The Homeschool Minute ~ Diana Waring – Speech and Debate–should we?

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Speech and Debate–should we?

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Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring

Dear Friends,

Have you noticed that Spring has sprung at last? Just wanted to make sure you took a few minutes to walk outside with your kids and bask in the new life springing up all around you. . . I just had my FIRST hummingbird of the season stop to sip at my feeder–what joy!

Now, onto today’s topic. It is an interesting one, because there are so many possibilities. First of all, there are the official “Speech and Debate” clubs and tournaments that students can join, learning the formal procedures of forensics. Then there are opportunities to practice giving speeches (like Junior Toastmasters). And, as every homeschool family knows, the chance to debate the value of taking a less-travelled road (like homeschooling!) with folks who hold different opinions hones the communication skills of our older students.

There is another less-known benefit of engaging in some sort of speech and debate, one that Dr. Jay Wile and I have been sharing at homeschool conventions this spring in our workshop entitled, “Arguing to Learn.” Studies of science education have shown that students actually learn MORE when they discuss topics in which different theories are debated. It seems that when a student prepares to debate–even informally–they will learn the material far better than doing experiments or preparing research papers. If we extrapolate from these science education studies to other areas of learning, it becomes clear that encouraging our students to discuss and debate various points of view is actually a marvelous opportunity to learn in a greater depth and breadth than normal.

One strong warning, however. Whatever form of speech and debate your students participate in, help them understand that it is not a knock-down, drag-out fight. Quarreling, whether in word or attitude, is not appropriate. Instead, as servants of the Lord, we are called to walk in love, in kindness, in gentleness, in self-control.

Remember, stay relational!


P.S. If you are coming to the GHC convention in Ontario, California, be sure to come hear “Arguing to Learn” with Dr. Jay Wile and Diana Waring!



To Give an Answer

The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association

Regardless of occupation, we are called to communicate. A mother communicating the gospel to her children, a missionary with different cultures, a lawyer defending justice–we are to stand ready to share the reason for the hope within us. We must know how to winsomely articulate truth and graciously combat incorrect thinking and inaccurate data. The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association uniquely prepares students to accomplish each of these. Through competition, students become equipped to follow God’s call to communicate effectively for His glory.

Many opportunities present themselves for homeschooling families, but few offer as much return on investment as NCFCA speech and debate competition. While earning credit in areas of critical thinking, logic, apologetics, history and current events, students:

  • Experience iron sharpening iron. Competing in NCFCA provides a benchmark to evaluate skills and opportunity to be challenged by competing with the best and brightest youth across the country.
  • Pursue academic excellence and personal integrity. Competitive speech and debate introduces students to a world of research and writing on a myriad of topics, requiring them to gracefully operate with both academic and personal integrity.
  • Cultivate lasting relationships. NCFCA has a national competition structure allowing students to get to know and work with others, locally and nationally. Friendships developed truly benefit them for the rest of their lives.
  • Learn social excellence and leadership skills. Nowhere else is found such loving, supportive, gracious interaction between peers–especially noteworthy considering they are competing against one another! Competitors are aware their first order of business is to honor God with their words and actions, including their interaction with one another.
  • Build character. Much is to be learned both from winning and losing, as well as from peer and authority interaction in a competition setting.

The NCFCA experience is like no other. It is awe-inspiring, motivating, encouraging, world-changing, uplifting–truly life-changing! Bring your students and join us!


NCFCA facilitates communications-based competition to homeschooled high schoolers, placing particular emphasis on excellence in academic and personal integrity as students learn to think and communicate effectively.

Debaters learn speaking and research skills, respectful argumentation, refutation, organization, and most importantly, effective communication skills.

Speech events offer a different type of communications experience. NCFCA competitors can choose from eleven different events, including Essay and Film contests, carefully chosen for their unique, developing skill set.

Visit and learn how to get involved! Come join us!




Learn Our History
This Memorial Day, help your kids learn the history of our
real-life superheroes with this FREE DVD!




Raising A Modern Day Princess inspires parents, mentor Modern Day Princesss and youth  leaders to raise a true Modern Day Princess. Co-authors Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna, share the value and purpose of providing a Biblically based rite-of-passage that guides their girls into womanhood that culminates with a life-impacting blessing ceremony.



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In the January/February 2014 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, we spoke with Dr. Ben Carson regarding why he believes it is important for students today to be able to clearly state and defend their beliefs. He answered:

“Because they are up against a secular progressive society which is extremely vocal. It does not actually represent the majority opinion but has the microphone and tries to make people believe that anyone who varies from the secular progressive opinion are small-minded, ignorant people. And you need to be able to stand up to that and articulate your point of view in such a way that it becomes quite clear that you are not a small-minded, ignorant person.” has current and upcoming classes to help you do exactly that. Middle school and high school students can take five months of Public Speaking with homeschool graduate and Biola University student Rebekah Bell, and they can enjoy fifteen weeks of Logic with Lisa Duffy. Plus Deborah Burton, attorney and founder of, offers Mock Trial on our site–more than 18 months of the study of law and important legal cases–leading to opportunities to debate in a mock trial or persuasive-argument setting. (Join the course at any point; the months provide standalone material and are archived.)

Beginning June 2, Julie Polanco will help students explore the world of Botany and understand some of the infinitely creative ways our Creator designed the earth to work. Starting this fall, Ruth Sundeen will teach students Biology that accents the roots of science and debunking evolutionary teaching. And Sonya Brouillette will introduce your students to Animal Science.

If you’re not already a member, join today during our special 19 Gifts sale. Not only will you save money now (regular price $12.95 a month), you will lock in your membership at this price for as long as you maintain your membership (see site for details). That is a savings of over $60 every year. You’ll receive access to all the material on for your entire family (over 85 courses in all) plus 19 free gifts including products from Jim Hodges Audio Books, A Journey Through Learning, King Alfred’s English, and many more. Stop by The Old Schoolhouse® Store today for all the details and to lock in your super sale price. But hurry, this offer is only good until June 30, 2014!




Can your teens defend their faith? Send them to a
Summit Student Conference to help them build critical
and biblical thinking skills about competing worldviews.


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The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.



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