Monday, August 22, 2011

T is for Talking - ABCs of Homeschooling

On 5 Kids and a Dog, there's a series called the ABCs of Homeschooling.  This week's letter is "T." 

Alphabet ATC or ACEO Available - Needlefelted Letter for Talking.

Although there are plenty of quiet times with homeschooling when the girls are busy with their schoolwork and reading, a good percentage of the time is spent talking at home and in public.

Some of the ways that the girls talk; communicate with others; and share their skills and knowledge include:


Both Sophia and Olivia have acted in many plays through classes at the homeschool co-op as well as in community theater.

Olivia Receiving Diploma
Olivia in her first community theater play. She was 6 years old. She had 50 lines and many songs that she memorized for the play.

They've acted in several American Girl plays though the homeschool co-op which was a wonderful way to bring historical fiction stories to life.

Sophia in the Play at Barnes and Noble
Sophia performing in an American Girl play at Barnes and Noble for a special event.


One of the things that I want the girls to learn and be comfortable with is giving speeches. Growing up in the public school system, I did not have to make a single presentation or speech until junior high school.

Since I had never had to talk by myself in front of a group of people, I was terrified. I did not want the girls to have that same fear. So, I began encouraging them (a.k.a. requiring) them to do speeches for classes I taught at the homeschool co-op.

Sophia Making Presentation
Sophia making a presentation during home ec class.

The girls also did their first demonstrations for their 4-H club and at the County Fair. These were great experiences for sharing their knowledge with a wider audience beyond their peers. The girls did their demonstrations in front of other children, teens, and adults.

Olivia Doing Puzzle Demonstration
Olivia doing a demonstration about how to make a puzzle sandwich.


As part of showing projects through 4-H at the county fair, the children talk with different judges for each of their projects. The girls have been involved with 4-H now for two years, and have had the opportunity to talk with many judges about a range of projects and subjects.

Jam and Baked Goods Judging
Sophia meeting with one of the 4-h judges at the county fair.

Being interviewed as a child helps them think of appropriate answers and be able to easily converse with an adult about a variety of interests they have or skills they have gained. In the long-term, being comfortable in the interviewing process will help them as they seek a job or are ever in the position of interviewing others for a job.


When Olivia was adopted, she was said to be a healthy child with no special needs. However, initial doctor appointments revealed a host of developmental delays and physical challenges.

During the 2010-2011 school year, I had her tested further since she continued to experience difficulties with speech and learning.

She qualified to receive weekly speech therapy appointments as well as special education to assist with learning disabilities and auditory processing issues.

One of Olivia's favorite ways to practice her speech and talk was through two therapeutic horseback riding programs she did for five years.

Olivia Riding
Olivia enjoying time on horseback while practicing her speech/communication skills.

Therapeutic horseback riding helped move her from saying only one-word sentences and using American Sign Language at 3 years old to being an almost-constant talking 8 year old.


This year the adding will be adding narration to their ways of communication.

Narration is something that educator Charlotte Mason advocated that children do. With the amount of reading that we'll be doing this year, adding the skill of narration and the ability to summarize and re-word what has been heard will be something good to work on.


Talking is such an important part of homeschooling for us, and a skill that continues to unfold and develop with each passing year.

This article was written by Harvest Moon by Hand.


Head Ant said...

You always have such wonderful ways for your girls to learn!

Dawn @ 5 Kids and a Dog said...

We have had the boys taking speech therapy for years. I've never heard of a horse program for speech. What a great idea! I bet your daughter LOVED hers!

Naomi said...

What Dawn said! Never heard of horse back riding for speech. Also, your co-op sounds great! My family is obviously in the wrong area of the country...

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Thanks for such nice comments! The therapeutic horseback riding programs both asked what my goals were for the girls (both did T.H.R. due to sensory issues). I wanted Olivia to work on her speech so they integrated some speech/communication activities into the sessions which was nice.

She also had to talk with her side and lead walkers which helped her use her verbal language skills versus relying on non-verbal skills and/or American Sign Language.

Yes, the homeschool co-ops here have been wonderful. There has been such a diversity of classes for both the girls to take. The at-home activities for some of the classes have been an important part of the curriculum as well (e.g. American Girl classes, Little House series classes).

Vicky said...

I love how you have found so many ways to add speech into their lives. My daughter has a speech delay and I know what a difference all the extra work makes.

I am a new follower from the Friday Blog Hop at Mama to 4 Blessings. If you have a chance, stop by and say hi!