How to Teach Public Speaking for Homeschool High Schoolers
Public speaking is a life skill. Most teens will grow up and somewhere in adult life will speak somewhere, sometime.
For instance, if they:
- go to college, they will make presentations in class
- participate with their youth group on a missions trip, they will make presentations at church and, likely, on the missions trip
- volunteer to teach kids’ Sunday School, VBS or other classes, those are public speaking events
- become entrepreneurs, likely they will join a business group like the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, and give elevator pitches to the group
Many Americans report they fear public speaking more than they do death. When our 7Sisters kids were starting high school, we realized that our teens needed to be able to overcome this fear so they were not hindered in life. So we got together and made a public speaking class (called Rhetoric League) that taught them the skills they need in a FUN format which we captured for you in Speech I Teacher’s text and Student text.
So how did we teach Public Speaking to our local homeschool high schoolers?
We set an atmosphere of fun and non-professionalism. Really.
So many times we want to teach our homeschool high schoolers to be great at what they are learning. However, with public speaking, it is just the opposite. Most of our teens will NOT grow up to be professional speakers. They just need to be comfortable speaking when they must.
Instead of pressuring our high schoolers to be excellent speakers, we taught them to have fun. We did this in our group classes but our 7th Sisters tell us that they worked one-on-one with their teens or as a family with all ages learning together:
We would hold opening exercises:
- Group deep breathing exercises and relaxing shoulder rolls
- “Everyone smiles” exercise (not kidding, plaster a smile on your face and hold it for ten seconds)
- Group tongue twisters (while smiling) like:
- Round and round the rugged rock the ragged rascals ran
- Rubber baby buggy bumpers
- Where moth and rust doth corrupt
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
- Then we would follow a lesson plan with fun, non-threatening activities that teach teens that they CAN do public speaking! We captured those lesson activities in 7Sisters Speech I e-curriculum.
- Get more ideas for speech presentations for the teens in this post.
What are the lesson activities for 7Sisters Public Speaking?
7Sisters Speech I curriculum covers the activities we created for our homeschool high schoolers:
- weekly lesson plans
- video links that give examples for each topic
- interactive discussion questions/evaluations (this includes teaching teens to give each other specific but encouraging evaluations)
- confidence-building activities
- lots of practice
- a separate download when you purchase the teacher’s guide with all the evaluation forms for easy copying
Here is the 15-week schedule. Lessons:
- 1: Presenting Kid Lit (Interpretation of Children’s Literature)
- 2: Presenting a Bible Reading
- 3: Presenting Spoken-Word Poetry
- 4: Presenting a Humorous Monologue
- 5: Organizing & Writing a “Visual Aid How-to” Speech (Expository Speech)
- 6: Gathering Materials & Practicing a “Visual Aid How-to” Speech (Expository Speech)
- 7: Presenting a “Visual Aid How-To” Speech (Expository Speech)
- 8: Organizing & Researching a Biographical Report (Expository Speech)
- 9: Writing & Practicing a Biographical Report (Expository Speech)
- 10: Presenting a Biographical Report (Expository Speech)
- 11: Creating & Presenting an Elevator Pitch
- 12: Creating & Presenting a Sales Pitch
- 13: Presenting an Infomercial (Group Project)
- 14: Practicing Beginning Interview Skills
- 15: Presenting a Children’s Bible Lesson
- For more fun ideas to add to your teens’ speaking experiences check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode and this post.
Here’s how to use this curriculum:
- Decide if you want your co-op Speech class to be 15 weeks or 30 weeks long.
- If your co-op is following a 15 week schedule, you will follow the directions for that schedule.
- If your co-op would like to spend 2 weeks on each topic for a total of 30 weeks, follow the instructions for additional fun activities for each topic.
- The lesson plans are built right into the basic text (for teachers or students working individually).
How to grade Public Speaking
We are often asked how to grade Public Speaking for homeschool high schoolers. We designed the course with the focus on exposure and fun for new public speakers, so we recommend that you grade students based on participation and effort.
In our experience, the fact that a student does the prep work that is assigned, is cooperative and respectful with others who are a part of the group, and evidences effort and care in his/her participation earns 100%.