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Lightning Lit questions


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#1 hhm

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:21 PM

Dd will be in 8th grade next year and I am thinking ahead to options for literature. She has participated in Ctr for Lit discussions for the past two years, but I would like to add in more detailed study for next year.

 

Is it too much to jump into LL8 without having done LL7? I am not as concerned about the comprehension/analysis as I am about the writing requirements. Are there shorter assignments in LL8 or is it all essays? Another option that I've considered is Essentials in Literature, but I really like the selections of 'whole' books used in LL. Of course, I'm open to any and all suggestions for a gentle introduction to literary terms / analysis.

 

 

 

 



#2 Lori D.

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:50 PM

We've done both LL7 and LL8. You would be fine starting with LL8, esp. since you've already been doing Center for Lit. discussions for 2 years. In fact, your DD may feel LL8 is "lite" if she's already been doing some meaty analysis (I'm not familiar with what the Center for Lit. discussions cover or how deep the analysis is).

 

The first half of LL8 is very similar to LL7 in "speed" and in the literature topics covered in each unit's "literary lesson". The second half of LL8 is when the work pages really start getting in to beginning analysis of excerpts of Literature, and then a short story or two (all of which is additional to the work of literature covered in each unit -- but those extra excerpts and short story are included in the work pages.) At the end of each unit there is a choice of 3-4 different ideas for writing assignments, and you can make them as long/short as you wish. There are a total of 12 units in LL8 (3 short stories, 3 poetry units, and 6 longer works).

 

If, after looking at the samples (see links to samples here), you think LL is too lite for DD, other options that use complete works include Excellence in Literature; or, perhaps Windows to the World, a 1-semester high school program that covers 6 short stories, but spread out out over 1 year, and intersperse with novels of high interest to your DD and use some individual lit. guides to go with those titles to facilitate going deeper. :)

 

There is also the fairly recent high school lit. series: Illuminating Literature, by Sharon Watson (who also published the Jump In and Power in Your Hand writing programs). So far she has When Worlds Collide and Characters in Conflict. These cover complete works, rather than excerpts. In looking at the works covered, some of them would be a real stretch for the average 8th grader. If you have a strong/advanced reader, then one of these these might be an option.

 

One more option that is a very gentle intro to formal literature, BUT is very different, is Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings (LLftLotR), a year-long study of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are some fill-in-the-blank comprehension and vocabulary work pages that are busy work, but the "meat" of the program is found in the notes for every single chapter, plus the discussion questions that follow the chapter notes, AND, the 12 additional units of material on a range of related literature topics. If your student is a fan of the trilogy, 8th grade would be a good year to go for this option, and consider adding in a few of the suggested additional works (Beowulf, an epic [Odyssey or Illiad], a Shakespeare play [Macbeth or Midsummer Night's Dream], or a King Arthur work [Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, for example]).

 

See more: LLftLotR websitetable of contents, samples.


Edited by Lori D., 12 January 2018 - 08:59 PM.

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#3 hhm

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 07:46 AM

Thank you so much, Lori. This answers my questions about LL AND gives me lots of options to ponder!


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#4 alisoncooks

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 04:26 PM

Just to throw out another option:
Essentials in Writing has a newish literature course (Essentials in Literature). I don't have any experience with it, though.
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#5 hhm

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 07:56 AM

Just to throw out another option:
Essentials in Writing has a newish literature course (Essentials in Literature). I don't have any experience with it, though.

 

Thank you! Yes, I have considered that, but they only study one novel per grade (at least in Jr. High). Dd and I both prefer to study more whole books and she has already read the 8th grade selection anyway. It does look like an interesting program, though. We are actually using parts of their writing program this year to work on some specific skills.



#6 serendipitous journey

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 10:22 PM

...

There is also the fairly recent high school lit. series: Illuminating Literature, by Sharon Watson (who also published the Jump In and Power in Your Hand writing programs). So far she has When Worlds Collide and Characters in Conflict. These cover complete works, rather than excerpts. In looking at the works covered, some of them would be a real stretch for the average 8th grader. If you have a strong/advanced reader, then one of these these might be an option.

 

...

 

Lori, may I ask a question about these programs: I see they are advertised as Christian.  Do you have a sense at all of how lightly or heavily this element runs through?  I'm trying to figure out whether I could use the student materials, if we draw from this.  My main concern is not to alienate my agnostic child from Christianity; some of his books have been too heavy-handed and tended to close him off from the faith. 

 

I know this a vague question that will depend on the particular family!  but really respect your opinions. 

 

ETA: also: do you find that these programs (or some of them, maybe) have a definite advantage over Well-Trained Mind style literature study for these same grades (with the inclusion of, say, Figuratively Speaking, or even without it)?  Or maybe an advantage for particular types of students/families?


Edited by serendipitous journey, 18 January 2018 - 10:27 PM.


#7 Lori D.

