Homeschooling almost always creates a better environment for learning than does any other form of education. The lessons are able to be individualized for our students. The activities can be tweaked to have better appeal. And you can’t beat those class sizes!
However, there are a few subjects which are actually less intuitive to teach in a homeschool than in a regular schoolroom and public speaking is one of them.
How in the world can homeschoolers teach a subject at home which has PUBLIC in the name?!?!?
Teaching Public Speaking in Homeschools
It’s very natural to teach our kids how to craft beautiful speeches from the comfort of our homes. It’s NOT as intuitive to figure out how to allow our kids to practice giving those speeches to an audience larger than their siblings and their grandparents.
However, there are some GREAT ways to give our homeschooled kids opportunities to practice their speeches in public.
Here are 6 Ways to Teach Public Speaking in Homeschools:
1 – Church
Ask your youth pastor if it’s possible for your child to do some speaking at church – either in youth group or during the service. Some possible ideas are to read scripture, lead the prayer, or even give their speech in front of their Sunday School class.
Our youth group students lead a worship service once a month at a local nursing home. The teens are the ones who do the special music, give testimonies, do devotionals for the residents, and interact with them afterward. These are all wonderful ways for kids to improve their public speaking skills.
2 – Co-op
Public speaking is a GREAT class to offer if you belong to a co-op and you get to suggest subject ideas. I came up with that idea in a co-op we were part of awhile back and as soon as I suggested it, I was nominated to be the teacher. LOL So be careful.
Actually, it ended up being a really fun class to lead. We had several painfully shy kids in the class so I called it Courageous Communication. I basically taught the kids about various types of speeches such as persuasive speeches, personal experience speeches, and demonstration speeches. In the class, the students had the opportunity to practice these speeches in front of their peers. Most of the kids started out fairly nervous but by the end of the class, their skills had grown tremendously!
3 – Public Speaking Club
If you aren’t part of a co-op, consider creating a public speaking club with your kids and a few of their friends. Again, you will probably be the one to lead the club – at least at the beginning. But this is a great way to give homeschoolers a platform for learning how to speak in public.
4 – Institute for Cultural Communicators (ICC)
If you want to give your kids the ability to share their faith and speak in front of an audience, then consider looking for an ICC group in your area. My boys were part of ICC for a short time and they learned a lot about crafting speeches and holding the attention of their audience. This was also a great way for them to practice their active listening skills and to learn how to give constructive feedback which was sandwiched between two compliments. Great experience!
5 – Toastmasters’ Youth Leadership Program
Toastmasters is a way for adults to get together in the context of a small group and practice their public speaking skills with each other. Toastmasters also has a Youth Leadership Program which teaches kids communication as well as leadership skills. Their focus is to help their members “learn to overcome nervousness when speaking in front of groups, to organize and present ideas logically and convincingly, to listen carefully to the ideas of other students, and offer helpful advice.” Toastmasters programs exist all over the country. Look for one in your area, join an online club, or consider starting a group yourself.
Another way to learn how to overcome the fear of public speaking is by videotaping your speaking. This is something that we can do right along with our children. Something that’s really helping me right now is basically an online toastmaster’s group. It’s called the Ignite 30 Day Video Challenge by Niamh Arthur. It’s completely free – but each day, participants are supposed to post short videos (2 minutes or less) of themselves speaking on camera.
I’ve learned so much participating in this challenge and have already gained a lot of confidence speaking in front of others. It’s a little bit different than public speaking but a very similar concept which also generates fear. 🙂 If you’re interested, here’s a video about homeschooling that I’ve created during this challenge.
I hope those ideas help to get you started. Public speaking is one of those subjects which can be a bit tricky to teach as homeschoolers. But with a little out-of-the-box thinking, you can see that there are lots of really great ways for us to teach this subject to our children.
Have you attempted to teach public speaking in your homeschool? What are some other subjects you’ve had to rethink a bit in order to make them work outside of a school environment? Please leave a comment below.