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CC Challenge for High School - experiences?

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This will be our son's last year of middle school. We're exploring Classical Conversations for this upcoming year. I'm wondering how well this works for high school. Can ya'll share your experiences? 


Are you happy with the curricula? 


Is it thorough enough?


Do the students receive sufficient feedback and instruction from their teachers?


Does the curricula satisfy all high school credits, or do you need to supplement?


How much instruction/oversight is required from mom outside of CC days?


Would you use CC all the way through high school? Why or why not?



We've looked at CC for younger grades in the past, and always ended up choosing something else. I didn't feel like the subjects were covered enough as the curriculum stood, but it was cumbersome to supplement everything - it worked better to do our own thing at home.


Now, though, the boys would really benefit from receiving instruction from someone other than me. And they need more peer involvement, too. So we're trying to decide between finding a local class or two, and CC.

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Some of my friends do it for Middle and love it.


One of the main reasons we don't pursue is is that the science is 1-2 years behind our state standards and the math is a year behind as well. The math doesn't reLly matter that much because your student could just work ahead and enjoy teaching other students every week.


However the science poses a real problem. Even my not super academic 8th grader is ready for Physical Science in 8th and Biology in 9th. This sets her up to take Chem in 10th and then transfer to community college science courses. Or if she were applying to university as a freshman , she would take physics in 11tj and then an AP science in 12th.


Very few of our CC campuses have challenge 3 or 4 and even when they do it lasts a few years and then challenge 3 and 4 disappears as moms move on- especially when their kids grduate CC no longer allows them to continue tutoring.


If the science (and math) were on-level I'd be willing to do it for 9th and 10th and not worry whether CC will have ch 3 and 4 available later or not. But since I'd be locking my daughter into being woefully behind her peers in a major subject, the fact that CC tends to lose and not have 3 and 4 tutors is worrisome to me.


Also my dd would struggle with Latin since she has mild dyslexia- sign language or Spanish with me helping is a much better fit for her.


The binders are very well set up and very organized, the lesson plans are super motivating for type A kids and a lot of moms love it that they have a clear roadmap. If the campus I friendly and people are kind and loving and you don't mind teaching high school yourself and you're not bothered by the science track, it could be a good fit.


I would definitely get weigh in from your kids

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Also your question:


"Would you use CC all the way through high school?" Why or why not


Unfortunately campsuses are CONSTANTLY splitting and they almost never offer Challenge 3 and 4 tutors. Even when they do, they usually leave after a few years. The fact is you're very unlikely to have the luck to have a CC campus or even nearby sister campus that will HAVE Ch 3 and 4 once your kids get there.


As to "do the teaches give consistent feedback.." they are NOT teachers and they do not grade any of your students work. You teach, you grade. The Tutors facilitate peer discussion, labs, review and give ideas for study, memory and organizing. They do Latin declensions and readings with the students but they do nor teach the Latin or any other subject.

Edited by Calming Tea
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My oldest did Challenge 3 this year. Overall, it was a good experience. He wrote and presented papers, led discussions, participated in debates, etc. The group experience/leadership was great for him. His tutor also emphasized social activities for the kids.


He had an amazing tutor, but she provided very little feedback. It is up to the homeschool parent to evaluate progress, and I learned a lot from the program about how to teach and plan courses for the high school level.


I did not spend much time teaching him. I mostly just graded math lessons and chem tests, edited papers, etc. I want to work with him a bit more next year to fine tune some areas - maybe a hour a day...


The program was rigorous enough by our standards, but that is very subjective. I felt it was plenty for high school, and was way more than anything dh and I did at his age.


He was a 10th grader in Challenge 3 so wasn't behind on math/science. If starting Challenge 1, maybe the student could do conceptual physics or intro to physics in place of physical science, then bio, chem, and an AP physics for senior yr if worried about the science sequence.


My son is only going to complete Challenge 3 and 4. I think the two years have been worth it even if he didn't complete all Challenge levels. All levels aren't available at every campus every year. That's why my son was in Challenge 3 instead of 2.

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No personal experience with CC, but I can provide some additional questions for you to think through as you decide what to do:

On 5/19/2017 at 6:49 AM, diaperjoys said:

Are you happy with the curricula? 
Is it thorough enough?

The 3 curricula that are used throughout the high school years of CC are: 

Latin = Henle
   9th = year 1
   10th = year 2
   11th = year 3
   12th = year 4
Science = Apologia
   9th = Physical Science
   10th = Biology
   11th = Chemistry
   12th = Physics
Math = Saxon
   9th = Algebra 1
   10th = Algebra 2 (= Alg. 2 + 1/2 of Geom.)
   11th = Advanced Math A (= Pre-Calc + 1/2 of Geom.)
   12th = Advanced Math B -- or -- Calculus

There is a good amount of support material/supplement for these publishers to make teaching these subjects easier for parents. Many students use these materials and go on to college. Other students do not click with these materials and need other materials to be a good fit.

For the other coursework, a variety of publishers are used. From the experience of others who have used CC, I understand you can use whatever Math program is the best fit for your student. I also understand it is much less easy to use something other than the Henle or Apologia and stay on track with CC.

