Friday, June 14, 2019

Lightning Lit & Comp REVIEW

I had not heard of Hewitt Homeschooling Resources prior to reviewing American Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 9-12.  I received a softcover copy of the 170-page Student's Guide and a hole-punched paper copy of the 55-page Teacher's Guide.  I simply placed the Teacher's Guide into a pronged folder to keep it neat and tidy.  The subtitle to the student guide is "Acquiring College-Level Composition Skills by Responding to Great Literature."  I was excited to get this one started with my 9th going into 10th grader.

Product received

Teacher's Guide placed into a pronged folder for safe keeping

There are additional books required for this curriculum that are included in the curriculum package you purchase online.  You will NOT need to purchase them separately if you purchase the package deal. They were not included for me for the purpose of this review.  I will be required to purchase unabridged copies of UncleTom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, and The Call of the Wild by Jack London.  I actually downloaded a free digital copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin onto my Kindle.  The Teacher's Guide has the answers to the Comprehension Questions from the Student's Guide.  The Teacher's Guide also includes schedules, writing exercises, discussion questions, and project suggestions from the Student's Guide.  There is also plenty of information and suggestions on how to grade the student's papers.  In addition to the information, there are checklists to help you grade the papers for:
  • Nonfiction Papers
  • Fiction Papers
  • Poems
I really like that they make a point to mention that it is important to not discourage your student(s) as they grow in their writing and literature skills.  They share how you might correct with constructive criticism, but being careful to not overdo it.

Also included in the Teacher's Guide are Grading Templates.  I really liked this feature!  Of course, they are optional to use, but I know I will find them helpful when it's time to grade.  There are templates for the papers, for the comprehension questions (including how to figure out averages), for vocabulary (if you choose to assign this, it is recommended), and finally for how to figure your quarterly and final grades.

Sample Grading Template for Comprehension Questions

The Table of Contents breaks 8 lessons into 4 units.  There are more literature and authors covered than just the 4 required books.  The additional content is included in the Student Guide and does not need to be purchased.


I really appreciate that they include schedules for both a semester and a year.  For us, it is necessary to use the year-long schedule because language arts is a little challenging for my high schooler.  The guide mentions that the Hewitt English program uses the semester schedule for their Honors English program and the yearly schedule supplemented with other grammar or language arts programs for their Basic English program.  The yearly schedule is recommended for any students that struggle in Language Arts.  Be aware that the extras from the Teacher's Guide are not included in either the semester or yearly schedules.  Extras such as the Discussion Questions and  Project Suggestions (including art, history/geography, religion/bible, and science, health, and nature). You will need to work in any extras that you want to cover as you see fit.

The Student's Guide is wonderfully comprehensive.  It has a wonderful introduction that covers:
  • Why This Course?
  • Why Read Literature?
  • How to Read Literature
  • How to Read Poetry (including figurative language and sounds)
  • Why Learn to Write? (including Paper Writing 101)
    • Covers brainstorming, research, outlines, and paragraphs to name a few
There are also sections in the Student's Guide covering "The Fluidity of Language and Pronoun Confusion," and a detailed section on "How to Use This Student's Guide."  I like that there is a section recommending that the student keep a vocabulary notebook and a reading journal.  We have already encountered a lot of "new" or "odd" words in our reading thus far.

Units typically consist of an Introduction, a discussion on The Selection, some questions to consider While You Read, the Comprehension Questions, a Literary Lesson, and finally Writing Exercises.

Comprehension questions

Literary Lesson

Writing Exercises

I think this Lightning Lit & Comp homeschool curriculum is a very good fit for us and I really like the yearly schedule.  I definitely give American Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 9-12 a thumbs up and look forward to completing it over the next year.  We are of course still reading and covering comprehension questions at this point. We read every day and cover the comprehension questions as we go along. The book has been a little bit of a challenge for my 9th grader due to the language and syntax (he is a struggling learner), but I think he is really enjoying it.  He doesn't enjoy some of the language due to the nature of the subject in Uncle Tom's Cabin, but it is a good classical read for him to be familiar with.

You can connect with Hewitt Homeschooling Resources on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, YOUTUBE, and INSTAGRAM.  Please be sure to check out the other reviews on this curriculum (there is a whole series of Lightning Literature packages) as well as several others that my fellow Crew members reviewed by clicking on the graphic link below.  You might just find your next language arts resource you have been looking for.

Lightning Literature, My First Reports, State History Notebook & Joy of Discovery {Hewitt Homeschooling Resources Reviews}
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New Life on the Farm

I had to take a moment to share our newest baby on the farm.  Just hatched this morning.  Dee Dee, one of our hatchlings from last year has hatched her first egg!  I can't wait to get a better look at the little one.  It had fallen out of the nest this morning and I just happened to be out doing chores and heard it peeping VERY LOUDLY.  I put it back in the nest with mama and all was well.  Not sure who the papa is.  Hope I can figure it out once I get a better look. I had moved eggs around so it may have come from my other coop.  Hope the other two eggs she is sitting on also hatch.  Happy fluffy butt Friday!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Simply Classical Writing REVIEW

Memoria Press comes through again with a curriculum written for special needs learners (slower-paced and more repetition).  Simply Classical Writing Book One: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) and Simply Classical Writing Book Two: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) with Teacher Key.  They are recommended for 1st-3rd grade.  I received physical copies of these softcover books.  I received a copy of Book One, Book Two, and the Teacher Key for Book Two. Book One referenced a teacher key but I do not see one available on their site.  It does not seem to need a key since it is pretty self-explanatory as you go through the lessons and follow the suggestions at the beginning of the book.  When I reviewed the information in order to decide on doing this review I COMPLETELY missed that this was written for special needs students.  That being said, it has NOT been too easy for Little Bug.  It has been a good challenge for her especially as she slowly learns to follow directions!

