So, here is part II of my ramblings about what to do for literature next year. This one is on Lightning Literature.
Lightning Lit has two “programs” sort of. They have grade-level programs for 7th and 8th grade, which are meant to last a full year. They also have a dozen or so one semester programs for high school. While these programs have a few things in common, they are also quite different, and I think I am going to split up my review into “high school” and “junior high.” This post is on Jr. High.
Disclaimer: I have not used this program. I have read a LOT of online reviews, I have thoroughly gone over Hewitt's website, I have thoroughly read a bunch of samples, but certainly not all of them. This is my opinion based on all of that. Someone who has actually used, or even owned, the materials would be more qualified to review it.
What I like:
• Great books, and not all that many of them, including many SL titles
• Very readable
• Includes units on poetry, and I've heard only good things about those
What I don't like:
• Well, a lot of weeks (15 of 36 in the 7th grade program) "all" they are doing is reading about 40 pages of a book
• On the other hand, when you complete a book, you spend a week doing workbookish exercises (some of which do truly appear to be valuable, but all at once???)
• And then you spend a week writing one or two major papers
• Only to start over by spending the next few weeks reading 40 pages per week
• I read repeatedly that the "lit analysis" part is pretty light. You spend a couple weeks on plot and climax and such in 7th grade, and really never have any additional discussion of plot again. So, it's a mastery approach, LOL, only you move on awfully quickly
• It seems like far too much money when half of the weekly assignments are to read the next 40 pages ($50 for 7th grade, $54 for 8th grade -- plus the cost of the books)
• I'm looking for lit analysis. I'm looking for more writing, with specific direction and examples.
My opinion? This seems far too expensive for what you appear to get. I really don’t like the fact that the workload is not spread out more evenly.
On the other hand, I know a LOT of high school SL moms love Lightning Lit, so I keep thinking I'm missing something. And, as will be clear in my post on the high school portion, my impressions there are a bit different.