Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hewitt Homeschooling


For those of us who like a well drawn out curriculum plan with schedules, Lightning Literature is a great choice.  I love the no nonsense way this curriculum is laid out and structured.  Hewitt Homeschooling Resources has taken the guess work out of executing a college prep literature and composition program. 

The complete curriculum includes a student’s guide, teacher’s guide, and the novels that are assigned for study.  The novels are classics so you may already own them or can use the library to save money. 

There are several guides available but we reviewed the American Literature: Early-Mid 19th Century guide. 

This guide focuses on different literary devices to include the Autobiography using the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Rhyme and Meter in Poetry using the poetry of Washington Irving, William C. Bryant, Edgar A. Poe, and Henry W. Longfellow; Persuasive Writing based on Life of Frederick Douglass; and Character Development in Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  I like this approach to literary analysis focused on classics that every high school student should have exposure to.  Subsequent guides focus on different aspects of literature.  The course can be taught in one semester.  However, we are expanding the study to a one year study.  Schedules are provided in the Appendix of the guide so your student will know exactly what to do each week to complete the study within a semester or academic year.  I’m grateful to Hewitt for providing this option.  My student looks at her guide and knows exactly how many chapters to read for the day and what worksheets to complete.  I try to read along with her so that we can discuss the books but I’m usually behind. 

My thoughts:

The guide is broken into 4 units with 2 lessons in each unit.  Each lesson focuses on one author’s work complete with comprehension questions and plenty of writing exercises to choose from for each unit.  I am using this curriculum with a 10th grader so I expect weekly writing assignments.  Based on the 36 week yearly schedule my high school student will be writing three papers every 9 weeks.  However, comprehension questions are scheduled weekly.  My one and only criticism of this curriculum is the spacing of the writing assignments.  Ideally for a 10th grader I would like to see papers written weekly or at the very least bi-weekly.  There are some units where writing isn’t scheduled for 6 weeks.  During this time the student is focused on reading and answering comprehension questions.  This is where I may have to do some tweaking to see if I can spread out the writing assignments to suit my taste.     

I can see my family using many of Hewitt’s guides after we complete this guide.  We’ve already used the 7th grade Junior High guide and my 5th and 7th grade kids loved it.  As homeschoolers we tend to focus on the study of classic literature but poetry is tricky to work in the rotation.  I am thankful that Hewitt weaves this into their guides for a well rounded study of literature for a year.  I highly recommend it to families needing a structured, scheduled plan for the study of literature and composition.

The Lightning Literature and Composition Pack which includes the Student's Guide, Teacher's Guide, and the four books the student is to read sells for $46.56.
Separately, the Student Guide is sold for $29.95 and the Teacher’s Guide is $2.95.

I find the Teacher’s Guide is very helpful with rubrics for grading the student’s work.  

To see what other Schoolhouse Crew Members thought about various Hewitt Homeschooling products, check here 


Disclaimer:  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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