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  1. #11


    I wrote one of the BYL vs TL comparison articles, and it definitely wasn't marketing, lol. People kept asking about BYL vs TL on Facebook and I had a giant comment I'd written, and then started to copy-paste, from looking through them (I'm curriculum addicted). People kept saying I should turn it into a blog post and a friend of a friend offered to let me put it on their site. So I polished it up and sent it to her. Evidently when I polish my writing it feels like advertising? 🤣

    I really like it and feel it is significantly more diverse in representation of minorities and neurodiversity, and like that the "Socratic" part of its eclectic approach at the young age largely means teaching them to question things and look for evidence, but, of course, ymmv.

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  3. #12


    Quote Originally Posted by NotYourName View Post
    Oh, not only is there no about me, but I emailed the author and asked her what her qualifications are, who she is, etc. I received no response.

    I found out who she is and posted her name on a Facebook page. The TL author contacted the group admin and asked them to remove the link.

    It is VERY offputting and unnerving that her identity is so secretive.
    It looks like your concern, or maybe others with similar concerns, spurred a change:


  4. #13


    We tried TL Level 1 for about six weeks. Yesterday I sold the entire thing.

    I will absolutely pull her book lists in and think the literary choices are great, but there were too many moving parts, things that didn't work for us, etc.

  5. #14


    Can you say more about what didn’t work for you? It’s on my shortlist for K and I want to know more about it so I can make an informed decision.

  6. #15


    We are using level K and we are one of the few I've noticed that actually like it for the most part.

    I don't use the schedule as written because I'm not a schedule kind of person. We read the books more or less in order but I don't stress over getting X amount done in a day or even in a week. We school year round so I don't care if we actually finish in the 36 weeks they have scheduled so that might make a difference.

    We skip the Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls book entirely. I just didn't like it at all. I come up with my own biographies or we skip it. For example, for the first week, which the country focus is Russia, the reading selection from Rebel Girls is about Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist and human rights activist who, in a nutshell, died a martyr's death for free speech. Admirable for sure and worth discussing but not something I want to cover the first week of school with a kindergartner. We chose to use a book from the library about Igor Sikorsky, the man who invented the helicopter, instead. Much more interesting to my five year old at least.

    The Mercy Watson books, which my son adores, are divided up over several days which may be fine for some kindergartners who aren't used to listening to read aloud chapter books but my son likes to listen an entire Mercy Watson book in one sitting. I've seen some k'ers who could read Mercy Watson on their own. I find it odd that the Mercy Watson books are scheduled broken up like that at the same time as the Zoey and Sassafras books which are I'd say a step or two above Mercy Watson in terms of verbal density and attention span required. Maybe it's just me but I would think that a child who needs the Mercy Watson books broken up into several sessions to finish a book wouldn't have the attention span to listen to 2 - 3 chapters of Zoey and Sassafras as well in the same day if that makes sense. For us it wasn't a big deal, we just used Zoey and Sassafras as our lit and science on those weeks but I just found it a bit odd to schedule it like that.

    The Naturally Curious science units are fun but on the light side. We supplement for our son who loves all things science but I think they would be great for a gentle introduction for a non-science-y child. I'm not sure I would be happy with them if we had paid full price for them. (You get a discount if you buy all 5 units at once after you have bought Torchlight K)

    The geography units in the K level are a bit slow moving. I think it's a very simple and easy way to introduce geography but if you have a child who is at all a quick learner, you will probably hear "Not again, do we have to?" if you don't jump ahead on the geography lessons as needed.

    The Building Character with Animal Stories is only "meh". I've seen better and I've seen a lot worse. I haven't had a chance to check out Mali and Keela yet which a lot of people seem to like and is suggested as an alternate or additional title in the curriculum I believe. The publisher of the Building Character book is amazing. I bought the e-book version of the title from Google Books and had an issue with the book not being complete. Emailed Google to no avail so I emailed the publisher and asked them how I could get a complete copy and they mailed me the hard copy free of charge for my trouble. Awesome customer service!

    Anyways, back to Torchlight, I'm not disappointed with the kindergarten level really but I'm on the fence about continuing to first grade. I'm glad we got it and used it this year, it has taken a weight off me trying to decide everything when I really needed someone to do the deciding for me due to life circumstances but I'm not sure we will spend the money for it next year. I may just use the book list and read them in whatever order we want.

  7. #16


    The short of it is, there are too many pieces and parts. If I am going to jump around that much, I may as well piece everything together and get EXACTLY what we want, as opposed to settling for "okay" content.

    The science units are weak and inconsistent in content. How can one unit adequately work for K through 4th grade without a lot of watering down or beefing up? There are also some discrepancies/inaccuracies in some of the units. Plus, it doesn't feel as effective as any of the other science curriculum we have used where you study one topic which is relative, and flows into, the next.

    K is very disjointed and jumps around a lot.

    I didn't find it as easy or seamless as BYL, which we are also not using this year.

    My kiddo enjoyed the books,but that's about it. I was supplementing science and history, which made the entire base of TL more of an unnecessary burden.

    It may work great for some people and the folks in the FB groups are super helpful with how to alter, manipulate and make things work. But again, by that point, what's the purpose in using it?
    CJ (Mom)
    Bug: 8 years old
    Doodle: 4 years old

  8. #17


    I was excited about it at first. I've tried K and pre-K. It just feels like... soooooo much. So many books, so much printing, so many materials to gather, so expensive. I tried K at first with my then 4-year-old, but other than Mercy Watson she didn't care for any of the reading. It was too advanced for her I think, so I waited for the pre-K level. The books for pre-K are a little better but there are tons of materials you have to gather. It's still too expensive to buy all the books that probably won't get read more than a few times, so I looked in my library. While I live in a big city with several libraries, none of the libraries had all the books so I would have to drive around all over the city to check out books, and that's if they are not already checked out or on hold. It's just too much planning and organizing for me. I feel like I've wasted so much time searching for the books on eBay and my library catalogs and have been unsatisfied that I don't even want to bother with it anymore.

  9. #18


    I was also excited about it. BYL isn't quite creative enough for my older kiddo. I thought TL would fit the bill for her, but she was asking to go back to BYL. I spent an obscene amount of money on TL.

    We are using Blossom and Root and I love that there are minimal books and supplies. It is more than complete, yet leaves room for rabbit trails, creativity and exploring. We will pull in BYL to stretch it all out since we school year round.

    I will absolutely pull in the TL books that we can secure through the library, but that's about it.
    CJ (Mom)
    Bug: 8 years old
    Doodle: 4 years old

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