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Doesn't sound like much work for Challenge A

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I read an article today that came out in the CC newsletter about a family's first semester of Challenge A. In the article the Mom lists the weekly work load she laid out for her child. I really appreciated reading this b/c I have often wondered what exactly it looked like at home during the week. I have heard the homework takes anywhere from 3-10 hours a day from various families. But when I read her outline it doesn't seem like that much. Here is basically what it would look like according to her:


Day 1- 1 Saxon lesson, pages from LNST (I know this will change next year), outline one source for Science research paper, create an IEW outline, trace a map and study the countries and capitals orally, read one chapter from Don't Check Your Brains at the Door


Day 2- 1 Saxon lesson, pages from LNST, outline second source for Science paper, write a rough draft (Bible-based IEW), draw a map freehand and study the countries and capitals, read one chapter from It Couldn't Just Happen


Day 3- 1 Saxon lesson, declensions and conjugations for new vocab in Latin, fuse two outlines and write rough draft of Science paper, add dress-ups and openers to IEW paper and meet w/ Mom to edit, draw map and study again, outline chapter from It Couldn't Just Happen


Day 4- 1 Saxon lesson, Latin readings with Mom (this was supplemental), type final draft of Science paper and draw a picture, type final draft of IEW paper, draw map and study it, study catechism questions


Weekend or on CC day- take a Saxon test


There is no mention of the Lit readings but I'm sure they're scheduled in too.


Now unless something major happens I am definitely planning to put my kids in Challenge and I think it sounds like an incredible program. But I have always wanted to supplement with some other things and have often read where people think there is no way that is possible b/c there is way too much work in Challenge to add to it. But when I look at this it doesn't seem like it would take more than 4 hours if a student was focused, in which case there should definitely be time to add in other classes and such......Am I wrong? Or do you add more to Challenge A?


What I would like to add:

English Grammar....possibly Shurley 7 or ALL to keep it fresh

Vocab...Word Roots software or Vocab from Classical Roots or something from MP

Composition....only on weeks when there is not a written paper due (several programs I'm interested in)

Greek (not sure which program or online class yet)

possibly a modern language (slowly)

Logic (The Fallacy Detective, Building Thinking Skills 3)

General Science from Apologia

Omnibus 1, 2, or 3 (probably secondary books in Summer)

Art and Music


I would do as much as possible in the Summer and on breaks when Challenge was out. I would have put in things like Math Detective and Latin Alive to keep their Math and Latin skills up in the Summer.


I just wondered what other people were adding or thought they were adding and then didn't, etc. I'm still a few years off from this but I'm always a long term planner by nature....



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A lot will depend on the director and "culture" of your group. Some directors expect more than others, and the peers make a difference. We had positive academic peer pressure in Challenge A, and negative academic peer pressure in Challenge B ("no one else is doing this much, no one else is keeping up").


We have four Challenge A campuses within driving distance of us this year with maybe another one starting not too far away, and we've chosen to go with the most experienced, rigorous one. My older one did Challenge A several years ago with her, and he was busy for about six hours a day. He had three years of Foundations and two of Essentials, so the writing was easy for him and Latin went very well. I added in additional literature, Bible, and we did our own math. He listened to history with us.


Next year my next Challenge A student will have Veritas history, Bible, and Spanish in addition.

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We are doing Foundations and Essentials. I am a few years off as well, but I do not plan to put my little guy in Challenge. As you have pointed out, the material doesn't seem like that much. However, Foundations is built around the idea of input, input, input. You are loading information. The two Challenge years are transition years that teach the child how to express himself orally and in writing. When the child begins the more rigorous CC high school material, he will already understand how to discuss and write about it. While I think the idea is a good one, right now I just don't know if it is worth the time and money that it would take to participate. Time will tell. I really do understand why Challenge is what it is and I really do think that it is a good idea.


