F5 Speech and Debate

We will have an informational meeting about our club and the 2019-2020 season Thursday evening, August 8, at 7 PM at the Metrolina Christian Academy/First Baptist Church in Indian Trail. Directions to the Building are at the bottom of this page.

Our regular meetings will be at the same location, day, and time beginning August 22nd. Meetings last 1.5 hrs.


Our club is student led by several experienced students providing the instruction and coaching. Parents are welcome to sit in but most do not.


We are a part of the Stoa Christian Homeschool Debate League. Here is a good video about Stoa. https://stoausa.org/what-is-stoa-like/


As a club, we will focus on parliamentary debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, and some speech events.

* Parliamentary debate is a fun, limited preparation debate between two person teams. The topic debated changes each round and can be serious or light-hearted in nature. Teams have 20 minutes to research and prepare for the round using the Internet, friends, parents, other debaters, etc. However, only notes handwritten by the debaters themselves can be used in the debate.

* Lincoln Douglas debate (or LD) is a form of one-on-one debate. The debate topic will remain constant all school year. The topic for the 2019-2020 season will be Resolved: Culture ought to value assimilation over multiculturalism.

* The speech events that we will focus on as a club are: Persuasive speaking, Extemporaneous (current events), Apologetics, and Open Interpretation (like a one person skit that is based on a piece of literature or written by the competitor).

Persuasive – In this event a student writes, memorizes, and gives a speech that advocates a certain position or a certain action. Examples of memorable persuasive speeches – Why we should limit use of palm oil, Why and how to give blood, Why you should be a libertarian, Why we should adopt/help others to adopt children. Maximum speech length is 10 minutes with no minimum.

Extemporaneous – This is a speech given on a current event topic. The student receives 3 possible topics and has 30 minutes to prepare a speech of 7 minutes long (maximum length) with no minimum This is a lot like researching for a parli debate resolution EXCEPT that you can’t use the Internet. You have to use files already on your the computer. Luckily, students can purchase Extemp Genie ($30/year). https://extempgenie.com/ Generally extemporaneous questions fall into three broad categories – Economic, Domestic (USA), and International.

Apologetics – There are 100 questions over 6 categories that are asked about the Christian faith. A list of all the questions is found here.

Our first tournament will use questions from Categories 1,2,and 5 If your student likes to watch videos, a list of some videos from YouTube on the various topics can be found on our club website under "Apologetics Resources." Speeches are 6 minutes long max with no minimum.

Open Interpretation – Can be written by the student or can be from a published work. Can be serious, funny, a monologue, a story, a thematic compilation, etc. No limit on added words. Preformed by one person. Maximum time is 6 minutes. No minimum.

Some examples of the various speeches listed above are given at our website under the “Types of Speeches" tab. Also see the “Speech Helpful Hints” tab for instructional videos about for all things speech including how to choose a topic.


Homeschoolers ages 12-18 as of October 1st are welcome to join us! (These are the age guidelines set by the league Stoa. You must be within these age limits to compete. All are welcome to come and learn with us, however).


For the first three meetings we will focus on the basics of debate. Then we plan to have a 1 day Saturday camp on September 7th to become familiar with Lincoln Douglas debate. After the Saturday camp, we will begin a four week rotation of the focus of the weekly meetings. I think the student leaders had planned to do 2 weeks of Lincoln Douglas followed by a week of speech and then a week focusing on parliamentary debate. The order of the subjects may be changed. For example, we might have speech, Lincoln Douglas, parliamentary debate, Lincoln Douglas.


This year we plan on hosting 3 tournaments - all on Saturday.

Students can also travel to tournaments in other states. The closest tournaments to us are in Atlanta.

The prospective dates for our tournaments in Indian Trail are:

  • October 12th - Parli and Speech
  • Feb 15th (tentative) - Lincoln Douglas and Team Policy and possibly Speech
  • April 18th - Parli and Speech


How much time a student wants to devote to speech and debate is really up to him or her.

The "homework" time commitment for speech and debate is a lot greater in the first semester than in the second.

Our club website has a lot of resources available for self-study. There are two different video series on the basics of Lincoln Douglas under the "Lincoln Douglas" tab. There is also a video series on the basics of platform speech (including persuasive) as well as video series on Apologetics and Extemporaneous. Look under the "Speech Helpful Hints" tab for these video series.

I am also excited about new resources available from a group of former Stoa competitors at The Helmsman Institute. They offer instructions for how to do the various speech events for $20/event/year.

Early work on speech events can benefit the student all year long....allowing the student to participate in a lot of tournaments in that event all year.

And consistent reading all year long on the Lincoln Douglas cases released from either Monument or Helmsmen can help prepare the student for Lincoln Douglas.

In my family, a lot of the work for debate happens before that first tournament. For the rest of the year, students tweak their cases, continually improving based on results and feedback from subsequent tournaments.

I would estimate that students would spend 1-2 hrs/week on speech and debate in the fall semester. During the spring, tweaking speeches and debate cases seems to come in spurts a couple of weeks before the "next" tournament.


There is no cost to join our club. However, there are expenses associated with competing. Students are encouraged to compete, but it is completely optional.

There is also the optional cost of purchasing a subscription for Lincoln Douglas debate briefs and/or cases.

  • Monument Publishing (cost $99/yr/student) puts out weekly Lincoln Douglas case ideas throughout the school year.
  • Helmsmen Institute (cost $20/yr/student) also puts out Lincoln Douglas cases and briefs but not as frequently as Monument.

Necessary supplies include a kitchen timer, pens, and a legal pad.

Some of the different speech events also have some cost associated with them. To be competitive in extemporaneous, it is helpful for a student to have a laptop and a program loaded on his/her laptop that downloads and organizes various Internet news articles by topic. These programs cost about $25-$30/year.

Tournament expenses include purchasing dress clothes (new or second hand) if these aren’t already in your student’s closet. At competitions men are required to wear suits or slacks and a sports coat, with a shirt and tie, and dress shoes. For ladies the dress code is a skirt or pantsuits; slacks, skirts or dresses with jackets, and professional dress shoes. Hemlines are to be at least to the knee. Nylons are not required.

Each tournament also has its own registration fees. We have charged $20/debater and $10 for the first speech event and $5 for any additional speech events. Some tournaments charge as much as $40 per debate event.

Most tournaments want competitors and parents to either bring a lunch or purchase the meals offered at the tournament. These meals are usually around $5 but can be as expensive as $8. We try to keep our cost down and have some meal options costing just a couple of dollars. (Slice of pizza, cookie, water bottle).

If your family wants to travel to tournaments, there are the travel expenses on top of the registration and food costs. However, a lot of tournaments do offer host housing, where local families open their homes for out-of-towners to throw down a sleeping bag and take a shower.


In order to host tournaments, we need the parents of our members to have all hands on deck for the duration of the tournament. We need parents to judge rounds (training is provided) and/or do odd jobs like keeping the food and drinks on the buffet table fresh for the judges.

It is also VERY IMPORTANT for families to try to recruit friends, family, and acquaintances to serve as judges at our tournaments. Parents cannot judge their own children. And once you have judged one debate team or speech event, you cannot judge that team or speech event again during that tournament. So as the tournament progresses it can be harder and harder to have eligible judges. We desire to provide unbiased judges for all rounds and events.

Directions to the Building at Metrolina

We are meeting in building D, a one story red brick building, at the Metrolina Chrstian Academy. If you enter the campus on Gary Drive, you will eventually see to your right a grey building that looks like a house. That building houses the school offices and it has some large maroon letter M's on the outside. Behind that grey building is building D. Enter at the side door that is by the picnic tables under the pine trees.