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Challenge III

We believe...

...that ideas have consequences and that our teenagers are capable of learning to think through the consequences of their ideas.

This theme is explored in Challenge III through American history, Shakespeare, chemistry, music theory, philosophy, Latin, and math. Students begin to take leadership responsibilities under the guidance of their tutor.

The Challenge III program is an intense study of American history, poetry, Shakespeare, chemistry, and philosophy and the ancient writings of Caesar and Cicero. Students are encouraged to further develop their speaking and debating skills, using more difficult and more abstract concepts than ever before. They will develop leadership skills as they begin to lead the seminars themselves.






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

The Seminars

Students use Henle Second and Third Year Latin to translate Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Cicero’s Orations. They appreciate history as told from these unique points of view and begin to not only translate word by word, but also to appreciate the content and context of the Latin they are translating.

Students read five Shakespeare plays: Hamlet, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing; a text that comments on the plays from a Christian perspective: Brightest Heaven of Invention, by Peter Leithart; and a book on poetry: The Roar on the Other Side, by Suzanne Rhodes. They write an in-depth analysis of each play and create a poetry anthology. In seminar, students lead and participate in discussions about each play and present memorized lines for dramatic interpretation. Between plays, students present poetry readings and discuss poetic forms.

Students read A Patriot’s History of the United States, compile a timeline and a facts notebook, write in depth research papers, and participate in public speaking and debate activities.

Students complete labs together and discuss concepts and applications of the material in seminar. Students study Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Chemistry and complete tests at home.

In the first semester students are introduced to the basics of notation to the harmony of hymns a scores using Math in Motion: First Steps in Music Theory. Students contemplate big ideas such as “How is music beautiful?” and “What does it mean to create beautiful works?”

Music Theory teaches the naming and arranging of musical relationships. Students learn to identify the parts of the song in relationship with the whole, as well as the whole song, which is much more than simply a sum of its parts.

In the second semester, students will examine the major ideas of influential philosophers and work on the five canons of rhetoric using R.C. Sproul's book, The Consequences of Ideas, and N.D. Wilson's DVDs, Notes from a Tilt-A-Whirl

In seminar, students take turns teaching math concepts to the class under the guidance of the director. Conversation centers around the synthesis of the ideas of relationship, shape, higher order equations, variables, Euclidean proofs, and trigonometry functions. Students may work from Saxon Advanced Mathematics or any other math book of their choice, as the conversation centers around the universal building blocks of pre-calculus.

How is Challenge III a classical program?
Students continue to develop the six classical skills through these strands:

Grammar: Caesar and Cicero Translations
Exposition: Shakespeare and poetry
Debate: American history
Research: Chemistry
Reasoning: Music Theory, Philosophy
Logic: Advanced mathematics

Challenge III builds upon themes of earlier programs, experientially highlighting that choices result in consequences. For example, by focusing on study habits and time management skills, students learn that their efforts have real outcomes; by working on their presentation skills, they learn that their style of delivery affects their ability to communicate with and persuade others. Through this they grasp that the skills of right thinking, discernment, and thoughtful planning are invaluable abilities that are applicable across the scope of their lives.

The program vision, rooted in the Christian worldview, reveals how academic studies and practices reflect mature responsibilities. Students continue mastering grammar information and fine-tuning dialectical and rhetorical abilities through conversation and presentation, thereby crossing the bridge to Challenge IV, our capstone program.

The Five Canons of Rhetoric
Challenge III emphasizes the first canon of rhetoric: discovering, exploring, and integrating ideas through conceptualizing abstract thoughts (inventio: invention). It focuses on the next three canons: organizing thoughts for persuasive presentation (dispositio: arrangement), making appropriate, beautiful stylistic choices for presentations (elocutio: style), and strengthening knowledge, continuing to practice memorization skills, and accessing memorized material in public writing and speaking (memoria: memory). It aspires to practice the final canon of public presentation and action (pronuntiato: delivery).

Challenge III FAQ

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

We recommend that Challenge III students set aside an hour per subject per day during the school day.  As with most rigorous curricula, many students will need more time to complete their work. One suggestion is for Challenge III students to read the Shakespeare plays during the preceding summer, in order to prepare for the school year. Special projects will demand extra home work time, but usually students are motivated to work hard on presentations or debates and willingly put in extra hours on nights and weekends.

Can a student begin participating in Challenge III seminars without previous Challenge experience?

Yes, a student can begin with Challenge III, but we encourage you to consider carefully before making this decision. Remember that classical education does not follow the modern paradigm of grade levels, but rather considers the child's grasp of fundamental skills of learning. If your child does not have a background in the liberal arts, it may be better to start him at an earlier level (such as Challenge I or II). If your child is going to start in Challenge III, be aware that this year of study may be tougher for your student than for others who have completed the previous Challenge levels. Your student may have to spend more time studying the basics than his peers do, and he may need more parental guidance and encouragement than he would otherwise.

Are students able to use different math, science, or foreign language curriculum than that which has been chosen for the Challenge III seminars?

No matter what math program a student uses at home, he or she will benefit from the conversation in our math seminars. During our discussions, we travel up and down the spectrum of math concepts from numbers and operations to algebraic equations and geometry and stretch into pre-calculus concepts.  Too often, students are engaged in a math curriculum with little to no conversation, and that leaves them feeling like math is a disconnected series of steps. If math remains a rather silent, robot-like, step-driven subject, students miss out on the joy of math and its beauty as a tool for communicating the structure of creation. So yes! Your student should join the conversation whether or not he uses Saxon at home. We will have a great time discovering the joy of math together. The same can be said of foreign language or science: they will enjoy and benefit from the conversations even if they do something different at home. They may even bring in a fresh perspective that will enrich the seminar discussion.

Can students enroll in a selection of the six seminars, or do they need to participate in all six strands?

We believe students develop a stronger, more supportive fellowship if they are together for the full six strands. They are able to explore more fully the integration of all subjects. We recommend that even if a student chooses not to fully study one subject at home that he stays in seminar and listens to the discussion and participates in it as much as he can. Even if a student is not studying Latin, he will pick up vocabulary from listening, learn history, and learn how to learn a language by watching the systematic way the students approach and talk about it. Talk to your local director or Support Representative about the seminars and make a decision about that together. Since there are no more than twelve students in a class the tutor knows each student well and accommodates all levels into discussions.

How do the Challenge III seminars translate into traditional high school credits?

On the Challenge Overview page of this website, you can see how our classes would translate into traditional high school credits. The Classical Conversations program goes beyond basic high school graduation requirements. It was created with college admission standards as a general guide based on state guidelines in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and North Carolina, college admissions requirements for UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Michigan, Princeton, Harvard, Clemson, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech, and guidelines from the Home School Legal Defense Association, as well as SAT and ACT college prep materials. Check with the university system in your state for specific requirements. Students can also get college credit through our CC Plus program. 

Challenge Scope Sequence

Challenge Scope Sequence

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