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How do you incorporate public speaking into your homeschool? I have been thinking about this, since our 8 year old regularly gets this now at private school, but we are making the jump this summer to homeschool and I wonder. I have thought of her doing readings at Church, but is there anything else or anywhere else that you find good for this sort of thing? She seems to enjoy it, but my younger dd isn't so sure. I would like them to both be exposed at an earlier age so that it isn't as intimidating as they get older.




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For elementary ages, we were part of a small homeschool group (6-10 families). One meeting per month was "presentation day" in which each student prepared something to present to the rest of the group. It usually took about an hour.


This year, I taught a public speaking class for 25 homeschool students in grades 6-12. It was 90 minutes, with 30 minutes for me to give information on public speaking AND interpersonal communication techniques, plus have the students do some in-class exercise to put the things into practice; and then the remaining 60 minutes were for student presentations, with the rest of the class each filling out a little evaluation form for each student presenting.


I combined information from 4 books, all available at http://www.rainbowresource.com:

"Public Speaking: A Student Guide" (O'Neal)

"Teaching Public Speaking: A Complete Course" (Parsons & Henderson)

"Public Speaking for Kids" (Jaffe & Doherty)

"Communication and Interpersonal Relationships" (Dave Marks)



You may also find, like the other person who posted, that public speaking will come naturally as part of whatever else you are involved in -- 4-H, Youth & Government, Teen Pact, church activities, community service/volunteer work, etc.



For a more formal public speaking course, perhaps look at:

- Toastmasters = http://www.toastmasters.org/

- Communicators for Christ = http://www.instituteforculturalcommunicators.org/chapters/find-a-chapter

- National Forensics League, high school speech/debate = http://www.nflonline.org/Main/HomePage



Warmest regards, Lori D.

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In addition to family reports, church activities and homeschool group programs that require public speaking, my dc have been involved in 4-H Tropicana Speaking contests in the 4th-6th grades. Five years ago, we began attending Communicators for Christ conferences and began a debate/speech club in our city. The kids have community platform requirements and can debate/speak competitively through NCFCA. We just held our Friends and Family Event last night in which students were able to debate and speak for grandparents, friends and those interested in the community. Good, good stuff.



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We do 4-H too. This was my kids' first year, and they attended both county and state Visual Presentation days. The judges give constructive feedback, and my kids were so proud when they got to move to states. Watching the other kids' presentations, especially the older ones who have been doing this for a number of years, was also a great experience. At the senior level they also have a Public Speaking category where they have to speak extemporaneously for 5 minutes about a topic that they've just been given.

Edited by matroyshka
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IMO, there are two (rather obvious) aspects to "public speaking" -- being comfortable with the audience and having something to say. You might want to build confidence with each aspect separately, then combine the two as your children mature.


To gain confidence while speaking in front of an "audience," many children need to be given something to say -- a short piece of memory work, a catchy poem to read (over and over, until fluency is built through repetition), a list of something EXTREMELY easy (e.g., months of the year), a short monologue or skit, the lyrics to a funny song. If the child is painfully shy, tell him to practice the piece in front of stuffed animals, a pet, a mirror, or the goldfish bowl. Give him some privacy for this!


After he can recite/read/perform the piece in this way, have him say it to you -- an audience of one. Then have one other (gentle, loving) person join the audience. Following this, build your audience gradually to include other "listeners" -- they really can be pets, dolls, toys, grandparents, cardboard cut-outs, tree trunks -- it doesn't matter, just use "bodies" to create an audience, real or imaginary. This builds comfort with speaking out to others, whoever or whatever they may be. ;)


Your next task is to build confidence with the material itself. A homeschool habit of narration (do a search on Charlotte Mason Method) will give the student regular practice in oral expression. What does your student want to say? What memory devices can he utilize to give his presentation? Can he practice different types of material -- poems, Bible verses, song lyrics, famous speeches (already written), plays -- and then move on to his own material?


Just a thought: Impromptu speeches are killers for young people, IMO. To tell a child, "Stand up and say something about X," is the fastest way to shut him down. Just my 2 cents, but I don't know many adults who want to be commanded to speak on a given topic!

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