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Torchlight Homeschool – A Secular Curriculum For Holistic Child Development
Are you looking for a homeschool curriculum?
If the answer to these questions is yes, you may likely have resorted to homeschool curriculums online. But if that is the case with you, I am sure you would be hyperventilating by now.
Yes, there are endless choices, and each one appears to be perfect for you.
So how do you make a choice?
You do some research, get to know yourself better as a teacher, find out more about your children’s learning styles, and silently hope that you have made the right choice. But then mishaps do happen, and we all make wrong choices.
Thus, I decided to do research on the homeschool curriculums available in order to shed some light on the pros and cons of each curriculum for my readers. During my research, I came across a homeschool curriculum that I thought is really interesting, and this is the Torchlight Literature-Based Secular Curriculum.
The extensive, diverse, engaging, and flexible literature-based homeschool curriculum is what you need for your young learners. The program takes a secular approach inspired by Socrates’ inquiry-led learning to transform you and your children into enlightened and more aware individuals.
Thus, it is not a regular homeschool curriculum that is designed to teach academics to your kids. Rather, it’s a connected program for the entire family where you can simultaneously homeschool more than one child using resources of the same level while learning and growing alongside your child.
In this post, I am going to share a lot more about the very interesting homeschool curriculum, Torchlight! But before I get into the program’s details, let me share a little about how it all started.
It all started with Tiffany Petty, a homeschool mom who wasn’t satisfied with the homeschool curriculums available on the market. The desire to get the best for her children pushed her to do a little more for children worldwide.
Using her professional experience as an Education and Marketing Director and as a board member for three curriculum boards, she was all set to create a curriculum for homeschooling kids.
Her bigger idea was to develop content that would allow learners to find information while maintaining their desire to know more. Moreover, she wanted each learner to develop into an empathetic, confident individual who can embrace and celebrate diversity and equality.
Her desire to develop a holistic curriculum inspired by her kids soon changed her into an entrepreneur who was ready to serve people around the world.
She is connected to homeschool parents globally through the internet. The curriculum development and the associated business started in 2017 and is still progressing. Petty and her team has made extensive efforts to find the best and most relevant learning materials and literature so your child can get the best possible experience.
Moreover, the curriculum is designed to foster in-depth exploration both for the learner and their learning partner. At the end of the day, it’s not just your child who will be learning and finding answers, but you, as a homeschool parent, too, will be growing and developing as an individual.
Petty still knows that the world of content and curriculum is far from perfect. But she, along with her team, is adamant to passionately progress towards finding the most balanced materials and pieces of literature for all school-aged children. And she is striving towards her goal.
Let’s take a closer look at what she has created so far and what makes her program different from the rest of the homeschool curriculums available online.
Now let’s take a look at this holistic homeschool curriculum, Torchlight.
Torchlight – Program Overview
Torchlight is quite an extensive literature-based secular curriculum that is truly inspired by the Socratic approach. The program encourages critical thinking, kindness, empathy, logic, and equality, along with scientific thinking and questioning. The approach is to incorporate literature into learning materials for students of all ages so kids can learn more about history and culture without being overwhelmed by the subject’s broad scope.
The program encourages in-depth exploration of various interconnected subjects. Moreover, it allows for flexibility, so it is easier to learn the content at home.
Torchlight is one of the very few homeschool curriculums that focus on adult learning along with children. So when both the child and their learning partners are trying to find answers using the Socratic method, there is a greater learner for all the people involved in the homeschooling process.
Socratic discussions allow you to broaden your current worldview and challenge you to find out the details behind the very facts you encounter every day. With the help of this program, parents can teach their children to ask quality questions to find out more about the facts and understand all the hows and whys behind them.
Torchlight truly believes that its program will not only help children become better students academically, it will also help hone their skills in lifelong learning.