The big questions to ask here:
- Does MY family like these materials -- are we already using them successfully?
- Are these materials a good fit for my specific student(s) and learning style(s)?
- Are these materials a good fit for MY teaching style?
- Would other materials be a better fit, more engaging, or more interesting, and if so, how easy will it be to use other materials and still benefit from CC?
- Does my student fit the math track of CC, or is my student "behind" or "ahead" of this schedule?
- Does my student fit the science track of CC, or is my student a STEM student or advanced from this schedule?
- Does my student fit the Latin track of CC? Or have we already done as much Latin as we want to? Or do we even want to do Latin for our Foreign Language? And if not, can we opt out of that portion of CC?

On 5/19/2017 at 6:49 AM, diaperjoys said:

Do the students receive sufficient feedback and instruction from their teachers?

You are the teacher, not the CC tutors. The once-a-week CC tutor provides demonstrations, facilitates discussion, and answers questions. But CC very strongly makes it clear that the tutors are not teachers, that the parents are the teachers, and the bulk of teaching is done by either you or self-learned by the student through the curricula. All of the grading and commenting on written work is done by the parent.

The big questions to ask here:
- Do I need to fully (teaching and grading) outsource one or more courses for high school? Or will the once-a-week CC be enough help?
- Does my student need regular 1-on-1 mentoring for one or more school subjects? Or will the once-a-week CC be enough help?
- Does my student do better with feedback/gradingwith me, or from an outside instructor? And if from an outside instructor, how will I accomplish that since CC does not provide that?

On 5/19/2017 at 6:49 AM, diaperjoys said:

Does the curricula satisfy all high school credits, or do you need to supplement?

It looks like to me that, based on info from this pdf, CC pretty much covers the credits that would be required for admission to a majority of colleges (excluding top tier, competitive or selective universities). Below in red are credits required for college admission to a majority of universities, and under each subject area are the grades/years that CC covers those credits, with an overall of CC credits in blue.

The big questions to ask here:
- Do the CC credits match up with my student's interests and potential career path?
- What colleges is my student interested in or suited for, and do the CC credits best support my student in reaching that goal?
- Do these CC credits allow for working at AP level (if that is what is helpful or needful for this student)?
- Do these CC credits allow doing dual enrollment/dual credit (if that is what is helpful or needful for this student)?

4.0 credits = English
9th = 1.0 credit = American Lit & Comp (from the list of resources used, CC counts 
10th = 1.0 credit = British Lit. & Comp
11th = 1.0 credit = Shakespeare & Poetry
12th = 1.0 credit = Ancient Literature

CC total = 4.0 credits
(NOTE: the CC pdf link above lists the total as 6.0 credits, I assume they are counting 0.5 credit of composition as an additional credit per year. HOWEVER, from the CC list of resources, because there is nothing that suggests anything beyond the standard amount of Lit. and Writing for these credits, I have listed the CC credit total as 4.0 credits -- I personally would be very careful to not count as 1.5 credits per year without hard evidence that the CC materials exceed the typical 1.0 credit of English per year)

4.0 credits = Math
(most colleges require Alg., Geometry, Alg. 2; many require a 4th math above Alg. 2)

9th = 1.0 credit = Algebra 1
10th = 1.5 credits = Algebra 2 and Geometry
11th = 1.5 credits = Advanced Math A (Pre-Calculus) and Geometry
12th = 1.0 credit = Advanced Math B -- or -- Calculus
CC total = 5.0 credits

3.0-4.0 credits = Science (with labs)
(NOTE: to be competitive for college admission, STEM students typically do Biology in 8th grade, and complete several Advanced sciences in 11th-12th grades)

9th = 1.0 credit = Physical Science
10th = 1.0 credit = Biology
11th = 1.0 credit = Chemistry
12th = 1.0 credit = Physics
CC = 4.0 credits

2.0-4.0 credits = Foreign Language (same language)
(NOTE: colleges do accept Latin for admission; however, if you wish to have your student either do AP tests, or CLEP tests, or do dual enrollment/dual credit Foreign Language to simultaneously knock out college degree Foreign Language requirements, many colleges require a Modern Language)

9th = 1.0 credit = Latin I
10th = 1.0 credit = Latin II
11th = 1.0 credit = Latin III
12th =  1.0 credit = Latin IV
CC = 4.0 credits

3.0-4.0 credits = Social Studies
(NOTE: most colleges require 1.0 credit = Amer. History, and 0.5 credit each Gov't and Econ; some also require 1.0 credit World History or Geography)

9th = 0.5 credit each = Gov't and Econ
10th = 1.0 credit = Humanities (art, music, worldview)
11th = 1.0 credit = American History
12th = 1.0 credit = World History
CC = 4.0 credits

1.0 credit = Fine Arts. (either performance, or creation of art, or appreciation)
9th + 10th = 1.0 credit = Drama

CC = 1.0 credit
(NOTE: the CC description of course content and direction look much more like additional English or Humanities rather than traditional Fine Arts; JMO: I would look in to this more carefully and possibly award Elective credit rather than Fine Arts credit for this coursework)

