I don’t know about you but I absolutely dread anything related to public speaking! I get nervous just thinking about it. My oldest son on the other hand loves to be on the center stage. Our family has actually been a part of a local homeschool Speech and Debate group for a couple years now; its that thing we really look forward to every year. Needless to say we were totally happy to have the opportunity to use Hewitt Homeschool’s Lightning Literature & Composition Speech Pack (Gr 9-12) program to help us get ready for the fall.
If you aren’t familiar with Hewitt Homeschooling, I definitely recommend you check them out sometime. Founded in 1963(64) by Dr Raymond Moore and Carl Hewitt, what began as an organization offering consultation to educational institutions, has since shifted and is not focused on flexible, home education. They strive to combine akamdeics with character and service for our younger ones, all the way to our oldest ones. They not only offer high quality materials for all ages but they also graciously provide a paper evaluation service; a great way to encourage and strengthen our writers.
I was in awe when this package arrived. My oldest son (he turns twelve in September) was a bit overwhelmed. Lend Me Your Ears is one BIG book. My son commented on the notation on the cover that said “updated and expanded”, something about people need to stop giving “great speeches in history” for awhile. “There can’t be that many “great” speeches can there really? He had no idea he was going to have to read them, slowly, to find out! haha My husband thought this was an amazing compilation; one of those books that makes you want to run away for a week so you can read in from cover to cover. Inspiring, encouraging material from cover to cover. 🙂
We also received the Speech Student Guide, as well as the companion Teacher’s Guide. I believe very much in my children gaining the ability to both write and speak, clearly, powerfully, and with a great depth. Writing is, after all, a craft. It can be learned; there are tools and techniques that can assist us in building better speeches and greater papers. The focus of this course, specifically, is speeches, from ancient to modern times, from around the world. I see this as a wonderful opportunity to get some extra geography lessons in as we go along. Maybe even some excellent history lessons as we go along ~ I tell you, this is so much more than just a “speech” class. 🙂
There are a couple Appendix’s in the back of the student guide. These include lots of great discussion questions! There are also sample schedules: one for a semester schedules, one for the full year. We of course are following the schedule for a full year since my son is younger and while excited and enjoying this, also a bit overwhelmed with some of the material. But this is a great opportunity for us both; working together and learning together! A chance for him to see momma being enthusiastic about learning; a great read aloud opportunity too. Some days he rads them out loud, other days I read them out loud. Regardless, so many of these are just a wealth of information and often become rabbit trails – leading us into a greater exploration of Gandhi or Gettysburg, Homilies and historical trials. Great speeches by African Americans and Native Americans; there is a great list of additional reading in the appendix too for any who are looking for even more! (like me)
Since my oldest son is a very reluctant reader and writer, I mean it really feels impossible, some days, to get him to read one page of something, I loved that there was a section on How to Read Literature, also on Why Read Literature, and Why Learn How to Write. This portion not only encourages our kids to develop an appreciation for and understanding of literature, it also shows them the benefits of reading and ways to really get so much more out of what you are reading. There are aids throughout the book as well as tools recommended:
- learning about cultures and times
- expands view of the world
- rhetorical tools and figurative language
- vocabulary notebooks
- reading journal (similar to commonplace books in my opinion)
- discussion/comprehension questions
Each lesson has a couple different sections. Of course, the Opening, is where you find the speeches that will be read. There is also an introduction to each one (setting the stage if you will) to help us understand the times and situation in which the speech was written for. There are key aspects for you to focus on As You Read; does the introduction make you want to read on? Are you bored and restless? How and what is it that makes you really lean in and attend more closely to what is being spoken (or read in this case)? There are Comprehension Questions which require you to consider the topic of the speech; remember key statements within the speech. And sometimes its simply recognizing which statement was a part of the speech you read. Each lesson ends with a Writing Exercise to allow for practice writing an opening or a toast or eulogy.
I love the variety of speeches presented to students in the book that is included with this program. I also love that there is such a range of speech types; from memorials and war/revolutionary speeches, to debates, trials, gallows/farewell, sermons, instructive speeches. I could go on and on!
Every unit covers key pieces from the audience to visual aids and research, how to look and sound your best when presenting. While my son is a bit younger than this is recommended for, we really do enjoy this program and are certainly going to continue using this in the years to come. I was even telling the group we are a part of about these materials since they have so many students, much older, who could really enjoy this I am sure! What a wonderful way to learn and grow while also reading so many amazing speeches!
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