Literature is one of my favorite subjects so I was happy to receive Lightning Literature & Composition's American Mid-Late 19th Century from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources for study at Long Leaf Academy. Written for high school students in 9th - 12th grades, this curriculum helps students to acquire college-level skills in composition through a directed response to great literature. We have found all of the Lightning Literature courses are easy to implement and simple to understand and the required literature easy to obtain. This is the second American Literature course in the Lightning Lit & Comp family, but it is not necessary to complete them in order.
In American Literature: Mid-Late 19th Century, students read and study Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, poetry selections from Walt Whitman, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, Jack London's The Call of the Wild, and Bret Harte's short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flat." How's that for an all-star cast of awesome reads? Some of my all-time favorites are included here.
For ease of instruction, Hewitt Homeschooling Resources offers the American: Mid to Late 19th Century Pack which includes the Student's Guide, Teacher's Guide, and the four books (listed above) that will be studied throughout the 18-week course. You can also purchase both of the Guides separately, if you prefer, and simply gather the required readings on your own. Poetry and Short Stories to be read are included in the text of the Student's Guide and other required literature was easily obtained as a free download for our Kindles and Kindle Apps or off of our bookshelf. You can also find all of the required reading at your local library. For purposes of review, we received copies of both the Student's Guide and the Teacher's Guide.
The American Literature: Mid-Late 19th Century Student's Guide is a 170-page perfect bound course written directly to the student (but parents will want to be familiar with it, too). The 4 units are divided into 8 lessons and contain enough material to be considered a 1/2 English credit on the high school transcript. Hewitt Homeschooling Resources recommends that all Lightning Literature courses be completed in one semester (that's the "lightning" part of this curriculum). The rigorous schedule is perfect for students on an Honor's track. Students work at their own pace for 18 weeks with basic "chunks" of assignments laid out for them. For example, in Week 5 students are assigned to read chapers 36 - 45 from Uncle Tom's Cabin, answer the comprehension questions, read the 5 1/2 page Literary Lesson on Theme for Unit 1, Lesson 1, complete a Writing Exercise for the Unit, and write a rough draft of the assigned paper. They can sit and read all of the chapters at one time or spread them out over a few days. They may choose to read a chaper and answer its corresponding compreshension questions before moving on to the next chapter or read all of the chapters together and then answer all of the comprehension questions together.
So far, we have appreciated the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson and enjoyed discussing the difference in ballads, epics, elegies. idylls, and pastorals. My daughter was impressed to compare the writings of British Literature's Christopher Marlowe with contemporary American poets. We have skipped around in the lesson order to study the craft of poetry in depth (this is perfectly okay to do) and spent some time revisiting the novels of Mark Twain and Jack London. We have laughed and cried as we read along.
Each unit's lessons follows the same pattern: Introduction and bio of the author which includes details about the literary selection and things to look for/think about while you read, Comprehension Questions to answer as you complete a reading assignment (or to use for testing what has been read), a Literary Lesson that teaches the craft of writing (theme, sound and imagery, humor, language), and Writing Assignments that offer practice of the skills being taught. I especially like that the readings are broken down into do-able chunks. After reading the assigned chapters, students answer 5 - 10 comprehension questions to make sure they are reading carefully and not rushing through anything. The emphasis is on responding to great literature through composition, not just checking off a task.
For further study (but not included in the schedule), Appendixes list additional discussion questions and project suggestions for each of the literary works studied. In my opinion, these are perfect helps to qualify the course as an Honor's course. Students have the option to do literature-based art projects, history and geography activities, and more. There are Bible studies and nature ideas as well as additional reading lists.
You can see the nature of the course in the Table of Contents and even read a Sample Chapter to get a great feel for the course. Find out more about all of the wonderful Hewitt Homeschooling Resources products through the following Social Media outlets:
I was given the opportunity to review American Mid-Late 19th Century Lightning Lit & Comp from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew. You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this curriculum and other resources we reviewed (or just click on the banner below.)