I would categorize our homeschooling ‘style’ as eclectic and using well-written, classic literature as the basis for our high school students’ English courses. Lightning Lit for Sr. High from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources has been an excellent fit for us and so I knew I was review their American Mid-Late 19th Century.
The readings used in this course are taken from:
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Poems from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
- Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar
- Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
- Poems from Emily Dickinson
- Call of the Wild by Jack London
Intended to be a semester-long course (18 weeks) it can easily be adapted to a year-long schedule, stretched out over 36 weeks. The Teacher’s Guide gives the parent/instructor helpful information for scheduling, grading, as well as answers to the comprehension questions. This all makes my task of overseeing my student very easy. What is even better is that Lightning Lit is designed to be used independently by the student.
After a short discussion about what is coming up in the week’s assignments, my son can take it on himself. He is able to pick up the reading assignments, answer comprehension questions and work the writing assignments on his own. Anything that might pose a challenge or need more clarification, he comes to me and talk through it together. There are several writing options to choose from, so an important thing for us to discuss each week has been which writing assignments will be best. Some weeks we opt for something challenging, some weeks I let him choose his favorites.
Over the past month, my 9th grade son has worked through first unit, reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. After an introduction to the author, he was given reading assignments. This was followed up with a section of comprehension questions, making him take time to process what he read. Next he worked through a Literary Lesson all about ‘Theme’ – learning how characters, plot, setting, etc all affect the theme of your writing. And finally, there are the writing assignments. With several to choose from, he gets plenty of opportunity to practice and improve his writing skills. It’s all based on a piece of quality literature, so he’s working with some awesome building blocks.
Next comes a look at the writings of Mark Twain. Being from Missouri, my son is ready to dive into Huckleberry Finn and compare his own boyhood experiences with what the author shares in his writings. That’s where the writing assignments get to be fun.
The unit on Mark Twain takes a close look at humor, but also at the difficult subject of racism and equality that was first introduced when reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. These topics and themes are presented in a well-balanced, intelligent manner, allowing the student to take time to think about their own thoughts and beliefs, and giving them opportunity to put it all into words and on paper.
I am happy to have used Hewitt Homeschool Resources with my high school students these last couple years. It’s helped our students gain a solid, well-balanced foundation in the high school English courses. American Literature: Mid-Late 9th Century is an excellent curriculum choice that combines literature, reading, and writing into a course high school students.
Hewitt Homeschooling Resources offers curriculum choices for all grades and my fellow homeschool crew mates are reviewing several different sets and programs. Click on the image below to learn about them all and see how other families are using these terrific products.