How the Make the Most of CC’s Challenge 2

Welcome to our Challenge 2 Page!

Our hope is that this series of pages becomes a great resource for CC families. We cover some of the more general info on other pages:

Table of Contents for This Page

  1. How to Grade Challenge 2
  2. Logic (Math)
  3. Grammar (Latin)
  4. Research (Science)
  5. Reasoning (Formal Logic)
  6. Exposition
  7. Debate
  8. Artsy Fun
  9. Other Resources

I know there’s a lot of information here, but I’m going to try hard to use headings and bold lettering to make it easy to scan!

Help Contribute!

If you have some suggestions you’d like me to add here, please send them to me at: Julie (at)

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Classical Conversations has asked me to tell you that “References to Classical Conversations do not constitute or imply endorsement by the company.” I’m guessing you knew that, but now we’re all on the same page.

I’m assuming you already read about how we do Classical Conversations and about how we do Challenge, where I cover:

I also want to remind you to also talk with your CC Director. This page is one mom’s advice and each CC group does things a little differently.

Now let’s move on to the Challenge 2-specific material!

How to Grade Challenge 2

I cover all the general information about Grading in Challenge on my general CC- Challenge page. I hope you’ll read that first!

Since high school means transcripts, please be sure to sit down with your student and explain what this spreadsheet is for and what it measures (it doesn’t exactly measure learning, as I mentioned in the Grading in Challenge segment)!

This is my plan for Ch 2, but keep in mind that this is my first year completing Ch 2, so let me know if you think I’m missing something!

1. Logic (Math) Strand

Whether you’re using Saxon Math or not, I think you’ll find some helpful stuff on my Math in Challenge page. I covered these ideas in more detail (jump over there to read about them):

  • Help your students understand the difference between “learning a new concept in math” and “math practice.” No one loves to practice…
  • Pick a math curriculum and stick with it!
  • Creating a Math Plan
  • When to use a calculator
  • Details on the use of Saxon Math

In Challenge 2, most students are working on Algebra 2 or Advanced Mathematics (or some equivalent). Again, check out the Math in Challenge page for more details

What to Purchase for Logic (Math)

  • Your favorite Math curriculum (the Guide gives assignments for Saxon Algebra 2, but you really can use any curriculum you want!)
  • If you’re starting Saxon’s Algebra 2 book, you’ll want a graphing calculator like the TI-84.

What Goes in the Binder?

  • Just like other challenge levels- We include a few loose sheets of lined or graph paper.
  • If the director has asked students to come with sample problems, I photocopy a page from their textbook and the corresponding answer key page and have my son stick it in his binder for the days he forgets to bring a problem.

How to Scale Back Logic (Math)

When life happens, you may decide it’s time to scale it back a bit. As I talk to other CC families, Math is the subject that always seems to get pushed aside in CC. Aren’t we all always finishing the math book over the summer? (No? Just us?) Maybe this is because there’s not as much accountability in this strand? (Maybe the creation of Math Map will fix this?) Anyway, we regularly drop to half lessons of math during the school year (or one lesson every 2 school days). I know some people scale to only doing even or odd problems, but that’s not what Art Reed suggests, so we just move a little slower.

How to Grade Logic (Math)

Since most math curriculums include tests, it’s pretty simple to assign a grade. I like to also give points for completing daily work.

2. Grammar (Latin) Strand

This year students finally get to move into Henle’s 2nd Year Latin book.

  • The first half is made up of several long readings about Julius Caesar, Vercingetorix, and Jesus. Parts are in English and parts are in Latin.
  • The second half of the book is more like Henle’s 1st year Latin with lessons, vocabulary, and exercises.
  • One of the differences between 1st and 2nd year Latin lessons is that in the 2nd year Latin book when it tells you to go look at specific rules in the blue Grammar book, you really have to! The ‘lesson’ doesn’t repeat it all!

