Part 3: Consider the Connections
Going just a bit deeper than Part 2, here are the six Challenge strands and a few elements of the Foundations years that prepare for each strand. These are activities you are probably already doing at home!
This is only a starting point for this conversation! Hopefully, we can find increasing connections beyond these mentioned here.
Challenge progresses from Pre-Algebra to Calculus. What will prepare our kids for this logical thinking? Math facts, formulas, laws, operations…. We are not just “doing math” at home, we are gaining skills in logic and discovering the order of the universe God created. We do not aim at “finishing the book” this year. We aim at progressing in our skills of understanding the basic language of math, making accurate computations, and memorizing formulas so they can be applied appropriately.
Challenge will begin a formal study of Latin and continue through translating original works. How on earth does a parent prepare for Latin with no background? English Grammar. Knowing how English works will benefit you immensely when you get to Latin. Latin, in turn, will give you greater understanding of English (and other languages). Don’t minimize what you gain from the English Grammar memory work in Foundations and the application of it in Essentials! The Latin memory work endings (cycle 1 and 2) and vocabulary and translations (cycle 3) obviously also prepare for the formal Latin study. Drill those grammar facts for English and Latin knowing they will serve you in the Grammar strand!
This strand practices taking in ideas through literature and expressing ideas through composition and rhetoric. A student must know the basics of reading and writing. From that first phonics lesson, to that last Faces of History presentation, they are learning to take in ideas in written form and express a complete thought for the benefit of others. Phonics, spelling, handwriting, reading, editing, composition, poetry, and listening all build a solid foundation for this strand.
The Reasoning strand stretches from Analogies to Informal and Formal Logic, to Socratic Dialogue, Philosophy, and Theology. To be able to reason well, students will need tools for memorizing new grammar quickly so they can remember, assimilate, and use new information. Focusing on how to memorize is just as important as what you memorize. Also, cultivating your family’s faith at home will prepare them for clear thinking.
This strand moves from Cartography though all of World History. Everything you discover about geography and history in the grammar stage will serve as a peg for the challenge years. Finding and naming all the geographic locations and reciting all those history songs will kick start the debate strand. Every read aloud you share will benefit their insight into the people, places, times, and ideas of this world.
Challenge students study the sciences through a variety of approaches. Some of the skills that prepare for this strand are observation skills, nature study, reading and exploring across all scientific fields, experiments, memorizing the science memory work, and enjoying the information on the back of the Classical Acts and Facts Cards. Students can keep their own classical notebooks where they draw pictures, record facts, and keep data collected from experiments.
Consider the connections, but don’t aim for the Challenge outcomes in the Foundations years. There will be plenty of time to develop ownership that eventually builds into leadership. Enjoy the grammar stage, build the foundations, practice the skills. From Foundations, Challenge may appear frightening like an unknown path through dark woods. However, if you see the connection between Foundations and Challenge now, then, when you get there, it will be just another step on this cozy journey with close friends.