Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 7

The opportunity to review Lightning Literature and Composition from Hewitt Homeschooling could not have come at a better time.  I was in the midst of figuring out what I would do for literature for Jacob's 7th grade year.  Needless to say, I was quite excited when I received the following items:

In this course, your student will read the following books (not excerpts): 
  • Stories & Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages (selections)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • The Story of My Life
  • All Creatures Great and Small
The Student's Guide contains the lessons written to the student.  There is an introduction, and this tells the student some history about what they'll be reading, and what they should be on the lookout for while they read.  After they read the introduction in the Student's Guide, the student then reads the book (or short story or poetry selection(s) ).  There is a list of vocabulary words the student might need for each chapter in the book they're reading, as well as 1-2 comprehension questions for every chapter. Once the student finishes the book, they read the rest of the lesson in the Student's Guide.  There is a different literary lesson for each of the eight chapters: 
  • "Plot Line"
  • "Plot Line in a Novel"
  • "Introduction to Poetry & Rhyme"
  • "Creativity"
  • "Dialogue"
  • "Autobiography"
  • "Sound in Poetry"
  • "The Character Sketch"
Also included in each chapter in the student book is a mini lesson, and these mini-lessons focus on composition: 
  • "Another Opening"
  • "Outlines"
  • "Limerick and Haiku"
  • "Nonce Words"
  • "Saying it with Style"
  • "Brainstorming"
  • "Cinquain and List Poem"
  • "Choosing a Topic"
Each chapter wraps up with several different writing assignments.  They vary in difficulty, and the student is instructed to choose 1 or 2.  Of course, you have the freedom to assign more than 1 or 2 if you'd like.
The Student's Workbook has worksheets for each chapter, and they are to be completed after the student reads the literature and the lesson in the Student's Guide.  The student uses what they learn through reading to complete the worksheets.  These worksheets are not easy, but cause the student to really apply what they're learning, often times by using excerpts from other good literature.  They practice different skills like writing couplets (and other poetry forms), they are asked to correctly punctuate and capitalize a short story that uses a lot of dialogue, they have to identify fact and opinions in writing, they analyze writing to find the topic sentences and supporting sentences, and more.  There is one crossword puzzle and one word search for each chapter. 

The Teacher's Guide contains a planning guide, and this guide breaks the program down into 36 weeks.  The plans aren't broken down into daily assignments, but this allows for a lot of flexibility for your student.  There are answers for all of the comprehension questions in the student book, as well as teaching helps for each of the lessons and writing assignments.  Also included are discussion questions and answers for the student workbook. 
We are loving Lightning Literature & Composition.  We are following the planning guide that is included, and moving at a pace that is comfortable for Jacob.  He's a strong reader, and we finished the first chapter, and he's well into reading Tom Sawyer.  I love that the program is based on reading real, good, unabridged books.

This program is not easy for Jacob, but he feels that he is learning and he likes it.  He likes that the Student Guide is written directly to him, and he feels that it is doing a good job teaching him.  He also likes that the worksheets make him think, and he was happy that he was able to pick a writing assignment that interested him.

I like that the Teacher's Guide takes the time to explain what I need to look for in an answer, and also points out that Jacob might find certain aspects of assignments difficult, and that it's okay if he does.  I feel like instead of being just an answer key, it's helps to develop me as a teacher.

Looking forward to future lessons, I'm excited about finishing this program with Jacob this year.  I'd recommend that you check out the other offerings from Hewitt Homeschooling.  Lightning Literature and Composition Grade  is perfect for grades 7-8.  Other levels of their Lightning Literature & Composition were reviewed by other bloggers on the Crew; click on the banner below to read their opinions!

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