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Aug 1, 2014

Hewitt Homeschool: Lightning Lit Grade 1 Review

Hewitt Homeschooling Review

In 1983, the Hewitt Research Foundation's focus shifted to the family unit.  The foundation was begun in 1964 by Carl Hewitt and author Dr. Raymond Moore who wrote several books on education, including Better Late Than Early.  Hewitt Homeschooling currently provides homeschoolers with services, testing (PASS test), and curriculum.  I had been looking into various standardized testing options for the boys when I first learned of Hewitt Homeschooling.  When the Schoolhouse Review Crew offered the opportunity to review one of Hewitt's offerings, I was happy to select Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 1 Student Workbook for Xavier and the Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 1 Teacher's Guide.

Hewitt Homeschooling Review

I loved Lightning Lit the second I saw it.  It's gorgeous.  And purple.  Though I don't suggest choosing your home education materials based on their covers!  This literature based curriculum is full of fun books, some we own and have read often (Caps for Sale), some we borrowed from the library (Madeline), and some we actually let Levar Burton have read to us (Chickens Aren't the Only Ones).  That's right.  I couldn't get Chickens at the library, so I googled it and found an entire Reading Rainbow episode featuring that book!  Xav is just beginning to really be a good reader and he has had no trouble reading these classic selections to me.

Lightning Lit Grade 1 also uses Aesop's Fables for a little literary extra.  Once each week, you read a fable together and discuss the moral of the story.  Aesop's Fables for Children is available from Hewitt Homeschooling, if you'd like to purchase it there.  If you get it elsewhere, some fables may not be included, depending on the version you purchase, but you can read any of them in the place of a missing fable.

I received the grade 1 Teacher's Guide and Student Workbook.
    Lightning Literature and Composition Grade 1 Student Workbook
Soft-cover, 440 perforated, hole-punched, course pages followed by a student created dictionary, $49.95

The writing spaces in the workbook are 5/8".  That's a good size for the intended age, I think.  They don't really need anything bigger.  Colorful, clipart decorates the pages.  The variety of assignments is wonderful.  You'll even find work suitable for the non-writer.  If the writing required is too much, you are free to take dictation.  The composition focus is solely on learning the elements required to create quality writing.  Spelling is secondary, as an inability shouldn't interfere with brainstorming, compiling and writing big ideas.  Xav finds most of the activities fairly fun and he is learning most concepts quickly.

Edited on 6/27/17 to add: 
This issue with the paper has been fixed.  I ordered a copy of the new workbook for Merrick for the fall and the paper is just fine for a workbook.

The only thing I did not like about this workbook is the glossy paper.  We couldn't use our erasable colored pencils or even just any old pencil.  Only a fairly good quality #2 pencil would work and the results in the book with that didn't wow me.  Writing in it is a bit frustrating for Xavier.

    Lightning Literature and Composition Grade 1 Teacher's Guide 
Soft-cover, 302 course pages followed by reproducible composition pages in three sizes, $29.95. 
A week of Lightning Lit looks like this.
  • Monday
  1. Literature - read the book and answer comprehension question.
  2. Grammar and Mechanics - introducing new ideas in bite size pieces for littles.
  3. Composition- decide on a topic to write about for the week.
  • Tuesday
  1. Literature - narration.  The child retells the story in his own words.
  2. Grammar and Mechanics - editing, using the concept learned on Monday.
  3. Composition - brainstorming ideas for the writing topic.
  4. Reading Journal - writing or dictating sentences about the story.
  • Wednesday
  1. Literature - read the book and answer inferential questions, requiring your student to think in a deeper manner about the story.
  2. Grammar and Mechanics - either sentence writing to introduce and practice structure, or an alphabet to fill in on a certain topic (colors, weather, etc.).
  3. Composition - write a rough draft.
  • Thursday
  1. Literature - An Aesop's fable.  This is unrelated to the weekly book and grammar topic, but is a very nice complimentary addition.
  2. Grammar - fill in the blank, short answer review.
  3. Composition - write rough draft.
  • Friday - this is a free day.  It can be used as a day off, for a catch up day, or for the Extending the Lesson ideas included in the Teacher's Guide.
Each lesson begins with a Week at a Glance page.  Here you will find a quick summary of the book for the week, the fable to read, optional materials, the grammar and mechanics topic(s),and the composition theme.

Interestingly enough, the Teacher's Guide did not have the same glossy paper as the student workbook.  While parents are less limited by writing utensils, this book actually has paper more like I would expect in the workbook.

We are having so much fun with Lightning Literature and Composition Grade 1, I have applied to be a field tester for the new Lightning Lit Grade 3!  That one's for Malachi.

Lightning Lit is available for grades one, two (new this fall), seven, and eight, as well as several high school options, including Shakespeare.  Lightning Literature and Composition Grade 1 is listed for 1st grade, but was also just right for our rising 2nd grader.

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