American Christian from Hewitt Homeschooling – A Review
I was very excited to have the opportunity to review American Christian Authors from Hewitt Homeschooling, as I was searching for a high school literature curriculum for my kids that would expand the base of authors we read.
Will It Enhance Your Homeschool?
Exposure to New Authors and Points of View
When your homeschooler reaches high school, one of the biggest challenges can be expanding their exposure to literature beyond the authors and books you know yourself. A literature curriculum like the Lightning Literature from Hewitt Homeschooling can do just that.
The selection of authors included in the American Christian Authors Student’s Guide spans the centuries from the early puritans who settled in our country to modern times. Issues are covered that range from the challenges of running a home alone as a woman with children in colonial times, to death of a family member and facing racism head on. Nearly all of the selections in this curriculum require a student who is mature, thus the 11-12 grade level suggestion from the publisher.
Expanding Analysis Skills
This curriculum is designed to push your child beyond their comfort range, but she will expand and solidify ideas and morals and learn how to express them. A good part of the curriculum focuses on literary analysis. These sections are written in a very clear and logical manner and guide your child through the process of thinking about each reading selection.
The author of the curriculum drives your child to expand her ability to consider ideas that are uncomfortable or ideas she may not agree with. This is such an important skill to have for any adult. We will not always agree with one another, but the act of listening and considering a differing opinion allows us to solidify and check our own thoughts.
Acquiring College-Level Composition Skills
One of the best parts of this curriculum is it’s focus on developing college-level composition skills. If you homeschool, you are not generally as tied into the requirements for college. You teach your child at home. You feed them as much information about each subject as you can, regardless of their school-based grade. Many of us, like me, are always worried that they are not teaching their children as much as they should. And so it is really reassuring to have curriculum designed to teach your child English skills that many others learn in college. That way, even if you and your child decide college is not a necessity for them, you know that their competency is on par with college students.
If you are unsure of your ability to evaluate the papers that your child writes with this curriculum, Hewitt Homeschooling offers a paper evaluation service. So no matter what, your child can get a full college-level composition experience.
What Comes With This Product?
Reading Selections Included In The Text
- Anne Bradstreet (selected poems)
- “Another Message in a Bottle” by Walker Percy
- Wendell Berry (selected poems)
Books You Need To Find Separately
- “Can You Drink The Cup?” by Henri Nouen
- “A Circle of Quiet” by Madeline L’Engle
- “Godric” by Frederick Buechner
- Flannery O’Connor
- “No Graven Image” by Elizabeth Elliot
Subjects Covered in Literary Lessons
- Close Reading Techniques
- Writing a Basic Essay
- Critical Thinking and Response
- Writing a Literary Essay
- Considering Truth
- Biblical Response to Sin in Literature
- Evaluating Literature Critically
- Racism in Literature
The Student Guide is designed for use by a 11th or 12th grade high school student to work through, mostly independently. You can also work alongside your child to provide her with a discussion partner and someone to bounce ideas off.
The curriculum is written so well, however, that it would be easy to let your child take the Student Guide and the extra readings, and complete the course with little assistance from you. Personally, I like the working side by side option best as I feel that one of the prime reasons I homeschool my kids is to help them develop and grow their critical thinking skills in an environment grounded by the moral code and faith my husband and I share.
Expand The Readings To Discuss Broad Themes With Your Family
There are optional expansions to the material covered in the appendixes which allow you and your student to discuss and share the concepts covered in the books read as part of the course with other members of your family. There are many broader themes covered in the reading selections that can be used by you as the parent as a springboard for discussions of faith and morals, politics, and social issues.
Schedule For Homeschooling
The Student Guide includes a section that lays out the course in a semester schedule or a year-long schedule. The material in the course is covered in 18 lessons and amounts to a half-credit of work and each suggested lesson is listed on a weekly basis.
Time Required To Teach This
Preparation Time: 30 minutes each week (read material, make notes of some of the vocabulary) I would suggest reading at least the beginning of the books and poems in this course before giving them to your child.
Teaching Time: 0-60 minutes per lesson (The time here depends on whether you have your child work completely independently, or if you read and work together through the material)
Reading the Introduction & Selection: 45-60 minutes per lesson (This curriculum is designed for your child to work independently)
Comprehension Questions: 15-30 minutes per lesson (This curriculum is designed for your child to work independently)
Literary Lesson: 45-60 minutes per lesson (This curriculum is designed for your child to work independently)
Writing Exercise: 3-6 hours per lesson (This includes your child writing, editing, and producing a final version of her paper)
Grading: 30- minutes per lesson (a good bit of the exercises involves writing and some essays are included as part of the exercises as well, which makes the grading longer but you could also use this curriculum to add English Composition Credits as well)
How We Used It
I decided to read the text aloud to my children and discuss as we went. We discussed the comprehension questions aloud as a group (the three of us), and then my children went off to write by themselves. That way I could ensure they were thinking each selection through thoroughly and give them the benefit of group discussion time.