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Posted Yesterday, 01:24 AM

Lori, may I ask a question about these programs: I see they are advertised as Christian.  Do you have a sense at all of how lightly or heavily this element runs through?  I'm trying to figure out whether I could use the student materials, if we draw from this.  My main concern is not to alienate my agnostic child from Christianity; some of his books have been too heavy-handed and tended to close him off from the faith...

 

Yes, you are right, all the ones I listed are by Christian authors -- I should have mentioned that as part of the "thumbnail review" I provided -- sorry about forgetting that.

 

No personal experience with Excellence in Literature or Illuminating Literature (Sharon Watson). I have used Sharon Watson's Jump In writing program for gr. 5-8, and there are some moments of strongly Christian elements, which could be marked out, and I would *guess* that her lit. programs are similar -- but you'll need to hear from someone who has used them to know for sure.

 

I've used Lightning Lit. 7 and 8, and as far as I can remember, both were pretty non-religious in presentation. I don't know about the high school programs -- my assumption would be that they are similar. (However, obviously these 2 LL programs -- Christian British Authors and Christian American Authors -- are directly addressing Christian themes and ideas in the works. ;) )

 

I've also used Windows to the World. That one is a bit more problematic to use secularly. From what I recall, the Christian parts are:

- the introduction, in which the author states her own Christian faith and that she comes from a Christian worldview

- a chapter on allusions/references, with an exercise on Biblical allusions -- you could skip it, or, I know several secular families who used it and were fine with this chapter, and were able to discuss how frequently Biblical allusions -- as well as allusions from Greek epics & myths and Shakespeare -- show up in our popular culture, movies, other literature, etc.

- and a chapter on worldview, which distinctly presents Christian worldview (the chapter is used as way of understanding the literary element of theme, and could be skipped)

For more on WttW check out these past threads:

"Windows to the World: how much religious content?"

"What lit analysis instruction do you recommend?" -- posts #6-14 address the Christian/secular aspects of WttW

 

 

Other secular Literature options:

- McDougal-Littell Language of Literature: gr. 6 student textbook & teacher edition  / gr. 7 student & TE  /  gr. 8 student & TE

- Mosdos Press -- lit. anthology series, character-building themes without religious content: Pearl (gr. 6), Jade (gr. 7), Gold (gr. 8), Cathy Duffy review

- Oak Meadow -- English 7English 8; Hero's Journey (gr. 8-10)

- Brave Writer -- Boomerang lit. guide set (gr. 7-9), or online Arrow (gr. 5-7) or Boomerang (gr. 7-9) book club classes 

- Michael Clay Thompson -- literature trilogies

- K-12 -- Literary Analysis & Composition -- hard to tell; probably greatly depends on the student, but I'd guess this is for gr. 8-10

 

Secular guides to go with individual books:

- Glencoe Literature Library guides (free)

Penguin  teacher guides (free)

- Garlic Press Publishers Discover Literature challenger level guides (not free)

- Portals to Literature guides (not free)

 

 

ETA: also: do you find that these programs (or some of them, maybe) have a definite advantage over Well-Trained Mind style literature study for these same grades (with the inclusion of, say, Figuratively Speaking, or even without it)?  Or maybe an advantage for particular types of students/families?

 

I can only speak for myself and explain what I did and why, and how it worked for us -- I haven't thought enough about "big picture" to come up with advantages/disadvantages for particular types of students/families. ;)

 

I am very strong in Literature background and in naturally analyzing/thinking about/discussing literature, and I still found it very helpful with DSs to start off (toddlers through about grade 6) with tons of "just reading" -- me reading aloud, buddy reading, and having DSs solo reading -- and appreciating it, with very occasional questions or pointing things out or discussing *as it naturally came up*. 

 

In high school we did a mostly WTM-style lit. study, but used some individual lit. guides to help provide background info on the work and ideas of questions to springboard us into discussion. We used guides more frequently earlier in high school, and far less by later high school, as DSs "had their feet under them" by that time, and we didn't need as much "idea sparking" to get us going.

 

To transition from the pre-school/elementary "just reading" into the high school "WTM-style" for literature, I found that a few lit. programs were helpful for us, to gently expose us to literary elements (Figuratively Speaking and Walch Toolbox: Prose and Poetry), and to move into beginning gentle analysis (LL7, LL8 and Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings). During 9th/10th grades, we spread out the units of the 1-semester Windows to the World program to help "fill in the gaps". After that, we were flying solo.

 

DSs were extremely laconic and it was initially like pulling teeth to get them to look deeper into the lit. and discuss, so that's why gentle intro literature programs were very useful for *us*, even though *I* did not need them for me. I did glean a lot of helpful info from some of those programs and guides, so that's why I tend to suggest them for parents, even those who are very comfortable with leading literature -- it just provides background and teaching info and ideas you might not have had, plus suggestions for resources, writing assignments, and for making other connections. :)

 

BEST of luck in finding what works best for your family! Warmest regards, Lori D.


Edited by Lori D., Yesterday, 12:37 PM.

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#8 serendipitous journey

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Posted Yesterday, 11:47 AM

Lori, thanks so much for your thoughtful, detailed, and helpful response!  I am off to re-read it.  :)