Hewitt Homeschooling sent us their Lightning Literature and Composition American Christian Authors Teacher’s Guide, Lightning Literature and Composition American Christian Authors Student’s Guide, and No Graven Image by Elisabeth Elliot. The two guides were written by Lucy S.R. Austen. No Graven Image is one of four books needed for this course. The other three are Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J.M. Nouwen (I ordered it from Amazon for quick delivery since it is the first book used), A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle (I already owned this), and Godric by Fredrick Buechner (our library has this one).
The Lightning Literature and Composition American Christian Author’s course is geared towards grades 11-12, and is more challenging than most of the other Lightning Literature courses.
The Teacher’s Guide is three hole punched to fit into a binder and is approximately 34 pages. My only con is that the cover isn’t as pretty as the Student’s Guide. I know, I know, but I really like their cover. However, the simplicity in the way it’s delivered keeps the costs down. I can live without the cover! I’ll just admire the student one. What I liked is what the sub-title says: Acquiring College-Level Composition Skills by Responding to Great Literature. Doesn’t that sound intelligent?
In the Teacher’s Guide you will find an introduction to the course, grading tips which include checklists, grading templates, schedules for both a semester and a full year, answers to the comprehension questions, a copy of the writing assignments found in the Student’s Guide, discussion questions to share with your students, and finally, project suggestions. Phew. There is a lot of information and teacher helps here.
The Student’s Guide is about 164 pages and has a beautiful cover. Student’s are introduced to Anne Bradstreet, Henri Nouwen, Walker Percy, Madeleine L’Engle, Wendell Berry, Frederick Buechner, Flannery O’Conner, and Elisabeth Elliot through a mixture of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.
Some of the skills students will learn are close reading to determine things such as worldview analysis, essay writing, the balance between art and message, and evaluating and responding to ideas.
These skills are taught through a variety of means such as comprehension questions, literary/writing lessons, writing assignments, discussion questions and project suggestions (appendix A). Additional resources include: reading ideas for each author (appendix B), semester and yearly schedule (appendix C), and a bibliography.
No Graven Image by Elisabeth Elliot is a novel roughly 252 pages. The story follows a missionary named Margaret Sparhawk who heads to Ecuador and the Quichua people. Nothing is how she thought it would be. Through Margaret’s experience, we are shown what it means to take up a cross and follow Jesus.
We haven’t reached this book yet in the study, but I imagine it is pretty vivid and really brings the tale of a missionary to life given what Elisabeth Elliot’s own life has been like.
I read through the introduction and grading sections in the Teacher’s Guide and then read through the introduction in the Student’s Guide. Then I introduced the course to my daughter, and had her read through the introduction, too.
As for each lesson, Chrystiana reads through the lessons and reading assignments, then she answers the comprehension questions. Once she’s done, we go over her answers together and then work through the discussion questions. Then she’s free to choose the writing assignments and projects she’d like to work on. I guide, answer questions and go over her work as needed.
Chrystiana enjoyed learning about the different authors as well as the actual literary/writing lessons. As for the author’s work, she loves some more than others, but is enjoying them all so far. Some author’s writing tends to be deeper, and therefore, a little slower. On those, she has to fight her ADD and focus through the distractions.
She likes the discussion questions which make her think it through a little more and study the work a little closer. She’s not as enthusiastic about the writing assignments. The discussion questions are a combination of fun, deep and occasionally parrot the actual work. The third kind she wasn’t a fan of. But she did like the fun and deep discussions. As for the projects, some catch her attention and others she’d rather avoid. One of the suggestions she incorporated was beginning a reading journal to record what she’s reading and what she thinks or feels about it.
As for mama, I love that this course is out of her comfort zone. I think there is a lot of value to be gleaned from the author’s work, and the study guide’s themselves. There is a lot for the student to sink their teeth into and enough variety in assignments and projects for them to find something that appeals to them. I’ve enjoyed reading the poetry, and hope to dive into the books as she finishes each one. She and I share a love of reading, and we’re finding it fun to discuss them with each other. I might even glance through the assignments and projects myself just for fun and the challenge.
Lightning Literature and Composition American Christian Authors Teacher’s Guide = $2.95
Lightning Literature and Composition American Christian Authors Student’s Guide = $29.95
No Graven Image = $14.99
You can find sample pages for both guides on their webpages.