African & Asian Literature from Lightning Lit ~ Hewitt Homeschooling #Review
Hewitt Homeschooling. Does that name ring any bells? No? You probably know them better by the name of their most popular curricula, Lightning Literature. For many years, Lightning Literature has been a tried and true option for teaching high school literature to our homeschoolers. Did you know that they offer a full dozen high school courses, spanning American, British, Medieval, and World Literature, including Shakespeare?
We recently received both primary components of Lightning Literature and Composition World 1: Africa and Asia to review:
- Lightning Literature and Composition World 1: Africa & Asia Student’s Guide ($29.95)
- Lightning Literature and Composition World 1: Africa & Asia Teacher’s Guide ($2.95)
In addition, students using World 1 will also need access to the following titles, which may be purchased from Hewitt Homeschooling or obtained elsewhere:
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- This Same Sky edited by Naomi Shihab Nye
- An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Fountain and Tomb by Naguib Mahfouz
Tell Me About Lightning Literature World 1
Each of the high school Lightning Literature titles is intended to be used over a semester, though one course may be stretched out over a year if necessary. Both 18 and 36-week schedules are included, and it’s relatively easy to adjust the schedule forward and back if needed. It’s recommended that lessons be worked on at least three days per week, as we did.
World 1 has four units; each contain two lessons. The first lesson in the pair starts with information about the novel selection for the unit, including a author bio, a brief description of the work, a summary of the historical context the novel takes place during, an introduction to the major characters, and a list of questions to consider while you are reading. It’s followed by a section called “Perspectives”, intended to help the student understand the history of literature for the area represented.
Notes, often with lengthy definitions of terms, paired with comprehension questions come next. It’s recommended that students complete comprehension questions immediately after completing the reading. Each selection also includes a Literary Lesson, which covers one or more literary topics and shows how they work, and a Cultural Lesson, which helps students to understand the culture, beliefs, and worldview of the place they are reading about. Discussion questions and writing exercises include several additional options, lending flexibility to adjust the curricula to your needs.
The second lesson in each unit consists of poetry readings followed by additional Literary Lessons and writing assignments that reflect the chosen poetry.
The teacher’s guide includes easy-to-understand grading suggestions and rubrics, complete answers to all comprehension questions, and alternative writing exercises. I’ve found it fairly simple to use, and the grading help has made it much easier to feel confident that I can correct my own students writing papers.
What Do We Think Of Lightning Literature?
In the interest of transparency, I must admit this isn’t our first time using Hewitt’s Lightning Lit; Chris has completed both levels of the junior high curricula and Tyler worked through an American Lit title a couple years ago. This fall, we had every intention of Cheyenne starting the 7th grade materials and Chris moving into the high school courses.
After our experience with World Lit, that hasn’t changed. If anything, we’re even more convinced; Lightning Lit is a great fit for our homeschool. It’s scheduled, but in a flexible manner. It’s in-depth without being overkill or full of busywork. It’s structured so that the kids can stay on track with their daily work with little input from me, but also that I can easily pick up the teacher or student guide and understand what they’re doing in moments.
The kids appreciate the straightforward lessons, along with the fact that the primary tasks in this “Literature and Composition” course actually consist of, you got it, *reading* and *writing*. (Mine tend to be quick to point out when curricula is supposed to be about one thing – say literature – and yet they spend the majority of their time doing busywork in a slightly different area (say grammar and vocabulary).
Is Lightning Literature A Good Value?
For the course we used, the current edition of the student guide is an 8 1/2″ x 11″ perfect-bound book of approximately 265 black & white pages, while the teacher’s guide consists of a packet with about 100 pages punched for placement in a 3-ring binder. The cost for the instructional materials works out to just $32.90. If the necessary novels are borrowed from the library, that’s a pretty good price for quality literature curricula that is both reusable and resellable.
What Else Is Available From Hewitt Homeschooling?
Many other products, including more high school literature titles, from Hewitt Homeschooling were reviewed by the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Lightning Literature and Composition
- Grades 1, 7 and 8
- American Mid-Late 19th Century
- British Early-Mid 19th Century
- Shakespeare Comedies & Sonnets
- British Medieval
- American Christian
- World 1
Other items included:
- Joy of Discovery and Learning Objectives for Grades K-8
- Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook
- My First Report (various themes)