I helped my son with a few of these last year, and I actually thought this was one of the better components of Challenge A. I recall he did papers on eclipses and on the volcanic origins of the Hawaiian Islands in the early weeks, but, as with other "strands", he didn't keep up with all of the weekly assignments through the year. Your son is probably ahead of mine in science and perhaps in writing also, and I can certainly understand the desire to skip the reports and do more a more in-depth science program with him. Soren has still only read about a third of the Novare Earth Science text that I got him a year and a half ago—a point of some frustration for me.
Well, you won't find many who are more fanatical about geography education that I am, and I'll say I generally agree with you about the relative importance of hand-drawing a map against learning the names of features and their topological relationships. But Soren was motivated was keep up with what the other students were doing, so we worked on this a good bit and I was impressed with what he could draw from memory. But you're right; in terms of "useful skills" manual cartography from memory ranks pretty low. Here's a difference between us: I added to the list of features I want him to learn, plus he added his own favorite locales (military history sites, Lord of the Rings filming locations, etc.). I also had him use maps that I made, since they were better than what CC was providing.
I couldn't agree with you more here. Everything about the "apologetics" strand in Challenge A was a wreck. I'm all for memorization even beyond the Foundations years, but using It Couldn't Just Happen and making a "catechism" of inaccurate and/or arcane quotes from it was an embarrassment.
This is the strand I kept up with least. I'm supportive—but not passionate—about his learning Latin. I'd prefer he learn another foreign language as well. I know this was Soren's most difficult subject for the first few weeks, but he seemed to find a groove as the year went on.
Yes, but with a lot more to be said about that. I'll try to elaborate on the "New School Year" thread when I next find time to write.