Lightning Literature and Composition ~ American Literature:Mid-Late19th Century

 The Lightning Literature teacher guide and student guide for this TOS Schoolhouse Crew review were provided by Hewitt Homeschooling.  

High School planning can be rather daunting. Each step my 11th grader takes closer to graduation makes me reevaluate whether we have covered everything that she requires. Hewitt Homeschooling offers their Lightning Literature and Composition courses which are designed to assist students in "acquiring college level composition skills by responding to great literature." As she is also planning for the ACT standardized test, this course seemed to be the perfect next step for her. My daughter chose the one semester Lightning Literature and Composition: American Mid-Late 19th Century course designed for 9th-12th grade students which tied in perfectly with our current American history studies. For this course we received:

The student guide is paperback, and the teacher's guide is 3-hole punched. In addition to several short selections which are included in the student guide, unabridged copies of the following four books are required for this study:

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe 
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane 
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London 
Books are available on Hewitt's website in a package purchase, but we were able to easily find these popular selections. Other excerpts and short selections used in the course are contained in the student guide. Though they are classics and we are both avid readers, neither my daughter nor I had previously read many of these titles. The lessons begin with Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe which I decided to read and discuss with her.

My daughter shared: 
"The workbook gave a brief history of the author, which was very informative, and helped you to understand why they wrote the story or book. I am reading Uncle Tom's cabin for the first time, to go along with this study, and I am enjoying not only reading about the time period and the people, but also enjoy the different viewpoints expressed in the story. It is a serious story, with real issues, but there are still some points that are funny. I had watched The King and I before, and seen an abridged version of the story on there, so I new ahead of time what the story was about, but there is much more to the story than what was shown in that movie."
We both read ebook versions of Uncle Tom's Cabin. My daughter completed the comprehension questions in the workbook (divided into sections in book order) and we discussed it together. The questions were multiple choice, so that part of the study was not time consuming. This composition study is designed to cover one semester.  Lessons include theme, humor, description, point of view, figurative language, register, sound in poetry, authors and students complete comprehensive questions, writing exercises, discussion questions, and projects. Theme was the literary lesson in Uncle Tom's Cabin and the included writing exercises facilitated additional discussion.
If necessary, the semester course can be extended to cover an entire year. 

We have incorporated the remaining lessons in this student book into my daughter's first semester of 11th grade. I'm planning to continue reading the selections as she does, as the discussion has been quite interesting so far. We often read the same books, but the questions included in the student guide have added more depth to our discussions. 

Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed this and some of their other titles including elementary, middle school, junior high and high school products. 

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