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Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 4 ~ a Crew review

Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Lit 4

While my youngest girl loves stories and being read to, she doesn’t always have the drive to read for herself in a constructive and discerning manner yet. Hewitt Homeschooling Resources has a series of literature and composition curriculum that I have long been interested in. We were actually a part of their grade 3 beta program a few years ago and used it for several books. I liked the way it flowed and so when we were given the opportunity to work with the Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set, I was glad to do so. It came with the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Workbook, both soft cover books.

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While Miss J is often considered 5th grade for this coming school year, I took a good look at the samples for the level on the Hewitt Homeschooling website. It showed me enough to know that since Miss J is a strong reader but is not always able to answer comprehension questions about the reading easily, this might be a really good fit for her. The books are pretty challenging, in my opinion, for a 4th grader who is not a super strong reader with strong comprehension. Take a look at this list.

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There are a total of 12 books on the list. Not included in this picture from the Student Workbook is Tuck Everlasting and The Borrowers. I also felt that the grammar includes so many skills and covers so many concepts that she has not yet dealt with that this would be a very good challenge for her. With a total of 36 weeks of materials, this is easily a full literature, composition, and grammar curriculum.

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I really like the way the Student Notebook is put together. The pages are perforated and set up by week. I can easily take one week’s worth of work out of the book and staple it together. Miss J then only has to deal with those pages and not the whole 400+ pages of the workbook.

Miss J started at the beginning of the workbook and has worked through several of the weeks. She is currently working on the book The One and Only Ivan. She has completed The Earth Dragon Awakes and Morning Girl. Each week is set up with four days. The fifth day is left as an optional day where additional work could be completed on the composition project or maybe completing an optional workbook page. Each week from the Student Workbook has a cover page that indicated the week and the pages of the book that will be read during that time.

Lightning Lit

The second page of the week has a checklist that shows what will be done during the week. It includes the readings, broken up into four parts. There is also the grammar pages to be completed on each of the four days and what they are, such a common and proper nouns. The composition is also included here and broken up into four parts, as well as any extra activities that can be completed if assigned. I did assign the extra worksheet pages, as I felt they were really helpful and Miss J completed them on day 4 of the week.

 

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The readings did a great job of putting the story into smaller chunks for each day. There were daily comprehension questions to go along with the reading. These always asked the student to think deeper than the surface understanding of the story. For example, in The Earth Dragon Awakes, there were questions regarding the understanding one of the characters has of another. In Morning Girl, the student was asked to recognize the emotions of the character and to use examples from the text to support the answer.

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The grammar portion of the work builds slowly upon the work that comes before it. This level started with nouns on the first day. Then it added the recognition of common nouns and proper nouns. The week ended with abstract nouns. Week two dealt with verbs, including linking verbs and helping verbs. Week three added types of sentences and week four added adjectives.

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a simple start to diagramming sentences

Each week, there was also diagramming sentences, beginning in week 3. This is something I have never done formally and so it was a learning experience for both Miss J and myself. The diagramming is handled very well, adding very small chunks each week. It is not overwhelming and the Teacher’s Guide is really helpful for me here.20190613_135255

Speaking of the Teacher’s Guide, let’s take a look at what it offers. It does include the expected – answers for the workbook pages the student completes each day. But there is quite a bit more to it. It is quite a bit more compact that the Student Workbook as it contains only around 250 pages. It begins with the table of contents listing each of the books for the weeks. The information is also listed by week, after the initial “How to Use This Teacher’s Guide” section.

Don’t skip the “How to Use” section. It includes a lot of information about why the curriculum is organized the way it is and why the choices were made to include things. There is information that will help with understanding the best ways to guide your student and suggestions for modifying where needed.

Each of the week’s lessons have additional information for the teacher that will help you be prepared to address concerns with your student or to guide them in discussions. Each section of the student’s workbook pages have a section in the Teacher’s Guide, giving answers or suggestions.

