My family has been a fan of Hewitt Homeschooling Resources and the Lightning Literature program for seven years. I describe it as the best writing and composition curriculum that no one knows about. The reason I say that is because until I became a member of the Homeschool Review Crew, I had never heard of Hewitt Homeschooling. Even to this day, there are so many homeschool families I talk with who are surprised to learn about the Lightning Literature curriculum and how well it answers all of their literature and composition needs. When I see other people recommend the course, it is like finding a kindred spirit.
My introduction to the program was with the Gr 7 Lightning Lit Set, which I absolutely love. My older two have since moved through the Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set and are now using some of the books in the Senior High School series.
At the time, Hewitt only offered the Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set and the Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set for elementary school students. I was disappointed, because that meant my youngest child would not be able to use the curriculum with a gap between second and seventh grades. I soon learned that the Grade 3 Lightning Lit Set was on the horizon and that the Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set would eventually follow.
I have waited
patiently for the release of the Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set and am so happy to see it is here. It has been truly worth the wait and I am so glad Canyon and I had the opportunity to review the set.
About the Lightning Literature and Composition Pack Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set
The Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set includes the Lightning Lit: Gr-4 Student Workbook and Lightning Lit: Gr-4 Teacher’s Guide. There are 12 literature books required to complete the study and you have the option of purchasing those books as an addition from Hewitt. The literature books include the following: The Earth Dragon Awakes, Morning Girl, The One and Only Ivan, Gone Fishing, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, The Family Under the Bridge, Nim’s Island, The Dreamer, Love That Dog, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Tuck Everlasting and The Borrowers
That is a wonderful selection of books. All of the literature grade sets include great books and variety of themes.
How We Used the Lightning Literature Grade 4
For this review, we received physical copies of everything except the 12 literature books. That is fine, because we already have many on our home library book shelves. The titles are also ones you may easily find at your local library or may want to purchase to add to your personal home library.
There is an introduction for parents/teachers on how to use the program. By the time you finish reading that section, you should have confidence in teaching the material. Everything is detailed and gives you a plan and a schedule as to how to present the curriculum to your child.
I have always found the Lightning Literature program to be a bit advanced. Although the course is for fourth grade students, if you have a fifth grade child, they would still be challenged using this program. One of the changes I noticed from grade level 3 to grade level 4 is the addition of the Student Checklist. Here, the student is able to see everything they will complete over the week of study. The checklist gave Canyon a clear picture of what was expected from him for the week. Although we worked together through the lessons, he was able to be a bit independent in ensuring everything got done.
The set covers literature, reading comprehension, poetry, grammar and mechanics, and composition. Daily lessons, four days a week, include reading the literature books (or we did as read-a-louds – you choose), grammar and mechanics and composition. On the fifth day, students are given a “free” day to complete assignments that are pending, explore extended learning suggestions or just take the day off. Canyon had a few weeks where he got his work done through the fourth day and was able to take the fifth day off. The Student Checklist helped him a lot in plotting his week. As we continue through the program, I can see the fifth day will eventually become a work day. We will finish up the week assignments and pursue some of the extended learning lessons that reflect the book we read. There are some fun and educational ones with poem memorization, taking apart and studying an electronic device, studying the culture and traditions of Paris, volunteering at a homeless shelter and more.
Each worktext page is noted for the week and day it is to be completed. Each week, I went through the Student Workbook and pulled (perforated sheets – love it!) the worktext pages Canyon needed for the week. I also love that the pages are already hole-punched, so we were able to easily store his completed pages in his work binder.
The worktext pages enhance the weekly learning goals. They are colorful and full of intentional work (not busy work). I love sentence diagramming and that the course does not forget about poetry.
The Teacher’s Guide includes the answers for every worktext page assigned to the student.
Along with all of the answers, there is an explanation (for the teacher) for each day of the 36 week program. Basically, it is step-by-step instruction. I love that, but want to also add that Kamath reminds parents/teachers to tailor the course to the needs of their family.
Kamath presents, in Lightning Literature Grade 4, a literature and composition program for students who love to write as well as for those who would rather be washing dishes. Her choice of literature books are fun and engaging and will interest fourth (and fifth) grade children. Although they are not Classics, they are stories that can plant a seed for the love of reading. The activities are specific, thorough, but brief. The composition assignments are fun and not methodical, even though they are reinforcing writing skills. If your child hates to write, they may just start to love it. If you have a child who loves to write, Kamath will make that child happy too.
It is important to purchase both the Lightning Lit: Gr-4 Student Workbook and Lightning Lit: Gr-4 Teacher’s Guide. The books work together. If you will have more than one student using the program, you will need to purchase a consumable Student Workbook for each additional child.
I just have one comment for improvement . . .
I wish Hewitt would use a sturdier paper stock for its book covers. I have had several book covers that warp or lose shape. Of course, that does not affect the content of the course, it is just something I have noticed having used other levels of the series.
I really love (yes, love) the Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set, actually, the whole series. I know there are many other people who know about Hewitt Lightning Literature, but for those who do not, I tell everyone I know. Your child will receive an excellent literature and composition education using any one of the books in the series.
Just a note for those who may have children in fifth and sixth grades, LL-5 and LL-6 are coming. I cannot wait! Until that time, check out all of the other educational products and options from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set is currently available for $84.90, but on sale for $76.41.
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