Curriculum Review · Language Arts

6th Grade Language Arts Curriculum using Lightning Literature from Hewitt Learning

Disclaimer: We received this product for review purposes. As always, we are not required to write a positive review. All opinions are honest and my own. This post may contain affiliated links.

In my home, I envision my children engrossed in all things literature. I want them to wake up and reenact their favorite scene, walk around and speak as one of their favorite character in a book, and/or create an original story inspired by fictional characters’ traits from various resources. Further, I want them to make connections with the reading, via personal experiences, to another text, or to the world. But these, skills have to be taught.

In order to cultivate a love for books, language, and deep comprehension, I have to be very intentional in the types of literature I present to them. If I’m being very honest, I also want the books to be interesting for me as well. Why? Well, we tend to do family-read alouds, partner reading, or audio. So, we ALL have to enjoy the books, in some degree, to maximize the learning experience.

That is why, in my home, we have used Hewitt Learning Lightning Literature throughout most of our homeschooling journey. Between my two oldest kids, we have used grades 1-3 and grade 4 is currently waiting to be reintroduced into our study cycle. I do plan to purchase grade 5 in the future.

Hewitt Learning was so gracious to our family and gifted a copy of Lightning Literature Grade 6. I am not surprised to report that Lightning Literature Grade 6 doesn’t disappoint and continues providing excellent structure and literature choices for my kids.

Who is Hewitt Learning?

Hewitt Learning has been around for decades providing homeschooling families with resources that equip families to better educate their kids. It includes the literature-based curricula geared toward children from 1st grade through High School. Additionally, they provide the popular P.A.S.S. Test, which are exams used by homeschooling families who may want to set benchmarks throughout the school year. In the next coming weeks, they are expanding their portfolio to include Chemistry via comic books called M.C. Detective Agency. Who doesn’t love comic books?!

Lightning Literature Grade 6 TM featuring 6 out of the 8 required readings. The other two will most likely be audio.

How We Use Lightning Literature: Details

Grade/Age: Geared towards 6 graders, however, please don’t let the label dissuade you from providing this fantastic secular resource to a child who may in a different grade. The book selections are those that should be read by everyone. In our experience, and because I have kids that are in different grades (and to minimize all the reading I’m doing), I’ve combined the literature. Or, more frequently, pop in the audio while they play legos. Kids will understand the reading based on what they can comprehend. When they don’t, they will ask questions. This will evitable lead to wonderful opportunities for open discussions. Just keep in mind, that stories will last longer than intended. Ha!

Parent Involvement: Depending on your family style and your child’s ability, this will vary. But, I would think, a 6th grader, who reads on grade level would be able to do most of the work independently. Although, for my family, I tend to be more involved. How? I’ll list some below:

  • I’ll check out the length and difficulty of the reading and tab out the chapters for the week.
  • I’ll also tab out the student worksheet pages and put a post-it note at the bottom of the page with “stop here”. My kids like to know beforehand where they are suppose to stop.
  • I’ll make sure to read the comprehension questions to get an idea of what the book is about.
  • Sticky- Notes: to help my kids focus and minimize the movement from WB to the reader, I’ve printed out the comprehension questions and placed them in the applicable chapters. (full disclosure – this is time-consuming, so I do a few books at a time.)

This is what works for my family. You’ll do what’s best for yours.

Schedule/Lessons: I truly appreciate set schedules. Lightning Literature provides a 36-week, 4-day schedule with the 5th day as a free day. Because of the flexibility given with this “free” day, I found we usually finish incomplete work without stress.

Costs: Hewitt Learning offers both digital or physical products. The Teacher Guide and Student Workbook bundle, not including the readers, will normally cost $85. They do offer a bundle sale to their families throughout the year. Regarding the readers, don’t fret. The books selected are modern reads and can easily be found in most neighborhood libraries. If not, there is a literature pack available for purchase.

Please be aware that you must purchase both the TM and SW to use the curriculum.

Lightning Literature has two main books, the Teacher Guide and Student Work books. Depending on the number of books, the focus weeks vary. For instance, comparing LL6 to earlier grades, we will only be reading 8 novels in addition to the poetry selection found in the student workbook as opposed to maybe one picture book a week like in the lower grades. The more advanced the grades, the lower amount of books used because the content difficulty gradually increases over time. The teacher guide is packed with information that includes a weekly overview with answers to both grammar and comprehension questions, book discussion questions and optional extending lessons ideas.

The Student Guide is colorful, contain soft images and has detailed checklist categorized into three different sections; reading comprehension, grammar and mechanics and composition writing and their worksheets. We will discuss the questions, orally.

LL6 help guide and my son’s educational independence by speaking to him through the lessons. This removes the pressure from the parent (me) as facilitator and places accountability onto him.

Just wanted to point out, that we never used the writing component from Lightning Literature before because, honestly, I need more structure and explicit instructions. But this year, I notice that Hewitt Learning made available new and FREE writing resources like outlines and graphic organizers for all their grades. This is a much-appreciated resource for parents and students who may need more hand-holding.

Our Overall Impression

It goes without saying, I love using LL in my home. We love literature-based curricula and have always used Lightning Literature as a supplement alongside our spine throughout the years.

I especially love that at the end of every book or poem, there is a book discussion. The teacher guide has detailed notes on theme, story, character(s), setting, external details, internal details, conflict and symbolism (no all books contain symbolism).

The schedule is so simple and laid out so well, that I can scan the workload for the week and assigned workload.

If you do consider adding Lightning Literature in your home, you won’t be disappointed. Here is a sample of grade 6 for your review. Further, is this is used as a supplement, it can easily be adaptable to your main curriculum. It’s a win, all around.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Happy Homeschooling!

Take care, Mama Q.

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