Friday, July 13, 2012

Hewitt Homeschooling- Lightning Literature and Composition TOS Crew Review 2012

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     Writing and reading are two subjects I have always been passionate about. I want my kids to feel the same way. They are on the right path after many years of struggles and are starting to catch the reading bug just like Mom, so now we need to expand that and travel down the writing road and add a little classic literature at the same time. This is why I was so pleased to be chosen as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew to review Hewitt Homeschooling's Lightning Literature and Composition curriculum. This is a full year program and I chose 8th grade so that I could use it with both Alyx and Taylor who are entering 8th and 9th grade this Fall. Hewitt Homeschooling is a well known name in the homeschool curriculum world. So this was extra exciting for us.

    For my review I received the teacher's guide, the student guide and the student workbook (this is the only consumable portion of the course). There are literature to be read that includes classic books and poems can all be found at your local library or for us we found them on the Kindle. My boys love any opportunity to read on the Kindle.  The curriculum uses these classic books and poems to teach writing skills and literature analysis.  Remembering that this is a full year course, once completed your children will have read 4 complete novels, 2 non-fiction books, 3 short stories and multiple poems. The course is laid out in a systematic way for you to accomplish this. I was pleased to see that the Teacher's guide was laid out similarly to our main curriculum. Laying out lesson plans week by week with little check boxes to show that you have finished your tasks before you. I love when curriculum is like this, it makes my life so much easier as my lessons are already planned for me. In a busy house like ours this is a huge asset in a course.
    After you have read through the selection presented before you, then you move onto the work that accompanies the reading. You will start with reading sections in the student guide, reading comprehension questions, writing assignments and worksheets, with added challenge activities. You spend the first part of the lesson reading through the entire selection be it the short stories or classic novel, or series of poems or non-fiction works. You will then focus on the vocabulary, which highlights some of the more difficult words and then you move onto the reading comprehension questions. This is an area that my boys struggle with because of their learning disabilities. So I love every opportunity to improve in this area for them.
  Once you have completed the comprehension questions there are two teaching areas in the student guide and a literary lesson and mini lesson as well.

       The curriculum bridges the reading to the lessons seamlessly. The author thought of everything. My kids did struggle a bit but I think most of that is due to them being behind in this area because of their disabilities, not at the fault of the curriculum itself. I think this is a challenging course and rightfully so, but most beneficial for students at the middle school and high school levels. This is a foundation that needs to be mastered to be successful in college and later on in adult life. If you are looking for a comprehensive literature and composition course that will take you through the whole school year and not just a filler curriculum, then you have found it with Hewitt Homeschooling and their Lightning Literature and Composition course.

       We chose to start at the beginning and work in order, this worked for us even in the short review period since in the Summer we are working on a much lighter load and have more time to devote to reading and focusing on one subject. I can see where in the traditional course of our school year starting in the Fall this same section that we worked on would take us quite a bit longer. This in my opinion is not meant to be rushed and if you follow the teacher's guide you will complete it in a nice steady pace. We completed two of the complete lessons, starting with  “A Crazy Tale,” by G. K. Chesterton from Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children and then continuing on with Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson.  My boys are really enjoying this course and are excited for the books and stories to come. There is a very impressive list of titles in this course and although we have already ready some, I think it will be helpful to them to read them again and in that instance we may be able to go through those particular lessons a little more quickly as we will already be familiar with the reading. The boys now want to explore more classic titles than what we will need to read as part of this course. Treasure Island really sparked their interest in classical literature. Up until now they thought classical meant old and boring. Their opinion has changed immensely since starting this curriculum. With the help of the course they are gaining an understanding and appreciation of literature. This is so exciting to me, I want them to love all types of media just like I do. This includes classical literature. We are taking a break from this course for the rest of the Summer to focus on some other curriculum we are reviewing right now but the boys are eagerly looking forward to resuming this course in the Fall and making it part of our standard curriculum sequence

    You can purchase the books I have mentioned above individually, which is helpful if you have more than one student so you can provide them with their own student workbooks since they are consumable, or you can purchase them as a complete package along with the Literary books you will need to complete the course as well. The complete package sells for $125.95, while the Student Guide and Student Workbooks sell for $25 each and the Teacher's Guide sells for $20.00
     There are several courses to choose from, we used the 8th grade, there is also 7th grade and high school levels and younger programs for elementary grades are in the works and coming soon. You can visit all of the crewmates blogs to see which level they reviewed and how their family used the course in their homeschool. We all were able to choose which level would fit best for us so there is a sea of options to read and get a feel for.

As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my
honest review. All opinions are mine.

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