Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Literature Lightning! (Homeschool Review Crew)

We (heart) books. One of my favorite parts about homeschooling is that we can weave our days around our favorite books. They become friends. Recently, we had the opportunity to review Gr 8 Lighting Literature Set from Hewitt Homeschooling.

 Lightning Literature and Composition Pack
Grade 8 with Stories and Poems

Hewitt Homeschooling has been around a while.  Their literature programs strive to help students deepen their love for literature and improve their writing skills.

I received:

Lightning Lit & Comp: Eighth Grade Literature & Composition Workbook
Lightning Lit & Comp: Eighth Grade Literature & Composition Student’s Guide
Lightning Lit & Comp: Eighth Grade Literature & Composition Teacher’s Guide

This set covers the following:

Selections from Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Day of Pleasure by Issac B. Singer
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

You can purchase the whole set on the website. I was supplied Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children for this review and have many of the books already at home. In fact, it was the selection of literature that really drew me into the program.

Let me tell you how it works.

I initially began by reading through the notes included in the Teacher’s Guide. This was so helpful. It explains the different components of each study. It also talks about the importance of reading. I particularly liked this one.

To revel in the beauty, elegance, and surprises that only great writers can regularly coax from language.

I love this! There is also a section on the importance of writing. It is an excellent article. I truly appreciate the attitude that while we certainly want our students to enjoy the writing process, not every assignment or process needs to be “ha-ha” fun. 

We need to learn to write to express ourselves and our thoughts more intelligently. On the other hand we don’t want the process to be painful. It can be enjoyable.

A practical Weekly Planning Schedule is included in the Teacher’s Guide for those of us who need a plan. The rest of the Teacher’s Guide are answers to the exercises and activities located in the Student materials.

The Student Guide contains the following with every Chapter.

·         an introduction to what is being read
·         while you read
·         a vocabulary list
·         comprehension questions
·         literary lesson
·         a variety of mini-lessons
·         writing exercises

The Student Workbook is a consumable workbook. There are a variety of activities with each lesson. For example, there are grammar exercises, crossword puzzles, story analysis, and more.  There will be different activities with each Chapter.

I have talked about this before. Josiah is dyslexic and we generally take turns reading any materials that aren’t reading instruction. As he has gotten older and his reading has improved I have been able to assign him reading selections daily.

That being said, the majority of reading for this product has been a read aloud or will be an audio book. We first started with Chapter One: “A Crazy Tale” by G.K. Chesterson from Stories & Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children. This chapter talks about the author’s purpose, writing with purpose and included grammatical exercises with capitalization and apostrophes.

The workbook contains exercise that allow Josiah to determine the purpose of an article. Is it to inform? Or Persaude, describe, or explore? He also had to edit a magazine article for capitalization and apostrophe errors. This was a GREAT exercise for Josiah to do. His emails and texts are always sans punctuation/capitalization. He feels like they are an optional part of written communication.

The Student Guide for this lesson talks about those topics mentioned above in length. There is a good mini-lesson on taking notes..which is one of the hints given in the Teacher’s Guide for helping kids while they read.

Many of the other Chapters center on whole novels…which I love! I am not a fan of picking out bits and pieces of books to teach. However, the authors of the curriculum do focus on a specific literary subject. For example, the Treasure Island chapter talks about the setting of a story. There are also vocabulary words and discussion questions for each chapter.

This is a great Literature program. I love the choice of literature used and I LOVE the idea of using these great works to teach writing. This is a program that Josiah and I have to work through together. However, I think that most students will be able to handle it independently with some parental involvement. Though I can’t imagine why.  I’ve enjoyed our literature classes and I look forward to using it on into the next school year. 

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