How Challenge Challenged Me As A Student

Leah Davis
5 min readFeb 14, 2021

I’ve tried a couple of different strategies for my education. I was homeschooled by my mom and I did some online classes. I remember when my younger siblings started with Classical Conversations while I did online classes. I wasn’t sure if it was something that would really benefit me or if I would fit in with the other students.

My first day had me so nervous. Was Challenge the right path for me? I started my Challenge experience in Challenge B. Would I be clueless since I didn’t do Challenge A, Foundations, or Essentials?

I was in for a treat.

Hi. I’m Leah Davis and I’ve gone through Challenge B, 1, and 2. My years in Challenge were incredible and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They also weren’t perfect. I wasn’t good at Latin, I got stressed out and obstacles got in my path.

What I learned has shaped the way I take on every day of my life.

Should you put your kid in Challenge? Based on what I learned and how it has affected my life, I’ll let you decide.

Challenge taught me to do hard things.

The mock trial in Challenge B was one of the most intimidating things I have ever faced. Thinking on your feet, speaking to a crowd, and memorizing a witness statement were all terrifying propositions. I was scared but my class pushed me to dig into the material. We came up with arguments, sifted through which ones mattered, and wrote each out in structured questions. We had to find a way that a witness could help our case while also figuring out how to ask questions that would make our point clear.

At the same time, I had to memorize a witness’s statement and be prepared to answer questions during the trial. It was a lot of work.

My class won both Prosecution and Defense. It is to this day one of my most beloved accomplishments. Why? It taught me to do hard things. The mock trial was intimidating but the outcome was outstanding. I learned that doing something, even if it’s hard, will be worth it in the end. Not only did I get to learn about the court system, the importance of justice, and logical reasoning, but I learned something that I can apply to every day of my life.

Challenge taught me that knowledge isn’t based on grades

I’ve gotten grades in my online school. Yes, it pushed me to do better. It also taught me that the goal is to get good grades. Doing your work well is important. Being able to show your work is important. Challenge showed me that only I know how much I know. In Challenge, we don’t have tests. We have what is called a Bluebook. For my class, it was never structured like a test. It was structured to ask questions that would prompt us to write down what we could remember. It celebrated what we had learned instead of pointing out what we didn’t.

In Challenge 1, I remember being really nervous about my Bluebook. I came across a question about Physical Science. It asked me to write about my favorite module so far. I went all out. I filled the page with everything I found fascinating about a chapter. The Bluebook was testing the limits of my knowledge instead of measuring it. This may sound confusing, but hear me out.

Challenge taught me to ask how much I can learn instead of how much I needed to learn. It taught me to reach beyond my limitations. If I liked a subject, I could dig more into it. If I didn’t, I was pushed to do the best I could.

You can’t measure knowledge with a grade when the limits of that knowledge are moving every day.

Challenge taught me about God and the world

When I think back on my Challenge years, I always think about my class. Some kids came and went. There were goofballs and quieter kids. My favorite part of my class was our discussions, without a doubt. We always had logical, deep discussions on the world.

Challenge encourages us to have constructive discussions. They encourage us to dig into different worldviews and to have the ability to logically defend our own. In Challenge 1, they taught us about economics. We have a whole project where we figure out how much it would cost us to live.

Challenge taught me about the real world and God’s place in it.

Challenge can be intimidating. I know. I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve questioned my ability to do it. I’ve been through the highs and lows of Challenge. I’ll be the first to say that it’s hard. Being on the other side, I know that it’s worth it. The life lessons I have learned are irreplaceable. Challenge didn’t just teach me what to think, but how to think. The 5 Common Topics shine through everything they do and taught me to use that in other parts of my life.

Maybe you’re thinking about becoming a Challenge Tutor. I had a front seat of that, too. My mom stepped in to teach my class. She was clueless. They call Challenge tutors lead learners for a reason. You don’t have to know everything. I really respect my mom for stepping up. She learned a lot along with us and my classmates truly respected her additional lessons. Our bunny trails were always deep and meaningful.

Don’t let yourself be scared out of doing something that will add meaning to your life. Push to show your kids that you can do whatever you put your mind to.

I believe that Classical Conversations couldn’t have come up with a better name than Challenge. It’s a challenge but an exciting one that’ll positively affect the rest of your life. Whether you are thinking about having your kid join Challenge or whether you are thinking about becoming a lead learner. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Originally published at on February 14, 2021.