Saturday, April 30, 2011

Green Checkmarks

Remember the good ol' days when you only needed one green checkmark on to qualify for Nationals?

Check out that DI from last year. I only did it at one tournament before NITOC and I qualified. How sick is that? Well, I'm sorry you had to find out this way, but the dog days are over. It's two checkmarks or nothing.
But wait, you say. What if you only did impromptu at two tournaments because you did Novice at one and never got off the waitlist for another and the first one shouldn't count because you were sick and couldn't think straight? No slack, that's what. No, siree. And no NITOC invite either. :(
Oh, well. Here's how I see it: You are not supposed to qualify for Nationals. If you do somehow manage to beat the odds, slay the dragon, and walk home the victor with two shiny green checkmarks, hats off to you, my friend. If not, you're really no worse off if you think about it. Bummed, yes, but not defeated. For all you knights in shining armor, you know how great it feels to have TWO OR MORE green checkmarks all to yourself.

You're homeschooled, and you heart green checkmarks. <3

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When The Postings Are Up And Every Single Competitor Has To Look At The Exact Same Time

What? They posted? Come on, tall people! Let's go run and stampede and stand in front of Chandler so that she can't see any of her rooms and has to wait in line for 20 minutes behind us! Yea!

Why do we do this? At a competition earlier this year, the postings pit of people was the worst I'd ever seen it. I was breathing down the necks of random strangers because I could not move out of their way. I turned to the guy next to me and said, "You'd think we'd learn to do this in a calm, orderly fashion." He said, "Nah, that would take the fun out of it!" Kids behind me were ready to start pushing and shoving, and I told one of them to push me toward the front, but it was no use. That's why I like when I'm standing behind people I know. I can get really close and it won't be (that) awkward. They usually don't notice me, so it's great.

The tall people always stand in front of me. They often hold cameras. I can see nothing but 500 kids in suits. At this rate I'll never make it to my rooms. I'm surprised my shoes are still intact with all the times they've been stepped on. I know if I started kicking people as often as I want to they would definitely not be intact. (The shoes, not the people... heh.)

You're homeschooled, and you better stay out my way when the postings go up.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trying To Explain Interps To People

It's called interpretive speaking. No, it's not like interpretive dancing. It's just acting out books or plays or something. It's fun. You can do Humorous, which is like funny stuff, Dramatic, which is like... dramatic, or Open, which is like either not particularly humorous or particularly dramatic or if you wrote parts of it yourself or even the whole thing. Yea, I know I said it was based on books, but you can interp things you wrote too. What's that? Oh, "interp" is short for "interpretive" or "interpretation" or something. An interpretive speech is called an "interp" which is also the verb form, but someone who interps is called an "interper." Yea, I've probably given you way too much information.

When my friend tries to explain interps to people, he starts out by saying, "Well, it's like schizophrenia." That's probably the way to go. Interps are hard to explain. I taught my youth group that they're basically monologues or plays where I play all the characters. Interps are kind of hard to wrap your mind around if you've never seen one. I know some of you probably have 14 older siblings who have been interping since before you were born, but it's not easy for the rest of us.

Don't even get me started on explaining duos...

You're homeschooled, and you like interps.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The First and Second Place Hug

This is tradition. To break the glorious tradition that is the hug at the award ceremony between the champion and runner up once the winner has been announced would be disastrous and unspeakably rude. So unspeakably rude that I won't even speak of it. Anyway. This hug usually consists of second-place person wrapping her arms around the first place who stands there in shock. It's great. The competition is over and now two friends are hugging and celebrating success and general awesomeness.

I have been so blessed as to partake in this action. One time, my friend and I were both in finals and I kept looking at her and thinking, "Oh my gosh, is it going to come down to the two of us?" Guess what? It did! We were thrilled to death! We hugged in what was my favorite First and Second Place hug I've ever seen.

You're homeschooled, and you like giving hugs. And winning. And hugs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Perfect Ballot

I'm not a fan of the ballot. Some of the little boxes on interp ballots like "clear beginning, climax, and resolution" seem useless to me. Who cares? And what about "Appearance?" Do the judges really have to be told that students need to look nice? And what's up with "universal appeal?" No one cares if the universe would like my speech. I just care if you would.

