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The Challenge III Program

Challenge III students pursue a more fully embodied understanding and presentation of goodness, truth, and beauty through poetry, essays, readings, speeches, debates, and above all, conversations with one another.

Caesar and Cicero, Shakespeare and Plato, British history and poetry, as well as chemistry, logic, philosophy, and mathematics are the gardens in which they cultivate their conversations.

Through each area of study, students discover their unique place in the overarching story of mankind’s search for knowledge, justice, and God.

Using all five canons of rhetoric, Challenge III students hone the art of effective and beautiful communication with their fellow man, thereby more fully loving their neighbours as they love themselves.

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Exposition

Poetry and Shakespeare (First and Second Semesters)
Students read five Shakespeare plays, a guide that comments on the plays from a Christian perspective, and a book on poetry.

Students write an in-depth analysis of some aspect from each play and create a poetry anthology of their own work. In seminar, students lead and participate in discussions about each play and present memorized lines for dramatic interpretation.

Between plays, students present poetry readings and discuss poetic forms.

Grammar

Caesar and Cicero (First and Second Semesters)
Through an ongoing study of Henle Second Year Latin, students continue to follow Caesar’s footsteps to his conquest of Gaul and to his final breath at the Senate in Rome.

Next, they turn to the great oratory of Cicero in Henle Third Year Latin. They dive into the speeches of his exceptional Roman statesmen as he skillfully defends the ideals of the republic against tyranny.

Students encounter the elements of stylistic devices applied to political eloquence. They witness the intrigue of Cicero’s day while gaining a deeper understanding of the art of rhetorical speaking.

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Debate

British History (First and Second Semesters)
Students read and study the text, write and present essays that relate to various events in British history, polish presentation skills through a variety of forensic events, and compile events into a timeline.

In seminar, students participate in Socratic discussions about events and philosophical ideas that shaped the British Isles.

Research

Chemistry (First and Second Semesters)
The chemistry seminar offers a combination of labs and discussion.

Students hone observation skills through hands-on labs and witness the consequences of chemical combinations.

Students build their own notebook, write lab reports, and complete additional research at home.

Logic

Pre-Calculus (First and Second Semesters)
Each week, students further their understanding and engage in discussion about assigned concepts from pre-calculus.

Conversations synthesize the ideas of relationships, shapes, higher-order equations, variables, Euclidean proofs, and trig functions.

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

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Reasoning

Philosophy (First Semester)
Students read, outline the text, and prepare discussion questions at home each week.

Besides examining the major ideas of influential philosophers, the students work on the five canons of rhetoric— invention, arrangement, style, memory, delivery—and improve their presenting skills through student-led seminars.

Traditional Logic II and Socratic Dialogue (Second Semester)
Challenge II logic continues here with more emphasis on hypothetical rhetoric and categorical and complex syllogisms.

At home, students study the text, complete discussion questions, and write case studies of arguments.

In seminar, students study new forms and examine arguments or philosophical ideals for logical thought and validity.

Together, students will read Plato’s Meno twice, first to discuss virtue and whether it can be taught, and again to study the Socratic model.

Challenge III FAQ

We recommend that Challenge III students set aside an hour per subject per day during the school day. As with most rigorous curricula, many students will need more time to complete their work. One suggestion is for Challenge III students to read the Shakespeare plays during the preceding summer, in order to prepare for the school year. Special projects will demand extra homework time, but usually students are motivated to work hard on presentations or debates and willingly put in extra hours on nights and weekends.

Yes, a student can begin with Challenge III, but we encourage you to consider carefully before making this decision. Remember that classical education does not follow the modern paradigm of Reception to Upper Sixth, but instead considers the child's grasp of fundamental skills of learning. If your child does not have a background in the liberal arts, it may be better to start him at an earlier level (such as Challenge I or II). If your child is going to begin in Challenge III, be aware that this year of study may be tougher for your student than for others who have completed the previous Challenge levels. Your student may have to spend more time studying the basics than his peers do, and he may need more parental guidance and encouragement than he would otherwise.

No matter what maths program a student uses at home, he or she will benefit from the conversation in our maths seminars. During our discussions, we travel up and down the spectrum of maths concepts from numbers and operations to algebraic equations and geometry and stretch into pre-calculus concepts. Too often, students are engaged in a maths curriculum with little to no conversation, and that leaves them feeling like maths is a disconnected series of steps. If maths remains a rather silent, robot-like, step-driven subject, students miss out on the joy of maths and its beauty as a tool for communicating the structure of creation. So yes! Your student should join the conversation whether or not he uses Saxon at home. We will have a great time discovering the joy of maths together. The same can be said of foreign language or science: they will enjoy and benefit from the conversations even if they do something different at home. They may even bring in a fresh perspective that will enrich the seminar discussion.

We believe students develop a stronger, more supportive fellowship if they are together for the full six strands. They are able to explore more fully the integration of all subjects. We recommend that even if a student chooses not to fully study one subject at home that he stays in seminar and listens to the discussion and participates in it as much as he can. Even if a student is not studying Latin, he will pick up vocabulary from listening, learn history, and learn how to learn a language by watching the systematic way the students approach and talk about it. Talk to your local director or Support Representative about the seminars and make a decision about that together. Since there are no more than twelve students in a class, the tutor knows each student well and accommodates all levels into discussions.