My son has been having a great time learning with Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set from Hewitt Homeschooling! My son isn’t a fan of reading and writing, though he’s coming along so the 1st-grade literature was a good place to start for us.
The Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set included the Teacher’s Guide, the Student Workbook, and a copy of Aesop’s Fables.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED?
The program requires the student to read a different book each week. We had several of them in our own library and all that I needed was available from the library. You will need the book on hand each week as you work through the lesson.
There are some basic supplies that are required as well like a composition book if you wish, and of course pencils etc. There is lined paper available at the back of the Teacher’s Guide to copy if you prefer that to a composition book. I would think that a basic, inexpensive notebook would work just as well.
The Lightning Lit set covers the following in each lesson:
- Grammer and Mechanics
There is also instruction to complete a Reading Journal and Dictionary. The Dictionary pages are at the back of the Student Workbook. These are optional activities included with the program.
HOW TO USE LIGHTNING LIT
Grade 1 Lightning Lit covers 36 full weeks of language arts instruction. It is intended that you work through a lesson per week working 4-5 days per week.
The Teacher’s Guide is essential to working through the program. There are some programs that you can use without a Teacher’s Guide but this is not one of them. All the daily lesson plans are included in the Teacher’s Guide. There are hints on questions to ask, how to proceed on specific topics, answers to the workbook pages, and instructions for the dictionary and reading journal, and ideas on how to extend the lesson if you wish.It’s important to note that the Teacher’s Guide is essential. I’ve gotten away with not purchasing it for many programs, but this one won’t work without it. All the daily lesson plans are included inside its pages, and there are places to record answers to varying questions throughout the year. Your child will miss a whole lot if you try to “wing it” with just the student workbook.
As mentioned, the program is designed for a four-day week, which is great for us because that’s what we do – a 4 day week. Day 5 is stated as “Free Day” in the book and there are extension activities noted with each lesson if you would like to do something further with the lesson on the 5th day. These are all optional.
The Teachers Guide
Each lesson in the Teacher’s Guide because with a “Week at a Glance.” This lists the following information for each lesson:
- Book for the week
- Aesop’s Fable for the week
- Optional Materials needed (for the extension activities if you are using them)
- Alphabet Page for the week
- Grammar and Mechanics focus
- Composition topic
I liked that this was listed at the beginning of the lesson. This helped with easy planning for the lesson.
It is important to note that the Aesop’s Fable that is listed is a suggestion. The program is designed to include an Aesop’s Fable because it is an excellent introduction to classic literature and something many young children enjoy. They read the fable on Day 4 and it is not connected to the book of the week or the lesson and therefore the assigned fable is not necessary. You can choose any fable you wish. I liked that and I let my son choose the fable he wanted each week. He liked that he got to choose.
The guide next has each day laid out. For instance, Day One then a section on Literature and what is covered that day, a section of Grammar and Mechanics and what is covered that day, and a section on Composition and what is covered that day.
Day Two is the same but then has information on the Reading Journal. Day Three and Four are the same as Day one but includes the assignment to read an Aesop’s Fable. The assigned Fable is included in the text but it is again repeated that any fable is fine to read. Day Four is the final draft of the student composition.
Day Three the student is asked to come up with 5-10 words to write into their dictionary pages. The focus of this is to increase vocabulary. Since my son doesn’t like writing and getting him to work through the workbook pages is typically enough, we skipping this for now. But I think my daughter would have loved this exercise at this level. I just had my son think of 5 words and tell them to me and I wrote them in. That worked fine for us.
The Reading Journal, which is also an option activity, has the student do 3 things in the Reading Journal each week on Day 2:
- Write or dictate one sentence summarizing the story that was read
- Write or dictate one sentence expressing what the student thought of the story
- Copy one sentence of their choice from the book to copy for handwriting practice
Again, since my son isn’t a writer we didn’t do this the way it states but we did do one sentence to copy in a notebook. He needs the handwriting practice. But I had him summarize the book for me in his own words after we read it and I did ask him what he thought about it at some point during the week, usually day 1.
The Teacher’s Guide also has a section at the beginning explaining How to Use the Teacher’s Guide, a section at the back on handwriting and posture, a page of examples of manuscript letters, and blank lined paper of different sizes to copy for use with handwriting and composition.
You can view a sample lesson of the Teacher’s Guide here.
The Student Workbook
The Student Workbook is 3-hole punched throughout in case you remove pages to put in a binder. It is landscape so easy to use whether your student is left or right handed, which I think is great! The top of each page states what day of the week you are working on. For instance, Monday might be one page or 2 or 3 pages but it says at the top of each page.
There is an activity or so for each of the 4 days. There are Alphabet Pages for most lessons, there are activities such as editing, find the Nouns, fill in the blanks, adjectives, and matching. There is a place to write what the student thought about the story and their favorite sentence. There is a place to write what the story is about or the moral of the story when appropriate.
The student workbook is easy to use, colorful, and in large type for easy reading. There is not an overload of activities or busy work, which was good for my son who doesn’t like to dwell on reading and grammar.
The bottom of each page lists the page number and the lesson number. The back of the Student Workbook contains a page for each letter of the alphabet for your student to write his own dictionary of words on Day 3 if you choose to include this activity.
You can view a sample lesson in the Student Workbook here.
The list of books are included in the Table of Contents. A different book is read each week, along with a different Aesop’s Fable. And the list is very comprehensive and great fun. Though we had read several of them before, we enjoyed reading them again and working through the lessons.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Overall, I would say that Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set from Hewitt Homeschooling was more impressive than I thought it was going to be upon first perusal. It is very thorough and engaging, even for a boy that doesn’t like this stuff 🙂
My son is all over the reading comprehension and it was good to see that he was getting it formally. His spelling and grammar and handwriting – well, they need work and this was the right level for him. I liked that introduction to grammar and editing. It was light but good. Very appropriate for him.
The daily lessons weren’t too long. Not too much busy work, which is good. He loves to be read to more than he likes to read so we took turns on things he was struggling with. Going through the writing process was good, though I didn’t focus on it heavily. It was a good introduction to thinking through it.
I liked that we used some great, classic kids books to work through the program. There were some I hadn’t considered so that was a nice surprise.
I liked that he needed to talk through the comprehension and pick out a favorite sentence, it made him think about the story. There is a LOT of writing with this so, as I mentioned, I toned it down for my son who dislikes writing. We did a lot of talking through things and dictating, and I think that was just fine. I know the writing will come and he is making improvement all the time. I see just thinking through it is improving this thought process and sentence structure so I’m happy.
Now, the books are above grade level, which is fine and would have been fine for my early reader older daughter. My son couldn’t read most of these himself but that was ok, we read them together and me reading aloud. We can still work through the lessons and I think he is learning. I found value in what he was learning even though he was not reading the materials himself.
It is important to note that there is no teaching of phonics or focus on sight words so this is additional to our phonics program that we are working through. But I think it provides value and, with the short lessons, is totally doable and not overwhelming. For us, at least, it worked because we didn’t do the optional activities and I allowed more dictation and talking instead of heavy amounts of writing. If you have a great reader and a student who likes writing, this would be a GREAT program for them.
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