An Extensive Learning Program
The program is a complete solution for your kid’s learning. It includes several features such as direct-linked media, hands-on learning, game-schooling, car-schooling options, and extra bedtime story recommendations. All these features make the program more of a lifestyle rather than a homeschooling program. It integrates different learning areas to decrease the amount of time you and your child need to spend on focused learning.
Moreover, it is flexible. The program gives learners and their parents the flexibility to pick up the most relevant content for them. If you look at the book list, there are alternative suggestions for the books, so if you feel a certain book does not fit in your family, you can always find an alternative.
Furthermore, the curriculum is designed to benefit more than one kid in a certain age range from the program. Each level comes with extensions, so if you have two children with less than three years of age difference, they can both can benefit from the same program. While it will save your investment, it will also create an opportunity for better family bonding that fosters healthier sibling relationships for a lifetime.
The program encourages families to use the curriculum as a benchmark to break up their kid’s learning and integrate the content’s learning into everyday life. Torchlight believes that you don’t have to invest a lot of time in structured learning, rather integrate learning into everyday life, and you will see phenomenal growth in your children in no time.
What Makes Torchlight Curriculum Unique?
Torchlight is a flexible homeschool program, but what makes this unstructured approach to teaching so unique? Let’s look at some of the exceptional features of the Torchlight curriculum.
Torchlight is a literature-based learning program that focuses more on real literature rather than conventional textbooks. The bigger idea behind this philosophy is to develop critical thinking and the art of questioning among people of all ages. Only literature can help you accomplish this goal.
But why would you choose a literature-based program for six years old?
Research suggests that literature-based learning allows students to gain worldly knowledge while giving them an insight into human psychology. With a better understanding of how other people think and feel, your child will grow up into a more empathetic young adult who not only knows the poetic verses and related vocabulary but can also think, reason, and relate to people of all ages.
And that’s precisely what the goal of Torchlight is. If you think your kids are too young to learn empathy, think again. We are born with an innate inclination towards being empathetic to other humans and all life forms. So why not build on this ability right from the start.
Another unique feature of Torchlight is that the curriculum is secular. It is not specific for any religion and does not include anything specifically related to religious orders, rules, and vows.
Here is the very basic reason for that. When you keep religion out of the equation, there is a lot more questioning, and when you ask more, you always learn more. And that’s the objective of Torchlight. The curriculum allows you to question everything you find around yourself and find out reasons. And you can only learn the actual reasons if religion is not an area of debate in the learning process.
Many homeschool parents often ask how you can teach literature and history without religion. If this question pops up in your mind, it would be best to look at the Torchlight curriculum and find out how they have managed to do this fantastic job.
Torchlight is a very flexible homeschool program that allows modifications based on your convenience. The curriculum author completely understands the challenges that homeschool parents experience. And for an enhanced learning experience, the team has created the content with extensions, alternates, and supplement books that can meet different students’ needs at varying levels.
For each level from Pre-K till level 4, you will find extensions. So if you think your child is already at a certain level and you want to add more rigor to the learning process, you can always use the extensions and take learning to the next level.
Moreover, each level’s book list comes with two sections; the spine and extra book additions. A spine is a book that you will need to use frequently throughout a certain level so you can purchase such books. However, there are several other supplementing books that you will use less frequently. Torchlight does not encourage investment in such books. Rather the program encourages you to borrow these books from the local library.
To add more flexibility to the program to meet older learners’ needs, the writing assignments are open-ended. It allows the parents to set the expectations and the level of rigor and complexity of the task.
While the program offers immense flexibility, it is a complete learning program that can allow learners of varying age groups to grasp academic content while developing the skills they need for a happy and successful life.
Based On Socratic Approach To Discussions
But what exactly is the Socratic approach, and how can you do that with younger children?
Theoretically, there is no set pattern of a Socratic discussion. There are no rules or specific style that defines how the discussion is performed. The foundation of the style was adopted from Socrates’ habit of answering questions by asking more questioning.
Again, the Socratic discussion’s idea aligns with Torchlight’s core concept of flexibility, where there is no set pattern for the discussion, and it only progresses by asking more questions and digging deeper into the concept.
