Challenge B

Ownership builds discipline


Effort, and persistence are necessary tools a student must employ to gain and apply knowledge. For Challenge B students, this involves asking good questions, preparing presentations, and studying difficult paradigms. Self-discipline becomes evident in the diligent student while preparing him or her for greater freedom.

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.

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

Effort, and persistence are necessary tools a student must employ to gain and apply knowledge. For Challenge B students, this involves asking good questions, preparing presentations, and studying difficult paradigms. Self-discipline becomes evident in the diligent student while preparing him or her for greater freedom.


Newbery Literature and Persuasive Writing (First Semester)

The study of classic junior literature provides students with quality writing about important themes and historical periods. The composition assignments allow practice in, narrative, expository, and poetic 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, Dickens, Twain, and Chesterton.

Each student spends the semester writing his or her own short story. At the end of the semester, students illustrate their stories, which are bound into a group anthology.


Latin B (First and Second Semesters)

Latin in Challenge B builds on the grammar foundation of Latin in Challenge A.

We study language because “the Word” was from the beginning; it is one of the ways we know God and make Him known. The analysis of words, sentences, and paragraphs helps us derive meaning from the written word. In addition, the study of the structure of our native language prepares us to study other languages, to be better writers, and to construct logical arguments.

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

The third step in learning anything is to communicate winsomely in word or deed what you have learned.


Current Events (First Semester)

In the Debate strand, students apply discipline to do research, to develop strategy, and present arguments with passion. In first semester, they research and discuss current events. Students gather negative and affirmative articles about issues,consider what the issue means to them, and ask what the Bible says about it.

Mock Trial (Second Semester)

In second semester, Mock Trial exemplifies the classical model. Students enter in the grammar stage to learn characters, vocabulary, and rules. They move through the dialectic, wrestling with information, forming strategy, and working together. On the day of the mock trial, rhetorical skills are on display as students take what they have learned and breathe life into their performances before a mock judge and jury.

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.

In Challenge, our content, assignments, and discussions help students progress from knowledge to understanding to wisdom.


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.


Traditional Logic (First Semester) and Artists and Composers (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.

In the second semester, students explore how beauty, emotion, and even logic can be woven together through art.

Students follow the evolution of art and music, seeing how each period relates creatively, though rationally, to the other periods.

Abstract thinking is now put into practice as students solve problems, write original papers and speeches, and lead discussions.


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.