I’ve had a relationship with Hewitt Homeschooling for almost as long as I’ve been homeschooling. When I first started, I used their testing services and later, I used their Lightning Literature for my daughter when she was in high school. So when the opportunity came to review their Lightning Literature and Composition for 7th grade, I was thrilled to be chosen. I knew I loved LLC (Lightning Literature & Composition) for high school so I really wanted to see what it was like for the middle school years. I choose 7th grade because my son struggles with reading comprehension, and well, almost anything language-based (he was severely speech delayed) and the course is designed for 7-8 grades.
For this review, I received:
All of the books are the Second Edition and perfect bound.
There is a list of books needed for the course at the beginning of the guide. Most books can be easily found at the library or online. Since mostly unabridged classics are used, I downloaded most of what we needed for free on my Nook. There are notations made in the guide in case you use a different version so you will not have any problems adjusting the assignments with the correct chapters. A brief introduction covers how to use the course and what is found in the student’s books. The Discussion Questions are only listed in the Teacher’s Guide and I used them as guides to discuss the literature orally. A weekly schedule is given consisting of two semesters with eighteen weeks each. You have the freedom to decide whether to work on LLC daily or two or three days a week, depending on what best suites your family. Next you have the answer guides which is organized in the same order as the student’s books. All of the corresponding answers are grouped with each books so you do not have to flip back and forth to find the answers to comprehension questions in one part of the book and workbook answers grouped elsewhere. It flows nicely. Each section is broken down like this:
- Title of literature with author’s name
- Page numbers that are assigned (this might differ slightly if you use a different version of the book)
- Page numbers that are assigned in the Student’s Guide
- Page numbers that are assigned in the Student’s Workbook
- Answers to Comprehension Questions
- Literary Lesson (this level covers plot, poetry and rhyme, creativity, dialogue, autobiography, sound in poetry, and character sketch)
- Mini-Lessons (this level covers openings, outlines, limerick and haiku, nonce words, saying it with style, brainstorming, cinquain and list poem, and choosing a topic)
- Writing exercises
- Discussion questions
- Workbook answers
We used the curriculum daily because I knew there was one week of camp and one week that we were going on vacation; using the curriculum daily on the weeks when my son could do the work allowed him to have those two weeks off without getting too far behind.
The student’s guide begins with a “Welcome to Lightning Literature” which explains the program in a conversational tone. It explains how the student is to use the program and gives leeway (not all of the assignments in the book are required, some are just for fun) and also extra challenges should the student need them. Each chapter starts off with an introduction to the chosen literature. The student is first introduced to the author, time period, and any other information that might be relevant to the book. There’s a section “While You Read” that I thought was very helpful so the student knows what to be paying special attention to; this was a huge asset for my son that struggles with reading comprehension. A vocabulary list is given for any words that might be new to the student. Then there are comprehension questions that you can discuss orally or have the student write in a separate notebook. We did the comprehension questions orally since I believe he would get plenty of writing accomplished when he got to the writing exercises. The comprehension questions have rather short answers anyway while the discussion question are more in depth. Despite my son’s reading comprehension struggles, he did well but I think it is because he enjoyed the literature (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer); as we continue I am interested to see if he keeps performing this well.
A literary lesson is given next. This is part of the “nuts and bolts” of the program as the student really learns how to dissect literature. Being able to read great literature, divide it out and understand all of its parts, will benefit the student when it is time for them to write.
The mini-lesson follows and just gives extra practice in writing and composition. I really liked that one of the mini-lessons covered outlines since that is an area in which we needed extra practice.
And finally, there are writing exercises. The workbook pages should be completed first and then the student completes the writing exercises. They were challenging, especially for my son that does not like to write but I believe they were broken down easily so he understood what was required. I allowed him to choose one exercise but if I were doing this for my daughter, she would insist on doing each of them. The teacher’s guide was very helpful as it suggested which exercise to assign based on your student’s abilities; some exercises were much more challenging than others and I liked that I didn’t feel like we had to skip them but could work with the suggestions.
This is a consumable workbook. (Since we choose to do the comprehension questions orally the student’s guide was not consumable.) Again, the workbook has the same general format as the other books- broken down my chapters and listing the page numbers assigned. There are seven types of workbook pages:
- literary lessons
- composition skills
- thinking skills
- grammar and mechanics
The last two are not required but add a little fun to the mix. All of the exercises help reinforce what is being taught in the student’s guide except the grammar which is mostly a review. There’s not really any “tests” but you could use the workbook pages as such if you really feel the need to test.
Overall, I really enjoyed this literature program. It was a great curriculum to cover literature and writing without being too intense. My son actually enjoyed reading and I believe comprehended more than usual. It really helped learning the parts of literature and knowing what to look for before he started the book also.
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Hewitt Homeschooling offers tons of various homeschool curriculum. You can see what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members reviewed (1st grade – high school curriculum) by clicking on the graphic below.