The approach is beneficial as it allows your kids to explore multiple perspectives. But it is equally productive for you as it encourages you to question your biases and preconceived notions.
With this approach, you may not reach a specific correct answer; rather, you develop a skill that will help you and your kids keep an open mind and welcome questioning in everyday life. And it’s something that can allow you and your kids to change and grow drastically.
Torchlight Placement Tool
Another distinct feature of Torchlight is that it comes with a placement tool. If you are not sure which level is appropriate for your child, you can always visit the website and use the Torchlight Level Placement Tool. It is a quick and super easy quiz that can help you find your young learners’ right level.
Allows You To Combine More Than One Learners
The programs not only allow to combine more than one learner but also encourages practice. If the learners in your homeschool are close in age, you can pick up a single level and combine more than one learner. This is perhaps the program’s best feature (and it’s also a personal favorite one!).
Torchlight was created to be flexible where parents with multiple learners can homeschool their children at their convenience while staying sane. With the extension ideas, you can teach your younger learners while keeping the older ones engaged with the same concept.
With this program, you not only save cost, but you create a learning environment that fosters sibling relationships and some great family fun time together.
A Few Missing Features Of The Program
There may be many features that make Torchlight a unique homeschool program. However, based on my research, it appears that the curriculum still has a few missing features. I think as a homeschool parent, you should know about them so you can make a better decision for your children.
As my research on this curriculum is purely web-based, I stand to be corrected by those of you who are already using this program and have found these features included in the program.
Level Pre-K – 4
So far, you can find a homeschool curriculum for levels Pre-K till level 4, which means that there is no curriculum available for older children.
However, Torchlight is continuously working on developing relevant content and extensions to give better support to homeschool parents. The team, along with the lead author, is determined to release one level per year along with new individual studies as well as the extensions. However, unforeseen circumstances can always hamper the process.
Nonetheless, Torchlight would never compromise on the quality to speed up the curriculum development process. Even with lesser levels, you can be sure that you are getting the best for your child. If you have kids younger than 13 years old, you can get the maximum benefit from this program; however, you will need to look for alternatives for older kids.
The Curriculum Does Not Fully Align With State Standards
A few elements within the Torchlight curriculum align with the state standards. However, state learning standards vary significantly across states, and Torchlight does not claim to be aligned with all state standards.
Moreover, the curriculum is not accredited. However, not being accredited does not reflect on the quality of the content and does not compromise the students’ and their families’ learning.
Does Not Come With Any Tests Or Assessments
Torchlight is a highly flexible homeschool curriculum that heavily relies on unstructured teaching. Thus, it doesn’t come with any built-in assessments or forms of testing the program’s knowledge.
However, the content provides enough opportunities for the students and their parents to create assessments that can demonstrate the learning. Moreover, several open-ended writing assignments can help you assess different aspects of writing, including grammar, punctuations, and vocabulary.
Downloadable Content Has A 60-Day Download Term
Another shortcoming of the program is that it comes with a 60-day download term. It’s an entirely online program that you have to download once you purchase it. However, the access is provided for 60-days only, which means you have to completely download all the content related to the program within two months following the purchase. You can save the downloaded copy on your desktop or your laptop.
P.S. You will only get access to the soft copy of the content. If you want, you can always print the content depending on your need and convenience. However, you cannot sell the printed curriculum to any person who has not purchased the website’s content.
If you are planning to homeschool your kids and are looking for a flexible, unstructured homeschooling curriculum, the Torchlight Curriculum is something you should definitely check out.
It is an age-appropriate, holistic learning program that doesn’t expect you to draw a line between learning academic content and your life in general. Rather, it’s an approach that inculcates learning into your lifestyle so you and your kids can learn and grow together throughout.
Lastly, but importantly, it serves as a foundation for both you and your child to be open to questioning and probing more into details, a skill that will allow you and your kids to be lifelong learners.
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