Since I only did interpretive speeches last year, this year was the first time I got a good look at another kind of ballot. The "pathos, ethos, logos" thing kind of confused me, but I'm pretty sure I can remember which is which now. (I could never remember what "ethos" meant). Anyway, I could talk about ballots for days but I'll spare you from further rants and confusions. I want to talk about: The Perfect Ballot

Maybe I don't like the format and content of the blank ballot, but I can pore over my own ballots with the best of them. If you're one of those people with ridiculous self-control who can read all of the comments a judge made on a ballot before looking at the ranking, congratulations. Maybe you've had this happen. As you're reviewing the ballots, you see a lots of "-"s saying you "need work" or other not-excellent remarks. The judge pretty much soaked in every word you said and spat it back in your face with a vengeance. Or so you think. Because at that moment, you've just finished reading the mark by the utterly useless "Appearance" box (oh, sorry) when something catches your eye: What? First place? The judge had so many areas to work on that I thought for sure I was getting a Fifth & Below! This is like the perfect ballot!!

I had a ballot recently that was pretty close. A lady gave me a lot of great things to work on and had nice things to say in my Original Oratory. She wrote so much that it went all around the edges of the paper so I felt like an idiot holding it sideways and upside down but it was great. Unfortunately, I had put a bit too much pathos (= passion. Point for me) in and the speech was nearly 12 minutes long. The judge couldn't give me first with a time like that, but I did get a circled second and a comment saying "You might want to think about cutting something" and a bit of advice of where to cut. Awesome.

You're homeschooled, and I hope you get the perfect ballot.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Random Worship Sessions

I would like to hereby make the bold statement that my club, Veritas, is the most musical club ever. Yea. Nearly every girl sings and/or plays piano. Several of us play guitar. Most guys do all three, or at least play guitar. It's ridiculous. You should see us during the break between speech and debate on a Monday night, or between rounds at a competition.  We're awesome. One of the cool things about my musical buddies is that we often form random worship sessions amongst ourselves and with kids from other clubs. One of my favorite moments at a competition this year was sitting in the grass with about 15 teenagers in the rain and praising God.

You're homeschooled, and you spontaneously break out in song.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

English Country Line Dancing pt II

Approaches for Asking a Girl To Dance- Scorecard

It's time. What time? Go time. You are at an English Country Ball and the caller has just asked you to grab a partner. It's go time.
What now? If you're a girl, you're probably staring down the guys around you, hoping one of them will ask you. If you're a guy... well, I don't know what you're thinking. But I know how you act...
Here are a bunch of ways one could be asked to dance and maybe you have, or perhaps employed these methods. Keep track of your points, if you like. It's fun.

