To know God and to make Him known.

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Challenge IV

We believe...

...that our children can become wise and confident leaders.

Challenge IV students explore the theme of leadership through ancient literature, world history, physics, theology, Latin, and math. In this level, students have many opportunities to take on leadership roles as they lead discussions and work together with feedback and guidance from their mentor/tutor.

The Challenge IV program is the capstone of the Classical Conversations programs. The program’s vision, deeply saturated with the Christian worldview, provides opportunities for students to exercise mature leadership of themselves and others. The combination of ancient literature, theology, and science creates an intense curriculum. The assignments require analysis from a Christian perspective and help students develop a philosophically integrated worldview.

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

The Seminars

In the first semester of our “Virgil and Assorted Translations” curriculum, students translate the Latin Vulgate and Latin documents such as poetry, the Magna Carta, and Newton’s writings. In the second semester, they utilize Henle Fourth Year Latin to translate and study Virgil’s epic poem, The Aeneid. At this point, students are reading Latin right from the original source for content and plot. Being this proficient at Latin unlocks many historical documents to students.

Ancient Greek and Roman poets are the focus of the literature seminars. Students analyze, discuss, and examine epic works through a biblical lens. Students read and discuss The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, and other ancient works.

Students explore Saxon Physics to delve into Newton’s laws, statics, dynamics, thermodynamics, optics, and special relativity. Seminars involve dynamic group problem-solving and discussion of concepts and mathematical applications.

Students begin the year studying the Old Testament and examining passages that point to Christ as the fulfillment and the embodiment of Scripture, and the study of Hebrew poetry as one of the highest forms of expression. In the spring semester, the focus changes to New Testament ideals of faith and the Christian response as reflected in behavior and actions. Students explore, research, and make presentations on related topics in this seminar. Students study Invitation to the Psalms by Rolf A. Jacobson and Karl N. Jacobson, and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Calculus is designed for math, engineering, physics, and business analysis majors. The Saxon Advanced Math text covers all topics normally found in Advanced Placement AB-level calculus programs as well as many topics from a BC-level program. Problem sets contain problems similar to those in AP exams. Numerous applications to physics, chemistry, engineering, and business are also included. Students may work from Saxon Calculus or any other math book of their choice, as the conversation centers around the universal building blocks of pre-calculus and calculus.

World history focuses on various discoveries that have impacted and changed the course of nations. Students read The Discoverers, by Daniel Boorstin, record pertinent facts, and create a timeline to organize the world history in a linear context, if desired adding to the timelines and notebooks they have been compiling in Challenge II and Challenge III. Presentations stretch students to new levels of rhetorical skill.

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

Grammar: Virgil and Assorted Translations
Exposition: Ancient Literature
Debate: World History
Research: Physics
Reasoning: Theology
Logic: Pre-Calculus/Calculus

The theme of Challenge IV is that understanding consequences defines great leadership. Challenge IV is the capstone of the Classical Conversations programs. It revolves around the full application of all five canons of rhetoric and the extensive practice of the three stages of the Trivium (grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric).

What makes Challenge IV a classical program?
In Challenge IV, all five canons are brought into fruition through the action of the final canon: action, or delivery. Abstract, integrated conceptualization (invention) forms the bedrock of dialogue. Students lead the seminars in formulating ideas and facilitating conversation. Students organize public speeches and presentations (arrangement) through rhetorical assignments as well as in seminar conversations. They apply their aesthetic abilities (elocution), utilizing various different forms of persuasive techniques. They exercise their abilities to recall information (memory) by bringing their knowledge to bear in all dialogue and presentation. Finally, students implement all the former canons as they publicly perform leadership responsibilities (delivery).

Having practiced the skills of the Trivium, combined with the rhetorical methodology of the five canons of rhetoric, students are encouraged to actively take the reins of the seminars and practice intentionally employing what they have learned through active leadership roles. Students perceive that their choices have helped them to become strong, effective, and beneficial leaders of themselves and others. 

Challenge IV FAQ

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

We recommend that Challenge IV 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 IV students to preview the ancient literature during the preceding summer, in order to prepare for the school year.

Will my student have time to participate in extracurricular activities while in Challenge IV?

Challenge IV, like the rest of the Challenge program, includes rigorous academics, so the answer will depend on your student’s time management skills and your family’s other obligations. However, a 2013 survey of Classical Conversations alumni found that over 90% of Challenge alumni had participated in church or community service work; over half had served as political volunteers or missionaries while in high school; and over half had participated in extracurricular activities such as sports or performing arts.

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

Yes, a student can begin with Challenge IV, 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 II or III). If your child is going to start in Challenge IV, 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.

Why do students lead some of the seminars?

The goal of classical education is to teach students not just what to learn, but how to learn. Challenge IV students, with the director's oversight, practice leading conversations in three of the Challenge IV seminars. Students grow in their rhetorical skills and discover truth together as they engage their peers in conversations.

Why do Challenge IV students study Latin instead of Spanish or another “living language”?

This is the first full year the students get to practice Latin at a rhetorical level: in other words, they have moved beyond memorization and analysis and into creative application as they translate ancient works directly from Latin. By continuing to study at this level, they gain a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment from having mastered a language like Latin. They will miss this opportunity if they switch to another language now and have to go back to memorizing grammar and vocabulary.

Does my child have to do the level of math the Challenge IV class is studying?

At home, your student can work at their own level of math, but in seminar, one hour a week, it is best for them and their peers to remain together and participate in and contribute to the conversation. Regardless of the math level that a student is studying, he can participate in the seminar conversation about the concept that is being modeled. The concept might be review, it might be exactly where the student is at, or it might be a preview of a concept the student will encounter shortly. Each of these is a beneficial learning experience.

If students remain in Classical Conversations through Challenge IV, will they have sufficient high school credits to get into college?

Yes, students will have more than enough high school credits to get into college. Our credits not only focus on classical Christian ideals, but also fulfill prestigious college requirements for quality preparatory high school credits. The accompanying chart was created to compare average standard requirements for more and most selective universities along with guidelines from Home School Legal Defense Association, SAT and ACT college prep materials. Our Challenge I-IV curricula meet or exceed these guidelines minus Physical Education which should be received at home. Students should always check with the desired destination college for specific admission policies as entrance credit requirements may slightly vary from university to university. Students may also start to obtain quality college credits through Classical Conversations Plus, our concurrent enrollment program where students may gain not only college credit but also work towards college degrees starting in Challenge II. Be sure to read the Mission statement when visiting the website to understand how students gain college credit by collegiate level assessment of selected Challenge assignments.

If we stick with Classical Conversations through high school, will my child be able to get into a good college?

At Classical Conversations, we believe that the purpose of education is to know God and to make Him known. The families in our program aim to educate their children for heaven, not for Harvard. However, seeking to honor God also means pursuing excellence in education. Classical Conversations graduates have been admitted to more than 200 unique colleges and universities around the United States and in several foreign countries. They have also gone on to pursue internships, gap year programs, careers, and missions, and to serve as volunteers. In a 2013 survey of alumni, 66% had been accepted by EVERY college to which they applied; 0% reported being unable to attend college because their grades or test scores were prohibitively low; and 65% had received financial aid based on merit.

Challenge Scope Sequence

Challenge Scope Sequence

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