The Homeschooler’s Guide to Developing Public Speaking Skills
As a homeschooling parent, you’re already comfortable thinking outside the box, implementing creative lesson plans, and overcoming obstacles. But how is your family ensuring that your students become confident public speakers?
There’s no question that report night and other presentations are handled differently at home, providing plenty of learning opportunities, but not always providing the skills your students need to speak confidently in public.
If you’ve been wondering how to make public speaking work in your homeschool, we’ve got a few suggestions.
Public Speaking Resources for Homeschoolers
Before you even start to look for speaking opportunities, make sure your students are prepared with the proper tools they need to ease their anxiety, project themselves, and be professional.
Here are some resources to help you get started:
The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA) Speech Curriculum — The NCFCA provides competitive opportunities for homeschool students to communicate effectively through public speaking, and their speech curriculum can help students excel in speaking, debate, and everyday life. You can also check their website for tournaments near you and go watch!
Sound Speech: Public Speaking & Communications Studies – Published by BJU Press, this is a high school course intended for homeschoolers. Topics included overcoming fears, understanding your audience, and voice skills. There are also practical tips for succeeding in job interviews, meetings, and presentations.
Toastmasters International – With more than 345,000 members, Toastmasters International has clubs all over the world. Look for a club near you, or take advantage of their podcasts, magazine, and other resources.
Public Speaking Opportunities for Homeschoolers
Once your student feels confident communicating, it’s time to put those skills into action. Here are some suggestions for local opportunities for public speaking.
Volunteer – There is a great need for volunteering in your community, and many opportunities will also help your students develop communication skills. Perhaps they can give tours at a local historical attraction, make a presentation about a cause they care about, or mentor younger kids within the community.
4-H – 4-H programs help empower young people by encouraging them to work together to create hands-on projects in agriculture, health, science, and citizenship. Whether kids are showing farm animals at the fair, designing science experiments, or visiting local senior centers and hospitals, there are ample opportunities for public speaking on a small or large scale.
Church Programs – You may find all kinds of public speaking opportunities within your church’s ministries. Bible Study, Bible Clubs, and Sunday School can provide opportunities for recitation of scripture and teaching from God’s Word. Students may also be able to work on missionary projects, give sermons, teach lessons, or volunteer in ways that will improve their communication with the public.
Homeschool Fairs and Cooperatives – If you live in an area where homeschool co-ops and fairs are the norm, consider taking advantage of them. Presenting is an integral part of many classes and events, and will give your students a chance to design projects based on their interests and present them to their peers.
Speaking and presenting at home is also great practice for speaking and presenting in public. Encourage your kids to recite poetry, argue a point, and demonstrate their knowledge with spoken communication.
As homeschooling parents, we have the privilege of teaching our kids to be leaders and influencers within their community.