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Getting Started in Homeschool Debate

If you have said, "I wish debate was available in my area for my high school student," please continue reading.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with homeschool debate for more than a dozen years, each of which has benefited our academic program and our family in a variety of ways. Along the way I have spoken with a number of people who wished debate was available in their area, but since it was not they felt like it was not possible for their family to participate. This is simply not true. It only takes is a few resources and a bit of bravery. (The resources are available and homeschoolers by definition are relatively brave, so debate would be just one more step along the path.)

With regard to the resources, first you must address the fundamentals of debate. As an obviously biased plug, I suggest you take a look at the debate course program I recently completed that includes roughly 10 hours of video instruction in over 30 lectures and an accompanying 100+ page course workbook. These materials can be reviewed here: Debate Course Material Home Page

In addition, I have a few of each of the following helpful resources for basic instruction, and also for forming and running a new debate club. The Table of Contents for each of these can be accessed through this page: Debate Resources

"It Takes a Parent...", by Deanna Stollar. This is a comprehensive teachers manual written to work with "Shipe" (above). It includes fully scripted lectures that simply need to be read by the instructor, class handouts, in-class exercises, detailed homework assignments and quizzes.

"Coaching Policy Debate", by Terry, Deanna and Ryan Stollar. This text complements "It Takes A Parent". Through "Shipe" and "It Takes A Parent" the students learn how to prepare for and participate in debate. "Coaching Policy Debate" provides useful guidance in forming and running a debate club.

As for the bravery part, looking to pioneers is often a good place to start. A few years ago I received an email that ran along the lines of "There is no debate in my area. I want to start something. What do I do?" I replied with the resource information available at that time, and that same year the Whole Heart Debate Club from Corvallis joined CCNW in our events. A short write up about their experience can be found by following the links on the left side of this page.

You too can start a debate club in your area. If you have been wanting one there is no time like the present. CCNW would love to have you jump in and join us. If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact CCNW by sending an email to Ray Engel at