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This post about British Literature: Mid – Late 19th Century was made possible with a copy of the student text and answer key from Hewitt Homeschooling for review as part of the Homeschool Review Crew. We also received limited access to their paper evaluation service.
Even though I trained in the sciences for college, I have had a serious soft spot for books of all genres. For years, I was bordering on obsessed with all things British including literature. So, I am always up for an excuse to have my boys read from some of the great works.
About British Literature: Mid – Late 19th Century from Hewitt Homeschooling
The Lightning Literature & Composition courses are designed for homeschool students to acquire college-level composition skills through response to great literature.
This particular course is meant for high school students that have completed at least one Lightning Literature course, are studying world history, or have a high interest in British Literature. This particular course is more complex than their American Literature but less complex than the Shakespeare courses, British Christian Literature, or British Medieval Literature.
Like other Lightning Literature courses, you will need the student guide, teacher’s guide and assigned novels to complete the work.
Student & Teacher Guides
The Student Guide contains all the information needed for the student to work through the material. Each of the 4 units contains 2 lessons and can be completed in one semester by most students.
There is a suggested pace for a semester course as well as how to spread it out over a year if desired. You can find these suggested schedules in both the student and teacher guides.
The schedules list out tasks for the week, allowing the parent or student to determine the actual daily work required. It includes two papers for each book and one paper for each shorter work being studied. That is the amount of composition required for students enrolled in Hewitt and can be adjusted by the parent as needed.
Aside from the reading of the assigned texts, students have introductions on each work to read in the guide as well as lessons on topics such as plot, conflict, theme, and rhyme in poetry. Comprehension Questions are given for each reading selection as well.
The Teacher’s Guide includes rubrics to help with grading their work. Grading tips are given specific to nonfiction and poetry work as well as a few ‘final words’ on how to provide constructive criticism. A grading template is provided for papers which spreads the focus out over ten categories.
For the Mid – Late 19th Century course, the grade is composed of written papers (12 in total), comprehension questions done as they go through each selection, and vocabulary work. It is suggested that the written papers comprise 80% of their grade with the comprehension questions and vocabulary work each counting for 10% of the final grade.
Suggested responses to Comprehension Questions as well a discussion question responses and project suggestions complete the information in the Teacher Guide.
Sequence of Selections in the Course
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson (selected poems; text in this Guide)
- George Eliot (novel: Silas Marner)
- Charles Dickens (novel: Great Expectations)
- Lewis Carroll: (selected poems; text in this Guide)
- Robert Louis Stevenson (travelogue/essay, text in this Guide:”The Silverado Squatters”)
- Oscar Wilde (play: The Importance of Being Earnest)
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (short story, text in this Guide: “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”)
- Rudyard Kipling (novel: Stalky & Co.)
Paper Evaluation Service from Hewitt Homeschooling
Something that is being offered to homeschool parents is a writing evaluation service. For some, the evaluation of a child’s writing can be a struggle. Hewitt offers a few options to help with this.
Their Paper Evaluation Service has them evaluate up to 24 of your student’s papers for $250. This is a NEW service and is available for junior and senior high students. We received limited access to this service (a total of 4 papers.) This service only provides an evaluation and does not issue a suggested grade. As high school students typically have 12 written assignments per semester, that is one year of evaluations.
They do ask you to expect up to a 2-week turnaround for evaluation and grading when submitted electronically.
Our Experience Using Mid – Late 19th Century from Hewitt Homeschooling
While this is not the first time I have used a program from Hewitt Homeschooling in my home, it is the first time for my rising 12th grader to use one.
For this review period, he has worked on the first unit which encompasses selected poems from Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the novel Silas Marner by George Eliot. This fits the pace for year-long course. However, I plan to have him pick up the pace some to be completed before Thanksgiving. (We have the British Medieval Literature course in the house which I plan to have him do for the Spring semester.)
As it is summer, I met with extra resistance from my son to dig into a meaty subject.
Thoughts on the Curriculum
This course is heavily slanted towards written essays. For some homeschool parents, this might seem a bit harsh especially if you have a reluctant writer. However, the Lightning Literature courses seek to prepare them to do well in a college setting where you may find a professor issuing a final grade based on only one or two pieces of work.
One thing that is mentioned in the Student Guide’s Introduction is using movie versions of the selections. While they do leave the decision up to the parent, it is strongly suggested to let the literature speak for itself.
That being said, I have found it beneficial to watch a movie version after reading the selection. Some pieces are more challenging and details can easily be missed by a student eager to plow through the book. And, occasionally, there are exceptional versions of the classic brought to life. (The A&E version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth is one that comes to mind.)
Another feature I like is the Appendix of Additional Reading. Each featured author has a list of other works that can be added to the class or used for free reading suggestions.
Thoughts on the Paper Evaluation Service
My boys have always been more conscientious when completing an assignment for another person. The same held true for the assignment my son provided for submission to be evaluated and graded.
As my son was working at a snail’s pace, we only sent one paper in for review so far. It did take nearly the 2 weeks to be returned. Having graded a lot of work over the years, I can appreciate the time needed to provide the service. As a homeschool parent, I prefer a slightly quicker (one week) turnaround so that issues can be addressed more quickly. However, I know that having this option can lift a weight off my shoulders and help guide my son in improving his writing without thinking I devalue his work.
On the returned paper, there were copious notes as well as a yellow chat symbol that expands to include more information for the student. For this assignment, I admit to hesitating to send it in without offering my own opinions. I feel that my son can learn more by getting that feedback from the other person. So, I left it as is before submitting.
Have you used any of the literature programs from Hewitt Homeschooling?
Is British Literature on your high school student’s schedule?
Would you pay for their Paper Evaluation Service?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit Hewitt Homeschooling on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this book.