Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lightning Literature- TOS Review

Books!  Books!  Books!  Yay Books!
Just for the record, I have a family that loves books.  So our literature choices are important to me.  I want good books and more.  The "and more" has been a problem in the past.  Not anymore!

Hooray for Hewitt Homeschooling and their Lightning Literature and Composition- Grade 8, written for 8th or 9th graders!  We were recently blessed by this company to review their course and I love it!

Here's what we received-
Lightning Literature and Composition- Grade 8 Student's Guide ($25.00)- This book is for your student. For each selection read, whether novel, poem, or short story, there is an introduction, vocabulary list (broken into chapters), comprehension questions for each chapter, a literary lesson that is highlighted within that particular reading assignment, a mini-lesson, and writing exercises to choose from.  Your child will need a separate notebook or paper to write on.
  • Literary lessons include things like determining the author's purpose, setting, and imagery.
  • Mini lessons include things like taking notes, rewriting in your own words, and free verse.
  • Writing assignments include things like writing paragraphs, poems, short stories, and research papers.
Lightning Literature and Composition- Grade 8 Student's Workbook ($25.00)- The student workbook is also for the student and should be completed after the reading, literary lesson and mini lesson.   This is where your child will take the skills they have learned and put them into practice.  Included in these pages are exercises in discovering an author's purpose, short grammar lessons, and analyzing literature.  Crossword puzzles, word searches, and other games are also included but optional.  This workbook can be written in.

Lightning Literature and Composition- Grade 8 Teacher's Guide ($20.00)- Just that!  A teacher's guide that includes a suggested 36 week lesson plan, any answers to comprehension questions and workbook pages, and extra notes you may need on what is being taught.

Hewitt Homeschooling Review
Books covered in Lightning Literature 8th grade-
Selections from Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages
Treasure Island
A Day of Pleasure
A Christmas Carol
The Hobbit
My Family and Other Animals
To Kill a Mockingbird
What I love about Lightning Literature-
In the past we have used a program that has your child read a lot of books.  A lot.  And I thought that would be a good thing.  My kids love to read.  But through the years I began to question some of the book choices and the lack of any follow up.  I saw my kids read a book, put it down, answer a few questions and repeat.  But what I did not see was much deep thinking or even enjoyment.   That's where Lightning Literature is different.  I feel the books have been chosen with great care.  There are some classics that everyone should read and a few "new to me" books.  I also love that in between each book there is a break that allows for a lesson in poetry or short stories.  While those are not things my son would normally gravitate towards, putting them in between the books is a good motivator for him.  What kid cannot drag themselves through a short story when they know Treasure Island is waiting for them?

I also love the quality of questions are being asked. There is a place for reading comprehension of course, but at this age level, there is so much more to reading a book.  Lightning Literature asks questions that get kids thinking outside the box with, "what were they thinking?", "how did they feel?" and more.  They have to use their brains a little to work through answers, not just spit back a one word answer.  One of the things my son loved was there are only a few questions per chapter and therefore not completely overwhelming to him.

While we only used the vocabulary to define any words we did not know, it would be easy to use the book vocabulary lists for spelling and for vocab practice in your school!  Because each unit ends with writing assignments to choose from, you can also use this for a complete writing program.  We were not able to complete a writing project during this review period...but soon, very soon!  My son loves that each unit offers 4 or more choices and that HE gets to choose which one to do!

The only thing we struggled with was the recommended schedule, honestly.  The recommended schedule is listed by weeks, not days, which happens to be my personal preference.  Instead of following it exactly, what I figured out worked best for us was to look at what was required for the complete lesson and then break it into days for my son.  For ease, because there are 12 chapters, we covered a lesson every 3 weeks, which would ultimately cover 36 weeks for the school year.  In reality, some books may take us a bit longer while some of the poetry lessons may not take as long, but for now it works for us.  For us, this allowed one week for reading the book and answering the questions after each chapter, one week for reading the literary lesson and mini-lesson and completing the workbook pages and then one week for the writing assignment.  Of course, remember that one of the glories of homeschooling is that each person can find what works for their children and then forge ahead!

And that brings us to this- this program is a winner. And it is also our new literature choice.  For the record, I am backing up and covering Lightning Literature 7th grade first because, well, I am like that.  I like to do things in order!  We have also reviewed the high school level  British Medieval program in the past.  You can find reviews from fellow Crew members for both of these and more through the Schoolhouse Crew Review link below.

Lightning Literature and Composition- Grade 8 Student's Guide -$25.00
Lightning Literature and Composition- Grade 8 Student's Workbook -$25.00
Lightning Literature and Composition- Grade 8 Teacher's Guide -$20.00

*Books can also be bought in packs with or without the Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children, which is also used in 7th grade.

If you would like to follow Lightning Literature more closely you can find them-
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 Hewitt Blog

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  1. Hi, from Catalonia. I was reading through your list of books for 8th grade and there is one there which, as a christian, I would not recommend. It's a book that I had to read and study for my final English literature exams in England and, as a consequence, I know the whole tale too well, My family and Other Animals is a true life story of Gerald Durrell's childhood on the island of Corfu. In itself, the story is very interesting but It is full of unnecessary expletives and blasphemy, This is something that might never appear in an official book review, so I thought I would just let you know.
    Have a nice day, S

  2. We also really loved this curriculum and I already ordered it for 2 of my other children for this year! I wouldn't have known about this if I hadn't been a part of TOS!!

  3. Oh my, I am so very thankful you pointed that out. It was one of the "new to me" books and because we have only just begun, I have not even looked at it. Thank you for the heads up- I will go take a look.


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