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Torrey Academy FAQs

Why is it called Torrey Academy?

Torrey Academy is modeled after Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute for undergraduates. The name “Torrey” is taken in honor of Reuben Archer Torrey, dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now Biola University) from 1912 to 1924. A graduate of Yale divinity school, he combined thoughtful yet strongly orthodox theology with practical and global ministry. The goal of Torrey Academy courses and the Torrey Honors Institute is to utilize classical education methods to send into contemporary society persons of such dedication and courage.

What classes/credits does a Torrey Academy class count for?

  • The Inklings: 20 credits per year of English (10) and Critical Thinking (10)
  • Foundations of American Thought: 35 credits per year of English (10), American History (10), Bible/Theology (10), and Government (5)
  • Faith of our Fathers: 30 credits per year of Honors World Literature, Honors World History, and Bible/Theology
  • Rhetoric: 10 credits per year of College Prep English
  • Economics-Wealth and Justice: 5 credits per semester of Honors Economics
  • Writing Lab: 0 credits, as it is a supplemental resource alongside of Inklings or Foundations

Other credits for The Inklings, Foundations, or Faith can be given in place of the recommended courses as long as it is within the humanities (English Language Arts, History, Philosophy, Social Science, Theology, Bible) and compatible with the curriculum (e.g. you cannot give American History credit for The Inklings).

How much time will this class require each day or week?

Because The Inklings, Foundations, and Faith are each the equivalent of 2–3 classes, your student should expect to spend an average of 15–20 hours per week on Torrey Academy work, including class discussions, reading, writing and other. It is appropriate for a class to make up half to two-thirds of the student’s semester course load.

Because Rhetoric and Economics are each a single class, your student should expect to spend an average of 6–7 hours a week on them, including class time, reading, writing and other assignments.

Is it okay if our student misses class?

Missing assignments and class discussions may negatively affect the student’s grade, since all course work in Torrey Academy is required and letter grades are given by the tutor each semester. If the student arranges with the tutor to work ahead or make up work within the semester, then their grade will be maintained. Apart from the grade, the student’s experience in the class will be compromised if they miss out on a significant portion of the ongoing class conversation that builds over the course of the year, as students bond as a class and discover new insights together.

Does my student have to be a “gifted” student to make it in this class?

No; we expect the students in Torrey Academy to be at varying levels of reading, writing and thinking ability. We believe that the best way to become a good reader is to read good books and write and talk about them with friends who can help you think critically about what you’ve read. We also believe that the best way to become a good writer is to read work written by good writers and to practice writing with clearly communicated expectations combined with plenty of personalized feedback. Torrey Academy provides these opportunities.

What if my student is a slow reader, or has a learning disability?

Our commitment to you as the parent and to your student is to ensure that the student spends no more than 20 hours per week on a Torrey Academy core class, or 10 hours per week for Logic and Economics. This means that if, under your supervision, your student is honestly working their hardest and doing their best work and is consistently spending more than the specified time per week, we will work with you to develop time management strategies or to possibly create a modified workload for your student.

What are my responsibilities as the parent for a class of this type?

Parent involvement is absolutely essential for the student’s success. Parents will need to supervise computer time, proofread writing assignments, and, very importantly, oversee the student’s time management and scheduling for the class assignments. Whether or not the parent has time to read the books, continuing the discussions from class at home is extremely valuable to the student’s experience. Being able to address the same foundational questions at home as in class fosters unity within the family and supports the student’s journey toward a personal faith. It also gives you as the parent the opportunity to share your beliefs with your student on the key issues of faith and living.

Which courses should my student take each year?

We recommend students take The Inklings and Writing Lab in 10th grade, Foundations of American Thought in 11th grade, and Faith of Our Fathers or Rhetoric in 12th grade. While these are our recommendations, families do have the option of taking these classes in different grades than the ones suggested.

Note: Many families wonder if the order of high school humanities classes matters, since they see that many public schools will have 10th graders take World Literature and World History, 11th graders take American Literature and American History, and 12th graders take British Literature and Government/Economics. However, there is no required order of humanities courses in high school. As long as your student fulfills all the high school graduation requirements, he/she can do them in any order you decide.

Can my first-year student take Foundations of American Thought instead of The Inklings?

Yes. However, we almost always recommend The Inklings as the place to start. Students who will be juniors or younger should begin with The Inklings. We recommend this because we believe that The Inklings is the best introduction and foundation for the other two classes both in terms of academic rigor and in spiritual formation.

Can my 7th or 8th grader take these courses?

While we recommend students take Torrey Academy courses in high school, we do make exceptions for highly motivated and skilled junior high students, especially if they have had prior classical education experience. If the student is an avid reader, self-motivated, and willing to work hard and ask questions when she needs help, she could be ready for these courses while still in junior high. We require writing samples of interested junior high students to see if they are at the critical thinking and writing level required to succeed in these courses. If the student is approved as ready, we recommend they begin with Inklings and Writing Lab.

Are Torrey Academy courses accredited or A–G approved?

Despite not being accredited, we have found that colleges do not have any problem accepting Torrey Academy courses on transcripts. Torrey Academy courses are not A-G approved, as those requirements pertain only to publicly funded educational institutions such as charter or public schools. A-G is a standard set by the UC system, for CA public high schools. A-G is not required for out of state or homeschooled students (unless they are in a charter).

UC will consider admission without having taken approved A-G courses if SAT and ACT scores meet their requirements (see their admissions website). Therefore, our Torrey Academy and other BYA students do not have to be concerned with A-G requirements, and go on to be accepted to schools such as UC Berkeley, Cal State Fullerton as well as Biola, Cal Baptist and Vanguard.

What are the Torrey Academy online classes like?

We are excited to make our courses available to families all over the nation and the world. We use the Canvas learning portal to host live tutor-led video conferencing at regular weekly times, so that students get the benefits of classroom community and the convenience of home education. Students often share afterwards that while they might have been initially hesitant about the online format, they connected well with their classmates and greatly benefitted from the course.