One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can tailor your school to meet the needs and interests of your students. To do that, you need to think outside the box a little bit. Once you do that, all things are possible! Even speech and debate!
I have another question for you. Are there ways outside of a school setting to get a child involved in a debate club or with public speaking, other than in a church setting? I am looking for more of a debate setting where they will be forced to compose arguments and think on their feet, not just give a prepared speech.
Speech and debate can be done in group settings with some of the following ideas and organizations:
- American Legion Boys State
- YMCA Youth & Government
- National High School Mock Trial
- Speeches as part of college scholarship applications; e.g. Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks Club
- Speeches as part of an adult group: Toastmasters
- Speeches as part of regular activities: teaching a class to small or large groups
- Debate with a local homeschool group; google your city, and the words “homeschool debate”
- Develop a group of teens to discuss current events, perhaps all listening to the same talk radio show prior to meetings
You can also study about debate during the “down time” when not actively involved in a group. Some of the more popular programs include:
- Institute for Excellence in Writing Advanced Communication Series
- Secrets of the Great Communicators
- Or their more advanced, meant for adults, The Best-Kept Secrets of Great Communicators – SYSTEM on Audio CD
Practice can be achieved by regularly memorizing and presenting prepared speeches to friends and family. Perhaps weekly you could ask the student to memorize scripture, poetry, or famous speeches from the past.
Memorize famous poems to tie in with your study of American or British Literature. My favorite source is
A Treasury of Poetry for Young People
Memorize famous American speeches to tie in with your study of American History or American Government
Famous American Speeches: A Multimedia History, 1850 To The Present (CD-ROM)
Check out my profile on The Old Schoolhouse’s Speakers Bureau, and then ask you conference coordinator to invite me to come speak to your conference in 2010!