Book One has 118 pages and consists of 34 weeks of lessons (an entire year of curriculum). There is a nice Certificate of Completion and a template at the end of the book (that can be photocopied) that has a blank outline for the weekly lessons for extra practice.  Book One includes Teacher Notes and Rules About Sentences at the beginning of the book.  The Rules about Sentences include things like the basics, types of sentences, essentials ("I" is always capitalized), spacing, sentence structure, special rules (i.e. contractions), etc.  The Teacher Notes include suggested supplies, about and how to teach the curriculum, day by day suggested schedules and special instructions on how to adapt the program if it is too easy or difficult.  There are suggestions for One, Two, Three, or Four-day schedules.  The schedule we chose was to use the program 4 days per week which allowed me to break the lessons down into VERY short lessons.

Teacher Notes

Sample Rules about Sentences

This is the "Bible Story Edition" so the recommended bible to use for Book One is "A Child's Garden of Bible Stories."  but the instructions mention that you can also use any child's bible you would like that would cover the topics that are assigned.  We used "The Child's Story Bible" by Catherine F. Vos.  The bible is simply used to read the current Bible story being covered.

A typical week that consists of 4 days for us included Little Bug writing the date and her name at the top of the page.  There is a title (the Bible story to read) and a small picture for her to color if she wants.  Then there is a list of directions to follow every day:
  • Learn the Rules (from the Rules about Sentences pages)
  • Apply the Rules (use colored pencils/crayons to mark examples of the rules)
  • Write the Rules (includes decodable and read-aloud sentences, creating a sentence, and a challenge sentence)

Weekly lesson samples

For Day 1 we would complete the first page that included writing the date and her name, reading the bible story, and then the daily directions.  Then we would do the Decodable Sentence that included copying the sentence exactly as she saw it on the page.  There is also a scripture at the bottom of each week that you can use as memorization for the week.

Reading passages from our Bible

For Day 2 we would review the rules and read and copy the Read-a-loud sentence.

For Day 3 we would complete the Create a Sentence which entailed using the rules to capitalize the beginning of the sentence and remembering to use the proper end mark.  Then she would use crayons to circle the rules.  Some example of the rules:
  • Green for Go - circle capital letters in green
  • Red for stop - circle end marks in red
  • Blue for special - circle names of people, places, and things in blue
For Day 4 we would not do the Challenge Sentence because she is just not ready for that right now (she just completed kindergarten) but we did discuss the story.  She did Illustrate the story (by drawing a picture) but again, I did not have her describe her picture in writing, just verbally.  We will work on the more intense writing in the fall.

Because I don't want her to miss out on the extra writing exercises we are going to table this curriculum to be used in the fall.  I am excited to know we will have this part of her curriculum covered!

Book Two TOC

I also received Book Two Student Guide with the Teacher Key. Book Two Teacher Key has 155 pages consisting of a Table of Contents, Teacher Notes (same as Book One), and Rules About Sentences (same as Book One).  It also covers 34 weeks of lessons for a full year of curriculum.  The recommended Bible to use for Book Two is "The Story Bible" (2011, Concordia Publishing House).  In Book Two you will cover Sentences, Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Agreement, Commas & Apostrophes, Synonyms & Antonyms, Describing, and Organizing.  There are reviews built in throughout the year.

Book Two Student Guide and Teacher Key

A typical week in Book Two consists of:
  • Lesson A: Apply te Rules
  • Lesson B: Build Your Skills
  • Lesson C: Choose Descriptive Words
  • Lesson D: Draw and Describe

Book Two Week 1 Sample lesson

The lessons are much the same format as in Book One but at a more advanced level.  You are still writing and copying sentences but again, at a more advanced level with more inferences for your sentence structure.  For example, sometimes you are answering a question to form the sentences you are writing.  There are also fill-in-the-blank sections.  At the end of the book, there is an Appendix that includes a listing of the weekly lessons with a coordinating scripture and pages to read from "The Story Bible."  The lessons are simple and short just as in Book One. Unless we accelerate through Book One, Book Two will be perfect for her 2nd-grade curriculum.

Little Bug is enjoying the lessons and the shortness of the lessons makes it even better and doable for her.  We give Simply Classical Writing Book One: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) and Simply Classical Writing Book Two: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) with Teacher Key a thumbs up and will add it to our scheduled curriculum in the fall.

You can connect with Memoria Press on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, YOUTUBE or INSTAGRAM.

Please be sure to check out the other reviews on this and a few of their other curriculum by selecting the graphic link below.

Classical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}
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