What to Purchase for Latin (Grammar)

  • Henle 2nd year Latin textbook (teal green cover)
  • Henle Grammar (blue cover- you should have it from Ch A-1)
  • Henle 2nd year Latin Answer Key- Henle sells one but it doesn’t give you answers to every exercise. I like Kathy Sheppard’s answer keys because they are printable and/or in a Google Doc. You can ask questions in the Google doc and then she adds additional info right there. So you end up being able to see extra help for tricky sentences… and I love that I can ask questions!

What Goes in the Binder?

  • Nothing at first. Throughout the year, the kids end up with some loose papers and we add them here.

How to Scale Back Grammar (Latin)

If you find that you’re falling behind in Latin, I suggest you switch to completing 1/2 of the work by translating every other sentence. Some exercises don’t number each sentence. In those cases, we numbered them ourselves and translated every odd-numbered sentence.

Translating English-to-Latin is a lot harder than translating Latin-to-English, but you learn so much more too. So don’t skip the English-to-Latin translation exercises, just do fewer sentences if you need to.

How to Grade Grammar (Latin)

Henle Latin doesn’t have any tests, so I usually just assign points for completing the daily work. Since I work alongside my students I’m ensuring they understand it all as we go. As they get older, I would like to transition away from this time-intensive way of working… I know Memoria Press has quizzes and tests but we haven’t used them yet.

3. Research (Science) Strand

Exploring Creation with Biology (Apologia)

Science is always one of my favorites and I’m excited about it again this year! This year in Biology, students cover everything from cells to ecology, all from a Christian worldview. Every 1 to 2 weeks the students read a new chapter of the book, and complete a Study Guide quiz and a Chapter Test. In class, students discuss the concepts, complete experiments, and write in their lab journals. At home, students write the lab results into formal lab reports. (There are a few experiments students may complete at home as well.)

Biology is a very vocabulary-heavy subject, so I highly suggest your students either make flashcards to review or draw out images of vocabulary to help them remember it all!

I’ve heard this is a pretty advanced curriculum, so I allowed my son to create a 3×5 notecard to bring to each module’s exam. Creating the notecard helped him learn more and helped him perform better on the tests.

What to Purchase for Research (Science)

  • Exploring Creation with Biology Student Textbook: by Viki Dincher (Published by Apologia). You can purchase it as a traditional paper book (softback, full color) or the Kindle version. Be sure you’re using the same edition as the rest of the class!
  • Exploring Creation with Biology Solutions and Tests Manual- Unless you plan to skip all the tests, you need this!
  • Optional: Exploring Creation with Biology Student Notebook– According to Apologia, this large spiral-bound book “complements the textbook by providing easy-to-understand graphics, space to record answers, and note-taking instructions designed to help your student make a successful transition to high school science.” Also, the back half has pages for recording lab results. I’ll include a few photos below you so can get a feel for it. My son used this Student Notebook and really liked it! He feels like it made keeping up with the work way more doable.
  • Lab Journal: Your student can use just about anything for their lab journal. In Ch 1 we used a graph paper composition book last year ($2-4 depending on sales) and it seemed to work great. However, in Ch 2 we used the Student Handbook (mentioned above) instead. The back half of it is a lab journal, partially filled out for the students. (See photos below.)
  • Optional: Audio version of the Apologia textbook – We really enjoyed having this to listen to as well. This allowed me to keep tabs on what my son was learning, even if he was completing most of the work on his own. Apologia had it on sale at Audible over the summer, so maybe watch for that.
  • Optional: The Students Lab Report Handbook by John D Mays. CC also recommends and we bought it but didn’t use it last year or this year. Maybe we’ll use it next year? My undergraduate degree is in science, so I could walk him through setting up a basic lab report without the book. Hopefully, we’ll use it in future years.
Sample Pages of Apologia’s Biology Student Handbook

What Goes in the Binder

  • Notes from the book
  • Study Guide Quizzes and Chapter Tests
  • Typed lab reports
  • handouts

How to Scale Back Research (Science)

