Thursday, March 24, 2011

Speech and Debate Tournament

This past year we have joined a Speech and debate team. This was mostly driven by Thomas's passion. The team we are part of is under the auspices of Christian Communicator's of America ( a Christian homeschooling debate group.

(Our Team: Michelle is the tallest girl on the left, Thomas is the short guy in the front and Paul is on the most far right)

Most states have their own chapters. Each team competes in their own state group or in combination with a neighboring state. Our state also competes with Michigan.

There are many things we have come to appreciate about the CCA. The Christian label is not just taped on, it is foundational. They have points in their statement and Glorifying God is number one. They really follow through with this. Competition is point number five. It is really a family oriented activity. They limit the yearly tournaments to four so that it is not to heavy a weight on the families and so that as many dad's as possible can be involved. Our team has really strong Dad involvement. We have also been pleased by the emphasis on developing a godly character. Competition gives lots of learning opportunities in this area.

Paul competes in the team debate. This is open to youth 14-18, ie high schoolers. He also competes in Impromptu Apologetics. They are given a long list of questions before each tournament that they might be asked, that they can prepare for. At the tournament they are given a question and then they have three minutes to prepare a seven minute speech. Apologetics is the skill of being able to biblically defend your faith.

Thomas also does the Impromptu Apologetics category and prose interpretation. In Prose Interpretation they have 10 minutes to present a prose (or story) piece. Thomas is doing the Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry. Thomas is not old enough to do debate this year, so he is working on three different speeches.

He is also doing Rhetorical Criticism. This is a memorized 10 minute speech in which they apply some system of evaluation to an auditory artifact. He applies Monroe's Motivated Sequence to the Carbonite Ad. If you want to know what this is, you'll have to google it or come to our next tournament.

They also have speech categories for the younger children (9-12). T-Bob is also doing a prose interpretation. You can see he was pretty relaxed before his speech. All the young men are expected to wear suits throughout the tournament.

T-Bob's Prose piece is a Homer Price chapter on 'The Super Duper' by Robert McCloskey. He does a really nice job.

They even have a junior division for 5-8 year olds. Elizabeth competed in this one in the last tournament. All the Junior competitors got little trophies. She did a prose interpretation of 'A Bargain for Francis'.

The first tournament, only the older two boys competed. After watching it the other children all came and asked if they could do it also. I didn't get a picture of Michelle competing, but she also did a prose piece. She did an excellent job despite her speech issues. It is exciting to see the growth in the children fr4om participating. Their comportment is maturing, their speech is more clear and thoughtful. They are becoming more critical thinkers and evaluators. The younger ones are really learning from watching the older ones. They are having a good time at the tournaments and making good friends. I am really glad this has become a part of our family culture.

Thomas, because he is competing in three different speech categories is doing 'Sweepstakes'. This is really a rigorous endeavor as each speech is about ten minutes long and must be given three times, usually on the same day. Because of the challenging nature of 'Sweepstakes', all competitors who complete it are given acknowledgement on stage. Thomas is on the far right.

Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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