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I do wish that the Teacher’s Guide has a listing of all of the aspects of grammar and composition that are specifically addressed. This information would be really helpful if you are coming to this from a different curriculum or need to go to a different one for next year. (Grade 5 is in progress for Lighting Lit. See their website for the listing of books and outline of what is coming in Grade 5.)

The grammar and composition pretty well go hand-in-hand throughout the study. What is being worked on in grammar is often part of what they are being assigned to include in the composition. The concepts covered include:

  • nouns
  • verbs – from basic verbs to linking and helping verbs to the different tenses of verbs
  • adjectives
  • pronouns
  • conjunctions
  • articles
  • homophones
  • poetry – terms, types, rhyme, stress
  • punctuation – commas, quotations marks, ellipses, etc.
  • capitalization – sentences, in poetry, in letters, names and titles, etc.
  • figures of speech – onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, personification
  • writing techniques – alliteration, assonance

Through the lessons, the grammar portion circles back to review concepts and ideas that had been previously taught and to take the student a little bit deeper. This is done through intentional reviews or by including the more complex form of the concept, such as specific types of clauses or different tenses of the verbs.

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Yes – this is my handwriting instead of Miss J’s. It was a hard day but she walked me through what to do and I did the writing for her. She learned the diagramming information, regardless of who did the writing.

And almost always, this is tied into the skill of diagramming a sentence. Teach the idea; practice the idea; diagram a sentence with that included. This is the process and I feel like it is a strong model for continued growth and learning.

We chose this for Miss J and I feel like the material covered, and the way in which it is covered, will more than challenge her this coming year as we continue on with this program. Hewitt Homeschooling Resources seems to have an advanced program so definitely take a look at the samples when you are getting ready to order materials.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Click on the banner below to read the reviews of others who were reviewing materials from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. These materials included:

Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set
Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set
Grade 3 Lightning Lit Set
Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set 
My First Report: Solar System, Grades 1-4
Chronicles of __ State History Notebook, Grades 3-8
Joy of Discovery w Learning Objectives Adult/Teacher
Gr 7 Lightning Lit Set  
Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set 
American Early-Mid 19th Century Gr 9-10
American Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 9-12
Speech  Gr 9-12.
British Early-Mid 19th Century Gr 10-12
British Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 10-12
British Medieval Gr 10-12
Shakespeare Comedies Gr 11-12
Shakespeare Tragedies Gr 11-12
British Christian Gr 11-12
American Christian Gr 11-12  

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Finding Art – Waco Mural Hunt

Waco Mural Hunt finds

I know that the word art evokes different thoughts for different people. But we got to have a fun art day a couple of days ago when my niece was here. She loves artwork of all sorts and found a listing of the murals around Waco. I had totally forgotten about the murals so we had never gone mural hunting. My niece picked out several she wanted to go see and we went on a trek. Some of them were walking distance from each other. Many were not. Take a look at what we found.

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We sure did have fun looking for these murals. Some of the murals were just fantastic. Some I did not care for. Some we didn’t have the ability to stop and get a picture of.

Do you have murals in your area? They sure do showcase some amazing talents, don’t they?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Wars of the Jews (Memoria Press) ~ a Crew review

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Memoria Press is a classical education company that publishes high quality materials. We recently received The Wars of the Jews set to review and it was the perfect finish to Miss E’s 9th grade literature for the year. This is a ten lesson course that takes a look at the historical fulfillment of the prophesies regarding the fall of Jerusalem, which happened in AD 70 at the hands of the Roman empire.

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The Wars of the Jews is recommended for grades 9 and up, which seems to be a solid recommendation. The set includes three books:

There are samples on the website for each of these books.

The text The Wars of the Jews: The Fall of Jerusalem is an English translation (by William Whiston) of the writing of historian Josephus. Josephus was a Jew who was captured and became a Roman advisor and citizen. He is considered to be a leading historian of the times and was present with the Roman army at the siege and fall of Jerusalem.

