Schoolhouse Teachers
June 1, 2016 Edition 
Speech and Debate: Try a Mock Trial for Civics  
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Hey Mama,
Don't know what it's like at your house, but sometimes the speeches and debates at my house are "discussions" about rules and chores the kids don't want to do. Maturity is about the only thing that can change those debates.
If you're looking for teaching tips for speech, debates, or mock trials, check out articles in the magazine. Discover why communication skills are important. Help your kids  explore the changes that speech and debate can make in their lives. Prepare your kids for the  cross examinations in life with mock trials.
And remember ...
You are preparing your children for what the future holds. Write His word on their hearts. Speak to them in the morning, work with them throughout the day, have conversations in the evening. The Lord gave those kids to you for His purposes. And He is faithful to see you through this season, Mama. His hand is on your head today.

"This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put My Laws in their hearts and inscribe them on their minds" (Hebrews 10:16).
~ gena
Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring
Diana was busy this week. In the meantime, read her blog or check out the videos on her Facebook page!




The Familyman 
A little discloser: my kids have never been part of a debate club or given a formal speech. I know plenty of kids who have enjoyed speech and debate, but we travel a lot and decided this wasn't a priority for us.

That said, our older kids are great debaters, and I sit amazed when I listen to their articulate conversations about important topics, such as Trump, Clinton, and Sanders. They're so much more informed and logical in their "debate" than I ever was, and I was trained in putting together an argument and speech.

Homeschooling prepares your children for debate. They do it all the time, as they try to fit into a family filled with people of different ages and views. In a "real" school, they'd be surrounded by people of the same age, interests, and bents ... but they'd have to take speech and debate class.

Besides, maybe we should be teaching our kids to be quick to LISTEN and slow to speak. Now that's a hard lesson for some.

So, if you like speech and debate ... do it. If the idea leaves you feeling overwhelmed ... don't do it, and know your children are going to be just fine, because they were taught at HOME.

Be real,

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Would you like to guide your students through a mock trial but don't have a legal background? Let Deborah Burton and help! Deborah Burton is a homeschooling mother of two and a licensed attorney. In her Mock Trial class, she helps you teach a mock trial class to a group of students or an individual student. Students will learn a great deal about the US legal system through different cases, information on the court system, and more. Culminating with a mock trial, this course allows students to actively engage with the material they have learned.
You will be amazed by how fascinating young people find legal concepts! Not only will they learn valuable social studies skills, they will expand their knowledge of God and His world; sharpen their reading comprehension, logic/critical thinking, persuasive argumentation, writing, and research skills; and strengthen their public speaking skills. 
Sign up and try us for 30 days for only $1. There are no per-child fees or additional fees for textbooks, and courses are not live, so you can start them at any time. If you or someone you know is interested in teaching a class on our site, please contact Executive Editor Bonnie Rose Hudson at
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Contest Corner 
For the month of June 2016  
Who was Martin Luther? Most of us know him as the German father of the Reformation movement in Europe. If pressed, we might recall that he nailed ninety-five theses, or statements of Christian faith, to the door of the Wittenberg church. Yet there is so much more to this controversial man's life that will come as a surprise to many. Author Danika Cooley, in her historical novel for teens, has brought the story of Luther the man, as well as the reformer and theologian, to vivid and striking life. My family and I received WHEN LIGHTNING STRUCK! in hardback form for the purposes of review.
It's difficult to imagine the brutal world in which Luther was born, lived, and died. Picture a world where sanitation is irregular or nonexistent; where many babies struggle to survive; where superstition is rampant; where ignorance and illiteracy are the norm. In 1483 Europe, most lived under these conditions, where life was a struggle each and every day.
Now, add to these arduous living conditions an absolute terror of God; and utter hopelessness and confusion regarding an individual's chance for salvation. If you've got all of this in your mind, you'll have a sense of what Luther's world was like.
Martin Luther's parents planned for him to become a lawyer and marry a wealthy woman from their town. Yet as he walked the fifty miles one day from his parents' home to the University of Erfurt, a torrential storm blew upon him, complete with terrifying thunder and lightning. Martin wondered if the storm was God's way of communicating His displeasure with Martin's choice of profession. Could he possibly receive salvation in the worldly profession of a lawyer? When lightning seemed to chase him down the road and then struck the tree he was hiding under, tossing Martin to the ground, he cried out, "Saint Anna, help me! I will become a monk!"
And so began his years as a monk. Brilliant and sharp-tongued, he brought to the priesthood a trained mind that caused him to examine and question the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Yet the more he learned, the more uncertain he was that he'd ever be able to work hard enough to earn his own salvation. For this was the doctrine of the era: the purchase of indulgences to shorten one's time in purgatory; confessing sins over and over; never knowing if one was really saved; and for Martin and other monks, fasting and poverty. Regardless of how much Martin did, he was ever burdened with the deep knowledge of his own sinfulness and his own unworthiness. So he worked harder and harder.
One day, his prior offered him a Bible. Martin was overjoyed. Ever since he'd seen one chained to a desk in a school library, and had read the story of Hannah and Samuel, he had longed for this precious book, rare and difficult to find. Yet, this Bible did not become part of his priestly studies, which focused on the writings of theologians. Rather, he pored over it for hours in the time he had alone. The more he read, though, the more his dissatisfaction with himself grew. ( . . .)

Read the rest of the review to find out more!
YOU can WIN this awesome historical fiction book!
TO ENTER: Email Heather ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Martin Luther" for a chance to win* it for your family! 

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