There are several ways to either scale back the workload or just make things a little easier. Here are some ideas I’ve seen work. Pick what seems like it would best help your student to learn:

  • Allow your student to handwrite notes on a 3×5 note card to use during his test
  • Allow your student to complete the tests open-book style
  • Complete the “On Your Own” questions and the Study Guide together verbally instead of writing it all out (this can backfire for some kids who learn best by copying out the definitions and answers!)
  • Skip a few of the formal lab reports

How to Grade Research (Science)

I’ll grade the Apologia Tests and Formal Lab Reports. I gave completion points for completing:

  • Study Guides, (which my son completed on his own and then we graded them together)
  • Experiments- To earn the full points, my student has to prep for the lab, do the lab, and complete his lab Journal Preparation
  • Lab Reports- 4 times each semester, students have to complete a formal lab report.

4. Reasoning (Formal Logic) Strand

Once again, Reasoning shifts drastically between 1st and 2nd second semesters:

– – 4A. Traditional Logic II (Memoria Press)

This seemed to be fairly easy and straightforward after all the logic they already did in Ch B and 1. We liked this 4-book set that includes the:

  • Student text
  • Student Workbook (consumable)
  • Quizzes and tests
  • Teacher Key

This set does not include the DVDs but we found we didn’t need them.

– – 4B. Socratic Dialogues

Students read a few Socratic dialogues from CC’s Word’s Aptly Spoken book and discuss. It’s a nice light strand with most of the work done in class. Near the end of the semester, the students write their own Socratic-style dialog. (Don’t worry about it not being rigorous enough- Debate is like two full subjects, so your students will still have plenty to do!)

SAMPLE! Here’s my oldest son’s Socratic dialog, which they acted out (with much drama) in class! It took about seven and half minutes, so I think it was probably a little too long, but at least it’s a sample for you!

What to Purchase for Reasoning

  • Traditional Logic 2 by Memoria Press Textbook, Workbook (consumable), and Answer Key. I bought this set from Rainbow Resources.
  • Words Aptly Spoken: Socratic Dialogues.
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White- Students read through this very handy book in class! It’s a great reference that you’ll want to keep forever! I’ve heard that some directors don’t really use it though, so ask your director.

What Goes in the Binder?

  • Any loose paper from work done in class

How to Scale Back Reasoning

After the Canon Press Logic in Challenge B, this Memoria Press Logic was, again, an easier strand for us. However, if your student is struggling with the logic, consider completing the exercises and/or quizzes with your student and then let them complete the tests on their own.

The 2nd semester Socratic Dialogues didn’t have much to work to do at home- just don’t let the project sneak up on you! You could always scale this by allowing students to read from a script instead of memorizing their dialogue.

How to Grade Reasoning

  • For the 1st semester, we will use the Memoria Press quizzes and tests.
  • For the 2nd semester, I’m giving a lot of participation points and then I’ll give points for the Socratic Dialogue he writes and presents.

5. Exposition Strand

Students move beyond Lost Tools of Writing this year and start to write papers from prompts in the guide, without any specific curriculum. It’s really kinda magical how they can suddenly write! It’s an overnight success, 6 years in the making.

Students also spend time defining literary and rhetorical terms. There’s not a lot of guidance on this so ask your director. I know there are a lot of samples on Facebook and in the CC Connected file-sharing area.

What to Purchase for Exposition

  • All 18 literature books (see the CC catalog)- students will read them in the order they are listed in CC’s catalog. You do NOT need the same version CC sells. In fact, we mostly used a lot of thrift store finds and audiobooks from the library and LibraVox!
    • No, you don’t need CC’s Copper Lodge books, but some of their footnotes are handy! I think the English Epic Poetry book is probably especially worth it!
  • Optional: CC recommends Words Aptly Spoken: British Literature. It looks helpful for Directors, but we never used it.

