Lightning Literature and Composition ~ A High School Course

Photobucket Great literature unfolds a page at a time….. and so should the lessons. I have thoroughly enjoyed using Lighting Literature & Composition ( recommended for grades 10-12) by Hewitt Homeschooling.

We were able to review their British literature: Mid-Late 19th Century Student Guide and Teacher’s guide. We focused on the poetry section in Lesson 1 by Alfred Lord Tennyson, since many of the selections were included in the book. As I write to you we are in the midst of doing Lesson 2; reading Silas Marner by George Eliot.

The student text begins with a very healthy introduction, which I recommend you read. If nothing less, it will be a refresher of what you may have learned in your own literature studies and it will help you to brush up on your terms and how to apply them as you teach your student. Reading the Poetry section was especially helpful to me. College was a long time ago, I had forgotten things like Assonance ( the repetition of vowel sounds) and the section on Meter ( the measurable rhythm of the words) was a great help.

The introduction on writing a paper gives the student a clear and concise target to shoot for as the write. There are great guideline questions to help them self edit and re-write. My daughter found the pages on Fluidity of Language and Pronoun Confusion helpful. It helped her understand why some of her college professors were marking things differently than others as she had turned in her papers last year. I helped me as a parent to know how to better critique my younger students and offer assistance to them as I read what they write and prepare for college papers.

The Teachers Guide has a nicely organized schedules for you to use, both semester and weekly for a full year long course. There are grading tips and sheets, as well as all the answers to the comprehension questions throughout the student text. I will keep it real and let you know that I am very grateful for comprehension questions, especially where poetry is concerned. Some times I read through a poem and then say… ” What? What did that just say?” and having the questions in the student text helped us through the poetry.

We are very much enjoying reading through Silas Marner…… we are reading it aloud and going through the discussion questions as a family. Discussing them as we meander through the summer, staying indoors to read and escape the near 110° heat. Even my younger children are learning the finer points of plots and sub plots and better understanding what a climax is within a story.

I look forward to continuing on using this literature guide through the summer. I think we will purchase the Early- Mid 19th Century book next! I would highly recommend this course to those who are looking for an affordable comprehensive High School Literature course. All the guides and books are available for $52.86. Just the Student and Teacher guide alone are available for $33.90.

Please take the time to read the other reviews on the many different products that Hewitt Homeschooling has to offer by clicking the link below.  

As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received Lightening Lit and Comp from Hewitt Homeschooling, free of charge, for the purpose of this review. No other compensation has been received.


leave the textbook behind and read a book!

I love to read books.  Even more, I love reading books to my kids. 

A major component of our Curriculum over the years has been the reading lists from Ambleside Online.  I prefer real live books to textbooks, any day.

The trouble with booklists on the internet, is the finding of the books.  I have spent HOURS, upon HOURS searching for books in print, or for the correct downloadable format for us to read.  When my Kindle came along, I would search and search the free book lists to find the ones that we might need in the right format to download.

Heritage History eliminates the need for all that hunting around on the internet.  Many of the books we have searched for are easily accessed on these discs.  I appreciate how they are broken up into themed collections, making it very easy use.


We reviewed the Young Readers Collection.  These books are meant to be started in the 4th grade, especially if you are going to be using Heritage History through the High School years.

Do not be afraid to use this collection with younger children as read aloud material. My Four Year Old enjoyed listening to books from this collection.



Being the introductory collection, the selections are easy-to-read and cover many historical periods, providing a broad introduction to Western Culture.  You will find short stories from American, European, Ancient, and Biblical history.

Disk Includes 86 books, Recommendations, and a Teacher’s Guide

Both the Recommendations and Teacher’s Guide were helpful, there were a few tips in there I hadn’t thought of.  I appreciated that the disk contained more than one version of the book.  I could read it in PDF on my laptop.  I could sync it with my Kindle and read on the go, and if we ever get an iToy, I can use that version as well. 

If you are a lover of living books, these collections will be invaluable to you as you teach history to your children.


Young Readers Collection sells individually for $24.99, a very reasonable price for the time it will save you in hunting around the internet.

The entire 5 volume set ,The World History Collection, is available for $99.99, a savings of $25, over individual purchases.

You may visit their website at for more information and to see the extensive library they have available.

TOS Homeschool Crew Members reviewed portions of the entire World History Collection.  To read about their experiences, click here.

****** Disclaimer******

As a TOS Crew Member, I was selected to receive the Young Readers Collection from Heritage History, free of charge, and for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All of the above opinions are a result of using this curriculum in our homeschool.


Exploring Literature from a Christian Perspective

I remember, waaaay back in High School reading several classic pieces of literature in my English classes.  The teacher always had a endless bank of questions that were designed to engage us in thinking about a book as more than just words gathered onto pages and creating a nice little read.  We were challenged to look at the world through the perspective of the characters, to understand the when, where and why of the setting the author had chosen…. That was the stuff that made literature come alive for me.  I will confess that it is the exact thing that gave me more than a bit of trepidation as a homeschooling parent.  I didn’t know if I would be able to replicate the amazing-ness of my high school English teachers.

To my rescue, comes the company Progeny Press.



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They sent me two of their literature study guides.  Pride and Prejudice for my High Schooler and The Bronze Bow for those in Grades 6-8.  I primarily worked with Hunter (4th grade) on the Bronze Bow study guide, so I can testify that they are indeed appropriate for those in even younger grades than 6th.