1. The "Why Not?" Approach +10
So, we kinda both need partners and we're kinda standing right next to each other... *shoulders shrug, offers arm if real gentleman * Why not? Note: This approach can also be know as the One More Time? if you've just finished dancing with that person. I know the caller said don't ask anyone to dance twice, but why not?
2. The "I-already-knew-you-were-going-to-say-yes-so-I'll-just-stick-out-my-hand-as-a-way-of-asking" Method +10
No words necessary. Just music.
3. First-Name Basis +5
I know this guy who, almost every time he asks me to dance, looks up (or down, rather) and says, "Chandler?" And then I nod and say his name as a sort of confirmation and away we go.
4. Shy Guy +10
My friend's little brother does this to me all the time. It's great. Stuttering and refusing to make eye contact... how could I say no to that? One time, we did a weird dance where each guy needed two female partners and he shuffled over to me and said, "Would you like to be... one of them? Wow, this is really awkward." Again, how could I say no? I didn't.
5. The "Eye Contact From Across The Room" Technique +10
This is not as romantic as it sounds, but it could be if you pull it off, I guess. Fortunately, when this happened to me, it was just sort of a "Oh hey. I know you." kind of thing. He made his way through a crowd of people and officially asked me to dance but he didn't really have to because hello? we already made eye contact. There was no going back now, unless you're just being a jerk but we'll talk about that later.
6. "Do you already have a partner?" +10
Well, now you do!
7. The Not-Cold Shoulder +5
You've heard of a cold shoulder, like someone ignoring you. Well, apparently if you touch a girl's shoulder, she's sure to dance with you. Primarily this is a tapping of the shoulder. But one time the caller said grab a partner and the kid who had already asked me to dance (using method #6, by the way) grabbed my shoulder and I was like, what? and he was like, she said I grab a partner. and I was like, but does it have to be your partner? and then he like reached over and was about to grab some random kid. And he/she would have had to dance with him, had he touched the shoulder.
8. The Arranged Marriage Approach -10 (unless you're thrilled with the arrangement. Then +15)
Every girl wants to be a matchmaker for her friends. My charming acquaintances often go so far as to arrange dance partners for me because "How adorable is that!" -.- Now, this poor kid is stuck with me all the time. It's like an arranged marriage but for the Virginia Reel instead of for life.
9. The Kid You Always Dance With +5
I have two of these. One is Shy Guy. (4.) I think I'm one of the only girls he feels comfortable asking. (barely) Oh, besides his sister. The other is the arranged fiancé. (8.) We've been "partnered" at least three times. Awwkwarrdd
10. The "Brother-Sister" Method  +15
My biggest regret in life is not having an older brother. Not that I had any say in the matter. But if I had a brother, older or younger, I would absolutely want him to ask me to dance. This kid I know asks his sister to dance all the time and it's so. cool. The outside world finds it creepy, but not us homeschoolers. Or me, anyway.
11. The Lameo "Brother-Sister" Method -10
If you ask your sister to dance because you're too shy to ask anyone else or there is no one else or something... Yea, no. Negative points. Unless you saved her from being a wallflower.  Then you can go with the non-lameo brothers.
12. "My Sister Made Me" -5
At a dance one time, I didn't have a partner. I was standing next to this girl and her brother when a kid asked the girl to dance. Before she was whisked away, she whispered something in her brother's ear. He asked me to dance shortly after. Hmm... Wonder what she said... Guys, if you tell your partner someone made you ask her, you can kiss an additional 15 points goodbye. Fortunately, my partner did not. Poor guy. He was so shy.
13. Mr. Popular +10 for girls, -10 for guys
This guy drives me nuts. Often when the caller says, "Find a partner!" I feel like I have to stare down a bunch of guys until one of them comes and asks me. (Note to self: Does staring look intimidating? Maybe that's why they don't ask...) There's always this group of guys who stand in a circle and laugh and joke and smile and I think, "How can you laugh and joke and smile at a time like this?? You're supposed to be finding a partner! And I'm right here!" Eventually, Mr. Popular will maybe ask me to dance. Maybe. At the last possible second. If I stare reaallyy hard. Girls get points for waiting. Guys lose points for making us wait. </3
14. The Only Other Kid Without A Partner -10
Don't you love when this happens to you? Me neither. More like Mr. Un-Popular.
15. The Just-Go-Ahead-And-Assume-She's-Your-Partner Approach -5
Sometimes, guys doesn't even ask. They just look at you and say, "Let's go stand over there." Oh... ok.
16. The Supersly Secretninjafox Method +10 for girls, +0 for clueless guys, +5 for guys that notice
I must admit, I do this all. the. time. I know you gentlemen probably think that since it's your job to ask a girl to dance, you have control over who you ask. This is often not the case. A girl may spot a guy she'd like to dance with and then go stand right next to him and talk and laugh with him so he has to ask her (note: sometimes guys are jerks and refuse to cooperate). I do this. I am that sneaky. As sneaky as a supersly secretninjafox. Oh. Recently, I was explaining this very post to a friend of mine. He said he had no method of asking girls to dance and that girls just come to him. I told him his head was too big. What I didn't tell him was that he was right. (He is now reading this, perhaps softly aloud to himself, and giggling.) I think girls have fear of not having a partner, so we do everything we can to get one. (Note: see 29.) Attention GIRLS: this approach does not work if the potential partner in question is one of the elite demonstrators. Learned that one the hard way.
17. The Super Cute 6-year Old +5
No girl will say no to him, unless she has a partner, but even then there are no guarantees. So if you are or can somehow be this kid... awesome.
18. The Method of Dancing Nearly Every Dance With the Same Girl So She's Sort of Your Partner by Default +5
...yup. Sort of a cross between "One More Time?" (1.) and just assuming she's your partner. (15.)
19. NevereverEVER Asking Some Girl to Dance and Then Randomly Asking +10
So I was talking to a good friend of mine who saw this post before, and she asked, "Who was the first name guy (3.)?" and I said, "Oh, this guy." and she said, "Oh that guy. I figured it was either him or thattt guy." and I said, "Well, he would do that too, but that guy has never asked me to dance." Then, in that moment, I was struck with a horrid realization: That guy had never asked me to dance! :O :'( </3 What was up with that? I should have gone all Ninjafox (16) on him. So yea. Ask girls you never ask.
20. The Awkward Turtles Approach -5
You, the girl, are standing around with a few of your friends. Waiting. Patiently. Or so it appears. You're really not all that patient. Suddenly, wait! There's a guy! He's walking over here! But who is he going to ask? *begin the awkward ten second stare-down where he finally gives up and asks the girl closest to him *
21. The Gentleman +15
This guy does it right. He "will go up to a girl and ask her politely, and gentlemanly, if she would care to 'have this dance' with him... He is an expert dancer, so the lady will [probably] accept, and dance with him. 9 times out of 10, her acceptance is accompanied by a... smile... [Immediately begins] a flood of comfortable small talk and the thrill of the dance."
22: The "Caveman" Method -10
"Hey you, you dance with me." I'm told this only works for debate partners. Guys, if you drag her out by her hair, you can just lose how ever many points you have now.
23. The Greeting-Your-Friend-Just-As-You-Are-Supposed-to-Find-a-Partner Technique +5
Girl: "Hi!" Guy: "Hi... Oh! So, uh... do you want to be my partner?"
24. The Involuntary Partner Swap -5
"Hey, wait, who are you? I thought I was dancing with... that girl. Over there. Apparently you two switched places... oh."

