Over 3,500 copies of my book, Jeub’s Guide to Speech & Debate, have been distributed to IEW constituents. Chances are good that you got a copy either from me (see my landing page here) or from my partner in promotion, the Institute for Excellence in Writing (who is giving it away for every $100 order this year). IEW hopes to distribute twice as many by year’s end.
If you have had time to read it, you probably discovered the wealth of information in the little book. It covers all you need to know to jump into the exciting world of speech and debate, even including a free curriculum that usually costs $20. Little time is wasted in this easy and to-the-point read, though I included a couple of good stories to motivate you. As Andrew Pudewa said in the foreword, “Speech and debate tournaments are the most exciting thing on the planet.” I hope you, like thousands of educators across the country, are convinced that speech and debate is a must for you and your home school next year.
Okay, so you’re convinced that you should do speech and debate. Now what?
I’ve got five action steps for you to consider, each of which will help make sure your first year of speech and debate are enjoyable and successful.
1. Have a Family Meeting
Treat speech and debate like you would a family vacation. Planning it should be half the fun! As a family, you will prepare speeches, learn debate topics, travel to tournaments, and meet all sorts of great people—together. Here’s an example of how you could lead the meeting:
“We’re diving into speech and debate this, year. We’ve heard so many great things about this wonderful activity that we’re making it a major part of our homeschool. There are tournaments to look forward to, and each child will prepare at least one speech and perhaps participate in debate. Let’s talk about how we can be most successful this coming school year.”
Easy-peesey, right? You’re off to your adventure in the wonderful world of speech and debate.
2. Choose a Speech and Debate Event
You may have felt like you were drinking from a fire hose when you read my book. I honestly try to make it easy to understand, but sometimes readers get lost in the vocabulary. For your first year, you should make two choices: (1) a single debate format and (2) a single speech event.
Don’t think you have to be super ironman your very first year. Using my book, read the chapters on the debate and speech events. Discuss these various formats as a family. Check out a few videos on YouTube of champions speeches from year’s past. I have some of my kids in the free curriculum that comes with the book.
You don’t need to have a speech all polished up and ready to go right away. Most tournaments will not start until January, so you technically have an entire semester to prepare.
3. Seek Local Support
Both homeschool leagues have websites that allow you to find local clubs and state chapters (see www.stoausa.org and www.ncfca.org). I know folks all over the country doing this, so if you get into a pinch, contact me and I may already be networked with someone in your area. Chances are there are friendly people within driving distance who will be more than helpful in connecting you with a club or helping you start one.
If you come up to a dead end, there is absolutely nothing holding you back from starting an “independent” club. Your family and your home school is all you need. To tell you the truth, that’s why I included the $20 curriculum in Jeub’s Guide to Speech & Debate. It’ll do wonders in making this activity possible, even from scratch.
Yeah, I know, easy for me to say. I’m a speech and debate coach and writer of a whole bunch of materials. Well, let me tell you about all the resources I have for you.
4. Get the Right Sourcebook(s)
Jeub’s Guide to Speech & Debate introduces your family to speech and debate, but to be really good at it, you should start with Monument Publishing’s popular sourcebooks. These manuals tailor specifically to five categories of speech and debate. You pick the one or two that suit your needs:
1. Blue Book for Team-Policy Debate – www.monumentpublishing.com/blue
2. Red Book for Lincoln-Douglas Debate – www.monumentpublishing.com/red
3. Gold Book for Extemporaneous Speaking – www.monumentpublishing.com/gold
4. Silver Book for Apologetics – www.monumentpublishing.com/silver
5. Bronze Book for Interps and Platforms – www.monumentpublishing.com/bronze
Here’s the grand news: All of these sourcebooks are valued between $40 and $80, but they’re all knocked down to $30 for the summer. Now’s the time to get the sourcebook you need for the events you plan to participate.
The deal doesn’t just stop with your sourcebook. When you order your sourcebook, you are able to buy anything else in that category of speech and debate at a 20% discount. Supplementary material, ironman curriculum, tournament supplies, and more are offered with your sourcebook at 1/5 off.
5. Stay in Touch
The last “first step” is to connect with me. Seriously, I’m more accessible than you might think. I may have 16 kids, own a publishing company, and travel the country running camps, but I love to squeeze in time to connect with first-time speech and debate enthusiasts.
Here’s how: Subscribe to this blog: www.chrisjeub.com/connect. It’s free! When you subscribe, you get a free download. I love to blog a few times a week on all sorts of things, but speech and debate is usually at the top of my list.
Seriously, folks, speech and debate is the homeschool sport. You are on your way to a healthy and exciting activity for you and your family. God bless your journey…and I’ll see you at some tournaments!