Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 27

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Welcome to the 60's! This week we learned about The Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, and the presidency and assassination of John F. Kennedy. We had the opportunity to chat with my inlaws about their experiences and what they remember from the 60's. They grew up in D.C and Alabama and then went to college in Florida. Many of the events we have read about these past few weeks happened in their own back yards. The Cuban Missile Crisis happened while they were students in Florida. They said it was a frightening time, and I can see why! The one great regret I have is not having asked my grandparents more questions about their lives. I didn't know I would be such a lover of history when they were still around. Go talk to your elders while yous till can.

Aedan drew a beautiful picture of Apollo 11 from Draw and Write Through History. JFK pledged that he would put a man on the moon. He didn't get to see that incredible day because his life was tragically cut short. We read about how televisions around the world tuned in to see that first step of man on the moon.

I haven't written much about the spines we have been reading through this year, but we are really enjoying all of them. Each one is very readable and easy to understand.

Cuban Missile Crisis - October 1962 A.D.

We looked at a map of the range of nuclear weapons that the Soviets were being brought into Cuba during the early 60's. I can see why everyone was so scared of nuclear war.

We mapped the various locations of U.S. occupied in Cuba and just how close they are to American soil.

President Kennedy is Assassinated - November 22, 1963

My boys are Marvel fans. I'm pretty sure Magneto isn't responsible for the assassination of JFK!

Aedan wrote about JFK's presidency and added a few other things that happened in the 60's (Si Robertson in Vietnam and Doctor Who.)

Our President of the week was John F. Kennedy. I seriously have no idea how Carrie from HOD times everything to come together perfectly every week.

I love how many great speeches we have gotten the chance to listen to and read each week.

This week we listened to several JFK speeches.

This is JFK's inauguration speech.

We also listened to a speech he gave in Germany in Berlin where he addressed communism and the Berlin Wall.

Apollo 11 Mission Lands on Moon - July 20, 1969 A.D.

This is a totally random Doctor Who reference to when one of the villains in the show was on the moon. The episode even referenced the moon germs that everyone was so afraid the astronauts would bring back to earth. The show does actually have quite a few historical references that my boys wouldn't get if they didn't know as much as they do about history.

This is a manual for the Apollo 11 mission.

We started a new storytime book. Team Moon is the story about the 400,000 people responsible for making the moon landing possible. The mission encountered many obstacles and had to be tested and tested (and tested) in order to be a successful and safe mission for the astronauts.

We also read in Rescue and Redeem about the life of C.S. Lewis. We really how this book approaches these figures in history in a short biographical way. We got to listen to some of the few remaining audio clips of C.S. Lewis. It was neat hearing the voice of a man I have read for so many years.

Aedan studied rocks and farm animals for his Nature Drawing & Journal. Our poem this week was "Written in March" by Wordsworth. It was the perfect poem to read in the first days of spring.

We just started a new science kit last week. This week our experiment was to extract the DNA of a tomato.

Doesn't look like this is a recipe for disaster? Silas asked, "What kind of salad are you making mom!?"

First we had to cut the tomato up, and then we added a salt and soap mixture.

Then we mixed up the mixture.

We added it to our food processor and whipped it up.

Next we were supposed to strain the mixture through a filter, but we realized we had far too many bubbles.

After the tomato, soap, and salt mixture settled we were able to get a more watery fluid to try and filter again.

It took a while for the liquid mixture to filter through.

Next we added the denatured alcohol. We had put it in the freezer over night to cool it.

The cooled alcohol wash was supposed separate the DNA from the mixture. We saw some of the cloudy crystals we were supposed to see at first.

We were supposed to mix it carefully. I don't think we got exactly what we were supposed to get. When I looked at other images of the same experiment it wasn't what we were looking for. Such is science...a series of trial and error. Both boys are enjoying the Evolution science book and videos nevertheless.

Aedan finished My Animal and Other Friends and is now working through the workbook on a lesson in humor. Next week he will work on writing a paper.

We are both enjoying this bible study by Hewitt Homeschooling. Each week we map the different countries and what they believe. We pray each day for the people of the world together. It will be a great introduction to what we will be doing in world geography and cultures next year in high school.

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Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 27

We are happily moving forward here at Monarch Room. It took a few days to adjust to Daylight Savings Time, but the longer days and sun have helped perk us up after a long winter. Hopefully we won't regret taking more breaks and ending a little later this year. The extra breaks have really helped us relax more and enjoy catching up on life outside of school.

Lightning Lit & Comp - American & British Literature {Review}

Friday, March 17, 2017

Are you ready to swoon? If you're a bibliophile like me, you will have to fan yourself a little once you take a look at all of these lovely treasures we get to explore over the next few years. Nothing, no nothing gets me as excited as a beautiful stack of books!

