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Speech Boot Camp: Introduction to Public Speaking Review by Stephanie D. Scarborough

Andrew Pudewa
Institute for Excellence in Writing
Locust Grove, OK 74352

Our family has become faithful users of Andrew Pudewa's products that are published by the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I was sold on his products because he teaches students how to write exquisitely on any subject. These products fit in with my desire to link our other subjects together whenever possible, thus making the writing assignments more purposeful. For instance, if we are studying the Civil War, why not let my children practice their writing while learning their history?

As a speaker at our homeschool conference, Andrew Pudewa motivated, taught, and inspired those who attended. Thus, when I saw Speech Boot Camp: Introduction to Public Speaking, I was ready for Mr. Pudewa to attack the most feared subject on college campuses today, thus helping homeschooled students in grades 6-12 to be more confident communicators before taking the required speech class in college.

Much like waiting for a sequel in a beloved book series, my hopes were high as I contemplated purchasing this course. I had really built it up in my mind, so I wondered if it would live up to my inflated expectations. Thankfully, I may answer a resounding "YES!" The program takes the "trainees" through the entire process of speech delivery: planning, organizing, planning, and applications. Moreover, three speech types are covered: narrative, descriptive, and persuasive.

Anybody who has given a speech can relate to the title of disc one: "Into the Fire." In fact, fire may seem preferable to giving a speech! Next, in discs two and three, we traverse the "10 Mile Run" and "Obstacle Courses." The training for and perseverance required to run a 10-mile race can easily be compared to the speech preparation and delivery process. Mr. Pudewa helps students avoid speech pitfalls, much like a runner must avoid obstacles to make a good time. Lastly, in disc four, we make it to the "Finish Line." The pride we feel upon completion of something challenging like delivering a speech is much like that of a runner crossing the finish line in a race.

Regarding Speech Boot Camp, my daughter said, "I was dreading every moment, but slowly I got more into it and less scared. The tips were useful and applicable; seeing other people speak showed me things I didn't like, thus I tried to avoid doing those in my speeches. I feel like my speaking has improved, and I feel better prepared." My son commented that this program was "not just useful for giving speeches, but for talking in general." We all agreed on our favorite part of the program--the speech examples, in which we critiqued speeches and discussed them based upon the requirements and conventions we had learned in the lessons.

This program can be used in a "boot camp" format (a four-day intensive course) or in a slower, methodical eleven-week course. We used the slower manner to enhance our learning and to give our students time to process information and create a speech to be delivered with accuracy, style, and calmness. In addition to the four DVDs, you get a downloadable e-book containing reproducible handouts for students, lesson plans, and evaluation forms. These items make the program very user-friendly for the parent/facilitator. The work is laid out for the student, and the easy-to-follow lesson plans can be adjusted to fit the needs of your family or class.

Product review by Stephanie D. Scarborough, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2011