How to Make the Most of CC’s Challenge Program

teens walking in field

Welcome to our CC Challenge-Specific Page

I’m dedicating a corner of my website (which is mostly about teaching art using the classical model of education) specifically to how we made CC’s community-based curriculum work in our family and community.

On this page, I cover some general ideas about Challenge. However, the majority of my tips and files can be found on these other CC level-specific pages here:

Table of Contents for This Page

And now for some legal stuff

I try to use affiliate links whenever possible. So, if you use one of these links I may get a few pennies from it. However, the cost to you will be the same. I promise that I never choose what to suggest to you based on the benefit I might receive from it. You can learn more about our affiliate policy here.

Classical Conversations has also 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.

Organizing for Challenge

Each of my children (do I still get to call them that when one is taller than me now?) has chosen to organize their Challenge supplies differently, so I’ll try to share both when applicable

The Guide

I have my OWN copy of each guide (I took the guide to Office Depot and they made me a copy). This allows me to give my guys full reign in their copy of the guide and I think that helps them take ownership. If I had to share a copy of the guide with them, I’d either go crazy or refuse to let them write in it and neither of those would be good.

I leave ALL the pages in their guide. Some parents remove the articles in the beginning, but I keep hoping the boys will read them. The articles are well written and explain the “why” behind a lot of what we do. During his ChB year, my oldest had a friend ask him why he was learning Latin. I pointed him to that article in his guide and we pulled out a few key reasons. Hopefully, that stuck with him more than if I’d just rattled off a few reasons.

My younger son wants it inside his giant 3-ring binder. My older son likes his copy of the guide spiral bound, by itself.

CC Guides

We segment our guides with tab dividers or sticky tabs, marking the sections we think will be most useful. For example, here’s how we broke down the Ch A Guide:

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Semester Snapshots
  3. Weekly Assignments
  4. Appendices
  5. Logic (Math)
  6. Grammar (Latin)
  7. Research: Natural Science & Science Fair
  8. Research: Biology-Anatomy
  9. Reasoning
  10. Exposition
  11. Debate
  12. Extras

Last, we add a simple post-it note to mark the week 1 tasks in the Weekly Assignments section. That post-it note moves every week and will have to be replaced a few times over the year.

The Challenge Binder

Each student has their own 3-ring binder with a “Pocket Tab Divider” for each strand. Pocket tab dividers have a pocket where you can slide an 8.5×11 sheet of paper in and out without removing it from the 3-ring binder. This means they’re wider than a regular tab and will stick out past any page protectors in the binder. (yay!)

I’ll talk more about what goes behind each tab below when we talk about each subject

The Challenge Bookshelf

We own a lot of bookcases, so each kid has their own section of a bookcase. We have several magazine file boxes for workbooks and spiral books- without a box, they tend to fall over and get in the way. I have yet to find cheap magazine file boxes that fit our big 3-ring binders, so they sit on their own. Exposition books tend to sit together without a box as well.

Grading in Challenge

Whether you’re in a situation that requires grading or not, it’s good to stop and think about some key questions:

  • What is your purpose in grading?
  • What are the benefits/advantages of grading?
  • What are the costs/disadvantages of grading?
  • What’s the best way to grade each subject
  • What grading scenario will each of your students respond best to?
  • What does your state require of you in regards to grading?

Keeping a Timeline Journal / Book of Centuries?

Some students keep a Timeline Journal (aka Book of Centuries) in the Challenge years. Some people start in Ch A and others start in Ch 1. (A few even start before that!) Here’s some helpful info about what it is and how to maintain it!

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