How the Make the Most of CC’s Challenge 2

Welcome to our Challenge 2 Page!

My oldest is entering Challenge 2 for the first time this fall of 2023, so I’m adding to and editing this page over the summer as we get set for the year and throughout the school year as we learn! I hear this is the hardest year of CC, so I’m trying really hard to stay on top of it all!

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

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 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

We’re looking forward to jumping into Henle’s 2nd year Latin!

Latin Cheat Sheets for Ch 2– coming Summer 2024

I’m sure I’ll end up making on, but for now, I suggest my Challenge 1 cheat sheets (coming soon)

What to Purchase for Latin (Grammar)

At this point I only know what the catalog tells me:

  • Henle 2nd year Latin textbook (teal 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 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 quizes 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. (It appears there are a few experiments students will complete at home as well.)

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.
  • Lab Journal: Your student can use just about anything for their lab journal. We used a graph paper composition book last year ($2-4 depending on sales) and it seemed to work great. However, this year, we’re trying the Student Handbook 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. Maybe we’ll use it this 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 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.
    • Since this is the second year of formal lab reports I’m expecting a little more from my student. I made a Lab Report Grading Sheet (similar to a rubric) that I’ll have him use for each of those reports this year. It’s based on The Students Lab Report Handbook by John D Mays, which is slightly different from how Apologia set up lab reports, so we’ll see how it goes.

4. Reasoning (Formal Logic) Strand

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

4A. Traditional Logic II (Memoria Press)

I’m hoping this will be fairly easy and straightforward after all the logic we already did in Ch B and 1.

4B. Socratic Dialouges

The nerd in me is pretty excited to read some ancient Greek philosophy. Hopefully, my son will enjoy it as well!

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.

What Goes in the Binder?

  • Not sure yet!

How to Grade Reasoning

  • For the 1st semester, we will use the Memoria Press quizzes and tests.
  • For the 2nd semester, I’m still figuring it out…

5. Exposition Strand

My understanding is that students move beyond Lost Tools of Writing this year and start to write papers from prompts without any specific curriculum.

What to Purchase for Exposition

There are 18 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.

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!
  • Canterbury Tales: “Prologue” and “A Knight’s Tale” by Geoffrey Chaucer 
    • CC sells 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 sells the version retold by Jessie L. Weston, so you may want to get that one.
    • KindlePaperback
  • Paradise Lost by Milton
    • CC sells 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
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Second Semester Books

coming soon!

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 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

This year we’re studying Western Cultural History, looking at worldview as it shows up in the arts!

What to Purchase for Debate

  • Marvelous to Behold by CCMM
  • Classical Music for Dummies by Pogue and Speck
  • State of the Arts by Veith
  • 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 as 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.

What Goes in the Binder?

How We Grade Debate

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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