My thirteen-year-old son loves to read. He goes to bed every night reading, takes books in the car to read, and often spends his free time reading. However, he has never enjoyed literature courses, until we had this opportunity to review Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set by Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. This included the teacher’s manual, student guide, and workbook.
One of the first things that I noticed was that instead of stopping every couple of chapters to analyze and review the book, Lightning Lit had him read the entire book before he began completing worksheets related to the book. For a student like my son, who reads really well and enjoys long stretches of reading this was a huge benefit. There were comprehension questions for each chapter but the teacher’s manual explained that they could be asked at the end of the week for all of the chapters that had been read that week. If that proved to be too long of a stretch for your child you could ask them more frequently, or if they were doing well you could wait and ask them at the end of the book.
The first part of this eighth grade series featured a short story. We spent the first two weeks of the program doing the introduction and the short story. The short story was a little ‘cerebral’ and he needed a little help understanding it but thought it was quite funny once we had discussed it. Once he had read the short story there were a variety of worksheets and writing prompts that could be completed to accompany the story. Those included activities to work on fact and opinion, capitalization and apostrophes, and author’s purpose. There was also a crossword puzzle in there to keep things interesting.
Then in week three we got into the first novel of the program, Treasure Island. This adventure-filled book was an excellent choice for my son and he enjoyed reading it. He is now working on a variety of activities to go along with Treasure Island.
Once we finish Treasure Island, we will be taking a summer break before having him pick back up and finish it in the fall. The program rotates between short stories or poems and novels. This means that after Treasure Island he will work through a short grouping of poems before moving onto the next novel. We are really looking forward to A Christmas Carol at the end of the first semester as well as The Hobbit during the second semester.
The teacher’s manual gives a schedule broken down into two eighteen week semesters but you could easily adapt this to various schedules to suit your needs. It also includes mini-lessons to help you work on various skills and the answer keys to the discussion questions and workbook pages.
If you complete this course in its entirety, it would work well to cover literature and composition. There is also grammar review included though if your student is weak in that area you may want to supplement with a grammar curriculum. We worked through the first two chapters using it in its entirety and found it to be a solid but interesting program. Since we also have a writing program that we enjoy, we will probably finish it with a focus on the literature part and skip over some of the composition components. I really appreciated that this curriculum is easy for me to adapt in that manner.
If you are looking for a literature and composition course for your middle school student, I encourage you to check out the Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set and other resources by Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. They also have programs for elementary and high school so make sure you check out the reviews from the other Review Crew members at the link below.
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