Working with the TOS Review Crew this year has been a neat experience thus so far, especially when I get to learn about companies that I had never heard of before such as Hewitt Homeschooling ~ (http://www.HewittHomeschooling.com/) and I’m delighted now to have discovered them! I was blessed with the opportunity to review the Grade 1 materials. We had many of the book selections in our home library and I’ve since been adding new ones to our purchase lists to buy as we are able and I’m finding some great read aloud choices here. The products I received are physical paperback books for both:
Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Student Workbook
Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Teacher’s Guide
Both books are a hefty paperback with a vibrant purple cover. The interior pages of the Teacher’s Guide are black and white, and the interior pages of the consumable student workbook are full cover with various clip art added on theme throughout the book. The Grade 1 material is recommended for students in average grades 1-2, and my five year old (as of today! birthday girl!!) daughter that is starting first grade material this fall did very well with the lessons we completed. So far all of the book choices have been a hit and we’ve enjoyed every minute brought to us by our experience with LL&C. At this point I believe that Hewitt Homeschooling has a Lightning Literature & Composition program for Grades 7&8, as well as 1, with 2 releasing this year and a Grade 3 program in the works as well as advanced topical levels.
This past year has been intriguing as we are still in the beginning stages of our homeschool journey and trying to decide a direction to go. I’m quite the book-nerd so a literature program that is good book heavy is very important. I want my children to love reading and anything book related so a fun program that they are excited about is also just as important. I’ve had my eye on several programs, but I had not yet heard of Lightning Literature & Composition, nor the company that provides it in Hewitt Homeschooling and now that I have I feel like a kid at Christmas time. I’ve already snatched a sample of Grade 2, and cannot wait to hear more about the beta stage of Grade 3 in the Lightning Literature & Composition program.
The Teacher’s Guide is a good 300 pages with a handful of reproducible masters for handwriting blanks in the back. While our original plan was to use the program three days a week, the lesson plans are written to a Monday-Friday plan. Some weeks we did exactly as prescribed and others we did a day or two in one day, and even others we skipped a days activities. With this program I have completely been able to adapt to my daughters thrills and enjoyment all while watching her learn and crave more literature and composition! At this point while she is still working on her phonics, I’m reading most of the stories (stopping from time to time to let her read me words I know she knows or has the skill to decode) and it works very well as a read aloud time for us. (Little sister loves to listen in as well!) All of the book choices seem to be vintage classics, many of which hold award winning medals or honor positions. Books from my childhood, and generations before are dissected in a friendly way to truly get the wheels turning in a fun educational manner.
Read the book, reread the book, and possibly reread again while adding on activities. The lesson plans are set for 36 weeks (so essentially a whole school year) and each week has a Week at a Glance page that breaks down the main events for the week from Book Title, to the Aesop poem featured, additional optional materials (other books/activity etc), and a general idea of the grammar and mechanics assignment as well as the composition. The grammar and mechanics portion is possibly my favorite bit of this program. The composition appears to be good, but at this point is a little beyond the capabilities of my child. It may be because she is on the young end for this curriculum or perhaps we’re just not there yet as this is our first introduction, but I definitely like all the directions we are taking this program for the pages we physically complete as well as the pages we complete orally. Making it work for us is very easy to accomplish and truly delightful to do so.
In the Teacher’s Guide there is a place to write down student replies, but we rather just fly through it and you would have to get interesting with that technique if you wanted to reuse the TG with a future student. While I wouldn’t really call this TG a hand-holding, scripted manual, it does give lots of discussion for the teacher to get a great idea of how to use this program (plenty of ideas to make it work for you and thus be a program to be used and not used by). I love the integration and review of the alphabet with every week as well as the literature choices that are unique to this program and new to me.
The Student Workbook is 450 or so full-color pages filled with vibrant colors on magazine slick thick paper (great for erasing) and is printed in a landscape format with primary lines throughout. It is a bound paperback, but is also hole-punched and may go in a notebook. The pages are perforated in case you wanted to give them to your child one at a time. This is a consumable book, and my only qualm is how very expensive I find it to be. But then yet, it is full color. Pretty much all the activities in the workbook are perfect for the level that my daughter is at, and I can see her learning and taking these skills into reading other books together. The student workbook includes: Reading Journal Pages, Dictionary Pages, and Alphabet and Sentence Puzzle Pages. The only bizarre bit is that some of the clip art is a bit, well, bizarre – yet that’s just my personal opinion. The quality of the activities is really good and I enjoy spending time with my daughter as she completes them. In a future year or two, I can easily see how this could be completely independent work followed by a discussion for completion.
Hewitt Homeschooling has a treasure in their Lightning Literature & Composition program and I hope they continue it through all the grade levels. *I apologize for the lack of personal pictures* we’ve been a bit busy with the birth of my 2.5 week old son in mid-July. Yet even with my couch-riddle self, we’ve been able to successfully continue lessons (if not as many) in our LL&C. Featuring a different book every week and our Milo illustrated Aesop’s Fables we’ve been on quite the journey. On the individual product pages for the workbook, you can find a PDF chapter sample to download and preview as well as a full list of the literature selections chosen.
The workbook comes in at just under $50 for a year’s worth of material and is consumable, not reproducible. The teacher’s guide is a more affordable $30. While I do find this to be expensive, I do see the reasons why in the full-color and quality of the books printed. The material is great and I do think worth the investment. I’m already writing it on my list to plan to purchase a second Grade 1 workbook for my second child when she gets closer to time and planning to go for Grade 2 when we’re ready!
Visit Hewitt Homeschooling on Social Media: