March 23, 2020

Our Expert Helps: Homeschool with a public speaking twist

Faculty , Resources , Presentation Tips , Public Speaking , Poems to Read Aloud

Jana flanked by daughters Anna Katherine and Elizabeth. With college campuses closed because of the coronavirus, both are back with their laptops, once again completing their lessons at home. 


Find yourself unexpectedly having to provide school at home right now?

In addition to teaching youth speech and debate for teens, Buckley faculty member Jana Daley successfully homeschooled her children for 10 years.

"They will love it, because memorizing will be much easier for them than it is for you."

– Buckley faculty Jana Daley on how you can make lessons at home more fun for your kids

We asked her for a few ideas that other families can use.

No surprise, she suggested some ways you can make lessons less drudgery for everyone AND instill public speaking skills.

Idea #1: Spend time memorizing poetry

"This is something you and your children can do together, and they will love it because memorizing will be much easier for them than it is for you," says Jana.

"Poetry is fun to read, easy to learn, and often uses wonderful vocabulary and imagery. Reciting poetry is a great way to build, and develop better diction, articulation, and inflection." 

Need some poems for this activity? Check out our ever-growing collection of poems to read aloud.  

Reading "The Long Winter" out loud channels their energy and also brings some perspective on their current situation, Jana says.

Idea #2: Have a family read-aloud

"Pick a book that everyone will enjoy with lots of great characters. Have fun making up voices and take turns reading," Jana suggests. "Young children or anybody really can also color or draw while they're listening."

Her ideas for a good read include The Chronicles of Narnia and books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. "The Long Winter is a great one," she says, "and it will put into perspective our feelings while we are housebound."

Idea #3: Have fun giving impromptu speeches

Jana says you can develop some topics of your own or find some on the internet. "There are also several impromptu apps. My favorite is one called Impromptu Topic Generator," she says.

"Topics don't need to be heady or even serious. In fact, with kids the sillier the better. The exercise still teaches them to think on their feet and to organize their thoughts," says Jana.

She does suggest you set a couple of ground rules for the activity to make it productive, such as:

  • Encourage them to grab the audience with a good open, make three points, and close.
  • Have them decide before each speech if they want to inform, persuade, or entertain.

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