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Lightning Literature & Composition Review by Markie Cooks

Grade-3 Pack with Book of Poetry
Elizabeth Kamath
Hewitt Homeschooling
140 Evergreen Way
Washougal, WA 98671

As many other homeschooling families, we like to incorporate a lot of reading into our school day.The only problem is, I am not creative enough to produce a list of relevant comprehension questions or fun activities to go along with the story.I like the idea of pulling spelling and vocabulary words from our reading, but I never get around to it. I just end up asking each child to narrate back to me what we read.For this reason, I love having a good literature program I can rely on. I recently received Lightning Literature & Composition Grade Three Pack with Book of Poetry from Hewitt Homeschooling in exchange for my honest review of the curriculum.We were blessed to receive the complete set which included the following:

Student Workbook

Teacher's Guide

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

The Tale of Despereaux

Rickshaw Girl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlotte's Web

The Big Wave

Ramona and Her Father

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Hewitt Homeschooling started out as a 501(c)(3) public charity in 1964.They believe in combining good academics with character development, instilling work ethic, and developing a willingness in community service in the upcoming generation.They have curricula for children at the kindergarten age all the way through high-school.

Hewitt Homeschooling language arts curricula provide the following:

The use of whole books and other classic literature.

Teaches deep reading and writing skills.

Maintains and even increases a child’s love of reading and so much more!

The authors are parents, homeschoolers, and teachers who have worked with homeschoolers for a long time.

Before I explain how we used this curriculum let me point out the content in the Teacher's Guide and Student Workbook.

The Teacher's Guide is 335 pages, it is set up to provide you with everything you need to successfully teach this curriculum.

The guide is broken up into three main parts:

How to use this teacher's guide - This section explains how to use the teacher's guide and breaks down the three key components of this curriculum, which are literature, grammar and mechanics, and composition.

The next chunk of the teacher's guide is the actual weekly lesson plans.This curriculum is spread out over 36 weeks. Each week is planned out for you with daily reading schedule, discussion questions, grammar and mechanics activities, composition activities, and the answers to the assignments in the student workbook.Yes, the entire 36 weeks is already planned out for you and the lesson plan is very descriptive.

The last section of the teacher's guide is a small section for penmanship reinforcement.You will find the alphabet, proper handwriting posture, and writing lines. These pages may be photocopied.

The student workbook is 340 pages.It is three-hole punched and has perforated lines, which makes it easy to tear the pages out if you or your child desires to do so.The workbook has all the worksheets for each story. The workbook has two parts:

The first part is the weekly lessons.Each lesson corresponds with the assigned reading for that week.It starts with a nice colored title page, that has the book title, author, week number, and chapters to read.

The last section is the dictionary pages.This is where your child can write the words, they may be unfamiliar with along with the definitions.

Now that you know what is in the teacher's guide and the student workbook let us talk about how we used the curriculum.Prior to starting anything, I read through the entire, "How to use this teacher's guide" section. I originally planned to use this with my nine-year-old son however, I pulled my 11-year-old daughter in as well because according to my son there were too many books with a girl as the main character.This was easy to do because Lightning Literature includes a lot of optional activities in each week. Since the activities are optional you can stick to the very basics or beef it up for a child that is eager to learn.

Lightning Literature & Composition has done a fantastic job at organizing and scheduling the reading and activities.Typically, I followed this as planned. I did add and change things when needed to fit my son's learning style.

Before the start of each week, I looked over the week-at-a-glance page in the teacher's guide so that I can see what is covered and purchase any of the optional materials if needed.

The week-at-a-glance page gives the book title and chapters to read that week, a list of optional material needed, grammar and mechanics taught, and the composition type covered.

At the start of each day, I read the instructions for that day so that I would be prepared and not caught off guard.We read the assigned chapters and then went over the discussion questions verbally. After that, I explained his assignment for the day in is student workbook and let him work on his own.Once he completed the worksheet, I graded it right away, and we went over anything he missed. We try not to school on Fridays, so I combined day five with day four each week. A typical for us from start to finish is normally anywhere between 30- 45 minutes.

I really liked the thoroughness of this curriculum.The author did a particularly excellent job presenting the discussion questions, they were just enough to encourage my son to pay attention to the reading.Diagramming is introduced in the grammar and mechanics section, but it was taught differently than the way my son learned it. The method of teaching confused him some, so I just had him diagram the sentences the way he knew.For students that have no prior experience with diagramming it takes a nice gentle approach and makes it easy to understand. The variety of books chosen for this level was a perfect balance of characters, length of the stories, lessons taught, and culture.

I asked my son if he liked Lightning Literature & Composition and he said, "I love this curriculum!I like the different books that come with it and how it gives you worksheets to complete. I really liked answering the questions about what we read each day.I like answering the questions because it gave me a challenge. I learned from one of the stories that it is important to be grateful with what God has blessed you with.There is not anything that I do not like about this curriculum. I like everything about it, and I hope we can keep using it!"

You can buy Lightning Literature & Composition Grade Three Pack with Book of Poetry for $157.78.I am so happy that we have found the perfect literature curriculum for my son and we plan to continue using it.

-Product review by Markie Cooks, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2019