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Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Lit & Comp (American Lit: Mid-Late 19th Century)

Having used Hewitt Homeschooling products in our homeschool for several years, you can imagine how excited I was to receive Lightning Lit (American Lit Mid-Lat 19th Century) to review for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I LOVE Hewitt's products, in particular their Lightning Lit line!

Here are the basics regarding Lightning Lit. I received both a Teacher's Guide and the Student Guide. The Student Guide is written directly to the student, but parents should be familiar with it. The introduction explains why reading and writing are important elements in a well-rounded education, has suggestions and instructions, and extras ideas to expand student learning. Students should refer back to the introduction frequently.

There are 8 lessons in Hewitt's Lightning Lit American Lit: Mid-Late 19th Century. Each lesson has an intro, comprehension questions, literary lesson, and writing exercises. Comprehension questions can be used as tests if you so choose. There are also shorter reading selections included in the Student's Guide (i.e., poems, essays, story starters). These selections are in addition to the full-length books that are used with this curriculum (those titles are listed below).

The Teacher's Guide contains answers to comprehension questions, schedules, writing exercises, discussion questions, and project suggestions. Here you will find tips about grading, grammar, style, citing sources, checklists, and more. The books required for this edition of Lightning Lit are Uncle Tom's Cabin, Huckleberry Finn, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Call of the Wild. We own all four of these terrific books, which enabled us to jump right in with this curriculum as soon as it arrived in our mailbox. If you are interested in any of the Lightning Lit levels, many of the books required are common to "bookworm" families, can be found for a reasonable price on, are available at the public library, or can be purchased at Hewitt Homeschool's website (

I use Hewitt in a very basic manner. My students take the Student Guide, are assigned the Intro on Day One, and move on to the first book on Day Two (Uncle Tom's Cabin in this case). I usually assign reading to correspond with the comprehension questions ~ for Uncle Tom's Cabin, student read the book intro and then chapters 1-5. The next day the student reads chapters 6-10, answers the comprehension questions, and so on.  I have the student answer the questions in whatever format I choose. Some days they type their answers, others they write them in a spiral notebook, and at times I allow an oral presentation to answer some of the comprehension questions (this usually takes place around the dinner table so that my husband can be a part of their homeschool day). If I would like a child to practice their cursive, then I have their answers written in their notebook and I grade the cursive along with the answers to the questions.

Once the book has been read and all the comprehension questions have been answered, we work through the next section of the book, which is the literary lesson. This segment draws out depth from the text and helps students become better writers (or at least understand the writing process!). The literary lesson is one part of why I feel Hewitt Homeschool provides a solid high school level writing program. We have had many "good years" using Lightning Lit in our homeschool.

Writing exercises are next - and I suggest you choose several of these. You probably won't do every single one, but the more you assign the more effective this curriculum will be. Once you complete this portion, your student is ready to move onto the next lesson (Walt Whitman for American Lit Mid-Late 19th Century). As you can see, it's a very easy-to-use product, which is a plus for most homeschooling families. But easy-to-use does not equate simplistic; on the contrary, this is a thorough program that yields great benefits to those who use it.

When grading, Hewitt encourages you not to discourage the "fledgling author", and I totally agree with them. Too many marks made in bold red ink lead to a sense of defeat, particularly for the child whose strengths lie elsewhere. Kindness and gentleness are my rules of thumb when grading my children's work, and this holds true for older students as well as younger ones. As my sweet grandma Elsie always said, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." This is true for homeschooling, to be sure!

And as this review is running a little longer than I had intended, let me just mention one more thing before I get to website an pricing info. Hewitt's grading templates are very well done. I enjoy almost every part of homeschooling immensely, even after 15 years. Except grading. Blah! I just plain don't like it; that does not mean I don't do it, I just don't enjoy it. But the templates make grading almost sort of likable for me, so hats off to Hewitt Homeschool!!

You can read what other Crew members have to say about Hewitt's products HERE

To learn more about Hewitt Homeschool, or to purchase Lightning Lit, visit their website at

The American Lit; Mid-Late 19th Century package* sells for $51.98 (package #8073)
To purchase the Student Guide only is $29.95 (item #3440)
And the Teacher's Guide only is $2.95 (item #3441)

*The complete package comes with the Student Guide, Teacher Guide, and all four required books.

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading this review - Lord bless you and your family!

Day 197 done :)

(Disclaimer ~ I received this product free of charge for review purposes. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.)

Jan L. Burt


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