Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lightning Literature for High School

Okay, so Literature Part V took a bit longer than planned.  Better late than never, right?

Same disclaimer applies here as on my jr. high level review.  I haven’t used this, or even owned it, but it is one of the things I’ve looked over quite thoroughly, including, I think, every sample on the Hewitt webpage.

At the high school level, Lightning Literature consists of about a dozen courses meant to be completed in a semester each.  Currently, titles include 2 US Lit options, 6 British Lit options (including two Shakespeare, and a Christian British one), one on speeches that intrigues me, and 2 world literature.  Now, “world” literature means Africa, Asia and Latin America -- there is nothing for Europe, nor, technically, for Canada or Australia.

Now, there is a list of future course titles, which will probably address some of this... titles such as French Literature, Ancient Greek and Roman literature, Classic World Literature, and Renaissance Literature.  There are also four more British Lit titles (I assume Victorian Adventures is Brit Lit), another US one, and Science Fiction.

Some of what I said about the Jr. High levels does still apply here.  They pick great books, the text is very readable, there isn’t an expectation that doing the reading for this course is the only thing the child will ever do, and some of the exercises are a bit ‘workbooky.’

On the other hand, there are some differences that I really like.  It looks like they do a far better job of spacing out the papers, and there just seems to be a better flow as far as consistency in the amount of work expected from week to week.  

They are to write 8-12 papers per semester, so not quite a paper per week in some, and about every other week in others.  I like that... it gives me room to assign other papers for history or science or whatever, and not feel like I’m totally overloading my kid.

When doing a particularly long work (Moby Dick, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Great Expectations), you do have periods of a couple weeks where you are only reading... but these were the only three books I saw like that in all ten of the high school level courses that have they have posted schedules for, and two of these are in the two American Lit courses, which are recommended for 9th grade.

With many of the other books, you would start reading it wile also revising last week’s paper, “just read” the second week, and finish reading and do workbook stuff the third.  I don’t have a problem with that.  Especially as you are reading far more than the 40 pages per week assigned in the 7th and 8th grade programs.

I do not plan to do Lightning Lit for either 7th or 8th grade, but I may look again when we get to high school.  I love the idea of being able to mix and match semesters, though if it gets up to a couple dozen choices, that is going to be overwhelming!

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