Matthew du Mée understands the values and character qualities that one learns through debate team. Participants must learn to think clearly and present arguments concisely. They must be able to quickly assess the other person’s perspective and formulate a response that follows proper logic, and they must be attentive to the interaction on many different levels. All of these are superb attributes needed by lawyers. These skills and more were mastered by du Mée when on debate teams at Patrick Henry College and Harvard Law School, evidenced by his many wins in competitions for debate and moot court.
As a currently practicing attorney in Phoenix, the former homeschooler and his wife have established debate camps and debate teams for homeschoolers in the valley. They have taken leadership in filling the gap in this area, and believe it is one of the most important tools that homeschoolers can develop.
Debate provides so many valuable skills and trains kids to articulate and defend their positions without being antagonistic. It’s incredibly valuable and we are excited that the students we have trained are having success at tournaments in California.
As the advisor and coach to the debate team, the du Mées impart the foundational skills for becoming good public speakers. They delight in seeing students blossom and overcome their anxieties of talking in front of an audience, which is the number one fear for most people. New confidence is gained with the techniques of learning to thoughtfully consider arguments and articulate their positions well. These skills are critical to apologetics, which Matthew emphasizes in the classes as well.
The teens in the program learn skills that are helpful for success in college. Stephanie Monk, one of Matthew’s top debaters, has followed in his footsteps by attending Patrick Henry College and doing well in moot court competitions.
In the midst of Matthew’s busy life as an attorney and a new dad of a baby boy, there is a substantial sacrifice of time to continue giving to the homeschoolers. However, it is very rewarding to him to watch the students pick up valuable life skills. He wants to be instrumental in seeing debate become one of the most common activities for homeschool teens. There is a great need in Arizona for more teams and tournaments, since most of the competition happens in New Mexico and California.
What are your plans for the future?
My goal since before college has been to run for public office, but I need to pay my substantial law school debts first. My wife and I want to continue to expand the reach of debate in the homeschool community, continuing to positively influence kids for the better.
Matthew encourages others to spread the word about the homeschool debate teams and to keep an eye out for his campaign signs in a few years.
I believe that homeschooling can be incredibly helpful for children. The elements most valued in private and public schools – small class sizes, dedicated teachers, curriculum flexibility – are all available in homeschooling at the highest possible levels.
Debate camp information:
- Debate Camps were held in 2011 in Phoenix and in Tucson.
- Camps are held during the summer. Those interested in participating can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the session by the du Mées at the Arizona Families for Home Education convention July 20-21, 2012 in Phoenix.
- Matthew is the advisor for the Phoenix teams, which are coached by Christy. Two teams with two students each will be competing next month at various California tournaments.
Read more on Matthew du Mée :
- Part 1: From homeschooler to attorney: Homeschool success story for Matthew du Mee
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