Challenge I: Weeks 1 and 2

I’m okay.  I’m breathing.  I’m alive.  And I survived weeks one and two of Challenge I!  Yay!

Actually, I missed the first day of class due to an allergy attack.  It was raw cashews—I had no idea I was allergic to that.  My face swelled up, but I’m fine now, thank God.

I’m still in that figuring-it-out stage when it comes to this school year.  Again, the Challenge Guide (where I get weekly assignments) has confused and annoyed me.  One could argue that all teenagers, especially girls, suffer from chronic bouts of confusion and annoyance, but this is genuine.

First, the whole “week number” mess.  Week one is not week one.  It is week zero.  It’s very perplexing.  However, think of it from a tutor’s point of view, and then it makes sense.  In the Challenge Guide, there are two parts to each week: the unshaded “at home” section and the shaded “in community” section.  The week number refers to the “in community” section.  I thought I had it down since I’ve gone through Challenge A and B.  Turns out it still takes getting used to.


I started Saxon Geometry this year.  Originally, I had unrealistic expectations and wanted to get both Geometry and Algebra 2 done in the same year.  I began by testing in to Geometry, and turns out I have to start at the beginning of the book, one lesson at a time.  I tried two lessons at a time.  I kept getting tripped up.  So, I’m doing one lesson a day and a test when I get to it.

However, I’m switching curriculums to Harold Jacobs Geometry.  You can check out a review here.  The reason I’m switching is because Saxon’s writers didn’t put much thought into their Geometry book; they bought the text from another company.  Also, it is harder to understand and there are a few errors in the text.


Shocker, shocker—I’ve quit Latin.  Okay, not completely, but mostly.  For our family, this required intense deliberation and consideration.  We thought through everything and did research.  I’ll probably post an article on this later on.  Ironically, Classical Conversations’ famed nurturing of critical thinking skills is what convinced our family to stop Latin.

For foreign languages, I am reviewing Spanish I from a few years back to prepare for Spanish II next year.  (That is the current plan at least.)  I am also reading through the Latin lessons in the Henle I book along with my class and memorizing a comprehensive list of Greek and Latin roots.

Research (Science)

Research this year is Physical Science by Apologia.  The agenda is pretty simple but time-consuming: read through the lessons, answer questions, complete study guide, define terms, prepare for lab experiments (if I’m assigned that week), and complete tests.

Reasoning (Traditional Logic)

This is where I am tempted to rant.  Not about the curriculum this year, not at all.  Our Traditional Logic text, workbook, and answer key is one of the best logic books I’ve done in terms of explanation and comprehension.  I’ve done a lot of logic, because I’ve done Challenge B.  I’m glaring at Challenge B right now.

Pretty much, Challenge B makes you do two high school level logic texts (Introductory and Intermediate) in one year, although each book is meant for one year.  Many Challenge students can recall those big white textbooks with a certain amount of ambiguity and anger.  Traditional Logic in Challenge I feels like a step down from Challenge B.  If I were to redo Challenge B, I would do Introductory Logic and Challenge I’s Traditional Logic.  Intermediate I’d save for Challenge I.

This is one of those things my family is thinking about to make Challenge flow better for my younger sister, currently in Challenge A.

Exposition (LTW)

Simple.  Same old, same old.  It is possible that I am getting bored of the Lost Tools of Writing program.  My family and I have decided to intersperse LTW essay assignments with IEW (Institute for Exellence in Writing) assignments to break up the monotony and help improve writing in other areas, not just persuasive writing (which is LTW).

In Challenge I, there are nearly twenty assigned books, and roughly half have the privilege of being essay books.  The Challenge Guide assigned an LTW essay to the book The Sign of the Beaver, but my mom and I replaced it with The Red Badge of Courage, another book from this year that I felt deserved it more.  Its themes of guilt, pride, youth, and human nature were just too good to pass up.  I’ll be writing an essay on whether or not war makes a young soldier more mature, supporting the affirmative side.  It’s a tricky thing to defend, especially if I myself am not sure which side I believe in.

Debate (Team Policy)

Let me just say that Team Policy did not start off well for me.  Today is Wednesday and tomorrow is Community Day.  I totally forgot about this subject until yesterday.  On top of that, the Team Policy notebook provided by Classical Conversations is, in my opinion, poorly written and explained.  Thankfully there are DVDs included.

Debate (American Literature)

Honestly, I’m quite surprised by how well I liked this.  Every week we are tasked to read 4-5 documents, and the tutor chooses one for detailed annotating, summarizing, and discussion.  This week our tutor’s choice document was “Liberty or Death” by Patrick Henry.  It really is a stirring speech.

That’s it for weeks one and two of Challenge I!  (Actually it was kind of long.  This is the intro, so it’s going to be long.)

2/30 weeks until the end of Challenge I


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