I am very pleased to announce that we will be adding Challenge A to our Sacramento Classical Conversations campus for 2010-2011! Challenge A, geared for ages 12 and up*, will meet for 15 weeks in the fall and 15 weeks in the winter/spring on the same day and campus as the Foundations group.
Students in Challenge A will utilize an academically challenging curriculum that includes a mix of grammar and dialectic stage materials. Challenge A curriculum is supplemented by weekly classroom time with a trained tutor (that’s me!). Class time will involve practice in memorizing new grammar, games, sharing of assignments, oral reports, and many “Socratic” discussions. Actual subjects studied this year include geography, literature, math, science (biology and natural science), and apologetics, but Challenge A is more than just coursework in various subjects. Student will develop and strengthen the life-long learning skills of grammar, exposition, debate, logic, rhetoric, and research while exploring and learning these subjects.
Many parents feel inadequate to home school their students through the high school years and consider putting the kids into school at this time. This is hard for me to imagine, because this is the age when the deep discussions begin to take place, when kids start making connections that tie everything together. How can we think to send them away just when things start to become so interesting?
Classical Conversations was created to help you, the homeschool parent, stay the course. Their philosophy is to help parents succeed — but NOT to take over for them. Coursework is laid out for the students by the tutor and the Challenge A guidebook, but parents help the students in time management and work ethic. Parents always reign supreme in how assignments (or even which assignments) are tackled. Students benefit greatly from being active in a peer group of other children that are adhering to the same challenging standards. Sharing their assignments in front of their peers through oral presentations and science research consistently brings about higher standards in work. Having another tutor/mentor with elevated expectations is substantially motivational for the students. Kids in this stage of life naturally like to argue — CC capitalizes on this by providing structured class time for the kids to discuss the Bible, history, and science with each other in deep and complex ways.
I plan to have a little Q & A time for moms (or dads or kids) to ask questions and try to understand how the Challenge program works. Classical Conversations is better experienced than explained, but I will do my best! :) We’ll meet Saturday, March 27th at 8:30 a.m. at Ettore’s – the European bakery on Fair Oaks Blvd west of Watt Avenue. Buy yourself something terrifically yummy and join us in the little meeting room in the back. (I don’t think Sacramento CC’s Foundations director, Ashley Kilpatrick, will have any info meetings on our elementary-age program this year as the group is already filling up fast, but she will be at this gathering if you have questions for her!)
To learn more about Challenge before the meeting, please see the main website, www.classicalconversations.com. This Challenge page has several links to PDF files on the lower right, an audio overview of Classical Education (the CC way), and an audio overview of the Challenge Program. These little audios were also extremely helpful to me in understanding just what the Challenge program is all about and why the curriculum being used was chosen.
Please let me know if I should be on the lookout for you at Ettore’s on the 27th!
**Challenge A will mostly attract students between 7th and 9th grade. CC focuses on skill level rather than grade level, so students will not all be exactly the same age in each class. It is recommended that older students jumping into Classical Conversations for the first time begin with Challenge A or B, regardless of age (We will only have A on our campus this year). After getting a good year of the basic skills under their belt, these kids could skip a level or two depending upon what they wanted to cover in high school. See the scope and sequence of all the Challenge programs here.