I hear all the time from homeschooling moms who fear teaching high school courses to their children. I do my best to reassure them there are plenty of options out there, including resources like American Early-Mid 19th Century Lightening Lit & Comp from Hewitt Homeschooling. I received a copy of the Student’s Guide and Teacher’s Guide (as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew) to use and review.
This high school course is a thorough study of famous American authors from the early to mid 19th century. It provides a student-led course for reading selections from the works of authors such as Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Frederick Douglas. Your child will read portions of their well-known works, research them, writing papers about them.
Our 10th grade daughter is working through this course, now. It definitely provides the necessary challenge of in-depth study a high school English course should have. Not only is she becoming familiar with some impressive authors from the past, she is getting exposure to quality writing and is gaining experience in putting the things she’s learning into practice.
It was easy to get started. While I spent a little time getting familiar with the Teacher’s Guide, Esther spent time getting familiar with the Student’s Book. The first section was an excellent introduction as to the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ to read literature, ‘why’ to learn to write and tips on how to do it well. There is also a section on how to use the lessons. She quickly absorbed all this and was ready to jump in to the course.
There are four Units, divided into a total of 8 Lessons. Each lesson is broken up into ‘Parts’ so the student can pace himself and schedule out the reading and writing assignments. Lightning Lit for Senior High provides a weekly schedule rather than a daily one. The goal is for the student to complete the course in 18 weeks, but it can be stretched to a full year. Older students should have no problem with the daily lessons over an 18 week period, while younger students (8th or 9th grade) might work better at a slower pace.
This is how we are using this Lightening Lit & Comp program:
After reading through the introduction for Lesson 1, Esther reads the required section of her assigned book (in this case, the first book is Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography.)
I have already plugged the assignment schedule into my homeschool planner for her, so each day she reads the recommended section. The Student’s Guide is clear about what pages to read for each part of a lesson.
Next my daughter writes out her writing assignment. This might include the Comprehension Questions or the writing of a rough draft for a paper she will complete following assignments in the Lesson.
Each week she choose a writing assignment from a list provided in the Student’s Guide that coordinates with the book she’s reading.
A review of the paper she has started along with any revisions necessary are made each week.
There are two main writing assignments about every three weeks. Esther is guided through the writing process as she reads and works the exercises, and as she refers to the helpful information provided in her Student’s Guide.
She keeps her writing assignments in a spiral notebook, but they could easily be written out on notebook paper and stored in a 3 ring binder, or typed and saved on the computer.
I am available daily to offer any help or guidance she may need, but mainly I take a look at her progress at the end of each week. A check-in at the beginning of the week and a grading session at the end of the week is becoming our pattern.
This works beautifully as a means of teaching a student to work independently. She has everything she needs in her Student’s Guide. I can easily coordinate lesson plans from my Teacher’s Guide with the pace she is working. It’s easy to pick up each day at the spot she left off the day before.
My favorite thing included in this curriculum are the Grading Templates included in the Teacher’s Guide. At the high school level, grades are necessary in order to create a transcript. Grading a student’s work in literature and composition can be challenging. In some ways, it is subjective. Everyone has their own style of writing which can make it difficult to get to the main purpose of the assignment. The Grading Template gives a checklist and suggestions for what to look for in each category. The categories include things like organization, sentences, paragraphs, grammar, mechanics, content and focus. This is very helpful in
My daughter is enjoying the challenge of these readings and writing assignments. She’s growing up and ready to dig deeper, think deeper, wrestling with her own feelings and beliefs as she reads through the thoughts and ideas of some of history’s great thinkers and writers.
Hewitt Homeschooling offers more than just American Early-Mid 19th Century. They have courses for every grade level, K through 12. Families from the Homeschool Review Crew are using many different programs from this company – you can read about their experiences by clicking on the image below: