Saturday, January 17, 2015

Homeschool Speech and Debate Joy

Last week we were at a NCFCA speech and debate tournament in Bloomington Indiana.  My girls competed in this first tournament of the season.  We've been doing this for 5 years now so it's become pretty routine, but I have to say this time I came back just "filled".  Filled?  Yes, for lack of a better word.  Let me see if I can explain.
My daughters at the tournament with friends

Many times in January I've done blogs on what brings you joy versus what drains you.  That's kind of a tool I've learned to use to figure out what belongs in my life and what doesn't.  Well, it's a little like that. 

Over the years I've filled several roles at the tournament but this time I judged a lot.  That means I got to give feedback on ballots to lots and lots of students after listening to them debate or give their speech.  In the 5 years I've been doing this I have judged a lot and have gotten pretty good at filling out the ballots quickly so I can keep judging round after round.  This means I'll go right from judging a debate round to a speech round then a debate round again etc... all day.  It can get tiring and it does make a long day but I love giving feedback that I think the students can use to get better and even more I love seeing them improve.

Over the years you do see some of the same kids over and over.  Sometimes you judge them in the same event you have before and sometimes not.  The neat thing is to see how they've grown as a speaker.  Now, I don't even really "know" these kids but it is so amazing watching what competative speech and debate is doing for them as a speaker.

Many of the students I saw this year that I recognized from even last year have gained confidence, poise and skill.  Their speaking in their debate rounds becomes more smooth and you see them able to get their thoughts into well formed arguments.  Some of the speeches become more polished and longer as the students gain experience.  It's so incredible to "watch". 

Personally the rounds and speeches can also bring you something you need.  Often the kids competing will pray that the "right" people will hear their speech and God will use them.  I'm not sure they often "know" how this prayer is answered but I will tell you at least two of the speeches I heard impacted me.  One of them introduced me to a new subject that may be helpful in my life and inspired me to do some more research.  Another one shed some light on a relationship I have.  I may not be able to do anything with that information but it helped me gain some understanding.

So it's a two way street.  By judging you give them feedback they can use to improve and you get something back; Maybe it's some information you might need to know, some inspiration or even a good laugh.  But "fill" you it does.
Ariel placing 12th (first time in out-rounds for debate) with her good friend Ryan 13th

If you ever get a chance to judge for NCFCA jump at it!  You'll have a great time and be so appreciated!  Our region will be in several more cities this year and need lots of people in the community to judge.  You don't need any experience, they explain what to do.  So check it out.  You can get more information on their website or if you live near North Olmstead, OH; Arlington Heights, IL or Oshkosh, WI let me know and I'll get you the information (and we'll see you there!)

p.s. Oh, and another personally fulfilling thing was watching my daughter compete in out-rounds for the first time in Lincoln Douglas debate.  She did an excellent job!  It was especially rewarding to see all the ways she's improved since she was that cute little 12 year old trying to pronounce big words like "democracy"!  Very fun to watch!

No comments:

Post a Comment