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Question about Lightning Literature

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Is anyone using this through high school? And do you feel it is college prep and challenging enough? The reviews that I have read give me the impression that it is "lite". It looks very good, but I would like something that teaches the writing of literary analysis. Maybe Teaching the Classics and Windows to the World would be better? To be honest, those intimidate me a bit and something with lesson plans all laid out like Lightening Lit appeals more to me, but I'm hoping it's also challenging at the high school level and has good coverage of writing literary analysis. I need a lot of hand holding in this area because in high school, I did not do a lot of this type of thing. My older son, who is now in college, (public schooled) did a lot of intensive stuff in high school and if my younger son stays home for high school, I will need some help in this area! I was thinking that Jensen's Format Writing, A Beka Grammar/vocab, and Lightening Lit would be a good language arts combo for high school, but I just need opinions on the Lightening Lit. Has anyone used this for high school and felt their children were well prepared for college?


Thanks. Your opinions are greatly appreciated. : )

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Guest Katia

My dd used Lightning Lit and she was well prepared for college.....BUT.....there are a few assumptions that you have in your post that are not necessarily true.


LL is not "all planned out" for you. They have a guide and a few suggested schedules, but those schedules are very, very vague and quite frankly I could not find a good way to schedule this program no matter how hard I tried. To do everything listed on their schedule, dd would have been doing LL for 2+ hours per DAY. We simply didn't have that amount of time.


Also, they have wonderful writing prompts, but that is all. They are just prompts. Oh, there are very basic 'how to write a paper' instructions at the beginning of the guide, but that is it. And then a nice list of prompts after each lesson. So...the dc are supposed to write one paper after each lesson, but two papers for each major work. Along with those papers, 'you' need to supply the writing instruction. And again, scheduling the reading, the questions, the discussion, the literary analysis and then the writing was a nightmare. Ah....and the actual reading time....that is takes to actually READ the book.....that is not scheduled out. You have to do that. Please believe me, this is NOT all laid out for you.


Oh, and some of the questions were not right with the lesson, you had to flip to the appendix in the back to find them (the thinking, discussion type questions). The recall questions were right in the lesson. But the interesting projects, or things to memorize, etc. were also in the back in the appendix. And they were great suggestions, but if you tried to do any of those too......more time spent! If you have the time that is great, but what we ended up doing was eliminating some of the paper writing to do either the projects or the memorization.


So, if you can take the time to sit down and rearrange everything in the program to work for you and find a different writing instruction program, along with a separate vocabulary program (which is all what we had to do), I think that yes, it's a college prep program. I wouldn't call it "lite" at all. They read 8 major works per year, plus poetry, short stories and essays, plus two papers per major work and then one paper for each short work, I think it is 12 papers per semester, plus book reports for the honors program...that is a lot of fully developed papers for a high school student to produce.


And then, of course if you choose, you have to add in time for at least one research paper, which is not included in the program. You have to do that on your own.


Like anything else that is good, you have to work at it and with it. My dd really, really liked LL. She learned a lot. Her favorite was the two Shakespeare guides. So, I hope I don't sound like I'm discouraging you from using it because it's too much work.....I just want you to go into it with your eyes open. It's a lot of time and work spent on both you and your student's part. It is not easily laid out or planned out.


And if you are like me and don't think the American Lit has enough short stories included, you add in the short story section from Learning Language Arts Through Literature.....and then there is MORE to schedule in, LOL. :001_smile: Oh, and I liked her to watch movies for some of the works as well.....We just simply needed more time in our day!


BUT, it is a good, interesting college prep program. My dd is really enjoying her college freshman literature courses this year. She still hates writing papers....:D But she was well prepared.


We've chosen a different program for my younger dd. She used the LL for 9th and 10th grades...and I really wish we had used LLATL instead (very similar program but much better planned out in my experience) OR I wish we had just started her with Smarr, which is what we are doing now. For our family Smarr has been the best 'planned out' literature program we have found.

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All of that has helped a lot. We are still in middle school, so I've got time to think and plan. I do need something that is easy for me to implement. BUT I want literary analysis covered, too. So I will look at Smarr. If you have a minute, I would love to know more about that. Lightning Lit sounds good. The thing is I will probably be piecing together language arts because I love abeka for grammar but not some of the other components of their language arts. So abeka grammar is a given (along with Format Writing and maybe a few things from IEW) and so I need to figure out what else to use. Something that a mom who is scared to homeschool high school can actually use successfully! Thank you so much.

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...maybe it would be best to use all A Beka for language arts (except writing) since I love the grammar so much. Hmmm...maybe I need to start another thread. Gee, I'm confused as to how to piece together language arts and work in something like Lightning Lit.

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9th grade we did:

Lightning Literature 8 (my dd had never had any literature like this before) It worked very well.

We worked on essays with Jensen's Format Writing (we did the paragraph portion in 8th grade. She was a very reluctant writer and now is doing very well.


Abeka Grammar only


Jensen's Vocabulary (1st half of book)


10th grade plan:

Lightning Literature: British, Early to Mid 19th Century

British, Mid to Late 19th Century


Abeka Grammar only


Jensen's Vocabulary (2nd half of book)

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I just got Windows to the World last week and started it with my dd on Monday. It looks fabulous. We started working on annotating this week. The teacher guide listed several short stories to search for on the internet, so I printed up several of them for my dd to have extra practice. Surprisingly, my dd loves annotating. Since she always has a running commentary going anyway (but usually verbal), I guess she doesn't mind at all writing down her commentary. It's been interesting to read her notes.


We start working on the Biblical allusions section next week. I was going to skip this section because we're not Christian, but after reading through it, I think it will be quite helpful. I know my dd misses a lot in literature because of not knowing Bible stories. This will help.

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I SO appreciate all the input. We have a year or two to think this through. Honestly, something that is more open and go would probably be better for us. Maybe I could combine A Beka grammar with CLE for reading and use Jensen's for writing OR all A Beka except for the writing -use Jensen's instead. And if it wouldn't be too much, Windows to the World-maybe?


Lightning Lit really sounds good in the reviews that I have read, but I haven't actually looked at it, and I'm not sure now if it is "open and go" enough.


Thanks again-I still have a lot of research and homework to do.

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