Speech and Debate
Homeschool speech and debate was birthed in 1995 when Christy Shipe and her father, Michael P. Farris, head of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and chancellor of Patrick Henry College, formed the HSLDA Debate League. In 2001, after much growth, the league separated from HSLDA and was renamed National Christian Forensics and Communication Association (NCFCA) league which now has over 2000 affiliate families located in more than 45 states. NCFCA believes that formal speech and debate can provide a means for home schooled students to learn and exercise analytical and oratorical skills, addressing life issues from a Biblical world view in a manner that glorifies God.
After forming the first NCFCA debate club in South Carolina, Deb Edson approached SCHEA in 2001 with the idea of sponsoring a statewide debate tournament. Since that time, SCHEA has sponsored seven annual tournaments (which now include speech) in South Carolina as well as adopted the speech and debate program for its members. There are now speech and debate clubs in Beaufort, Greer, Columbia, Easley, and Spartanburg with members preparing for practice and qualifying tournaments. In addition, SCHEA offers support through speech and debate workshops at the annual SCHEA summer convention and informational articles in its newsletter.
Students who participate in homeschool speech and debate become more confident in speaking, researching, writing, listening, organizing, critical thinking, and note taking. They acquire knowledge in many subject areas such as government, economics, history, logic, current events, literature, and apologetics. Furthermore, they learn to listen carefully to both sides of an issue, spotting logical fallacies and flawed conclusions. Stated one parent, "Speech and Debate has impacted so many courses in my daughter’s curriculum. This is where all of her learning comes together."