If Doodle were to do Challenge A, I would add grammar- probably Walch's Understanding and Using Good Grammar. It is similar to Analytical Grammar, but considerably less expensive. Also, I like it, because it would review grammar without being a huge time suck. Also, first semeseter is IEW and second semester is a book discussion one week followed by an essay the next. While I may not add required literature second semester, I would certainly want to add literature to first semester. I may also want to add other types of writing and other types of essays.


I would need to add math, because we would be ahead of the math they are doing. However, even if Doodle were using that text I would add more math, because I add the Key to books to Saxon. I think something like finishing up Key to Percents and then the first three books of Key to Alg. Of course, like I said, we wouldn't be able to use the math portion as anything other than review.


If Doodle were to do Challenge A, I would add cultural geography to the Challenge mapping.


If Doodle were to do Challenge A, although I am not sure what, I would definitely add more science, because the Challenge A science is honestly not enough.


Now, after looking at all I would need to add to Challenge A just to cover the basic subjects, even though I understand why it is set up the way it is, do you see why I am wondering if Challenge is worth the time and money?




Edited by Mandy in TN
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I would add a complete history program. There is a claim that there is history built into the program and there is to a point, BUT if you want a solid history program, you need to add it.


One word of caution with the Challenge Levels. If you are doing Challenge A and B to prepare for the upper levels, please make sure there is a consistent Challenge high school program. There can be gaps in the challenge levels - ie Challenge A and I (no Challenge B) in one community or just a Challenge I in another community. If you are within driving distance of several community your chances are better, but please make sure the challenge levels are solid before buying into the whole program.



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Now, after looking at all I would need to add to Challenge A just to cover the basic subjects, even though I understand why it is set up the way it is, do you see why I am wondering if Challenge is worth the time and money?


If you are going to go that way, you need to buy into nearly all of it IMHO to make it worth your time and money. I paid for Challenge I this year because it met 80% of my goals, but we won't do Challenge II because the seminars mostly don't match my goals for my Challenge I student. You have to balance it out that way IMHO, and there are other options for high school of course.

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That's about right. The literature is only second semester (it takes the place of the IEW assignments.)


I tutored Challenge A and had two dc in it. I was very demanding, but I stayed within the CC directions/guide. At home, we added history, more literature and writing, science, logic, and I did math with them on my own. We were ahead in our R&S English, so we didn't do any extra grammar. I had to cover a lot of grammar in Latin, because some students had never had any, so they got a lot of review there. I didn't teach LNST (ick!;) they completed the book as their work for the week after I taught the concepts in a better way during class. Some of the other families were adding work, though some who had been very relaxed struggled to keep up.

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DD14 is in Challenge A this year. Since she is on the older side (there is no Challenge B or 1 in our community) She was easily able to juggle a few extras. I think it really depends on where the kids are academically when they come in, because I've heard some parents say their kids really struggle and are drowning in work, but that has not been our experience at all. We added:


Apologia Biology using Red Wagon Tutorials (she was already enrolled before we decided to do Challenge)


Saxon Algebra 1 (instead of 1/2)


Fallacy Detective (for informal logic - formal logic is introduced in Challenge B)


Reading various history books and writing outlines/summaries, and watching documentaries



Next year all Challenge levels will be using Henle (I also hate LNST), so that's a plus.


Overall, it has been a great experience for dd. If she had started a year or two ago, the workload probably would be just right, but for ninth grade it is light. It's so easy to supplement, though, and the benefits far outweigh the shortcomings.



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Could you be more specific about which programs you added? I'd love to know...




My girls were 8th and 6th when they were in Challenge A. They do most things together as second dd is an oddity. :D


We used BJU science - can't remember if that was the year we did Life Science or Earth/Space science without looking it up :D - but one of the BJU Jr. High science programs


I added a list of literature from my junior high reading list: one book per week or two in the beginning of the year and then a book every other week the second half of the year


We did US history readings and they did BJU's Cultural Geography (I think it's supposed to be the 9th grade social studies program.)


We used the Intro Logic.


They wrote papers about the history and literature at home.


