We have had great experiences with Lightning Lit from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources previously. When the opportunity arose to review Lightning Literature & Composition: British Mid-Late 19th Century, I jumped at the chance.
Lightning Literature & Composition: British Mid-Late 19th Century Student's Guide
This is a thick book (approximately 244 pages). It contains all the necessary material needed for your student to study a variety of works hailing from British Mid—Late 19th Century.
Lightning Literature & Composition: British Mid-Late 19th Century Teacher’s Guide
This a stapled book that provides the teacher with a recommended schedule, grading suggests and a copy of all the writing exercises, etc.
The books needed are sold separately (some works are included in the Student Guide). The intended grades indicated on the website for the product is 9-12, but we were given an even narrower guideline of 10-12. It is also recommended that the student have completed a previous level of High School Lightning Lit…though that recommendation is not written in stone. I think if your student is a strong writer, he or she should have no difficulty.
Here is the order of the literature covered (I copied it straight from the website)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (selected poems; text in this Guide)
George Eliot (novel: Silas Marner)
Charles Dickens (novel: Great Expectations)
Lewis Carroll: (selected poems; text in this Guide)
Robert Louis Stevenson (travelogue/essay, text in this Guide:"The Silverado Squatters")
Oscar Wilde (play: The Importance of Being Earnest)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (short story, text in this Guide: "The Adventure of the Speckled Band")
Rudyard Kipling (novel: Stalky & Co.)
We obviously didn’t have time to cover the whole curriculum. However, I did already have the required books. This is what comes with shopping those thrift stores for your library!
How We Used It and What I Thought
To be honest, I chose this to review this product simply because of the writers and works covered. I wuv them. I also took a class in college that was very similar to the scope and sequence of this one.
That being said, when considering how I was going to approach our review time I paid close attention to the recommended schedules. You can use this course in a variety of ways. I needed to get through as much material as possible, but if I had to do it again I would definitely go at a slower pace.
This is one of those products that your student can use independently…depending on his writing prowess.
The Student Guide contains all the information (with the exception of the novels) that is needed for the student to complete the course. Each lesson will contain a general reading. This might include the type of literature or a variety of literary terms. There will be a short biography of the author and some background information.
For example, Unit 2: Lesson 3 - Charles Dickens, gives us some basic information about Mr. Dickens and then proceeds to talk about his literary journey (most of his work was published in serial form). You might remember that Mr. Dickens and his family spent some time in debtor’s prison when he was young. His experiences often show up in his novels. Victorian England could even be one of the major characters in Dicken’s novels.
After the background information, the student is given the comprehension questions to fill out for each chapter. The Literature Lesson covers conflict. There are several pages of reading on the variety of conflict in literature. The final section assigns a variety of Writing Exercises.
We decided to pick one or two to focus on. Josiah chose to the assignment that asked him to write about four summaries of conflicts he has experienced in the past.
All the lessons follow a similar pattern.
Appendix A contains Discussion Questions and Project Suggestions. The Discussion Questions were fairly meaty and could certainly be used for advanced writing projects and papers.
The Project Suggestions has ideas for across the curricula. Some are more involved, such as creating a Graphic Novel for one of the works. Others are more research-based, like researching the diseases that popped up in the crowded cities of the Industrial Revolution. In any event, there is a little something for every interest. We even listened to some popular music of the time. (Gilbert and Sullivan, anyone?)
Appendix B provides a list of additional recommended reading and Appendix C contains a couple of different recommended schedules. They are fairly easy to follow.
One of the great difficulties that homeschool parents often come across is how to grade a child’s writing assignment. Some of us feel like we are just shooting in the dark.
The Teacher’s Guide provides a good portion of help in that department. I try to make sure before assigning anything that I let Josiah know exactly what I am looking for. I was helped even further by the advice and recommendations in the Guide.
I will say that the end of the traditional school year was not the best time to review a heavy duty lit and composition curriculum. I had a hard time motivating Josiah to pay attention. He is not a strong writer and is dyslexic. This would not be a product I could give him to use on his own.
That being said, it is very well constructed and I love the variety of literature used. I think I enjoyed it more than he did! He had a harder time plowing through. If you have a student like my Josiah, you might consider an easier level. I don’t care for literature curriculums that analyze the work to death. I felt that Lightning Lit does a good job of helping the student think and applying their thoughts to the written word. I would also recommend to pepper your student’s assignments with some of the project assignments (located in the appendix) as you go along.
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