Bonus: Sadie Hawkins Style
25. The Adorable Little Girl +5
I love this kid. She comes up to me and says, "Chandler, would you like to be my partner? But can you be the boy? I don't like being the boy." Aww, of course I'll be the boy! :D
26. Really Shy Guy -10
Remember the kid who's sister told him to dance with me? (12) Well, I saw him again and I had no partner again but this time his sister was gone and so I had to ask him to dance 'cause he was just standing there and still has not gotten over his shyness.
27. Jerk-Face -15
This guy is much like Mr. Popular (13.), only worse. He's so preoccupied that the lady has to actually ask him to dance. Often times he even makes eye contact and doesn't care. Ugh. Rude. +20 if you throw punch and/or lemonade on his nice suit. Just keep in mind that you will never again be invited to a dance, ladies.
28. Asking The Guy Who's Totally Zoning Out And Not Paying Any Attention -10
"Wait, we're starting? Oh, ok."
29. Grabbing A Guy's Arm Arm And Literally Dragging Him Over To Make Him Dance With You +15
I have never done this, but I kind of want to and I kind of really don't. +10 if you hold a gun to his head or something. That always works.
30. Forcing Your Brother To Dance With You +5 for the sister, -10 for the brother
Don't feel bad. He should've asked you anyway.
31. Dancing With A BFF +10 for girls only
"We don't need no stinking boys! We got each other! ...Wait, can you actually be the boy? I don't like being the boy."

So that's the list. Any additions? What did you score? I got 95.

You're homeschooled, and you still like dancing.

(p.s. I had lots of input and hilarious ideas from great people who read this post before. They specifically voiced ideas for 20-24 and other additions elsewhere. Thank you, great people! :D)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Watching Duo (and HI) Finals

I watched Duo finals at Nationals last year. It felt like a Stoa reunion. Everyone was there. Well, almost everyone. Those that couldn't fit in the Duo room (yes, it was ginormous, but it was quite filled to compacity) were in HI. Which, I'm told, was also quite full. (I'm also told that OI is just the overflow of people who wouldn't fit in the afformentioned event rooms.) But hey, everyone loves Duos and HIs. I am certainly no exception.

