Monday, March 22, 2010

Speech and Debate

Do you think that Speech and Debate is an important thing for students to learn? What ever happened to the Debate clubs of old? Even when I was in public school years ago, there were no debate clubs and competitions.

Well, Speech and Debate is alive and well in homeschooling. My oldest son is interested in Speech and Debate, and earlier this year we saw a notice in our county homeschool magazine about a Speech and Debate club that students could participate in. However, after contacting and speaking with a woman about it, we found that it just wasn't feasible for us to participate in due to the fact that it was a good distance away, and the time that they met each week just didn't work well for us either.

So, we found out about a Speech and Debate tournament that was being held in our area this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and we decided to check it out. Now, let me just say that, going into this, I knew a little about speech but nothing about debate. I was so impressed at this tournament. These students obviously put a lot of effort, time, research and hard work into these activities and they reap valuable benefits. They gain a wealth of knowledge as well as some valuable skills such as discernment and wisdom, research skills and critical thinking skills. They gain excellent communication skills.

We heard one young man do a Persuasive Speech on healthcare and I wanted to rush him to the government to speak before they voted on the new Obamacare issue. This young man had convincing facts and options that I felt were intelligent and would work. (Need I say I completely disagree with Obamacare?)

It was obvious to me that these students had a bright, successful future ahead of them, and I got excited about the possibility of my son participating in this. Unfortunately, we still don't have a Speech and Debate near us. So I did what all good homeschooling moms do. I prayed about it and I began to research how to teach it. I contacted a couple of people as well. Well, God has opened doors and shown me how to do this. So, when the 2010-2011 school year begins, I will be leading a Speech and Debate club at our co-op, and I am very excited about it because I have just watched as God has shown me the way. It always amazes me how God gets things done and gives me the courage, confidence, resources, and tools I need to do something when I seek His will.

I will be running a National Christian Forensics Communication Association (NCFCA - formally known as HSLDA debate) affiliated Speech and Debate club. NCFCA is a national organization with Speech and Debate tournaments in every state in the United States. So, if you are interested in learning more, visit their website at

I have ordered my resources and eagerly await their arrival so that I can begin to learn about Speech and Debate so that I will be ready to lead a successful club in the 2010-2011 school year.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Applied Engineering

My oldest son is taking an Applied Engineering class at our co-op. Last Wednesday, they had their first project completed and ready for testing. They had to build a bridge out of popsicle sticks and the test was to see how many bricks the bridge could hold before it broke.

This is the group that my son was in. He's the one in the middle, and that's their bridge on the cement blocks.

The teacher began placing bricks upon the bridge, and, sadly, the bridge began to sag a little; but mostly, the one side wanted to give way.

The teacher said that if was going to break, it had to break "down". It didn't count if just a side broke.

So, a mom stepped in to help hold the bricks so that they would continue to build until the middle of the bridge would break, instead of the bricks simply falling off of the side.

Well, it only held eight bricks until the middle did break DOWN. My son was disappointed. He said he didn't really want the sides built the way they were, but when you work as part of a group, you have to compromise and let each person make decisions.

This was the next group and their colorful bridge. This bridge turned out to be quite strong. The teacher had only brought eleven bricks with him and this bridge held all eleven. Then, each of the team members who built the bridge took turns standing on it to see if it would hold them -- it did!

This young man is the tallest in the class and they thought he might also weigh the most, so they had him stand on it, and . . .

He brought the bridge down!

This bridge held all eleven bricks as well. It also held several people, including the teacher, who took turns standing on it. Then . . .

two of the three boys who made it decided to try to stand on it together, and . . .

they brought the bridge down!