June 29, 2017

Lightning Lit 2 ~ A Second Grade Language Arts Curriculum {Curriculum Review}

Lightning Literature Grade 2 {Curriculum Review}
I love language arts courses with an emphasis on children's literature. One of the companies that puts an emphasis on quality literature even in their early elementary curriculum is Hewitt Homeschooling. I was fortunate to have been a part of their beta team when they were producing their Grade 3 Lightning Lit Set course with my oldest son. We loved the way the course was put together as it included all aspects of Language Arts and loved the books--several of them new to us. When I discovered I had the chance to review the Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set course with my youngest son, I was very happy to be able to experience the curriculum again and hoped it would be at the same quality as the previous course we had done.

Who is Hewitt Homeschooling?

Hewitt Homeschooling is a company based out of Washougal, WA (It's my hometown!!!), serving clients for over 30 years as they strive to provide products that promotes excellent academics and character development while instilling work ethic and community service. Since 1983 they have shifted their focus towards education--seeing the growing need to provide quality material for the homeschooling sector. 

Their products serve parents with children ranging from kindergarten age through high school. Hewitt Homeschooling has products ranging from paper evaluations to curriculum for elementary, junior high, and high school.
A few of the things offered include:
*Lightning Literature
A language arts curriculum for grades 1-3 (soon to be 4th too), 7 & 8, and twelve options for the high school level including World Lit, Shakespeare, Christian Lit, American Lit and more! Lightning Lit was created because they saw a need for language arts curricula that does three things:

*Uses whole books and other classic literature (short stories, poems, etc.)
*Teaches deep reading and writing skills
*Maintains or even increases a child’s love of reading

The lessons for English and grammar, coordinate with the readings, making it a complete Language Arts program. All the levels even include a grade appropriate composition course as part of the lessons. Each of the curriculum grade levels are available as individual parts, or can be purchased as a set for a 10% savings. 

*My First Report
These are unit studies covering a whole host of topics to get your child to learn how to research and report their information. Ideally for grades 1-4. We reviewed My First Report three years ago if you would like to see how we liked it.

*Paper Evaluations
Hewitt Homeschooling offers a paper evaluations service where you child can submit up to 24 papers for evaluation and grading.

We were given the Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set to use with my soon to be 2nd grader, age 6 1/2.

Our Thoughts on the Program

Coming into this curriculum having already become familiar with the Hewitt Homeschooling style for Language Arts definitely helped me know what to expect. This program is all connected to the literature--every daily assignment is somehow connected to the book selection for the week. The grammar lessons use lines from the readings for the examples. The writing topics are related to something pertaining to the book. Because of this, there are just two books needed for the work itself--the Teacher Manual and the Student Workbook. The only other required materials are the actual children's books for the curriculum. 

There is a list of all the books needed in the front of the teacher manual which you can look at and print off to collect all the books for use. The course is for 36 weeks and there are 20 children's picture books which are done one per week, the course finishes with 5 multi-week books where they are spread out over more than one week, and finally interspersed throughout the 36 weeks are four weeks of poetry studies taken from the Random House Book of Poetry for Children
You can find the full list of books on the sample page that is on the website if you want to make sure you can find all the books. I was very fortunate that the first three books were readily available at the library. The next five books they gladly ordered for me to use. Because I know that the RH Book of Poetry is used for more than just this course level, I went ahead and purchased an inexpensive copy to keep for myself. The other books that we needed were Winnie-the-Pooh and Just So Stories.

The books that are for one week get read twice--Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday is an optional reading day as well. If you children are not able to read the books themselves, it's not a problem. I read the books to my son each time. 

The schedule for using the curriculum is simple and as follows:
Day 1 (Monday):
✦Read Book
✦Ask the literal questions from the Teacher Manual about the book
✦Grammar Lesson usually fill in the blank, multiple choice, or matching
✦Composition begins with brainstorming for the assignment for the week. 

Day 2 (Tuesday):
✦Reading optional
✦For the first 21 weeks Tuesday (Day 2) is narration day. The goal of the day is to remember as much of the story as they can. The teacher manual will guide you through the key elements of each story focusing on characters, important events, details, etc. 
✦Grammar Lesson builds on Monday's lesson
✦Reading Journal where the child will dictate three sentences: one sentence summarizing the story, one sentence to describe how they felt about it, and finally picking a sentence from the story that they liked. 

Day 3 (Wednesday)
✦Read Book again
✦Ask additional comprehensive questions which are inferential and evaluative
✦Grammar-Sentence Diagramming/Sentence Puzzle
✦Composition- Will write rough draft

Day 4 (Thursday)
✦First 20 weeks read a 1/2 chapter of Winnie The Pooh, the rest of the weeks are stories from Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling 
✦Grammar Lesson
✦Composition- Final Draft of the assignment

Day 5 (Friday)
✦Free Day that can be used to catch up, or extend the lessons. The teachers' guide gives you some ideas and links for resources or titles of additional books which could be used.