How We Liked It
This is a curriculum designed for high school aged children in a homeschool environment that is rigorous and thorough. I really like the design of the program. The only bit to watch is if you are unfamiliar with the authors chosen for this course, you should read the works before giving them to your children.
I have two children with comprehension and reading levels that have always far exceeded their age. As a result I am constantly trying to find books that challenge them without exposing them to ideas beyond their maturity level. Some of the selections in this curriculum are a bit beyond their maturity level. However, many of the selections are wonderful and exposed my children to new Christian authors, each with unique stories and representing a wide variety of Christian viewpoints.
You don’t need to agree with or enjoy the thoughts of each author in order to learn a tremendous amount with this curriculum. There were some writing selections that my children did not care for. Either they disagreed with the author’s viewpoint or did not care for their writing style. But even these selections provided a grand amount of growth for my kids. They read and they listened and they discussed and they thought. And, finally, they wrote and wrote and wrote. Sometimes the best book to read is one written by someone you disagree with. And these were the selections that stimulated my children the most to mature and develop their writing and thinking skills and also to solidify their thoughts about religion and life.
- Teacher’s Guide
Hewitt Homeschooling offers a teacher’s guide for the curriculum that includes answers to the comprehension questions, teaching schedule, grading aids, and copies of the writing assignments. We did not have any trouble using the Student Guide as a standalone product, as I worked through the lessons side by side with my kids.
- Senior High Diploma Program (incl. paper evaluation and grading)
Hewitt Homeschooling offers Senior High Diploma program which includes grading, evaluation, guidance, and at the end, a diploma which is currently accepted at 75 colleges and universities throughout the country including the U.S. Air Force Academy and Coast Guard Academy. See this link for pricing and detailed information.
A unique aspect of this program is the essay grading service that is included. It looks exceptionally useful if you have children in high school and would like their work to be graded impartially or perhaps you have other younger children at home and you really don’t have the amount of time that fully considering a high school essay will cost in your day. This is an interesting and potentially very useful service, although we did not use it in our review.
Overview Of How This Curriculum
- Designed for Homeschools
- Adapts to Teach Multiple Children (Multiple Ages)
- Works with Gifted Children
Works with these Age Ranges
- High School (11-12)
Good For These Educational Styles
- Charlotte Mason
- Unit Study (you could expand the activity to include a bit of history and art and geography from the time and place of each reading selection)
- Traditional (like public school)
- Language Arts (essays)
- History (living history – covering the time period from the American Colonies to today)
For Kids Who Like
- Independent Work
Additional Hewitt Homeschooling Products Reviewed by the Homeschool Review Crew This Week:
For Elementary Ages
- Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set (Books include: Harold and the Purple Crayon, Madeline, The Snowy Day, caps for Sale, Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones, and Umbrella)
- Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set (Books include: Max’s Words, The Old Woman Who Named Things, The Bee Tree, Teedie, The Story of Young Teddy Roosevelt, Insect Detective, and The Three Questions, Winnie-the-Pooh.)
- Grade 3 Lightning Lit Set (Books include Sarah, Plain and Tall, Rickshaw Girl, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
- Gr 7 Lightning Lit Set (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.)
- Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set (Treasure Island.)
- American Early-Mid 19th Century Gr 9-10 (Books include Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and Narrative of Frederick Douglass’ Life.)
- American Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 9-12 (Books include Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Call of The Wild, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Red Badge of Courage.)
- Speech Gr 9-12, (No additional titles needed.)
- British Early-Mid 19th Century Gr 10-12 (Books include Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, Jane Eyere, and Ivanhoe .)
- British Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 10-12 (Books include Silas Marner, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Great Expectations.)
- British Medieval Gr 10-12 (Books include Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Piers the Ploughman.)
- Shakespeare Comedies Gr 11-12 (Works include Twelfth Night, As You Like It .)
- Shakespeare Tragedies Gr 11-12 (Works include Julius Caesar, Macbeth, King Lear, and Hamlet .)
- British Christian Gr 11-12 (Books include Four Loves, Orthodoxy, and Why Does God Allow War?)
- World Lit 1 Gr 11-12 (Books include Things Fall Apart, An Artist of the Floating World, and This Same Sky.)
- World Lit 2 Gr 11-12 (Books include Malgudi Days, Other Voices, Other Vistas, A Thousand Pieces of Gold, and My Invented Country.)