I remember the moment I fell in love with history, and it wasn't in a history class. I fell in love with history in my first literature course I took in college. It was the first time I heard the voices from the past, and it was then that I wanted to learn more about the history of humankind. I was so tired of dry and dusty textbooks. It took me a while before I found a literature program that focused on the types of books I personally would choose. I found it was really difficult to find a company that chooses classics based not only on literary merit, but also historical significance. I love that Lightning Lit's book choices not only highlight excellent writing, but often also give a voice to a time and place. My hope is that my boys, too, will fall in love with literature and history when they hear these voices from so long ago.

Teaching high school literature can be intimidating if you don't have the background for it. Fortunately, we found a great program a few years ago that takes the guess work out of it all. If you've followed us here over the past few years, you have heard me mention our love of a new literature program we discovered back in 7th grade. I will share how Lightning Lit 7 & 8 went for us in a separate post, but for now I want to share where we are headed for high school next year.

Some decisions for high school curricula were easier than others. As soon as I took one look at the Lightning Lit book high school book choices, I was completely sold. Lightning Literature is published by Hewitt Homeschooling. If you take a look at their website you'll see that they have many literature guides spanning from 1st though 12th grades. They are still developing some of their guides for the late elementary age, but the choices and support abound.

After looking through the high school guide choices I settled on the American Early-Mid 19th Century and American Mid-Late 19th Century American guides for 9th grade. Hewitt Homeschooling suggests starting with the American guides in 9th grade as they are the most easily understood of the high school selections. They also suggest completing two high school guides for one full English credit, completing one each semester to earn an honors credit. You may instead choose to complete only one guide over one full year for a basic credit. We have chosen to complete both guides in one year.

The high school guides come with a bound student book and a 3-hole punched teacher guide. The student guide includes lessons for each book, but they also include additional short stories and poems that are used in the course.

 The first guide we will work through next year for 9th grade is the American Literature: Early-Mid 19th Century Guide.

Each novel, short story, and selection of poetry has a correlating lesson. I have listed each corresponding lesson under each set of books. This is one of my favorite things about Lightning Lit. It's one thing to teach a lesson on humor, but not until you read a good example of humor in an excellent book like Tom Sawyer or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will you really understand how it can be used effectively in writing.

 American Literature - Early - Mid 19th Century
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin - Autobiography - Autobiography
"The Angler" by Washington Irving* - Sources of Ideas
Poems by William C. Bryant* - Rhyme and Lines in Poetry
Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass - Persuasive Writing
"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar A. Poe* - Tone and Mood
The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - Conflict
Moby Dick by Herman Melville - Character Development
Poems by Henry W. Longfellow* - Meter in Poetry

* Included in Student Guide

Our second semester we will work through the American Literature: Mid-Late 19th Century guide. This guide covers the following books, short stories, and poems.

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe - Setting and Theme
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman* - Sound and Imagery in Poetry
"The Outcasts of Poker Flats" by Brete Harte* - Local Color
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain - Humor
Poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar* - Register
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane - Description
Poems by Emily Dickinson* - Figurative Language
The Call of the Wild by Jack London - Point of View

* Included in Student Guide

First, I will walk you through how a lesson works in the Student Guide. Later on in the post I will walk you through what is in the Teacher's Guide.

One of the first things I did when I got my Lightning Lit guides was to dive into one of the books myself. I like to try to read the books I assign my kids each year to see if I am setting realistic expectations. I was a literature major long ago before this whole homeschool gig, so reading these beautiful books is no sacrifice for me. So many books, so little time!

Uncle Tom's Cabin is the first book the students read in the Mid-Late Century guide. At over 600 pages I was thinking this might prove to be a challenge. Once I got into the story I realized that it was easier to read than I expected. The lesson was clear and very helpful in singling out important items of information. I could write a whole separate post on how this book impacted me, but I'll save that for another day. Because my son had already been reading Lightning Lit 7 and then 8 books, I think he will be able to handle these literature selections. There seems to be a progression in the choices from 7th and into high school.

Before reading the book the students will read a short introduction on the author. I love this because it sets the stage for asking why the author might have written such a book. You can tell that the authors of the student guides love literature themselves in the way they approach each book.

Each book has a lesson that is derived from that book. For instance, the lesson in Uncle Tom's Cabin is about Setting and Theme. If ever there was a book with a strong central theme it is this one. This book so strongly communicated the evils of slavery that it was the spark that ignited the Civil War in America. This is one of my favorite parts of Lightning Lit. They use each book, short story, and poem as a lesson in how to effectively use different literary elements by drawing from the example of excellent works of literature.

While they are reading, there are comprehension questions that they are to answer.

After they complete the reading there is a written lesson that they are to read. These are always done really well and explain the literary concept in relation to the book they just read. It's far easier to understand a literary device in the context of great writing. The student book gives examples of how that device was used and how they can also use it in their writing too.

