The Challenge B Program

Ages 13+

Challenge B is a power-packed program where students are encouraged to stretch and excel in academics while engaging in exciting practical applications through short stories, and Mock Trial.

Challenge B prepares students for the more robust course load and faster pace of Challenges I to IV.


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Newbery Literature and Persuasive Writing (First Semester)
Using The Lost Tools of Writing, students review and build on the skills of the persuasive essay as they practice the tools of thinking and writing well through the reading of children’s literature and persuasive essay writing.

Through invention, arrangement, and elocution, students will practice the first three canons of rhetoric.

Short Stories (Second Semester)
Students transition to the adult reading level required in the higher Challenges by studying short stories by various writers they will encounter in Challenges I–IV, including Hawthorne, Poe, and Twain.

At home, students take the entire semester to write a short story of their own.


Latin B (First and Second Semesters)
Building on the foundation laid in Essentials and Challenge A, students will continue honing the skill of learning a foreign language with an emphasis on memorising vocabulary, declensions, and conjugations.

With time, practice, and self-discipline, Latin students will develop solid study skills that can transfer to other studies.


Current Events (First Semester)
In the first semester, students research and discuss current events from a Christ-centred worldview while practising dialectic skills.

For parents, this is a great opportunity to teach students how to think about and respond to the world.

The preparation done at home will foster wonderful discussions. Don't miss out!

Mock Trial (Second Semester)
The director and students spend the second semester preparing a case to be heard in a county courthouse at the end of the semester.

Students play roles as lawyers and witnesses for the prosecution and the defence.

Students decide on the most effective way to present their case and perform it for their parents, friends, jury, and a judge.

The skills gained in critical thinking, public speaking, and persuasive presentation will help students succeed in the Challenge I debate seminar.


History of Astronomy (First Semester)
Challenge B students use an interdisciplinary approach to study astronomy combining history, science, writing, maths, and often Latin, together with oral and visual presentations.

In the first semester, students research scientists, including astronomers, who have left a mark on modern science.

Origins (Second Semester)
Students spend ten weeks reading and discussing the creation vs. evolution debate.

The last five weeks are devoted to a simple section on chemistry, in which students learn how to use the periodic table and build models of atoms.


Pre-algebra (First and Second Semesters)
Each week, students further their understanding of maths as the conversation centres around the ideas of numbers, shapes, laws, relationships, operations, equality, and inequality.

Students may work from the Saxon resource or any other maths book of their choice as the conversation centers around the universal building blocks of pre-algebra.


Informal and Formal Logic (First and Second Semesters)
The first semester is an introduction to the vocabulary and concepts of informal logic.

This semester allows students to review the vocabulary and lessons repeatedly.

The second semester introduces the vocabulary and concepts of formal and propositional logic.

Students will walk step by step through the process of learning truth tables and formal proofs.

Challenge B FAQ

Students should plan on approximately 5-7 hours of daily work, depending on the student and the week’s assignments. Classical Conversations recommends that students spend an hour on each of the six seminars every day.

Challenge B is a foundational year for students to grow in discipline as they prepare for the upper Challenges. Students spend a year studying formal and informal logic as they learn to apply critical thinking in all strands. They prepare for formal debate and public speaking through the study of current events and Mock Trial. Challenge B prepares students for the rigours of upper Challenges. We encourage parents not to rush into the last years of secondary school, but to take this opportunity to cement the skills of learning and enjoy conversations with their young teenagers.

Yes. Challenge B Latin begins with Lesson 1 of Henle First Year Latin. Because one of the features of classical education is plenty of repetition, students will have three opportunities to move through the Henle First Year Latin book. Challenge A, Challenge B, and Challenge I students all begin at Lesson 1, but they go faster and farther each year. Parents can adjust the pacing to meet the needs of their student at home. 

Logic is the art and science of reasoning well. One of the most important skills we can teach our children is the ability to think clearly and reason well. In this seminar, students learn to define terms, order arguments and detect logical fallacies. Through a systematic study of Logic, they learn to order their thoughts and discipline their minds. Logic is the thread that runs through all strands of Challenge B. 

Maths is maths. Regardless of the maths program/level you use at home, students will benefit from and contribute to the class conversation as we travel up and down the spectrum of maths concepts from numbers and operations to algebraic equations and geometry. Our goal is to engage students in a maths conversation as we explore the meaning and power of maths as a language. All too often, students complete a maths curriculum with little to no conversation, leaving them thinking maths is a disconnected series of steps. Maths as a language of relationship is often left undiscovered. Students will see maths concepts in each Challenge B strand.