We followed this schedule as we worked through the curriculum. We are working on our 6th week and are in the middle of reading The Three Questions.

Here are some photos of our work:
Learning ABC order

Collecting words--every week 5 more are added

Talks about the word collection

His favorite sentence

Every week starts with a glance at what will be covered

All answers to the workbook and prompts are in the Teachers Guide

First time with Sentence Diagramming
We love this program. The books are simply delightful and the assignments are short and sweet. He enjoys the writing assignments very much and we usually end up reading the books more than just twice during the week. We have never read any of them before, so they are new delights each week to discover. The highlight of our week however, is reading Winnie-The-Pooh. It is so much fun to get to experience the story of Pooh through brand new eyes, and when we are done, I know he will enjoy watching the Winnie the Pooh movie. 
I really like the way the composition assignments are set up. There really wasn't an "official" composition assignment until we got to the week we read the biography on young Teddy Roosevelt (LOVED that book!) The child was asked to pick a president, and then come up with a list of questions to answer about him--and the teachers guide supplied a great list of starting questions. I was so proud of my son really enjoying studying his president and being proud of his paragraph about George Washington.
His first report! He wrote a paragraph about George Washington!
This week, the composition is tied to the book The Three Questions based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. We started by having to come up with a time when my son helped someone without being prompted to. The assignment for the week is just to write a short paragraph about the experience. We quickly remembered an instance and he's eager to write about it today and tomorrow. 

Each of the books included in the program are different and simply lovely! We have been introduced to some new authors that we want to find more from. The nice thing is that if you can't borrow them from the library, they are not very expensive if you have to purchase them. In regards to the poetry selections--if you can't get the book of poetry suggested, all the poems are also listed by name in the week's lesson--so you can just collect them another way if necessary.

Is there enough in this curriculum to be a COMPLETE Language Arts curriculum? 
Absolutely. There is literature, comprehension questions, critical thinking questions, grammar and mechanics, composition, narration, and copywork! Some may argue that there is no spelling, so it wouldn't be. Well in many courses, spelling isn't introduced until grade 3! If you wanted to do spelling--simply picked some of the weekly words your child will be adding to their word collection! Or just keep on using whatever spelling program you already have. 

Here are some of the topics that will be taught in the Grade 2 program:
Capitalization: titles, proper nouns
Regular/irregular plurals
Parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs
Punctuating dialogue
Diagramming sentences
Poetry terms: line, stanza, rhyme, repetition, imagery, rhyme, vivid words
Fiction/ nonfiction; fantasy/realism
Writing: personal essay, explanatory, essay, friendly letter, poem, biography

So are there any Negatives?
Hmm. I could see that if you didn't have a good library with access to all these children's books--or had a limited budget, that having everything revolve around these 20 plus books would be a con. That is why I would highly recommend printing off the book list from the website and look to see if you can get them.

Another thing I will mention--it's not necessarily a negative for everyone, but one of the books in the list is The Polar Express. That's not a book that we would read because we don't read any Christmas related books. But knowing how this program works, I know it will be easy to find another substitute and still be able to do the work. 

All in all, I will say that I am so happy we reviewed this program! We will definitely be using it for our 2017-2018 school year for 2nd grade. I'm actually going to combine it with the other one that we had been using, but weren't finished with. Each could have been used separate, but they compliment each other so much, they will make a great program together. 

The Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set retails for $91.70 and includes the Teachers Guide, Student Workbook, and the Random House Book of Poetry. You can also purchase the Teachers Guide ($32.95) and Student Workbook-consumable ($45.95) without the book of poetry if you already own it or can get it. 
If would be a very easy program to teach to multiple students, but you would definitely need multiple workbooks.

Want to Learn More about Hewitt Homeschooling or Lightning Literature?

I have shared our experience with the Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set from Hewitt Homeschooling. They offer so many different Lightning Literature curriculums, that I encourage you to visit fellow crew members to see how they used it!
Hewitt Homeschooling {Reviews}
Hewitt Homeschooling is pretty active on social media, so make sure you follow them on these outlets: 
Facebook (@HewittHomeschooling) * Twitter  (@HewittOnline) 
* Pinterest (@hewittonline)Google+     

I am so happy that we have had yet ANOTHER great experience with Hewitt Homeschooling products. It is so weird that in all the time I lived out in Washougal, WA before moving to KY (for 11 years!) I never knew such a wonderful company operated out of there. I am hoping to be able to do a LIVE video review on this product tomorrow-Friday June 30 over on my Farm Fresh Adventures Facebook blog page.

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