Torchlight takes a distinctively secular Socratic-inspired approach with Humanist underpinnings. Torchlight supports the Golden Rule, kindness, exploration, questioning, and scientific thinking. A worldly approach full of logic, equality, and empathy. Equality is one of the tenets we venture to exhibit throughout this curriculum.
We have made extensive efforts to find the best literature and materials possible to provide a fantastic and engaging education. Among our criteria, we look for books that help us feature a plethora of skin-tones, backgrounds, nationalities, and perspectives. We strive to find quality materials written from authentic viewpoints, for example Native authors offering a Native perspective of Native history. While we wish our curriculum could achieve the perfect mix of these, sometimes that is too tall an order with current available resources, therefore we will attempt to update our curriculum and book-choices as great literature and resources are created. Among those typically under-represented, we find it of the utmost importance to feature diverse strong female characters in our book choices. This is not an active attempt to leave males out of the narrative, but a balancing of the cultural bias to focus on strong male characters only. Our goal is for all children to see an accurate picture of the capabilities and contributions of all genders and grow up supporting equality. We hope to give them great people to look up to and see their future selves.
Torchlight will help to foster in-depth exploration and allow for flexibility. It is our hope that a balanced learning experience may be found to accommodate the needs of each learner and their learning partner. Torchlight was created to fulfill the idea of the adult learning alongside the child using the Socratic method to find answers in later learning years, and ask quality questions. Socrates’ philosophy held that students should never be fed the answers, instead, they should be taught to ask quality questions. This process leads to the self-discovery of facts, including the how and why behind them. It instills the learner with confidence and the know-how to answer any question and solve any problem.
Books in each level are split into two categories, those you will use throughout the year (bolded) and those you will only need for shorter periods (non-bolded). This will allow you to choose which books you want to own versus which books you can, and are encouraged to borrow from your local library. To enhance the learning experience, look for the book selections with a quality audiobook option noted by this symbolU. This will not only enrich the experience of the listener but allow for more enjoyment of both the learner and learning partner. We welcome you to explore the currently available levels and sign up for our mailing list in our contact form. Also, join us on facebook for updated release announcements.
Eclectic In Nature
Torchlight is an eclectic curriculum. We include hands-on learning, game-schooling, car-schooling options, direct-linked media, and extra bedtime story recommendations into our curriculum to spread out the learning and make it a lifestyle.
This also helps to integrate learning and decrease focused learning time commitments while increasing the benefit. We wrap it all in to provide a varied and full learning experience. With this variety we hope to be able to serve a wide-range of learning styles and feel confident each day’s lessons will resonate with a plethora of learners. We are always just a click away if you feel there is a sizable unmet need within the homeschooling community that we might be able to incorporate in future editions.
We encourage the use of libraries and borrowing. If this is not an option some of the materials can be skipped while still providing a full and solid education. All “extras” are completely optional. This includes apps, shows, extra videos, games, and bedtime stories.
If a curriculum book choice does not fit your family, there are alternatives, which are listed under the “Alternatives” section. These alternatives are not scheduled, but can easily be swapped in. There are also books listed under “supplements” and can add to the learning or be used to replace a scheduled book choice. If you and your learner start a book and after giving it a solid chance (approximately 3 chapters), it does not capture or resonate with you, we encourage you to choose an alternative or move on. Forcing unengaged reading will lead to aversions, which is in complete opposition to our mission.
A lot of care, attention, and research has gone into locating great literature and resources for each year that align with our philosophy and ethics, but there is always room for improvement as better materials appear on the market. We are open to and welcome recommendations you might have that would better the quality and diversity and hope you will share any gems you may find with us for consideration in a future update.
Pantomime Poetry is a Torchlight original(included in levels 1+) developed based on cross-body movement studies showing kids were more engaged and had far better memory retention when making movements over the middle and center lines of the body. With or without the science, moving is fun!
Playing choreographer and coming up with your own pantomime movements for a fun new poem is just a good time, at least it is for us. Anecdotally, our kids adored it and two years later still recite the poems we learned with minimal practice of 1-2x a day with the promise of a performance for family at the end of the week, if they wished. This is the intention for Torchlight’s poetry selections, but if this does not appeal to your learner we hope you will alter it. If Tea Time is more your speed, we are right there with you. If memorization is simply not a fit and you prefer exposure instead, we understand. Make a song out of the poem or partake in creating your own poem inspired by the selection. However you choose to fit it in, we support you.
Weaving Learning Into Your Life Instead of Weaving Life Around Your Learning
We encourage our families to break up their learning and use everyday opportunities to integrate the learning within our pages. One way to accomplish this is to take advantage of our daily or weekly commutes to run errands and attend activities.
Quality audiobooks are indicated within this curriculum to help you take advantage of this. The included Classical Kids MP3s in our Level K art studies are perfectly suited for this as well. As a matter of fact, our family does both of these things consistently and the car is where some of our absolute best conversations happen. We also use car rides to allow our progressing readers to practice with a captive audience. When random, but wonderful questions come up along the way we discuss them or commit to looking them up once we are able. If you do not often drive, then listening over lunch or tea is also a wonderful option.
Weaving scheduled reading into your day is a great option as opposed to scheduling one large block of reading time. We encourage our families to use morning breakfast, lunch time, and bedtime to fit in reading. We personally love a good bedtime story so much that we included an extra list of quality bedtime stories. Another great thing about books is that they are quite portable. Read out on the lawn, in a park, out to lunch, with your toes in the sand at the beach, or even at the library.