We have reviewed several things from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources, but our latest review item has been a high school Speech course for my oldest homeschooling child. She has been working on 9th grade coursework over the past couple of months, and this has fit in perfectly with some elective credit that I wanted her to get to round out her transcript.
This curriculum, written by Elizabeth Kamath, is meant to inspire and challenge high school students to read and analyze great speeches, and to compose their own using great literature as a model. It also includes rich literary lessons which point out things that might have been displayed in the speeches being read that week, but that also enrich and strengthen the student’s own writing.
The set includes a 150 page paperback non-consumable Student Guide, a 40 page printed out and stapled Teacher’s Guide, and the book Lend My Your Ears by William Safire, which includes dozens of great historical speeches in over 1100 pages.
For the purpose of this review, I was only sent the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Guide, but I was able to pick up Lend Me Your Ears at our local library with no trouble. There were a few different editions available, so I was sure to get the one with the same cover as shown on the Hewitt Homeschooling website so the page numbers on the guide would line up with the book we were using.
As the students use the program, they will work through 4 units, with 2 lessons each. The first three units also have a short section called “Perspectives”, which gives them some information about giving their own speeches, including technique ideas and things to think about and practice to be more effective at oral communication.
There are also writing exercises, discussion questions, suggestions for additional reading, and a few suggestions on ways to enhance their studies, such as listening to speeches, creating and using a vocabulary notebook, forming a writing group, and more included in both the Student and Teacher’s Guides. The Teacher’s Guide also includes help with grading, answers to assigned questions, grading tips like Checklists for different types of writing assignments, as well as a copy of the writing exercises that the students are given.
Students are assigned selected speeches, including introductions to them which are also excellent, from Lend Me Your Ears, and are given assignments based off of their reading.
My daughter loves that the comprehension questions aren’t very lengthy, but that they do point out important information from the speeches.
The course is meant to be completed as either a one semester or one full year class. The Teacher’s Guide and Student Guide give both the Semester Schedule and the Full-Year Schedule, week by week, so you can easily assign work to your student at whatever pace you’d like. The semester covers 18 weeks and the full year is 36 weeks. The schedule is not a day-by-day schedule, so there is a lot of flexibility in how to assign the work, so long as everything written for that week gets completed within that time frame.
This is perfect for a motivated high school student. Let them know what is expected of them for the week, and many will be able to self-pace and get it done in a way that fits right into their schedule. I am enjoying giving my daughter more freedom like this when assigning work to her. She’s self-regulating more of when and how she is getting assignments completed now that she’s working on high school level courses.
We have chosen to use the pacing for the one year schedule, but with a few modifications. The curriculum and schedule is so flexible.
I want my daughter to have an oral speech component, so when she is assigned a written assignment, I am additionally requiring her to present her writing assignment as a speech to practice public speaking.
The written assignments are wonderful, because the curriculum offers several choices. As the teacher, you can assign them all, a few of them, or have your student just pick one per lesson. My daughter loves having a choice and always picks the one that she perceives as the easiest, although I’ve learned through the years that what is easy for one student may be hard for another! I’m so thankful that the curriculum offers multiple exercises to select from.
We’ve only been working on this curriculum for a few weeks, so she has not given many of her written assignments as speeches yet, but we are easing into it. I plan on giving her credit for Speech 1 and Speech 2 on her high school transcript once she has completed the Hewitt Homeschooling coursework using the Full Year Schedule, as well as the public speaking component I’ve added in.
By actually editing, practicing, and performing her written work, I feel that she’s getting enough hours to constitute 2 very full semesters of speech coursework to count as high school credits. The workload from the curriculum, plus the spoken part that we’ve added in, makes for a busy, but not overwhelming week of assignments each week.
I personally feel that using the program on its own without a spoken component should be labeled something more specific on a transcript, such as Speech Composition and Analysis. The purpose of this course is about reading a variety of speeches and learning how to write them. Used as written, I feel like it is an excellent semester-long course for high school students.
When I was in junior high, and again in college, I took speech courses. It focused mainly on writing, memorizing, and giving speeches. We rarely studied other speeches. This speech curriculum is different, and I absolutely love the format and the content. I’m loving that my daughter is actually reading (and sometimes listening to for extra enrichment) great speeches. It has inspired her to write better and is training her eyes and ears to hone in on more intricate details when penning her own speeches and even “fun” writing.
A bonus to this curriculum is that it is non-consumable. Once you purchase it, you will be able to use it over and over again. The student book is not workbook style, so students write their answers on a separate sheet of paper. That makes the speech program an even more incredible value.
The Homeschool Review Crew was able to review several Hewitt Homeschooling Resources programs over the past few weeks. Click the banner below to read more Crew reviews on such programs as their Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set, high school Shakespeare Comedies literature and composition program, and even Joy of Discovery w Learning Objectives, which helps parents create their own unit studies.