My first time in finals was for my Dramatic Interp last year. The room was very tiny. There was a timer, a guy taking pictures, two guys in the back row who probably meant to go to a different room, and five judges around one of those awkward round tables that I practically had to lay on top of in order to thank them for judging. But do you see the problem? There were way more judges than audience members. IN FINALS. But, that's how DI works, I guess. I went first (so far I have gone first each time I was in finals) and then made my way over to the duo room to watch that. Even I didn't stick around in DI. Oh, I thought upon arriving in duo, here's where everyone is.

My second time in finals was for novice impromptu. The room was huge. There were three judges around a rectangular table (yes!), a timer, two or three young kids who may have been his friends, and a parent from my club whose daughter was also in finals and was most likely there to watch her. Again, notice the lack of audience. Not that I blame them. Actually, the fact that anyone was watching novice impromptu startled me. Yes, there were only two or three kids watching who didn't appear to have a reason to be there, but if you're going to watch impromptu finals, why not regular? I don't get it. I spoke first, of course, and fortunately had plenty of time to watch all eight of the duo finalists, in a room with about 100,000 other people who have good taste in speeches.

The third time I was in finals was for HI. I was definitely looking forward to having an audience, and yes, I finally did. Now, I went first, as usual, because I was listed as second but the first guy wasn't there yet so I had to go, even though I wanted to wait. About fifteen people walked in after I finished, which is always annoying, but oh well. People watched. I was thrilled. Note: If you're ever in finals for something people might actually watch, go third or fourth. The order you speak does not affect your ranking, but it does affect your audience. Never go last, if you can avoid it, because a lot of people leave after #7 thinking that the round is over. Try not to go first, either, because some of your audience will not have arrived yet. Trust me. I think about these things.

Anyway, maybe we can sit together in Duo finals next time. That would be fun. You're homeschooled, so I'm sure I'll see you there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Julian Smith

Maybe it's because he was homeschooled. I don't know, but maybe us homeschoolers have to stick together. That sounds about right. But more likely, we all like Julian Smith because he's hilarious. The first Julian Smith video I watched was Waffles when a fellow homeschooled speechanddebater posted it online. I remember thinking, what is this? This is weird. Is there something wrong with that guy? Well, turns out there's nothing wrong with Julian (except that he was homeschooled) and after watching a few other videos I finally began to appreciate the ingenious character that is Jeffery and the utter brilliance of Julian's films. I am not alone in this. Mention Julian Smith at a tournament and the kids will probably faint from pure excitement. Mention Jellyfish and they'll break out in song. Shout a random quote like "OH HUNNY. SHOW THEM THAT THING YOU DO." and they'll die of laughter... probably. You may notice that it's not just the really popular videos we love, but all of them. WE LOVE YOU, JULIAN SMITH. (especially the interpers who want to be just like him) Why is this? Maybe it's his inspiring life lessons, like how to get rid of people who are bothering you (Trees Hate You) or how to not be selfish (Waffles). Maybe it's his lyrics that we can all relate to. ("If you had a girlfriend, which we all know you don't, she would probably leave you and then you definitely won't")

Regardless, one thing's for sure: you're homschooled, and I MADE THIS FOR YOU!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Forensics Clap




I have a non-speechanddebater friend whose parents judged at Concordia and she was absolutely fascinated by the phenomenon that is the forensics clap. She finds out that I went to a competition, and the first things she asks is, "Did you do the clap?" Not "Oh, how fun! I'm sure you had a blast hanging out with friends and giving speeches. Did you do well?" No. All she cares about is the clap.
Don't get me wrong, I love the forensics clap. It's a total time-saver, and everyone gets about the same amount of recognition when their name is called. (Granted, some people get screams, but no one gets a standing ovation just for breaking.) I actually found it really funny and slightly awkward at my first competition when everyone just clapped once, but you get used to it.

