Well, big changes are ahead for my family this year. After a very rocky past several years (it's a long, convoluted story that I won't elaborate on here, but I was unemployed for almost all of 2013, and we've been slowly getting "back on our feet" since then), I was recently offered a sort of dream job. I'll be working as a cartographer in Wiesbaden, Germany. We expect to be moving there in the coming weeks.
My son is now in eighth grade, and I went through the summer expecting that we would not be doing Classical Conversations Challenge B this year. I told my wife we didn't have the money for it, I tried to steer us to at least considering joining a Schole Group, and I geared up for a year of catching up on some things that I felt fell by the wayside as Soren was doing Challenge A last year.
When the opportunity to go to Germany first came up in August, I quickly learned that there is a CC group based in Wiesbaden with an open spot in Challenge B. I was actually really excited about this, as I figured that the benefits of my wife and son being able to rapidly connect with a group of like-minded friends would more than offset the few concerns I have about CC's curriculum. And it will be much less expensive, because the German government doesn't allow the tutors to take the payment they receive in the U.S. So we are planning to join the group when we arrive.
In the meantime, my wife and son have been attending a local CC group (she obtained funding through outside sources). I wasn't in favor of this, as I thought it would be better to focus on preparing for our move, catching up on the "by the wayside" activities, and having Soren work a lot on learning German, which he had dabbled with several years ago. But my wife was concerned about him falling behind with the CC curriculum if he wasn't in it from the start.
Regarding science in Challenge B, he has been learning about a famous scientist each week (Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, and Banneker so far). As Lisa commented regarding Challenge A, this is really not in-depth science study, though I think there is still value in it. I believe that later in the year he is supposed to participate in a Science Fair, but I don't know the details of that. I'm still trying to push for him to work through the Earth Science textbook he has, but there's only so much I can do with that in the limited time I have available.
In one of the strands, the kids will be assigned to read and discuss Phillip Johnson's Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. I haven't read it yet, but Lisa previously wrote this regarding the book:
I'll likely try to read through it before Soren does and then decide how I want to deal with it when it comes up this year. I've thought about agreeing only to have him read the book if we agree to also read and discuss the Haarsma's Origins. And I've also thought of "putting down my foot" (not really my style) and saying, "he is not going to read that." What I don't want is a replay of last year, when I was so exasperated by It Couldn't Just Happen but didn't have the time and energy to address all the insidious nonsense it was conveying, and so ended up mostly just stewing about it.
I've considered contacting the Challenge B tutor in Wiesbaden and gently trying to let her know that I'm not on board with the anti-evolution ideology in CC and feel out her perspective on in, but I'm concerned that if she is adamantly anti-evolution, this may set the relationship off on a bad note for the whole family. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?
So, this is shaping up to be a very interesting year for us. In the vein of things to be excited about, Soren's top interest is military history, and we should have ample opportunity for field trips this year.