Older dd did Foerster's Algebra, iirc, and younger dd did Pre-Algebra. Younger sat in the Saxon Algebra 1/2 class I taught at Challenge, but did another Pre-Algebra at home (BJU? can't remember what we had...)

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Guest classicaljenny

Long time reader of this board but I have never posted until today. I have read many posts about Challenge over the past couple of years and wanted to respond but have not taken the time. Today I have a few minutes and decided to take the plunge into the hive.


I have been a CC parent for six years and a Challenge tutor for five years. I have tutored Ch A twice and am in my third year of Ch B. I was a tutor trainer last summer for Ch A and B tutors so I feel pretty knowledgeable about the program.


Here are responses to some of the things I read in this thread and others about CC:


The work involved in Challenge A is pretty easy for some kids and really difficult for others. It should not depend on the tutor because we are contracted with CC to present the program as it is written. The tutor cannot add extra assignments. The parents always have the discretion to change or omit assignments.


For people who are active on this board, your kids would probably find Challenge A fairly easy. You are serious and dedicated homeschoolers and are giving your kids a marvelous education. I have tutored Challenge A twice and have seen all kinds of students go through the program. Some are really overwhelmed and others not so much. For kids coming from Foundations and Essentials, Challenge A is very manageable. Some weeks are busier than others. Nothing by itself in Challenge A is that hard -- its really the amount of work and the skills that the kids are learning that make up the "challenge" of this level. The parent is the homeschool teacher and can make adjustments as needed. The remaining Challenge years are progressively more academically demanding.


My son is in Challenge A this year, and it has not been too bad. I don't formally add things like some of you listed, but I do make sure that he reads a lot of books and explores his areas of interest. He has other commitments like church, Sea Cadets, etc but not more than that average kid. He is a very strong student, and I am very happy with the education he is receiving through CC and our homeschool.


Regarding the concern about "incomplete" programs, i.e. a campus with a B but no A or a I and III but no II. We respond to the needs of our communities -- if there are students and a willing tutor, we will offer the program. We believe that God will bring the tutors and students that He wants into our program. We do our part as ambassadors for the program, but sometimes the demographics do not work out. We cannot guarantee that there will be a Challenge program through high school, but if you get involved as a parent and foster relationships among the students, you are more likely to see your upper Challenge program grow.


We have had Challenge at our campus for six years now and are adding Challenge III for the first time next year. I was the first Challenge tutor in our program and will be moving to Ch III in the fall. Watching this program grow and being a part of this amazing community have made up some of the best experiences of my life. I love being a Challenge tutor!


I don't feel a need to be a recruiter for CC -- it works for me and my family, but it is not for everyone. I just don't like to see misinformation, not necessarily in this thread but in past CC ones. I don't mean that anyone is purposefully misinforming people either. CC has grown really fast, and the facts about the program have not always kept up with the interest in it.


If you have a program in your area, contact the tutor and go visit on a seminar day. Meet with him or her and take a look at the guide. You should be able to get a good handle on the day to day workload.


Happy homeschooling and my best to you all.



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Regarding the concern about "incomplete" programs, i.e. a campus with a B but no A or a I and III but no II. We respond to the needs of our communities -- if there are students and a willing tutor, we will offer the program.





No offense, but the midwest can be different than the east coast (I'm not sure where you're located). There have been needs in our state for the program, but more often the willing tutor is not available - despite the excellence job our state manager has done to recruit these directors. Yes, there are programs available, but sometimes the distance to travel is longer than many families are willing to sacrifice. There are people who are thinking of depending on this program for their children as they go through junior high and high school and I don't think it's a wise decision. Yes, it's an excellent program, but I still think it's not a program that you can build a junior high/ high school long term plan on. It may take a few years to get more established in our state before it becomes a consistent program for all areas of the state. So, if you're in a well established state for CC, it may be a great fit, but take a look at the map on classicalconversations.com and the farther you go west, the more gaps there are in the program at the challenge levels. I'm not convinced that is only a lack of students issues. I am only trying to tell people to be cautious.



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