The 141 page long soft cover text is Book V, chapters 6-13 and Book VI, chapters 1-10 of Josephus’ writings. There are also endnotes in the text. This is an historical text and as such, it presents some challenges. The language or phrasing can sound different to our ear and that means that it is sometimes beneficial to read a passage out loud to help understand it. Also, there are many people presented that had a role in this event and it takes some effort to keep them straight.

It is a classical text and so is not a fast read. The time spent in reading the text helps the reader to really understand why Jerusalem was an important city and why it was one the Romans felt it necessary to overtake. The Jews were fighting a lot amongst themselves and the Romans really benefited from this disunity. The text begins by introducing us to the Jews in the city. It then carries us through the Roman siege, the change in leadership of the Roman army, and the final destruction of the city.

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The text has included helpful maps of Jerusalem so that students can understand the movements of the Romans and the Jews and how the strategy of attack worked. There are photos of historical sites, such as the wall of Jerusalem and the site of Antonia. There are drawings of what the temple looked like and Roman siege weapons such as the catapult. There is also pictures of statues such as the one of Titus and another of a curved trumpet. These all help the student to understand the historical context and importance of this event.

Wars catapult

The endnotes are related to people and places in the text that benefit from further explanation. They are correlated to the text through numbers and are easy to find. They are helpful and interesting.

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The start of the endnotes section in The Wars of the Jews.

The Student Guide for The Wars of the Jews is also a softcover book that is about 8 1/2 x 11 inches. It includes 26 pages of work for the student. It has a Table of Contents, the lessons, and a review. Each lesson covers two pages. The lesson includes Facts to Know, which are important people, places, words, and quotes. It then has several comprehension questions with blanks for the student to write in.  Some of the lessons include vocabulary words. The final review is three pages long and reviews all ten lessons in preparation for a test.

Wars of the Jews Twitter

The Teacher Guide is the same size as the Student Guide and is almost an exact replication of it. The difference is that the Teacher Guide includes the answers to each of the comprehension questions and part of the review. It also includes a reproducible test and test answer key.

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Our Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this text and appreciated that it was a short study to fit nicely at the end of the school year. Miss E was able to complete the study in about three weeks, working on one lesson per school day.

We had listened to an audio drama earlier this year about the fall of Jerusalem so it was good to be able to follow that up with the historical account of the events. That kind of connection is beneficial.Wars of the Jews Teacher Guide

One thing I would love to see included in the Teacher Guide is a page number reference for where the answer is within the text for the comprehension questions. I read through the text and I struggled to help Miss E with some of the questions that she had because I couldn’t find the passage. I could read her the answer from the Teacher Guide but it always makes a lot of sense to be able to go back to the text and read the passage, putting the answer in context.

Miss E’s Thoughts:
The Wars of the Jews was really interesting. I did find some of it hard to understand because of the language. I have read, and really enjoyed, a fiction book that was set right after the fall of Jerusalem. Some of the characters in The Wars of the Jews were mentioned in the book I read. This gave me a little bit more of an insight into everything that had happened before the start of that book. I think that this was a really good “school thing” but I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone for just reading, though I have a friend who would probably enjoy reading it for pleasure. It would be a good fit for probably as young as some 7th graders (my sister could have used this set) and be too easy for some high schoolers.

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We have had the pleasure of reviewing many things from Memoria Press. These include:

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read the reviews from other families who reviewed The Wars of the Jews, as well as

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Bible Bulletin Boards

The girls put up some bulletin boards to go along with the Vacation Bible School theme this year so I thought I would share those with you. They are also working towards the year-round bulletin board program with Lads to Leaders.