4.0-8.0+ credits = Electives 
12th = 1.0 credit = Theology
9th + 11th = 1.0 credit = Philosophy
10th + 11th = 1.0 credit = Logic
9th-12th = 2.0 credits = Speech/Debate/Oral Presentation

CC = 5.0 credits
(NOTE: some states require homeschoolers to complete credits in Health, PE, and/or Computer to fulfill homeschool graduation requirements; CC does not provide coverage for these subjects; also NOTE: many families use the electives as a chance for students to explore personal interests or possible future career interests; the CC elective subjects are very classical/Humanities based which is great if that is the student's interest -- but that also doesn't leave much room for student exploration if other areas are a strength/passion/interest -- such as Science, Computer, Engineering, Fine Arts, or Vocational-Technical areas, or personal interest areas)

On 5/19/2017 at 6:49 AM, diaperjoys said:

Would you use CC all the way through high school? Why or why not?

From what I hear others say, it all really boils down to very individual tutors and groups of families. The good tutors make the Challenge levels great for families. It sounds like social connection with other students varies greatly depending on the CC cell group -- some are very social and interactive, while others have not made the connections with other students that they had hoped for.

Personally, for me, there are too many negatives to have considered CC at any stage, but I also had the luxury of some terrific local options (dual enrollment at the CC and a ton of extracurriculars for social support and personal interest exploration and character development), which may not be available to you.

Again, JMO: for the $1200 per student (+ book expenses) that CC costs at the high school level, I personally would instead invest in 1-2 high quality online courses per semester. I would look esp. for courses with a live class component (if that was of interest/need) and with excellent teachers who do all the feedback/grading. And I would fully outsource the 1-3 subjects in high school that would be most difficult or frustrating for me to do at home. Or that I was most "butting heads" with the student. Or where the student's abilities outstripped my ability to facilitate the course.

I would also look in to what my options were with the local community college and dual enrollment/dual credit, which could provide outsourcing AND advanced/rigorous courses AND simultaneous college credit.

Plus, I would search out a number of local community opportunities for my high school students to be involved in for social interactions, and to explore or develop personal interests and special opportunities.

Edited by Lori D.
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Here is an example:


Today, I emailed a friend to say we'd like to look into CC Challenge B again (I figured I'd deal with the Science thing somehow)...it took me several emails to finally reach teh Challenge B tutor in our area.  The last Challenge B tutor did only two years and then stepped down.  The next one did one year and then moved onto something else (another year, or left, I have no idea).  So for the fourth year in a row, our area is on its 3rd Challenge Tutor.  


I was interested in a particular campus, on Wednesday.  This campus has been around forever and is nearby, etc.  However, they recently split the campus (surprise) and the CHallenge B program will now only be at another campus.  Further away.  So I finally got a hold of that director, and that campus is meeting on a different day, and I cannot go on that day.  


In addition, she said that while my dd is not expected to necessarily be on-level in Latin, she will be "expected to participate in Latin Strand" meaning she cannot be excused to work on other work, read a book, etc.  She has to do her best with Latin at home (even if she's behind) and is expected to do the chants and participate.  


I understand this, as perhaps it could be very disappointing to the other kids if too many families opt out of Latin.  That dynamic would probably bring everyone down. However, the whole reason I homeschool is to tailor the education to my child and NOT the other way around. ...so it would be less than ideal to lock her into an entire curriculum.  


Once again ...every year I look into it and every year it just doesn't fit :)

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I don't think it's a good fit for every family, and our family takes it year by year.  We did foundations for 3 years, took a break from CC for 4 years because we wanted to do other things, then jumped right in to Challenge A and 3 for my oldest 2.  My oldest had not had ANY Latin.  I had him work at a lower level and just listen in class during that strand, but he wasn't really working at it so for 2nd semester I told him don't worry about Latin, just sit there politely in class.  His tutor was great about it!  She was actually great about letting us tailor the assignments however we needed to.  She just asked that we let her know so she would know the students weren't just skipping out on the work. 


CC uses Saxon physics for science.  I'm not a Saxon fan, so ds will use something else next year.  I asked other moms who substituted another science in the high school years and they said it wasn't a problem.


Both of my dc's tutors were new to tutoring challenge, but they were both well-prepared and did great.  DD will have the same tutor next year for Challenge B, and ds's challenge 4 class will be tutored by another mom.


Neither of my kids have done online courses, but my oldest did Biology with a local class freshman year.  It was a great experience, but very different than CC.  In CC the kids took more ownership of the materials and had to lead discussions, etc.  Also, the class structure lends itself to building relationships between the students.


I don't expect any program to meet our needs 100%, but this has been good for us for now.  I don't think dd will continue with CC after Challenge B.  She wants more free time to do other things.  I don't know whether or not any of my younger kids will do challenge at all.


All that to say, if it's something you're interested in, but doesn't work out this year, it may be a good fit some time in the future.  Or it may never be a good fit, and that's fine.  I honestly didn't think we'd ever do challenge!

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