Where to Find Each Challenge 2 Book

There are 18 (so many!) novels listed in the catalog for Ch 2, but I believe Directors have some discretion, so be sure to check with your Director! Also, many of the earlier books are translated, so you might want to purchase the translations your Director is using.

My older son loves paper and Kindle. My younger son loves audio. So I made a list of where to find each book in assorted formats. Check with your library and see if they support both the Hoopla app and the Libby app. The selection of books will vary on each app and at each library! We also love the free LibraVox app and, of course, our Audible subscription! (Some of these are also on YouTube, but I’m not a fan of listening to books there.)

(I’m still working on all these links!)

First Semester Books

  • Beowulf
    • CC sells a version Translated by R.K. Gordon, but we really preferred the version translated by Seamus Heaney. The audio was great but the paperback has great images and illustrations of artifacts and archaeological finds from that period.
    • Classical Stuff You Should Know also did a great podcast episode (also available on YouTube) about Beowulf that my son and several other students really enjoyed!
  • English Epic Poetry- This is a new (summer 2024) Copper Lodge book containing the following books (Since I don’t have it, I can’t tell you who the translators are for their new version):
    • Canterbury Tales: “Prologue” and “A Knight’s Tale” by Geoffrey Chaucer 
      • CC used to sell the Dover Thrift edition of Canterbury Tales, which “is a new selection of unabridged tales as they originally appeared in Canterbury Tales: Rendered into Modern English by J. U. Nicolson, published by Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., New York, in 1934.” (from the book’s front matter). I didn’t realize that the old copy I had purchased years ago was in the original Middle English, but my son thought it was kinda cool, so I guess that worked.
    • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
      • Again, this classic story has been retold many times. CC used to sell the version retold by Jessie L. Weston, so you may want to get that one.
      • KindlePaperback
    • Paradise Lost by Milton
      • CC used to sell the Dover Thrift edition, which includes notes by John A. Himes, so you might prefer that one,
      • This book is in the public domain, so you can get a free Kindle edition if you’d like.
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress by  John Bunyan
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Gulliver’s Travels (or “A Modest Proposal”) by Jonathan Swift 
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- CC just came out with a Copper Lodge edition of this book so you might be interested in it. It is supposed to have helpful footnotes, but I haven’t seen it.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    • eBook: Kindle – Hoopla
    • Audio: Hoopla – Libby – Audible

Second Semester Books

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    • eBook: Kindle – Hoopla
    • Audio: Hoopla – Libby – Audible*
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Favorite Father Brown Stories by G. K. Chesterton
  • A Passage to India by E. M. Forester
  • The Hobbit
    • eBook: Kindle – Hoopla
    • Audio: Hoopla – Libby – Audible
  • Out of the Silent Planet
    • eBook: Kindle – Hoopla
    • Audio: Hoopla – Libby – Audible
  • The Screwtape letters
    • eBook: Kindle – Hoopla
    • Audio: Hoopla – Libby – Audible
  • Animal Farm
    • eBook: Kindle – Hoopla
    • Audio: Hoopla – Libby – Audible
  • Something Beautiful for God
    • eBook: Kindle – Hoopla
    • Audio: Hoopla – Libby – Audible

*Included free in a paid Audible membership or a Kindle Unlimited Subscription

What Goes in the Binder?

I put a few IEW resources and a few LTW resources behind this tab. We’ll see what he ends up using

How to Scale Back Exposition

There are several ways to either scale back the workload or just make things a little easier. Here are some ideas I’ve seen work. Pick what seems like it would best help your student to learn:

  • Listen to audiobooks instead of reading the book (is this even considering scaling back? It seems normal to me!)
  • Over the summer, read/listen to the books you don’t write papers on (Paradise Lost: Book 1, A Passage to India)
  • Write a shorter paper (I told my son to write all his essays with at least 500 words)
  • Combine two papers by comparing two books
  • Skip writing papers on a few of the other books. You could write an outline of a paper or skip it altogether.
  • Read a summary or an abridged copy of a few books so you can still participate in the discussion in class

How We Grade Exposition

Our current plan is to have my son choose which Grading sheet (aka Outline or Checklist) to turn in with his paper based on what type of essay he’s writing. So, I have several copies of the LTW Persuasive Essay sheet, the LTW Comparison Essay Sheet, and my new General Essay Grading Checklist. I created this hoping to help merge what we learned in IEW and LTW. I’ll let you know how it works!

