Planning is a bit easier this year now that my two big boys will be enrolled in Classical Conversations’ Challenge programs! Have I mentioned how much easier CC makes my life? And how much smarter it makes my kids? 🙂
Our whole family will be reading through The Gospel Story Bible together, and will continue drawing our way through the Old Testament with Picture This (an older version of the Picture Smart Bible). Christian is already in the habit of reading his Bible daily (he’s got his mom beat on consistency here) and we need to introduce Micah to this good habit as well.
Christian (age 14):
Focus on Drama 1st semster, reading The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare and class discussions on marriage utlizing I Isaac take Thee Rebekah.
Focus on Philosophy 2nd semester, reading Sophie’s World.
Language Arts –
American Literature (the books are not all very hard for his age, but the discussions and essays surrounding them will cause him to delve deeply into the books!). The kids in his CC group will be reading and writing about The Sign of the Beaver, Johnny Tremain, The Call of the Wild, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Billy Budd, Sailor, The Scarlet Letter, The Red Badge of Courage, The Gold-Bug and Other Tales, Through Gates of Splendor, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Born Again, Starship Troopers, Up From Slavery, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, The Glass Menagerie, To Kill a Mockingbird, Self-Reliance, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods, The Old Man and the Sea.
Christian will begin using the Henle books for Latin this year. I’ve heard they are great, but I’m nervous. I’m sure he will surpass my Latin capabilities in the first few weeks. My plan is to keep up with Micah, tho!
In the semester, the focus will be on Free Market Economics. Perfect timing with the election! I’m sure we’ll have a lot of interesting discussions! He’ll be reading Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?, The Money Mystery, and A Bluestocking Guide to Economics. Spring semester will focus on American Government. He’ll read a collection of 44 original articles, speeches, poems, and legal documents from our country’s history.
In the context of Economics and American Government, Christian will be learning how to properly debate. I believe he’ll use the book An Introduction to Policy Debate along with lots of help from his Challenge I tutor.
Christian will be doing Saxon’s Algebra 1 this year. He wishes he was in Algebra II, but I’m glad he went back and did Algebra 1/2 again last year. It is a wonderful thing to not have the stigma that goes along with re-taking a class in a brick and mortar school. He didn’t “flunk” the first time, but he didn’t *quite* own the material either. So he spent another year in Pre-Algebra during 8th grade and now is truly ready to tackle Algebra. I’ve learned to be content with the fact that all of us don’t learn all we need to the first time around. Our minds were designed to be given material over and over and over again for mastery.
Micah (Age 12):
Micah will move into the Challenge program this year! After tutoring two years of Challenge A, I made the choice to step down just when my beloved son is moving up into that level. It’s just too much for me this year! I am so bummed not to be Micah’s tutor, but thrilled that I know the material so well and will have an easy time coming alongside him at home.
Micah will learn about researching and compiling scientific information this year. He’ll use real books to learn about Biology and Botany and put the material into his own homemade “textbook” of articles and sketches made by him. In the spring, he’ll learn several body systems of human anatomy by drawing and labeling those systems daily.
Our campus is having the Challenge A students begin Henle Latin this year as well. They will be using the same book that Challenge B and Challenge 1 are using, but going at a slower pace. The goal is mastery of vocabulary, the declensions, and conjugations. I hope to keep up with Micah for my own Latin learning.
Language Arts –
Micah will use the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Bible-Based Writing book to review the concepts he’s previously learned in writing courses (how to organize essays, reports, etc., and make them presentable and interesting).
My favorite part of Challenge A is the Spring semester’s reading and writing. Micah will read, write essays, and share in class discussions regarding the following (wonderful) books: Amos Fortune, Free Man, The Bronze Bow, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, The Door in the Wall, The Magician’s Nephew, Number the Stars, and The Secret Garden.
Micah will work on developing clear reasoning skills and utilizing them in class discussion. He will read two books for this course, It Couldn’t Just Happen (Creation v. Evolution) and Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (basic theology).
Micah is “behind” on Math and we haven’t quite decided which math text he should work through this year. He will be sitting through Pre-Algebra instruction with the Challenge A group, getting a preview of math-to-come.
Geography (falls under Debate strand) –
This is the year to memorize the world! Seriously! Micah will draw sections of our planet every single day over this year, learning the locations of current political boundaries, the countries and their capitals, and 150 geographical terms. I think he will love this class. It’s very impressive what the kids can do with a blank piece of paper at the end of the year – they can produce fantastic world maps right out of their brains! This mastery will help Micah in the rest of the courses he’ll tackle throughout middle school and high school. Knowing where countries are will help him understand history, science, politics, and literature.