Creating Local Opportunities
With a bit of effort, you can create your own course of study in public speaking. To avoid overwhelming your child, try approaching the subject gradually with increasing levels of formality. Beginners may wish to organize a show and tell, poetry and short prose recital, or academic report event with a local homeschool support group. If there is great reluctance to speak in front of others, consider using a reader's theater as a non-threatening approach. Be sure to communicate ground rules for polite listening and to keep things informal, avoid criticism or feedback on the performances. Follow the sharing time with snacks or playtime to keep the mood light.
For an easy next step, seek a larger audience to prepare and practice an informative speech. Churches are a great resource for supportive audiences. Approach your church leader to see if there is an opportunity for students to recite memorized passages of sacred books, or to present to a youth group on a relevant topic. Within your church, your youth group or religious education class may hop on the idea and enjoy putting together a program or series for church members.
To find audiences in your regional community, approach volunteer coordinators at local museums, historical societies, zoos, or service organizations. If your older homeschooler has achieved basic public speaking skills and confidence, he or she could speak to younger peers or give information to the public. Younger students may be able to give short presentations as a group event on a specific day.
Make your meeting with staff efficient by sticking to a list of topics for your proposal, such as the scope of the idea, training needs, time commitments, and the responsibilities of students and adults. For younger students, ensure a feeling of safety by developing an emotionally supportive atmosphere among the group of speakers, and having enough adults present at the event to provide an anchor.