6. Debate (Social Studies) Strand

In addition to preparing and participating in 3 debates, students study Western Cultural History, looking at worldview as it shows up in the arts! Students research 12 famous artists and 9 famous composers. Then discuss these people in class, and they write a paper about each artist they study. There’s not a lot of guidance about writing the paper, so your student gets to be creative!

There are also a few projects (all explained in the Debate appendix of the guide):

  • Write an Art Grant Proposal
  • Visit an Art Museum / Write a persuasive speech
  • Give an impromptu speech

What to Purchase for Debate

  • For the Art and Music part:
    • Marvelous to Behold by CCMM
    • Classical Music for Dummies by Pogue and Speck
    • State of the Arts by Veith (This has become one of my favorite books! Don’t skip reading it!)
    • The Gift of Music by Smith and Carlson
    • Optional: How Should We Then Live– Directors show the movie in class. Students may want a paper copy of the book, which is almost a transcript of the movie, in addition. The video series that goes along with the text is available on Amazon Prime in case you want to watch it at home!
    • Optional: This Western Cultural History Notebook is a free download from Abigail at SageMint. I’ve heard great things about it! I downloaded a copy and printed it for my students. I love it and think it’s beautiful, but I couldn’t get my son to use it…
  • For the Debate part (you should have all this from Challenge 1)

What Goes in the Binder?

  • Notes and essays from researching each artist
  • Notes from watching How Should We Then Live in class
  • Notes and handouts as students prep for debates

How to Scale Back Debate (Social Studies)

There are several ways to either scale back the workload or just make things a little easier. Here are some ideas I’ve seen work. Pick what seems like it would best help your student to learn:

  • Write a shorter artist paper (I told my son to write all his essays with at least 500 words)
  • Combine two artist papers by comparing two artists instead of combining two works of art by the same artist
  • Instead of writing a paper about an artist, recreate one of that artist’s artworks or create some new art in the style of that artist (great for the more visual, less verbal types!)
  • Skip writing papers on a few artists. You could write an outline of a paper or skip it altogether.

How We Grade Debate

I assigned points for the artist papers, the debates, the projects, and participation (see the grading spreadsheet above).

7. Now Let’s Add Some Artsy Fun!

Since I’m all about art and Ridge Light Ranch is mainly about helping you teach art, I wanted to include links to a few of our art-related resources that are especially great for this grade.

The Research (Science) strand focuses on Biology this year, which is full of opportunities for Art! It reminds me of the “Look at Your Fish!” story we talked about in our podcast episode about why it’s good to include art in education. Here are some existing lesson plans that will coordinate great with the study of Biology! 

We also have several art lesson plans about the artists studied in Debate:

8. Other Helpful Resources

Help Contribute!

Now it’s your turn! Let me know how you make the most of Challenge 2!

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How the Make the Most of CC’s Challenge 2 Welcome to our Challenge 2 Page! Our hope is that this series of pages becomes a great resource for CC families. We cover some of the more general info on other pages: Table of Contents for This Page I know there’s a lot of information here,…

How the Make the Most of CC’s Challenge 2 Welcome to our Challenge 2 Page! Our hope is that this series of pages becomes a great resource for CC families. We cover some of the more general info on other pages: Table of Contents for This Page I know there’s a lot of information here,…

How the Make the Most of CC’s Challenge 2 Welcome to our Challenge 2 Page! Our hope is that this series of pages becomes a great resource for CC families. We cover some of the more general info on other pages: Table of Contents for This Page I know there’s a lot of information here,…