I especially love the writing assignment suggestions in Lightning Lit. Some writing programs might leave a little too much room for interpretation, or may instead leave little room for creativity. I find that the writing assignment suggestions in Lightning Lit are not only valuable as far as teaching how to write, but are also really fun. My eldest son has really had a great time with his writing assignments this year in Lightning Lit 8. It's been fun for me to see him discover his writer's voice, and enjoy doing so in the process.

Lightning Lit & Comp - High School British Literature

I had already planned on using Lightning Lit American when the folks at Hewitt Homeschooling kindly sent me their British Literature guides for review. My plan had been to follow up the American guides with the British books for our 10th grade year, so the opportunity to preview these books was such a joy for me!

I mean...I can't even. Are these books beautiful or what?

The British guides follow a similar format. The books in these sets are a step up in difficulty, however, from the American book selections.

 The British Literature: Early-Mid 19th Century guide is the first of 2 British literature guides.

British Literature - Early - Mid 19th Century
Poems by William Blake* - Tone
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Characterization
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott - Description
"Essay on Scott" by Thomas Carlyle* -  Persuasive Writing
Poetry by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron & Shelley* - Imagery & Poetic Language
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - Setting
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - Person
"Rebecca and Rowena" by William Thackeray* - Humor

* Included in Student Guide

The British Literature Mid-Late 19th Century is the second of two British guides.

British Literature - Mid - Late 19th Century

"The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson* - Rythym in Poetry
Silas Marner by George Eliot - Plot
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Conflict
Poems by Lewis Carroll* - Rhyme in Poetry
"The Silverado Squatters" by Robert L. Stevenson* - Local Color
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde - Theme
"Adventure of the Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur C. Doyle* - Genre Fiction
The Complete Stalky & Co by Rudyard Kipling - Sources of Ideas

* Included in Student Guide
It is fun for me to see some of my favorite books show up on these lists. I absolutely love Jane Eyre! I plan to read all of these books, and in some cases re-read them for my own pleasure. It will be fun for me to read them with a more mature mind than I had all those years ago when I read them the first time.

Next, I want to give you a peek into the Teacher's Guide, and to show you how it works. You can find a sample of the guide's Table of Contents, Intro and Grading Tips and Schedule.

The Lightning Lit Teacher's Guides are especially helpful. They give clear instruction on how to use the course, offer grading tips, and provide grading rubrics for different types of papers that will be assigned during the course.

I really appreciate the various checklists and grading templates. Going into our first year of high school these will save me so much hassle and worry!

There is a sheet that gives a place to add credit for comprehension questions as well. These comprehension questions along with vocabulary work and written papers each count for a percentage of the total grade.

As I mentioned earlier there are two schedules in each guide from which to choose. You can choose to do one guide over a full year, or choose to use 2 guides, covering one each semester. I really appreciate when a company offers a way to daily schedule a course. This saves so much time!

I love that there are answers to the comprehension questions that are asked in the student guide. While we moms have the best of intentions to read all the books, sometimes time won't allow that during busy seasons, or while still we are still chasing little ones. Having the answers helps so much in refreshing my memory on what happened, or orienting me to the story when I don't have the time to get to the reading myself.

One thing that is a little different from the Junior High guides is that there are discussion questions and project suggestions at the end of the teacher guide. I love that they include Art, History/Geography, Religion/Bible, and Science/Health & Nature project suggestions. Some of these look really fun! I hope to employ some of the art lessons in teaching my son, who has always loved illustrating what he is learning.

Also, just in case you're wondering, Hewitt Homeschooling is so much more than a literature curriculum publisher. They offer course syllabi for many different programs. They sent me the Apologia Biology Syllabus and Tests as I was planning on using that course next year as well. I really like how their schedules clearly set forth the expectations for the course. This year we are using their I Dare You! Bible Study Syllabus, and it's been an awesome study! The next thing I want to check out at Hewitt is their PASS Test which is a standardized test made for homeschoolers that you can administer at home. It would be nice to be able to see the progress my students have made minus the pressure of other test options.

If you made it to the end of this post, I give you an honorary bibliophile of the year award! Hopefully you feel you have been given a clear picture on how this fantastic program works, and that you might even be excited to check it out yourself. I can't wait to dive into these books with my son. He has already added many of our Lightning Lit 7 & 8 books to his list of favorite books of all time list. It was such a joy to hear him add Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland, and A Christmas Carol to his favorites. Classics are classics for a reason. If they can still reach through time and touch a 14 year old boy, that's the sign of a really fantastic book. I look forward to seeing what his new favorites are next year.

Disclaimer: In exchange for this review Hewitt Homeschooling sent me the British Early-Mid & Late-Mid 19th Century Student and Teacher Guides. All of the opinions are shared with the sincerest honesty and are my own.

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