Building Communication Skills for Teens

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Building Communication Skills for Teens.

Building Communication Skills for Teens

Building Communication Skills for Teens

We homeschooling parents like to see our teens develop solid written-communication skills. However, it is wise to remember that as homeschool high schoolers become adults, they often will be using their verbal-communication skills!

Therefore it is a good idea to make sure we are helping our teens build strong verbal communication skills for life!

In fact, helping teens develop good communication skills can help them (and us) right now. For instance, have you ever had a moment where you and your high schooler were having a difficult conversation? That is normal, of course. However, sometimes tough conversations can be made worse by poor communication skills.

Where is it useful for teens to have good verbal communication skills?

Lots of places! Here are a few:

  • In homeschool co-op or dual enrollment classes at the local college
  • Communicating with peers or when giving a presentation. Especially in the presentation situations it is common to feel the jitters.
  • At home with family
  • With friends
  • At their jobs, service work or sports teams

How to help

There are so many ways to build communication skills. Here are a few.

At home you can:

  • Do poetry and Scripture memorization and recitation at home
  • Have discussions on a topic at home. For instance, “Today we are going to talk about…current events, a Bible verse, a family story…”
  • Teach them active listening and practice it at home. In active listening, the listener repeats back or rephrases what they heard.
    • Speaker: “I learned so much in Math today.” Listener: “Math went well today.”
  • Teach them they do not need to disagree with the person but simply with the ideas.
    • This helps them become comfortable with differences and learn to be friends with all kinds of people.
  • Help teens learn non-verbal communication skills (body language)
    • Body posture (arms relaxed when listening, slight forward lean)
    • Eye contact
    • Facing the speaker (not the phone, btw)
    • Voice intonation (I’m really HUNGRY…I’m REALLY hungry…I’M really hungry)

In co-op or group classes you can:

  • Use Speech 1, 7Sisters fun public speaking curriculum, in a group.
    • This is a non-threatening, user-friendly beginner’s course for making public speaking delightful
  • Hold group discussions in homeschool co-op or umbrella school classes
    • Help teens contribute something simple in each class.
    • Give out poker chips, they pitch a chip into a bucket each time they share. When their chips are gone, they have contributed all they need to. (This is also good for helping talky teens to give others space- when they run out of chips, they are done talking for the day.)
    • Teach teens in group discussions to say something like, “I agree with that because…”
    • For teens who are holding back, remind them kindly that it helps everyone in the group feel better when they contribute. When everyone says a little something, everyone is more relaxed. (This helps teens look at others’ perspective and get out of their own minds.)
  • Help teens who dominate conversations, learn to make space for others. Help them learn to:
    • Self-monitor and ask, “Am I giving other folks a chance to speak.”
    • Scan the room and see who is looking ready to say something, then be silent for a bit. Also, if people at drawing back, looking away or irritated, it might be time to give others a chance to speak for a few minutes.
    • For highly opinionated teens who can fall into being judgmental, coach them to allow other ideas to be heard. You can even help them learn handle opinions they do not agree with by answering, “Well, I never thought of that before. I will think about it.”
      • This shows respect and humility- even if they do not agree with the speaker. The more we listen to others, even if we do not agree, them more our thinking is sharpened.
  • Drama camps and experiences can help build non-verbal and other communication skills (try 7Sisters Acting and Directing curriculum)

Also, help them learn how to manage social media communication skills

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for a fun discussion on building communication skills with homeschool high schoolers.

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How to Build Your Business While Building Each Other Up

How to Build Your Business While Building Each Other Up

How to Build Your Business While Building Each Other Up

Our tongues are mighty enough to inflict wounds or build one another up. How often do we stop and think about the power we have to build up our business through our speech? Tune into Mommy Jammies Podcast as Gina talks about keeping our conversation holy.


Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful;  Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth.” 1 Peter 3: 10-11

Embrace Life

In our last two podcasts, we’ve taken a look at setting our priorities on the right course, those aligned with our values. Let’s talk a little today about how to build your business while building each other up.

Community

When Jesus came to Earth he created a community – a community of the Redeemed. God Himself is a community in the form of the Trinity!

It’s hard wired in each one of us to desire community with one another. It’s one of the ways we can truly embrace life – by reaching out to others! While sin separated us in the Fall, and we still don’t love one another perfectly, Jesus wants us to experience it. Though we experience God’s saving grace individually, we can be transformed (sanctified) within a community. This community isn’t just the church or our family, but also our business relationships.

Indeed, our businesses can require a good portion of our attention and can be a primary way the Lord sanctifies us, desiring that we would in fact- embrace life.

See the Day Fill up with Good

That brings me to seeing the day fill up with good. Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right? You complain, procrastinate, and compare to the point that you just want to crawl back in bed. While those days sometimes happen outside of our control, often those days can be a result of what the rest of the verse says to us.

In our business dealings, how often do we fall prey to sharing screenshots of conversations, saying things we shouldn’t, or taking concerns to a friend first- rather than the Lord. I know I’ve been guilty of all of those and in fact struggle with this. It’s a distorted version of community, isn’t it?

What can we “put off” and “put on” in order to overcome this struggle? How can we build trust, friendship, and respect with our business colleagues using these put off’s and put on’s?

Say Nothing Evil or Hurtful

Just yesterday a friend called me deeply hurt by words said to her. Words! She wasn’t physically harmed and she wasn’t threatened. No, she was laughed at for a business idea by a friend. This hurt her in the moment and she was still dealing with it the next morning.

It’s hard for us to realize that if we speak without weighing our speech (thinking how it might impact another), we can deeply would someone we actually care about.

How likely is this friend I mention going to be willing to share her business ideas with others again? What will she have to overcome and forgive in order to now show up in the world with her awesome idea?

Snub Evil and Cultivate Good

What can we do when a business friendship is based on a list of who to like and who not to like? Is it possible that maintaining these types of business friendships actually harm your own business and reputation? They can and they do.

We all know that person (and in fact, if we look in the mirror we’re guilty, too) who can’t wait to tell you the ten reasons not to like so and so. While it’s good in business circles to give general warnings and guidance to friends in order to keep them from a bad business deal, it’s not necessary to attach personal descriptives about another person.

Honestly, this is a difficult situation sometimes, but having a policy of carefulness and seeking Wisdom on the subject of sharing about another individual is a good one. Most business mamas are savvy enough to recognize a fraud or bad business relationship.

Run After Peace for All You’re Worth

That brings us back to the beginning. Remember in our last podcast, we determined Who gives us our Peace and Worth. If we’re to run after peace for all we’re worth, let that sink in. God created us for a purpose. Our businesses have a story to tell to the world and pursuing peace in our business relationships will (in the long run) build up our businesses.

Action Point:

Spend some time in prayer, reflecting on ways you tend to run after discord instead of peace. How does knowing what you’re worth and running after peace have the potential to build up others and by extension, build up your own business?