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Sophomore year begins today for the Dayngrous Duo. Tenth grade. That means Challenge II begins today. I can’t believe it. It feels like time is flying by. I am so pleased with how much the kids have grown in wisdom over the last school year using Classical Conversations (CC).
School is going to be interesting this year with COVID-19 affecting everything. We have a small class of just 10 students (mine included) but we’ll see how that all plays out. I have to admit, I was hesitant to participate in an in-person community day but I’m keeping an open mind and taking it one day at a time.
To mark this momentous occasion I thought I’d share a little bit of what they’ll be learning as sophomores along with some of the books they’ll be using, as well as the novels they’ll be reading. This will be a very exciting and rigorous year.
Classical Conversations Challenge II Begins Today!
The overarching theme this year is Freedom allows opportunities for noble choices. As you may recall, Challenge I’s theme was Discipline is the cornerstone of Freedom. Each year builds toward the next. For example, Challenge III’s theme will be All choices bring consequences.
I love that the CC curriculum encourages my children to think deeply and critically while improving their reading, writing, and research skills – all while having open discussions and collaborating with each other in a community-style learning environment.
What will this year cover?
British Literature, Latin 2, traditional Logic, Algebra and Geometry, Western Cultural History, and Biology provide the academic core for Challenge II. They’ll be moving into a more rhetorical format than their previous Challenge I class as they advance in their language skills, research, writing, dialogue, and debate. Elocution or “style” in written and oral presentations will gain more importance as they learn and practice new types of rhetorical skills, including persuasive, impromptu, and debate presentations.
Here’s what the guide says:
Flowing from the examination of freedom in Challenge I, the theme of Challenge II leads students to weigh the value and impact of choices executed by literary figures and heroes, historical leaders, artistic greats, and other persons of influence. Students contemplate the choices made by leaders in history: Where these choices wise or unwise? Students study the flow and development of ideas that have shaped Western thought and culture and how they’ve influences twenty-first-century thinking. Using the common topics as a model (definition, comparison, relationship, circumstance, and testimony) students practice the art of questioning in order to gain clarity and insight. This insight leads to deep and profound conversations that consider consequences.
They did so well last year in Challenge I that I am confident this year will build upon everything they learned last year and just take it to the next level. I was so impressed with how easily they fell into a groove as we switched to this new curriculum.
10th Grade – The Books
Here’s a quick peek at some of the books we’re diving into this year. I love, love, love reading, so I will be reading along with the kids again this year. We thoroughly enjoyed it last year because we could all discuss what we read and it was so much easier for me to help them when the time came to discuss and prep for their essays.
The kids each have their own copies of the Biology book, Logic and Logic Workbook, Words Aptly Spoken: British Literature, and Words Aptly Spoken: Socratic Dialogs (the latter two aren’t pictured because I forgot to grab them out of the drawer).
Second Year Latin
Latin 2 is going to focus primarily on translations rather than exercises, though there are still going to be some exercises and vocabulary words.
From their director:
For the most part your student is figuring out why Caesar is killing all those pesky Gauls and his top ten ways to conquer the world. This is where the integration is most beautiful! Because they have learned HOW to learn a language, Spanish or French will be an easy addition to their knowledge base later.
The Second Year Henle Latin book was very thick and the kids mentioned that last year they didn’t like how hard it was to work in the book since it didn’t lay flat. To fix this problem, I had their books split into two sections and spiral bound for their convenience. You can see first-year Latin in between, too. This is a must to hold on to because your children will refer back to it often.
Barnes and Noble Editions
Their director this year tipped me off to the Barnes and Noble (BN) educator discount, I was able to get a few of their books through BN. As you’ll see, some are the BN Classics which include a note from the author, an introduction, footnotes, endnotes, and more. You can learn more about BN Classics by clicking here. I highly recommend them for your students.
Others are part of the BN Collectible Editions which are gorgeous. I chose these over the CC Bookstore versions for a few reasons. They’re classics we’ll want to hold on to and the typeface is bigger than the Thrift Dover Editions. You might want to check them out for your Classical Conversations students, too. It’s really all about what you and your children prefer.
If you’re curious about what books I recommend your tenth grader read, check out my list “Books Every Tenth Grader Needs.”
Challenge II Community Day
The kids meet one day a week, at a local church, to have conversations about the work they’ve completed and to prepare with their director for the week ahead. This year’s Challenge 2 class on our campus is 10 teens, including both Bella and Rex. Three girls and the rest are boys. Out of the entire class, only 3 of the boys were kids they didn’t know.
We’ve got a big room this year, perfect for social distancing, couches, tables, chairs, and we have a big screen TV for any of the media we may watch. There’s plenty of hand sanitizer for everyone. Plus, my kids have their masks and their own hand sanitizer. I also love that our director diffuses Thieves each time we meet.
I’ll be updating how things are going and including what the kids have accomplished as we progress through the year. I hope you’ll follow along. Wish us luck! It’s going to be a great year.