Friday, May 16, 2008

Up front

More digging through my bookshelves uncovered this book:

I think all people, and most certainly Christians, should at least have some training in public speaking and presenting. I say especially Christians because we bear a great responsibility to share the gospel of Christ with others. While public speaking is only one avenue for this, learning to speak, and speak well, has ramifications outside of speaking to groups. As with all subjects, nothing should be taught to the exclusion of all else, but I see great benefit to learning to speak well, even from a young age.

Speech covers more than just speaking in front of large groups. Communication skills form a critical building block for relationships. How well we express ourselves can alter the jobs people hire us for, our impact in our community, and our ability to pass along our faith even in our own home.

From Playpen to Podium lays out a simple to follow path way from infant interactions to polished preteen speeches. This topic also addresses an area that many homeschoolers lack experience in since they generally belong to a class of one and don't give many group presentations.

This book offers great, simple activities to help your child think about how he speaks and develop a smooth, engaging delivery style, and as they grow, to put together meaningful presentations. While I plan to incorporate specific activities from this book into our homeschool time on a more regular basis, this week we did a simple oral presentation exercise.

Daily we recite Hebrews 11 outloud together, adding a verse each week. This week I used the first couple verses in an oral presentation lesson. Blake, 11 years, had an English assignment that called for giving an oral story and I realized that we needed more focus in this area. He did a great job considering the brief time we spent talking about the actual presenting, but also gave us lots to talk about in future 'class time' on this topic.

To start, I simply had each child recite the verses aloud on their own while standing and everyone else sat. After once through we talked about what each one did right, and where each one could work to improve in the future. We also talked about why I wanted to spend time on this and how this could play an important role in following Christ. Of course, we are just the vessel for the message that God has, but we need to take advantage of opportunities to grow our knowledge and skills for His glory.

My two year old even did well, but got camera shy when I tried to video. So, here is Brooke, 4, presenting the beginning of Hebrews 11 (a little distracted at the end, so with a little prompting . . .) Lots to work on, but home is the best place for that, too.

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