The Challenge IV Program

Challenge IV is a rare jewel in our day.

Challenge IV students sink their teeth into ancient writings of Homer, Virgil, and Hesiod, as well as modern writings of Lewis, Zacharias, and Leithart.

In the first semester, students survey the Old Testament and highlight the poetry of Scripture through a study of the Psalms.

They translate The Aeneid from Latin into English using Henle, while translating creation into numbers through math and physics.

Students read some of the past’s greatest writers, as well as contemporary works; they create, consider, and converse; debate, discuss, and digest the good, the true, and the beautiful.

The optional senior thesis is a capstone project, combining all the classical skills of rhetoric acquired by the student into a final original persuasive work that is defended publicly before a panel.

Challenge IV crowns the Challenge years by contemplating duty, honour, and leadership across the ages and into our own day.


Understanding consequences builds great LEADERSHIP.

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Ancient Literature (First and Second Semesters)
Ancient literature of Greek and Roman poets is the prime focus of the literature seminars.

Students analyse, discuss, and examine each epic work through a biblical lens.

Students complete a thorough study and dramatically interpret portions of each literature selection in conjunction with the companion guide.

Students practice rhetorical skills by leading seminar discussions and performing dramatic interpretations.


Language and Literature (First and Second Semesters)
Challenge IV’s language and literature seminar will explore and translate original language documents alongside the translated works.

Uncover the literal meaning of Virgil’s Aeneid in the ancient Latin while studying this epic poem.



World History (First and Second Semesters)
This student-led seminar focuses on various discoveries that have impacted and changed the course of nations.

Students read the text, record pertinent facts, and create a timeline to organize the discoveries in a linear context.

Six oral presentations of different scope and focus exercise the knowledge attained and stretch students to new levels of rhetorical skill.


Physics (First and Second Semesters)
The main goals of this maths-based physics seminar are to provide a good foundation for understanding the mechanics of natural science and to develop a solid mathematical foundation for explaining the abstract ideas of work, energy, motion, and more.

Lessons are targeted, concepts are explored, vocabulary is defined, and problems are practised.


Pre-Calculus and Calculus (First and Second Semesters)
Each week, students further their understanding and facilitate learning the assigned concepts from pre-calculus and calculus.

Conversations synthesize the ideas of relationships, shapes, higher-order equations, variables, Euclidean proofs, trig functions, and in some cases, limits, derivatives, and integrals.

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 and calculus.



Theology (First and Second Semesters)
In the first semester, students complete an Old Testament study, examining passages that point to Christ as the fulfilment and the embodiment of Scripture, and highlighting Hebrew poetry through a study of the Psalms.

The second-semester changes focus to the New Testament ideals of faith and the Christian response reflected in behaviour and actions.

Also, the unique creed and beliefs of Christianity are examined comparatively alongside other major religions.

Students explore, research, and present topical presentations while gaining rhetorical skills through vivid discussions during seminar.

Challenge IV FAQ

We recommend that Challenge IV 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 IV students to preview the ancient literature during the preceding summer, in order to prepare for the school year.

Challenge IV, like the rest of the Challenge program, includes rigorous academics, so the answer will depend on your student’s time management skills and your family’s other obligations. However, a 2013 survey of Classical Conversations alumni found that over 90% of Challenge alumni had participated in church or community service work; more than 50% had served as political volunteers or missionaries while in high school, and over half had participated in extracurricular activities such as sports or performing arts.

Yes, a student can begin with Challenge IV, 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 II or III). If your child is going to begin in Challenge IV, 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.

The goal of classical education is to teach students not just what to learn, but how to learn. Challenge IV students, with the director's oversight, practice leading conversations in three of the Challenge IV seminars. Students grow in their rhetorical skills and discover truth together as they engage their peers in conversations.

This is the first full year the students get to practice Latin at a rhetorical level: in other words, they have moved beyond memorisation and analysis and into creative application as they translate ancient works directly from Latin. By continuing to study at this level, they gain a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment from having mastered a language like Latin. They will miss this opportunity if they switch to another language now and have to go back to memorising grammar and vocabulary.

At home, your student can work at their own level of maths, but in seminar, one hour a week, it is best for them and their peers to remain together and participate in and contribute to the conversation. Regardless of the maths level that a student is studying, he can participate in the seminar conversation about the concept that is being modelled. The concept might be review, it might be exactly where the student is at, or it might be a preview of a concept the student will encounter shortly. Each of these is a beneficial learning experience.

At Classical Conversations, we believe that the purpose of education is to know God and to make Him known. The families in our program aim to educate their children for heaven, not for a higher ed institution. However, seeking to honour God also means pursuing excellence in education. Classical Conversations graduates have been admitted to more than 200 different colleges and universities around the world. They have also gone on to pursue placement years, gap year programs, careers, and missions, and to serve as volunteers. In a 2013 survey of alumni, 66% had been accepted by EVERY college to which they applied; 0% reported being unable to attend college because their grades or test scores were prohibitively low, and 65% had received financial aid based on merit.