is writing a research paper.

I asked Luke and Ezekiel what they thought about the program.  They both enjoyed the story, the Student Guide (sample), and the worksheets (sample), but they didn't like the writing assignments.  I've got to agree with them, though for different reasons.  Not liking writing assignments is their default position, but my issue with the writing assignments is that there isn't enough hand holding for me as the teacher in the Teacher's Guide.  The Teacher's Guide (sample) provides short explanations and some tips about what the student is learning as well as answers for the worksheets.  Even though I wish the Teacher's Guide contained more detailed information and explanations, I still think this is a very well done program that deserves a look.  It takes important literary concepts and explains them well and thoroughly, using a fabulous variety of novels, short stories, and poetry instead of excerpts.  It's not overwhelming in the way it presents the information.  In addition to the 8th grade program, Hewitt also has Lightning Lit available for 7th grade, and several different programs available for 9th-12th grade.  They're also working on elementary levels, beginning with 1st grade.


For more reviews of Hewitt Homeschooling products, go here.


Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

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