PLANT, Inc. Blog
Encouraging Parent Led Education
by Nancy Lauser
Your 13 year old son comes in. “Mom, Caleb and I want to mumble mumble mumble mumble. Is it okay if I go? “
I have no clue as to why 13 year olds cannot enunciate. Some outgrow it and can enter the normal world of talking with other humans. Some never seem to outgrow it. How they manage to get jobs or have a marriage is beyond my understanding.
Maybe enunciation is not a problem at your house. Perhaps your challenge is a child who panics if an adult addresses her directly. She runs behind you and insists that you do all the talking. After toddlerhood, this should not be happening!
Possibly your student loves to talk. All the time. He never stops. He follows you around the house while you do your tasks. You politely respond at appropriate times with uh-huh, but your mind is far away with how you will respond to your sister’s email, while your son goes on and on and on about Minecraft.
Good communicators are the ones who get the job because they ace the interview. Good communicators appear more intelligent. They aren’t any more so than others, but because they can communicate their ideas, they seem to be smarter. Good communicators make better connections with people. Good communicators have more confidence.
The apostle Paul encourages a young Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, and to teaching. Sounds like public speaking! See 1 Timothy 4:13.
I am passionate about communication, especially the verbal kind. In front of people. This is terrifying to many. Some studies indicate that many people would rather die than speak in public. How can we help our students to overcome their fear of talking to others? How can we help our students to enunciate better? How can we help our students to feel confident speaking in front of a group?
At the end of this semester, I will have finished 16 years teaching "Say It With Class: Beginning Public Speaking." I’ve learned much in these 16 years, a few tidbits of which I want to pass on to you.
Here are four exercises you can start at home today, whether you educate your children at home, or they attend a charter, public, or private school. All of them can and should be done with adults as well as children. When your students see you “messing up”, they will realize it is common to all of us, and it will help them to be more comfortable trying them.
Tongue Twisters (age 4 and up)
Saying a tongue twister every day helps with enunciation, and they’re pure fun! Dr. Seuss books are great for twisting your tongue, or you can simply check Google.
Have the students race with a parent.
Once Upon a Time (age 4 and up)
This helps students to think quickly, develops listening skills, and helps their creative side. You can do this in the car, while waiting in line, during dinner, or while getting ready for the day.
Impromptu (age 8 and up)
Yikes! This can be scary! Talking about something without any preparation??
Taboo (age 10 and up)
This board game has been around for a long time. It helps students to think quickly and to develop vocabulary.You have to get your teammates to say a word at the top of a card, but you are not allowed to say the words under that top word. Each team member gets a minute to try to get through as many words as possible.
For any of these exercises, make sure it is done in a fun way. Never make fun of the speaker, or allow anyone else (especially a sibling) to make fun of the speaker. Remember, confidence takes time to develop, and the speaker needs to feel successful if he is going to be willing to try again. If the student begins, but gets scared and starts to cry, or runs down the hall to hide, don’t make a big deal of it. Try again another time. Don’t give up, and don’t let your child give up!
Public speaking is worth pursuing and will give your students valuable skills that will help them their entire lives. Now go forth and speak!
Nancy Lauser (rhymes with saucer) designed and began teaching "Say It With Class: Beginning Public Speaking" in 2000. She has advertised her class through PLANT, Inc. since its inception in 2016. She and her husband have two sons, whom they homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. Whenever she gets invited to do so, Nancy speaks to groups about homeschooling, the importance of communication, raising sons, getting your kids to work, and other related topics.