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Challenge B

We believe...

...that when students learn self-discipline, they can achieve anything.

This theme runs through the Challenge B literature, science, current events/mock trial, logic, Latin, and math studies. Students learn to work together and discuss big ideas in a safe environment.

The Program

Challenge B is appropriately named: it is very challenging! Students work hard to hone their research, writing, and presentation skills. Through the study of current events and the history of astronomy, students are asked to sort through information and details to pull out only the most important facts. Readings, discussions, logic studies, and writing assignments are designed to help students become aware of biases and faulty reasoning, which is a great step toward becoming a smart consumer of information and a wise leader. In the second semester, students are asked to put into practice all the skills they gained in the first semester by participating as a team in a mock trial before a judge and jury. When they argue their case, students rely on their own preparations and teamwork. Challenge B becomes a milestone in students’ academic and personal growth: they begin the year as children and finish as young adults. The mock trial experience also serves to bond the students into a fellowship that will stick together throughout their high school years.

Take a peek at one Challenge B Highlight - Mock Trial:

To purchase your resources for this program, visit the Classical Conversations Bookstore.

The Seminars

In Challenge B, students continue their formal study of Latin. They start at the beginning of Henle First Year Latin again and go quickly through the lessons they covered in Challenge A so that they are ready tackle the next concepts in the text. They continue to memorize copious amounts of vocabulary and word endings, and become more adept translators. In seminar, students review English grammar and then apply that understanding to Latin sentences. This method of learning language becomes clearer as students progress through the Latin seminars.

Students read inspirational novels that take them around the world and across time. Selections such as The Hiding Place, Little Britches, and Where the Red Fern Grows add to the students’ love of literature. They continue to develop their thinking and writing skills using The Lost Tools of Writing. Students read and study short stories by famous writers, then compose their own short stories, which allows them to practice time management on a semester-long project.

The first semester is a study of current events. Students learn how to research a topic and sort out biases and consider their sources. Tools for this seminar are newspapers, online sources, and journals. For parents, this is a great opportunity to teach students how to think about and respond to their world. Most parents enjoy the one-on-one time they spend with their students, researching interesting and relevant topics to prepare for this seminar. Students spend the second semester studying and preparing a case to be heard in a county courthouse at the end of the semester. Students play roles as attorneys and witnesses for the prosecution and the defense, and decide on the most effective way to present their cases. The skills practiced in this mock trial are critical thinking, public speaking, and persuasive presentation.

Just as in Challenge A, we give students guidelines on research so that they can write their own history of astronomy, instead of just reading a textbook. This method allows students to take ownership of their study of astronomy, while applying disciple to complete their projects on time and presenting in community. Students retain the great moments in scientific achievement in the context of history, which forms a good foundation for more intensive science studies that will follow.

The study of logic equips students to reason well. Many educators believe that if a child wants to argue (and they usually do at this age!), we should take advantage of that interest and teach them to do it well. Formal logic is an enjoyable subject for students of this age, although they do have to be diligent about memorizing the vocabulary and practicing at home. Students use an introductory logic book the first semester and an intermediate logic book the second semester, giving them a full understanding of formal logic.  

Students are asked to work and explain algebraic equations with up to two variables in class. Students enjoy working problems on the board, teaching them to the class, and sometimes discussing alternate strategies for solving them. Students are encouraged (but not required) to use Saxon Algebra 1/2 for their math study at home. Math is similar to a foreign language, and this seminar is designed to be a time to practice “speaking” the language together. Students may chose an alternative curriculum to use at home, but all will benefit from the time spent practicing speaking math together.

Through the literature, discussions, and their own experiences in Challenge B, students learn that ownership builds discipline. They read examples of people who took ownership of their own educations and succeeded. They see how much they can learn through researching and writing their own history of science. They see what great things can be accomplished when we work together as a group and each individual does his or her best. These are foundational principals that will serve students well as they prepare for high school and more independent work beyond.

Challenge B FAQ

How long will it take each day to complete Challenge B assignments?

Students should plan on approximately 5-7 hours of daily work, depending on the student and the week’s assignments. Classical Conversations recommends that students spend an hour on each of the six seminars every day.

Why should I place my child in Challenge B if he is old enough for high school?

Challenge B is a foundational year for students to grow in discipline as they prepare for the upper Challenges. Students spend a year studying formal and informal logic as they learn to apply critical thinking in all strands. They learn research skills and practice the scientific method through a science fair project. Challenge B students prepare for formal debate and public speaking through the study of current events and Mock Trial. Challenge B prepares students for the rigors of upper Challenges. We encourage parents not to rush into the high school years, but to take this opportunity to cement the skills of learning and enjoy conversations with their young teenagers.

Can my student start in Challenge B without any prior Latin?

Yes. Challenge B Latin begins with Lesson 1 of Henle Latin Level 1.  Because one of the features of classical education is plenty of repetition, students will have three opportunities to move through the Henle Latin Level 1 book. Challenge A, Challenge B, and Challenge I students all begin at Lesson 1, but they go faster and farther each year.  Parents can adjust the pacing to meet the needs of their student at home. 

Why do you include logic in Challenge B?

Logic is the art and science of reasoning well.  One of the most important skills we can teach our children is the ability to think clearly and reason well. In this seminar, students learn to define terms, order arguments and detect logical fallacies. Through a systematic study of Logic, they learn to order their thoughts and discipline their minds. Logic is the thread that runs through all strands of Challenge B. 

What if my student is not doing Algebra ½ at home?

Math is math. Regardless of the math program/level you use at home, students will benefit from and contribute to the class conversation as we travel up and down the spectrum of math concepts from numbers and operations to algebraic equations and geometry. Our goal is to engage students in a math conversation as we explore the meaning and power of math as a language.  All too often students complete a math curriculum with little to no conversation, leaving them thinking math is a disconnected series of steps. Math as a language of relationship is often left undiscovered. Students will see math concepts in each Challenge B strand. 

Challenge Scope Sequence

Challenge Scope Sequence

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