We were ready for something more in our homeschool Language Arts, so we were excited for the chance to review the Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Student Workbook and Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Teacher’s Guide from Hewitt Homeschooling. Our older two children (ages 8 and 6) are at the 2nd Grade Level for most subjects, though are slightly delayed in Language Arts. The Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 is recommended for both Grades 1 and 2, so I knew it would be the best fit.
We used it for both of our older children. It is recommended to have an individual workbook for each child as pages cannot be duplicated, and if you can purchase another one, I would recommend it. We opted to have the children share the same workbook, which worked out with printing additional composition pages. There are composition pages available in the back of the Teacher’s Guide, and they can be copied, though I found it was easier to print composition paper straight from the printer because I am able to make and print them from the printer itself.
The Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 is designed to be used with popular children’s book. Many of them can be found in the local library, though if you’re looking to add to your children’s bookshelf, it’s a nice variety of books. The books are listed in the front of each book, and it is recommended that you go in order. In addition to the books for each lesson, it is recommended to also read from Aesop’s Fables. There are many versions, and I found a free e-book.
Right off the bat, I was impressed by the Teacher’s Guide. It not only gives thorough details for each lesson, but it also helped me prepare. It starts off explaining how to use the Teacher’s Guide. It breaks down each section: Literature, Grammar and Mechanics, and Composition. It really goes into detail about what you may expect from your children or how it can vary between children. The stress is on being sure children are enjoying the process – without compromising their work.
The beginning of the Teacher’s Guide also explains how to tailor the course to your family’s needs. It is recommended to complete the literature, grammar and mechanics, and composition. If your children aren’t yet writing or writing well, they can dictate the answers. What I did was have them tell me their answer, and then I would write it on the whiteboard or a piece of paper for them to copy on their composition lines or in the Student Workbook depending on the activity. Some are to be written on composition paper and others can be written right on the Workbook pages.
The Teacher’s Guide also has the comprehension questions, and I am able to write their answers right there. This allows me to have both children answer and mark down what they said and who said it. Our preschooler even jumped in a couple of times! I definitely didn’t expect that, but he wanted to do it with us, too, and that was something he could do! I also like that I have notes to see their progression in answering comprehension questions.
The Student Workbook includes a variety of activities corresponding to the lessons. What I love is that it’s not just about the book we are reading that week or Aesop’s Fables. The kids have definitely been learning a lot about summarizing, telling stories, and really taking in each book. In addition, though, they are also getting reinforcement on sentence structure. This is something our kids have learned, but I feel they really need reinforcement, so I was glad that was included in this curriculum.
Each page in the Student Workbook is perforated, so they are easy to tear out and add to their composition notebook if you choose. They are already hole punched as well, which makes it even more convenient. There are additional pages at the end of the Student Workbook for their “Dictionary” as well. We add 5 new words each week. I tore these pages out because it easier to write on them, but I keep them in a separate notebook. Of course, you can tailor it to whatever works best for your family.
The Lightning Literature & Composition: Grade 1 is broken down by week – Monday – Friday. At first I felt this could be a little limiting if you would prefer to start on another day. Overall, though, I think keeping the lessons all in the same week is best particularly for young children like ours that have a harder time retaining information. It really builds on the book by reinforcing it continuously throughout the week. This was a really great layout for our children because they need that constant reinforcement.
The week is broken down so Monday and Wednesday are the days the book is read. The children can read it or the parent can read it. Since our children are still slightly delayed in reading, I read it to them. On Wednesday, I would invite one or both of them to try, but I didn’t pressure them one way or the other. Because we often only have a 4 day week we would skip the optional Friday. If our day off was Wednesday (the usually day off) then we would do Wednesday on Thursday and Thursday on Friday. This worked well for us. If we did have a 5 day week, I would just extend the lesson as suggested.
Overall, I am really happy with Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 1. It is a great language arts homeschool curriculum. It’s thorough yet flexible, and it opens the door for parents and children to discover a wide variety of books that we may not otherwise have read.
The Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Student Workbook can be purchased for $49.95 and the Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Teacher’s Guide can be purchased for $29.95.
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