Our VBS theme was Trails of Faith and the main focus was on Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Books by Ruth Reichl – Book Club

Ruth Reichl Book Club

Today, I am going to share with you two books by an author you might know – Ruth Reichl. Ruth Reichl is know for being a restaurant critic for Los Angeles Times and the New York Times papers, as well as the food editor at Los Angeles Times. She also served as the editor of Gourmet magazine for quite some time. In addition, she has written several memoirs. I want to share two of those with you today.

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Tender At The Bone

Tender At The Bone is Mrs. Reichl’s memoirs of her youth. It tells her story of growing up, the challenges that she faced with her mother’s mental illness issues (which they didn’t realize as such until much later) and her father’s struggles to deal with the ups and downs of their life. As an only child, Ruth had a lot of expectations on her shoulders.

There are many humorous accounts that she shares about her mother’s cooking. Her mother was brave about cooking, in a very scary way – she liked to save money and more than once, Ruth shares about her mom buying leftovers from places several days ahead of a party and saving them to serve. Ruth tells about how she tried to save people’s live -she felt that very honestly – by warning them about her mother’s food.

At the same time, she had a very developed understanding of food and how flavors went together. She enjoyed learning how to cook and what things other folks cooked. She just understood food. And this book shows us a peek inside how that affected her life.

There are some scenes and a bit of language. They are easy to move on past and the stories are fun to read. I really enjoyed the stories she shared and I hope to tackle a few of the recipes sometime.

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Garlic And Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

This is the story of Ruth’s work at the New York Times as a restaurant critic. You are in for quite the humorous tales here. You see, as Ruth was on the airplane heading to New York and her new job, she finds out that there is basically a bounty on her head – many restaurants are offering their employees bonuses for recognizing Ruth when she visits their restaurants so they can make sure she gets good food and service. Well, this just sets Ruth on an adventure of creating alternate personas and figuring out how to visit restaurants in disguise so she can see how they really are.

We get to meet several of her “people” from her disguises and go along on the adventures when she visits the restaurants. It is fun to read about what she remembers (she took good notes on every adventures and visit) and how the true service and food was. I loved reading about her disguise as a much older lady who did not get treated well or get good food. The friend that she took with her brought her own friend and the three of them went to the restaurant. There, the disguised Ruth was not treated well and the friend-of-the-friend could not stand it. It is quite a funny story to read.

I also loved reading about the wig person she got involved in helping her. They worked together with a friend who had worked in make-up to create her disguises and the attitudes with which she created her characters. It is a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed reading some of her actual reviews, also, which are included in the book. Her little boy sounds like he had a lot of fun with his mom’s adventures, too.

More Options

If you do a search for Ruth’s name, you’ll find additional memoirs and books that she has written. One of those is a fictionalized account of her time at Gourmet magazine. It was also a really fun read and it is called Delicious!

I’d enjoy hearing about any books you would recommend. Just leave me a note in the comments.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Hey, Mama! Planner ~ a Crew review

I am a pen and paper kind of gal. That makes a printed planner a necessity for me. And my very favorite one is published by The Old Schoolhouse®. I have been using it for quite a few years now, except for one year when I couldn’t get it. But the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year is just what I needed.

Hey Mama! Planner

The author of this planner, Gena Suarez, has been down this homeschooling road and knows about the hopes and desires and worries and concerns that inundate the life of a homeschooling mama. She wrote this planner with all of that in mind. It seems like that part of the planner – the part that offers encouragement to stay strong and remember why you tackled this homeschooling journey in the first place – actually came before the planning part of the planner. That is what I like most about this planner and why I come back to it year after year. I find great encouragement here.

notes page

You specifically see these encouragement posts each month. Every one starts out with Hey, Mama! Gena is talking to me. And to you. And to whoever is using this beautiful planner. We all have down days and days of struggle. These Hey, Mama! letters are found in the calendar part of the planner (I know getting a bit ahead of myself but I’ll get there). One letter for each month. And I go back to them more than once in the year. Because they are so encouraging!