You're homeschooled, and you're too lazy to clap more than one time per person.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Thrill After Giving a Successful Impromptu

I remember my first impromptu speech at a club meeting like it happened on September 20, 2010, which is weird because it did. It was pretty awful. I had nothing to say, but somehow I stretched that lack of speech into 2 minutes of pain and utter humiliation. The people watching it were nice, though, and told me I needed to relax. I was so nervous. I remember reading the quotes, panicking, having no idea what two of them meant, choosing the other one, resorting hopelessly to using an overused example to show why I agreed with the quote, standing up after the shortest two minutes of my life, shakily asking if everyone was ready, and diving into a speech I knew was bad. My face was bright red too. I could feel it. Well, the good news is, my second speech was better, but it didn't start out that way. It started out with me being handed an envelope of Apologetics topics and panicking slightly ("What? I don't have any examples on the meaning and significance of redemption!") before figuring out the problem. But the time was 3:25, I had three much smoother examples, and as that speech finished I figured out why the heck anyone would want to do impromptu: for the thrilling feeling of elation you get after you do a good one. Now, since I hadn't really given a "good" impromptu yet, I hadn't experienced this to the full. I felt it more when I gave a speech for the same two people who had seen my first and failed impromptu. It was smooth. I was significantly less nervous. The time was 4:23, and, for a first-year, I. felt. great.
Since that moment, I have come to appreciate the art of limited-prep speaking. I now fully understand that the thrill after a successful speech is worth risking a few bad ones. I <3 Impromptu. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I once gave an impromptu ABOUT impromptu! How cool is that?? But I can't tell you how because you might steal it.

Now, why anyone would want to compete in extemp is still beyond me...

You're homeschooled, and you enjoy making up five minute speeches in two minutes. Hahaha, nerd

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nametag Decor

So it started with the Scarlet Dot, I think they're calling it. At least, this was one of the first instances of nametag decor I'd heard of. I only heard about it because lots of people in my club without dots were mad at other people who had dots, calling them traitors, and the people who had dots were mad at the people who were mad at them. It caused quite a commotion. But, things worked out when we acquired our own form of nametag decoration: The Veritas Blue Star of Awesomeness. Oh yes. Be jealous. In my day, I have had several blue stars of awesomeness adorning the paper name-plate around my neck. I have also had a Pair of Dimes. Get it? Like Paradigm? Very clever. Fortunately, I don't think anyone in my club was too mad about that one. And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Touché have a turtle? That's pretty cool. I like turtles. Are there any others?
One last question: Did you guys do the nametag decor thing last year too? I believe I remember seeing some turtles or something prior to this season. Were there more? I guess I was too busy to notice. Too busy trying to remember which was "expos" and which was "extemp," figuring out what "LD" stood for, trying to figure out why the heck anyone would want to do impromptu... Now that I've got those down, I am free to study your various nametag decorations.
Ok, I lied. One more randomish question: shouldn't interpers have a nametag for each of their characters multiple personalities? That would be cool.
You're homeschooled. And your nametag could use some more stickers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


There's something to be said for the nice medals you get when you break to quarters and semifinals, but when you see them next to the trophies on a giant table at the awards ceremony: there's no comparison. Besides, sometimes the medals are kind of weird. I have one with two guys wrestling and I think they're both wearing pants, but I'm not positive. I'm sure it has some sort of really significant symbolism regarding Ancient Greece or something and I'm just an awful person for doubting it. Sorry. Anyway, everybody loves the trophies. Kids even walk over to the table just to stare at them. I love the exhilarating feeling you get if you broke to finals and you can gaze at the coveted golden trophies and think, "One of those is mine! I hope it's the big one!" With trophies, the bigger the better. By the way, I think my favorites are the Apologetics trophies with the crosses on them. Those are so cool. Now, lots of experienced people will tell you that competition is not about the trophies and medals and where you place, it's about what you're learning. (Many who say that are from Big Name families that have boxes and boxes of trophies in the garage and more on top of the piano and more in the kids' rooms. Huh. Interesting.) Yea, yea, that's true. But trophies are a pretty sweet added bonus. I have two. I display them proudly on my bookshelf. My goal was to get a trophy at every competition this year... that did not happen, BUT it's a good goal nonetheless. I hope to collect more before the season is over. And, before my speech and debate career is over, I hope to collect one taller than me. Yes folks, believe it or not, they do make trophies that are five feet tall. Whether or not you can win them at STOA tournaments, I have no idea. Still, it's a good goal.

