"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver" (Proverbs 25:11).

If your homeschooler is like most teens, he'd rather have his teeth pulled before talking in front of others. However, as Christians God wants us to be ready to speak out like Jesus. Christ was the greatest of communicators, and He was never afraid to speak in public. His love was always communicated to those who heard Him as He brought people to a point of understanding, confession, and forgiveness.

That same speaking ability can be cultivated in your children. Whether it be in a Christian setting as a pastor, youth leader, or Sunday school teacher, or in the everyday work world, communication is a skill your children will need in the future. So, how can you help your children find the confidence to stand in front of a crowd to share a book report, a poem, or more importantly, the truths of the Bible?

Part of that confidence comes from being taught how to effectively communicate thoughts and ideas. With the Speech: Essentials of Communication homeschool curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications, your children can successfully interact with others with poise and ease. Available for Monarch, Switched-On Schoolhouse, and LIFEPAC, this semester course for grades 9-12 covers group dynamics, presentation techniques, etiquette, and interviews, as well as these important communication skills:

    Know your material - Use personal stories, humor, and a conversational style of speaking to give something of value to the people who are listening to you.

    Know your audience - Use vocabulary that best relates to those listening to you and interact with them whenever you can.

    Know the room - Be familiar with your surroundings, including how to use the microphone and any visuals you have prepared.

    Know you're not alone - Worrying about what could happen can be intimidating. However, most audiences come expectantly and want you to succeed. Take a moment to collect yourself before you begin and transfer any nervous energy into enthusiasm for your topic. Realize that you're simply a vessel being used by God for His glory.
Practicing these communication techniques and others will strengthen your children's sense of self-worth and develop personal and professional communication skills. Even while your children are young, have them read books aloud, present puppet shows, or act out parts in a play. Then, as your children grow older, have them present oral book reports, show-and-tell, speeches, or demonstrations at meetings with other homeschoolers. You can also provide opportunities for your children to teach a song, a memory verse, or a lesson at church to develop successful communication skills.

Communicating verbally doesn't have to be difficult. Teach your children the techniques they need and eliminate their fears of speaking in public. Learn from Christ's example and show them how to win the hearts of their audience through clear and effective speech.