Planner coverA quick note about the quality of this planner – it is fabulous. The cover is beautiful and this combination of my favorite color with flowers just makes me smile. And who doesn’t like something that makes them smile. 🙂 The planner is spiral bound with laminated paper covers. Okay – laminated is probably not the right word but they are thick paper with a nice glossy finish that will allow it to withstand a lot of use, which it will get. The pages inside are a thick and of a high-quality. The slightly rough finish is smooth to write on. All of this adds up to a lovely planner that is a joy to use.

Now, on to the other pages of the planner. As I mentioned, there are calendar pages of several sorts. There is a year-long view set up month by month so you can see all of 2019 by itself, all of 2020, by itself and all of 2021 by itself. The whole year. There is a monthly view, where you get the month in a two-page spread so you can make plans for the month and see it all at once. Then you have the weekly view in undated pages. So you can make those work for you in whatever way is best, week by week.

You get some transcript information, because at some point, every child will need some kind of a record of what has been covered. There is one page on “Creating an Academic Transcript” followed by an academic transcript if you want a pre-made form. There are checklists for skills learned and a page to track other courses. These are all found up front.

After your weekly view planning pages, you have planning pages for up to five children. There is a page for notes, a page for curriculum planning, an attendance chart, a book list page, a page for yearly goals, and pages for semester goals. That allows you to really think through and plan for your children’s education each year. But, it is also really flexible and you don’t have to use any of these forms that don’t work for you.

For me, I have already color coded our schedule for next school year, starting in July.

calendar for the year

I have also started keeping track of the learning and reviews that will happen during July. I use the notes page that comes with each month to write down what videos we watch, what field trips (or camps/mission trips) we take, what books we use as a read aloud, and what reviews are being worked on by which girl. You can see that in the image up above with the example of the encouragement letter.

The monthly view is another way I track the big picture. I tend to write on it our places we go and activities done. As you can see, I color code everything I write down for the girls. I use blue, pink, and purple to make notes on their course work, attendance, book list, activities, etc. I use red and/or green for anything we do as a family. This helps me see at a glance what has been done or what is planned.

July planning

I also plan to use the curriculum planning pages. I like to track which program each girl is using, especially for any high school level courses. So, for two of the girls, I will have some high school level courses to track.

curriculum planning

I also keep track of attendance. I am not required by the state to track that but it is a good measure of the amount of work done and time spent. And if I ever need it, I don’t have to try to figure it out. It is right there.

The Old Schoolhouse® has done such an amazing job with the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year that they are about 98% sold out. There are not plans to print more for this year so you might want to grab yours quickly if you are interested.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There were several families who were able to get a copy of the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year for this review. Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews.

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New Mexico Bucket List – O ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

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Green chile cheese burgers are an important part of New Mexican fare. You can find many lists of who has the best burger. However, as with many things that are a matter of taste, the list changes based on who is creating it. If you ask around where I grew up, you will hear the name Oso Grill.

Oso Grill is, I am told, the very best place to have a fabulous green chile cheese burger. I am taking my parent’s word for this one, as it opened since I left home. (I remember this location as the place where the flowers were done for my wedding.) You can find this restaurant in Capitan, NM. Capitan is in the south-central part of New Mexico and is known as the Home of Smokey Bear.

Another place to visit is up in the northern part of New Mexico – Ojo Caliente. The name of this place is literally translated “hot eye.” Here you will find hot mineral springs and pools. The site was considered sacred by the ancient Pueblo people, though it appears that they had abandoned the area by about the 1500s. There are many myths and legends surrounding the springs and it is a place where people enjoy going to relax. There are also many hiking trails and other activities in the area.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet O image

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Christine @ Life’s Special Necessities
Kimberly @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
Wendy @ Life On Chickadee Lane
Yvonne @ The Life We Build
Jennifer @ A Peace Of Mind
Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest To Teach
Kirsten @ DoodleMom Homeschool
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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–
* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

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