Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lightning Lit & Comp - A Completely Honest and NORMAL Review

I've had it! Once again I've been pointed out for writing unusual and creative reviews. It reminds me of my last name. Growing up people would always call attention to it because it is so unusual. Now, it's the same with reviews. People think that they are creative. Can't people see that I just want to be normal?!? Enough is enough! I am going to take a break from creativity and just write a completely regular, normal review.

I'm going to start right now with this wonderful literature and comprehension curriculum recommended for students in 9-12 grade from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources called Lightning Lit & Comp written by Elizabeth Kamath. We were blessed to be able to review the American Literature: Early-Mid 19th Century Student and Teacher's Guides. No, this book was not written in the 19th century! The 19th century refers to when the authors lived and the books used in this course were written.

Okay, to keep with the completely normal theme I am going to do a "what I like and what I dislike" type review. That seems normal enough doesn't it? Here goes.

  • The wonderful books that they use. I've mentioned before in my reviews that we love good literature around our home. Literature that doesn't just tell a story, but that is alive, well written and teaches as well as tells a story. In homeschooling circles those book are called "Living Books" and Lightning Lit & Comp uses good Living Books. The four core novels that are used are The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Slave Written By Himself; The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne) ; and Moby-Dick (Herman Melville). But, good novels is not all that is in this study. You'll also find poetry from William Cullen Bryant and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; a short story by Edgar Allan Poe; and an essay written by Washington Irving.
  • The very easy set-up. There are four units in this book and each unit is divided into two lessons to make a total of eight lessons. Each lesson features a different author and a different style of writing. The student begins by reading and answering comprehension questions on the required book, story or poetry. Then the type of literature is studied. For example, after reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, your child would study how to write an autobiography. Then, you complete one or two writing assignments of your choosing from a list of 6-8 suggestions. There are other tidbits sprinkled in, but those are the major things that you do with each lesson. It's all very well done and easy to follow.
  • The Introduction. The Introduction has so many valuable things in it that you won't want your student to miss it. It not only explains the different sections and what is expected of the student, but it tells them how to read good literature and poetry and how to be a good writer. A good teacher could almost spend a whole semester on just the wonderful tips and information that is in the introduction.
  • The Flexible Schedule. Do you have a student that just soaks up literature and writing? No problem, you can work as quickly as you want through this program. You can even complete the whole book in one semester. However, if you have a student that might not necessarily flourish in this area you can take it a little easier and cover the material in a whole year. Both the student guide and the teacher's guide gives detailed semester and year long schedules. Which, by the way, brings me to my next "like".
  • The Teacher's Guide. If you are like me, you really enjoy prompting your children to write and then reading their excellent work. Grading, however, can really be a problem. Something might look like it is well written, but how do you really know? Well, the teacher's guide has detailed checklists for grading the different writing projects. In fact it gives suggestions on how to grade the student on the whole course! It also contains the answer to the discussion questions and other neat information on how to teach and grade this course.
John Allen really enjoyed working through the section that we used to review this curriculum and I really appreciated the ease of using it. There is a good possibility that we will continue using it this fall. I know I'll at least continue to use many of the grading suggestions that were given.


Well, that seemed normal enough. Now, in order to continue to be as normal as I can in this review, I must include the "dislike" section. Here goes.

  • Well, let me see now...dislikes...
  • Hmm...I really didn't like the way that was an asset.
  • I know! The illustration of the lightning on the front of the book is that I look at it again it's really quite stunning...
Oh bother! I really can't find any dislikes to Lightning Lit & Comp! And if I don't find any dislikes I can't be normal! And I really don't want to be different any more. I don't want to be special. I want to be normal. *sob* *sob* *sob*

Even the price for the Lightning Lit & Comp - American Literature: Early-Mid 19th Century Student and Teacher's Guide aren't normal. If you want to purchase the whole curriculum - four recommended novels, student guide and teacher's guide - the cost is just $46.56. The Student Guide, which contains the poems, short stories and essays (everything but the novels and Teacher's Guide) is just $29.95, and the three-hole-punched, ready to be put in a notebook, Teacher's Guide is only $2.95. You can purchase any of these items by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above.

You see! There is absolutely nothing normal about Lightning Lit & Comp or this review. I'm just doomed to be abnormal. I must just accept the fact that I am special. *more sobbing* Wait a minute! *see hopeful glint in Tim's eyes* I've forgotten that I have to include a link to the Schoolhouse Review Crews web page where there are links to all of the other Review Crew member's reviews for this great product. Many of them reviewed other items from Hewitt Homeschool and Lightning Literature and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. I normally include that link! It is a normal thing to do. I am normal after all! I also normally include the disclaimer below. It's normal for all of the Review Crew to do. I also normally end by saying "Happy Homeschooling".

Happy Homeschooling!

So, I guess this is a normal review. Just a plain old, normal, every day review. How wonderful! *see Tim breath a sigh of relief and wipe away his tears*

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was sent a free copy of the Student guide and Teacher's guide for Lightning Lit & Comp: Early-Mid 19th Century in order to try out and to write and honest (and normal) review on this blog.


  1. Don't worry, Tim! We didn't find anything we disliked either! But then again, I've never claimed to be completely normal... ;-)

  2. Tim, I love reading your reviews! It's fun having a not-normal CREW mate! ;)