Fess up. You're homeschooled, and you like trophies.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

English Country Line Dancing

When I heard that they were going to have an English Country Ball at NITOC last year, my first thought was, and I quote, "...What?"

I stalked the NITOC website a bit. My second thought was "...what?" (notice the lack of capitalization.)

I snooped and stooped and sniffed some more and thus concluded, "Oh. Ok. So, it's like, we’ll have dinner and then do a dance or something."
Boy, was I wrong. That was the least "or something"-ish dance I've ever been to. It was intense! Actual teenagers were out there doing dances like "The Virginia Reel." Has that even been done since the American Revolution? I certainly didn't think so.

That was the first of several English Country Line Dances I’ve been fortunate enough to attend. It’s been almost a year since the NITOC ball. My life is changed. I can now do the Virginia Reel with the best of them. Only not as well. Yet. I can even do the Posties Jig. Only took three dances to master it. (The caller once promised that she’s never had a dancer not learn to do it by the end of the night. I must be the golden exception.) In fact, at San Diego, I was the only one in my group that knew it and that. felt. awesome. Whether I’m doing the Spanish Waltz with super-cool-eagle-hand-movements, or trying not to hit someone in the face doing the Polka-Dot Whateveritscalled, English Country Line Dancing has made me go from a nerdy homeschooler who hated dancing and sucked at it to a nerdy homeschooler who loves dancing and sucks less than a couple other people do! It’s great! Thank you English Country Line Dancing!

So yea. Very few people except homeschoolers have even heard of English Country Line Dancing. But you have. Because you’re homeschooled. And you love to dance.

Each Other

Now, I know what you’re thinking: EWWW. COOTIES!!! but hear me out. It’s true. I like you, you like me, we’re a semi-creepy homeschool family.

At my first Round Robin, back in the days when I could barely remember the difference between an OI and an OO (don’t even get me started on Expos and Extemp...), I remember overhearing a mom (and no, I wasn’t dropping no eaves. +1 LOTR) tell another woman that these kids are each other’s biggest fans. I thought, that’s weird. Don’t they know they’re competing against each other? Well, turns out most of the kids are wayy nicer and less competitive than I am, because they really are each other’s biggest fans. They always support each other, watch each other’s sometimes-boring speeches, scream real loud at breaks, and give SO MANY HUGS AND/OR HANDSHAKES THAT YOU THINK YOU MIGHT DIE. But yea. It’s great.

We’re homeschooled. And we like each other. <3

Monday, April 4, 2011


This should be even more obvious than LOTR. See, speech and debate homeschoolers like a good debate. We’re beyond US foreign policy toward Russia or popular sovereignty vs. individual rights. We’ll debate everything and anything, anytime, any place, for no good reason. This includes debating theology at Disneyland. This includes mature “resolutions” such as “Resolved: Abortion is a clear-cut evil.” This includes political debates such as “Resolved: Ronald Reagan deserved most of the praise he gets.” This could be a timeless debate of extreme importance with a resolution such as “Resolved: Pirates are superior to ninjas as a means of being awesome.” Whatever the issue, we’ll debate it, count on that.

Because we’re homeschooled. And we love to debate.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lord of the Rings

"One Ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them." This one should be obvious. What is one thing that all homeschooled speech and debate kids like? The Lord of the Rings. Most of us have read the books twice and seen the movies 4 bajillion times. We're obsessed. So whether you're a member of the honorary Samwise Gamgee appreciation society, or you prefer Frodo because of his awesome blue eyes and Christ-like characteristics, you practically consider yourself a hobbit. Or an elf. I like elves. You quote the films and books all the time. You don't eaves drop- you drop eaves. You don't like elephants- you like Oliphaunts. You could practically draw an accurate map of Middle Earth. You know that "Aragon's" name is actually spelled "Aragorn," despite the way most of the film characters say it. You laugh at the weak-at-heart who shy away from the books and only watch the movies because "They're soo long." You've considered interp-ing LOTR scenes countless times, or maybe actually done it. And who can point at a better impromptu example than Frodo and Sam? (besides George Washington, of course).

Face it. You're homeschooled. And you love Lord of the Rings.