My daughter, Tayler, a Junior in High School, enjoyed going through the lessons designed for Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  It is one of her favorite novels; she has read it for pleasure many times.  This was the first time she read it with literary analysis in mind.  She found the questions thought provoking and felt that they helped her to delve into the characters more deeply.  She really enjoyed working in the interactive PDF.  She could pull it up on her laptop and not have to carry around a large printed booklet to work from.

I especially appreciated the way it tied themes of pride, humility, control of one’s tongue to Scripture, and asked her to reflect on a possible different outcome of things if the characters had behaved according to Scripture.  It really puts this great work by Jane Austen into a whole new perspective.

Hunter and I worked through The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare.  First, let me just say that this is a wonderful book.  We are a little over half way through reading it and answering the questions in the guide.  I had never even heard of this book until this review and I am very glad we had a chance to read and review this guide.  The questions within the study guide are teaching him to pay more attention to the characters in a book; to ask himself questions about them, to infer, and predict.  It is also building his vocabulary.  For Hunter, we printed out several pages of the PDF file at a time to work on as we read each set of chapters.

The study guide draws from Scripture and asks you to read an compare a passage from the Bible with a section of the book.  We have really enjoyed reading the book and the time that it is giving us together as we work through the lessons.

Progeny Press offers you a chance to look at samples before you buyPricing varies by what might be on sale, the grade level of the study guide, and the format that you would like to use.  For example, I received The Bronze Bow via email; the price of the file would have been $6.95 + $3.00 processing fee, bringing the guide to a grand total of $9.95.  The cost would increase if you wanted a CD or Booklet version.  Please make sure you check their store for availability and pricing that would best suit your family’s needs.

Honestly, $10.00 isn’t a bad price, not for something that I can use over and over and over with multiple children as they come along.  It really turns out to be a great investment in your children to help them better explore literature through the lens of the Bible.

Don’t just take my word for it, be sure to check out the many other reviews on the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog



I received two study guides from Progeny Press, free of charge, for the sole purpose of this review.  The above opinions are my own and those of my family members who used the product.  We are not obligated to furnish a positive review.  No other compensation has been received.


Expanding upon the reading of great literature

Over here we homeschool in a pretty eclectic fashion.  Lots of reading, loosely following the Charlotte Mason style.

One thing I struggled with; knowing that I have needed to improve, was our study of literature.  We read and talk about the books, but I am not so good at creating writing assignments, nor have the older kids been the best at completing them. We are a very well read family, but it just felt like there was something missing…… I just kept thinking back to my own public high school classes and feeling like I was missing the mark somehow.

I am now pleased to tell you……. I have found the answer.  Excellence in Literature by Janice Campbell is that “thing” I have been looking for to tie it all together.  It is one of many great tools available from Everyday Education.

I received this book as a download and it has been a blessing to have it in that format.  It can be read on a laptop in the living room, on a Kindle in the bedroom, and on the computer in the kitchen for reference.  I also printed it out double sided and placed it in a three ring binder so my oldest could take it with him to his Radio Broadcast class and work on it in his down time.

Created to be used with Jr.High through High School students and as a College Preparatory class, EIL begins at the beginning.  The first twenty-eight pages cover a variety of topics; from the introduction to the chapter on How to Read a Book, Excellence in Literature presents a concise list of objectives that will help put any anxious high school parent at ease.  The goal is to facilitate independent learning in the last years of school so that the student is well prepared for most anything they will come across in College.

It includes great guidelines to help parents with evaluating the written product of their students; along with many additional resources to enrich the reading of the book.  There is also an Honors course built right in, and they say that you should be able to CLEP any one of the following tests to earn college credit: Freshman Composition, English Composition with Essay, or the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature.

We worked our way through Unit 2 which covered the book, Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.  We have enjoyed the links provided to enrich the book reading experience and are waiting for our reserved copy of the movie to arrive at the library so we can wrap up the lesson.  At the end of this week we will have finished a very nice 500+ word essay regarding Passepartout and his antics. (I am trying to talk my son into letting me post his essay when he has finished it…..  )

Overall, we enjoyed the schedule, layout and assignment suggestions that were provided.  There was no hemming and hawing from Evan (my Senior in High School and chief tester for this review) just here is the assignment and here is when it is done.  He felt independent, and I didn’t have to plan or prepare much.

This curriculum is very reasonably priced at $27.00 for the downloadable version and $33.95 (including shipping) for the print version.  Nearly every book on the reading list can be found at a library, or via a Kindle public domain copy, making the curriculum even more appealing to those who homeschool on a budget.

I was very pleased with the product and I intend to use it with my younger children as they go through the Jr. and Sr. High grades.

Please stop by Everyday Education and view their many other resources.  There are five volumes of Excellence in Literature available. I am confident you will find something that you can implement in the Junior and Senior High School years with your family.

Several other families reviewed this curriculum.  Please take the time to visit their blogs and see how it worked for them.  You can find a link over at the TOS Homeschool Crew page.



Everyday Education provided the selected members of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew with a complimentary copy of their curriculum, Excellence in Literature.  It was provided for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All of the above opinions are our own and we are not obligated to furnish only a positive review.  If the product was not a fit for our family, we will be sure to let you know.

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