When I hear the term homeschool, I don’t envision lecture halls. Instead I see a mom on the couch with her kids, reading a book or children huddled around the kitchen table with a science experiment. But lectures should be a part of a homeschooler’s experience for the sake of learning to take notes and the opportunity for socialization.
Lectures for Note Taking
Note taking is an important real world skill both for college and for the work place. And although children should start learning how to take notes as early as middle school, they need to master this skill in the high school years.
[This post contains affiliate links to both Amazon and Great Homeschool Conventions.]
Because homeschool moms typically don’t lecture, you might think there are few opportunities for homeschooled teens to practice taking notes. Actually, we have many chances, but we have to be deliberate about it. Here are a few real world places where teens can take notes.
- local museum and gallery lectures
- homeschool conferences
- sermons at church or youth conferences
- homeschool co-op classes or online classes where a teacher actually does lecture
Your best bet is to take you teen to a live event about a topic that he is intensely interested in. That natural curiosity and passion will fuel the drive to take notes. If the topic is boring, you might have to force your teen to take notes.
I have found the positive peer pressure of a live crowd motivates my teen to appear studious so that she is more willing to take notes than she is in her bedroom while taking her online economics class with Founders Academy, for example.
Lectures for Mature Socialization
Go beyond the note taking, though, and add in some of those socialization skills we are so often questioned about. Plan on approaching the speaker after the talk to take a photo, ask a question, or make an insightful remark.
Walking up to a stranger or celebrity can be nerve wracking, but what a great ability to have! I’ve heard plenty of stories of career breakthroughs that started when someone pushed herself to approach a hero.
If your child is tentative, help her come up with something to say. This might begin as early as the trip to the live event. In the car, brainstorm some opening statements and how to behave. Encourage your child to interact with these mature actions:
- Extend her hand for a handshake
- Make eye contact
- Introduce herself
- Thank the speaker
- Make a meaningful comment besides a generic “I liked your presentation.”
- Ask a question.
- Politely for a photo or autograph.
In my opinion, these are socialization skills that really matter (as opposed to knowing the up to date teen slang and popular social media apps or games).
To make that meaningful comment will require careful listening. During the presentation, have your child jot down potential questions to ask later or highlight key points to mention.
In 2012 my daughter and I enjoyed listening to Jim Weiss talk at Great Homeschool Conventions in Cincinnati. I was so proud when Emma waited in line to meet Mr. Weiss and tell him how much she enjoys his audio stories.
Last year she really enjoyed the Teen Track at GHC, and without my prodding she met some of those speakers too. (I didn’t take any photos.) Most teens are afraid of those kinds of interactions, and I’m proud that Emma is bold enough to approach a speaker and make mature small talk.
This year we are targeting Ben Carson. If you don’t know who Ben Carson is, I urge you to read the autobiography (affiliate) Gifted Hands as a read aloud to your children. (This story is also available in a movie rendition.) This is an outstanding story of a man who beat the odds to become a brilliant pediatric neurosurgeon. He is a real life role model worth emulating and someone you can meet in real life at Great Homeschool Conventions.
Read more about Ben Carson and GHC.