Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Homeschool Public Speaking Forum

     Public Speaking? Oh, that’s another one of those things homeschoolers can’t do. After all, standing up in front of Mom and Dad reciting The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere doesn’t count. At least not in the minds of the naysayers.
     But our homeschool support group found a simple, yet effective, way around this. We schedule a once-a-month Public Speaking Forum. Since our group has a private library, we have it at our library, but any room large enough to accommodate the crowd would do

     Any student who wishes can give a brief speech on any subject. We’ve had topics from playing a musical instrument to how to dribble a basketball. From long poetry recitations, to a single Bible verse. Girls have baked cookies, told us how they did it, and brought samples to share. (Needless to say, this is a popular speech.) Boys have given speeches on knights or wood-working projects. Older students sometimes use Power Point presentations, and younger students often hold their mother’s hand until they gain courage.

     Our purpose at the forum is not to critique. We simply give our enthusiastic support and allow the parents to mentor their students at home. The purpose is to provide a forum with an audience.

     The number one fear for many Americans is giving a speech. Our Public Speaking Forum has given homeschool students an opportunity to practice this over and over until they lose this fear. The secret is to do it often. The students who have done this every month for several years now give polished presentations and excel in local 4-H speaking contests.

     I encourage you to try this simple but effective way of providing a forum for homeschool students in your area. It costs nothing, but I’ve seen the benefits first hand.

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