Why do we love homeschool clubs?
Writing Club is one of the highlights of our week here at True North Homeschool Academy. We meet twice a month for a time of writing, reading, skills building, discussion of great books and smart goals. Students are writing plays, novels, poetry and more!
We are expanding our clubs at True North Homeschool Academy to include Speech, Debate and Art Club! Why? Because homeschool clubs are an essential part of Jr. and Sr. High School! Don’t believe me? Here are ten great reasons why your 7th-12th grader should be in a homeschool club!
Homeschool Clubs offer accountability.
In a homeschool club, students meet regularly with others with similar interests and abilities, setting goals and report progress to their classmates and club mentors. Writing down and sharing goals is a sure-fire way to move ahead with them!
Homeschool Clubs provide a diverse learning environment.
Rubbing shoulders with those who know more than you allow students to have something to reach and strive for. In our Writing Club, we have students aged 12- 17 with a broad range of ability, experience, and passion. The older kids encourage younger students and provide amazing role-models.
Homeschool Clubs offer mentorships.
Being a mentor for those who don’t know as much as you do gives students a chance to hone their own abilities. The best way to learn something exceptionally well is to teach it. In writing club students with experience are reaching out to younger students to offer advice, encouragement and support, share contests, online resources, editing, and more!
Homeschool Clubs are skill building.
Clubs allow students to grow and develop their skills in ways that they possibly wouldn’t seek out on their own. Our writing club has delved into songwriting, comedic sketch writing, and more based on the interest of club members!
Homeschool Clubs are low stress but offer high rewards.
Clubs allow students to immerse oneself into an area of interest without a huge time or monetary investment. Jr and Sr high school is the perfect time for students to explore various areas of interest. Clubs give students support to explore and develop in areas that may lead to career interests, lifelong hobbies, friendships, and professional skills!
Homeschool Clubs are a great way to earn credits.
Clubs are a low-stress way to earn credits. Our writing club is automatically worth a half a credit a year but students can earn up to a full credit of writing, depending on their goals and commitment. This allows students to build their transcript in a low-stress fun way!
Clubs often offer side benefits.
Because our good writers are readers, our writing club does a weekly “Book-Share” too. Students learn about different genres, learn assessment tools and participate in co-authoring quarterly “Tweens and Teens Book Recommendations,” which are published on our blog. Also, students have the opportunity to write blog posts for our blog, allowing them to publish before a fairly wide audience while still in high school.
Homeschool Clubs offer more freedom than a traditional classroom.
For example, homeschool club members can socialize with people that they have things in common with. In our Writing Club, we often do break-out rooms with smaller groups. The kids work on projects together, like writing poems or songs and have a blast laughing, brainstorming, and coming up with amazing ideas together.
In a Homeschool Club, everyone is there because they want to be there.
They are already interested in the subject matter which makes it easier to make friends! People tend to be warmer and more engaged when it’s something they want to do versus something they have to do. In our Writing Club, kids are meeting and talking with kids from around the country both inside (and outside of class).
Homeschool Clubs allow students to have input!
On the suggestion of one of our Writing Club members, we have writing “buddies.” Kids were paired up randomly with someone else in the class. This is because kids wanted to be able to continue writing prompts, share ideas, and brainstorm outside of class. The enthusiasm is contagious and some writing buddies are even writing stories together!
Clubs. We LOVE them at True North Homeschool Academy because we LOVE watching students learn, grow and develop into people who are passionate and eager to engage in the world around them!
What are you waiting for? Join a Club for Spring! At True North Homeschool Academy we offer:
Which one will you choose?
As a STOA alumni and coach, I have been through multiple classes and curriculum on public speaking and speech. Although some of these courses are great to teach the basics from, there’s still something missing.
I want you to imagine a high school boy who enjoys the sport of basketball. This boy shoots hoops in his driveway every day and watches every game of his favorite team. Maybe he’s even hired a personal trainer to help him refine his skills. After he graduates the boy goes to try out for a college he wants to attend, paid for by a basketball scholarship, but there’s one problem, he’s never actually competed in a game with a team. Obviously, he is not going to be very successful because as much as he knows about the sport, he has no real experience.
Similarly, many students that study speech and public speaking have not had a platform to prove their skill set and receive needed critiques from judges. By competing against other students in their age group, students can test their strengths and weaknesses.
Why Choose Competitive Speech for Homeschoolers?
Competitive Speech may not seem like it’s necessary at all. Can’t a student give a speech to their parents, or local co-op, and improve based on those critiques? They can but only to a limited extent. Judges push students beyond their comfort zone in a way that parents and friends won’t.
How well will the class push the students outside of their comfort zone?
Until the student overcomes their fear of public speaking, there will always be an obstacle in their future. Ultimately competitive speech tournaments are the best at creating the real-world atmosphere that students will face in college and the workplace. This forces the students to have to get out of their comfort zone. Each student is different and some may love public speaking from the start. Even these students will benefit greatly from STOA Coaching and competition.
So, what is STOA?
From the STOA website, STOA is “Stoa is a national Junior High and High School Speech and Debate League serving the needs of privately educated Christian Homeschooling families.”
STOA offers 11 speech events for the 2018-2019 season which runs from August to May. The events are broken down into four categories:
- Interpretive Speeches,
- Limited Preparation Speeches,
- Platform Speeches, and
- Wildcard Speeches.
Within the categories the events are –
- Duo Interpretation
- Humorous Interpretation
- Open interpretation
- Dramatic interpretation
- Mars Hills Impromptu
- Original Oratory
You can find specific descriptions of each event at this link: https://stoausa.org/speech-events/.
How can my homeschool student become prepared to compete in a STOA event?
True North Homeschool Academy offers STOA prep specifically for homeschool students in our live (online) speech course. This course provides instruction and experience in preparation and delivery of speeches within a public setting. Emphasis is placed on research, preparation, delivery, and evaluation of informative and persuasive speaking. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to prepare and deliver well-organized speeches. They will have also developed the interpersonal skills necessary to be effective communicators in an academic setting.
The True North Academy Speech club meetings will run the entire 2nd semester. The students will spend the first and second month learning the basics of speech writing and selecting which speech events they like the most. They can select up to 5 events to compete in for a NITOC modeled (aka qualifying) tournament.
How do the STOA Tournaments Work?
Tournaments are held in most states by local clubs, but each competition is a little different. Tournaments can have either speech or debate, both, or a combination of either. Tournaments will usually have a total of 6 preliminary rounds for speech events, and those rounds will be split into A and B patterns so that the events are split between the 2 patterns. This split means each student will compete three times in the preliminary rounds.
These rounds are usually 2 hours long and preferably will have 3 judges per a room to ensure maximum feedback for the student. After the preliminary rounds, most tournaments will have out rounds(e.g. Quarter-finals, Semi-finals, and finals) depending on the schedule.
For students to qualify for NITOC (Nationals) they must receive 2 “green check marks” from qualifying tournaments during the season. In order to get a check-mark in that event, the student must place in the top 40% of that event.
This season NITOC will be in Dallas Texas from May 20-25 at Dallas Baptist University.
Are you interested in learning more or joining a True North Speech Club? Find more information on our website or feel free to contact us with any questions.