Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Classical Conversations Challenge ~ Got Questions?

Holly CC Challenge Ask Qs

UPDATE: I’ve posted Holly’s answers at this link. Thanks for participating!


A reader emailed me a request for a Classical Conversations Challenge Program Q&A/Interview/Guest Post series here at Mt. Hope. It seems Foundations and Essentials inspiration and support is much easier to find on blogs than Challenge level information. Obviously, as my oldest son will be entering Challenge A this coming year, I have no experience to share. I promise to keep you updated about how that unfolds for us, but until then I have to beg, borrow, or steal experience from others.

This is where my sister comes in. I had to use some coercion tactics as she’s shy and humble. And she’s not going to be thrilled about the picture and the fact that I’m going to talk her up a bit to y’all. But that’s the price one pays for being my sister. [grin] I hope to have more guests (particularly tutors) share tips and experience and inspiration if this goes well. (Hint: If you want to see more about Challenge here on this blog, be sure to participate! Ask questions! Leave comments!)

Let me introduce my sister Holly.

She’s beautiful (obviously). And talented (her house and garden are so lovely). She’s diligent and hard working (that gene skipped past me). She’s generous with her time and talents. She doesn’t like attention (but we’re going to give her some anyway).

Holly and her husband, Casey, have been married for almost 22 years. They have three kids, whom you have watched grow up here at Mt. Hope Chronicles over the past 7+ years. Ilex is 18 (her name is pronounced like Alex, but with a long “I”—it is the botanical name for holly); Drake is 16; Ivy is 9.

Ilex and Drake attended a private Christian school until 5th and 3rd grades (respectively), when Holly pulled them out to homeschool. They spent four years following The Well-Trained Mind model (while Holly was also doing childcare and had a toddler/pre-schooler, no less).

Ilex was entering 9th grade (and Drake, 7th) when Classical Conversations became available locally. It was a perfect transition point for their family. The CC Community was brand new so only Challenge A was available. Holly enrolled both Ilex and Drake in Challenge A together.

Since then, Ilex has completed Challenge A-I and a year of community college through a dual-enrollment program. (I’d like to take this moment to mention that she has a 4.0.) Drake has completed Challenge A-II. Holly has also tutored Foundations for 4 years with Ivy. [There is currently no director for Challenge III in our area, and Drake will be moving on to a different school experience this coming year.]

Drake and Ilex, in addition to the gender and age difference, have very different strengths and passions. Ilex loves being a student and has strong verbal skills (her writing skills are excellent). Drake is extraordinarily gifted in mechanics and physical strength. He plays football, works on machines (he is currently restoring an old motorcycle), and does hard labor for jobs such as farming.

This is your chance to ask Holly questions about her experience as a Challenge parent.

Keep in mind that changes have been made to the Challenge programs in the past few years (The Lost Tools of Writing and Henle Latin in Challenge A, for example) and that experiences vary depending on the tutor and the community.

I’ll give y’all a week-ish to get your questions asked. Please give me another week or so to interview Holly and cover as many answers as we can!

K Family 2013 pm


Anonymous said...

I'm so excited about this series! Holly and her family sound inspiring!
A few questions:
* How is History incorporated throughout the Challenge levels?
* Did you make any adjustments to the assignments based on the strengths and personalities of your children?
* When you had a high school student in Challenge A and B did you give full high school credit? Did you add anything during those years?
*In your opinion, what are the most beneficial aspects of CC Challenge?
Thanks so much,

Kellie said...

Some of my questions are similar to the ones above.

I would love specifics on how CC looked on Ilex's transcript. I'm considering trying Challenge A with my upcoming 9th grader in a brand new community as well, but I can't wrap my mind about how it all looks on a transcript.

Is there time to add extra stuff? I keep getting conflicting answers about this -- some say the Challenge materials are, um, challenging enough, but others (specifically those who've used the WTM model) say it's not enough.

Did having her kids in Challenge create more work for Holly as a homeschool mom or did it make life easier or stay the same? For example, do you get a million emails and need to volunteer like parents who send their kids off to school do? What is the relationship like between the parent and the tutor?

Looking back on their years in Challenge, what things does Holly wish she or her kids had done differently?

Any specific advice for joining a community that is just starting?

Thank you!

Kim said...

I would love to hear Holly's thoughts on choosing between Classical Conversations and a Classical Christian School in the area. If she had a true classical school in her area, would she still have chosen CC? Why or why not? Any thoughts about what she thinks might be the differences between the two would be helpful. For example, one classical school I'm aware of tackles really hard topics and they don't really skip anything, but I often wonder if CC only tackles what the tutor for Challenge is willing to tackle and from their perspective only. Thoughts? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm two years away from Challenge and I'd love to know if she thinks there is anything she'd recommended to prepare. Maybe there isn't anything and the memory work is enough, but It's a thought that goes through my mind a lot.

Lindsay said...

Heidi, this is a wonderful topic! Thank you for hosting this. My oldest child will enter Challenge A in September, so all of these things are on my mind.

I have a question similar to Kim's: how much of Challenge class content is driven by the skill-level and/or willingness-to-learn of the tutor and how much is dictated by the syllabus. Since CC only works when parents step up, I can imagine quite a range in classroom ethos, depending simply on the tutor.

How did Holly stay connected to her Challenge-level students' content? (I tutor Essentials and Foundations and I don't want to lose touch with the academic side of my son's education)

Heidi said...

Lindsay~ I've just posted the Q&A, and Holly and I had gone over the questions before I got yours. I'll see if she has anything to add on the subject. :)

Donna Lewis said...

Hi, My name is Donna and I am mom to 9 children. I am struggling through Challenge B with my 15 year old daughter and 13 year old son. My husband is the director as well and I still cannot motivate my child. i am sure we have a ton of character issues but the work just seems so overwhelming. How did you prioritize what absolutely had to be completed?