How to Get Started Starting Things, Interview with Natalie Mack

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How Get Started Starting Things, Interview with Natalie Mack.

How to Get Started Starting Things, Interview with Natalie Mack

How Get Started Starting Things, Interview with Natalie Mack

We have our friend, Natalie Mack, with us today to discuss starting things. Natalie is a mom of homeschool high schoolers (and graduates), a military spouse, author, speaker and consultant to the military homeschool community for HSLDA. You already know her from previous interviews such as Tips for Homeschooling High School.

One of the things that homeschoolers seem to do a lot is: starting things! And Natalie understands that sometimes you just start things because your kids need it to happen. A few of the things Natalie has started in her community include:

National Beta Club,

About Natalie Mack

To start, Natalie usually has to sit on her hands to keep herself from starting another project. However, because her teens have had so many interests AND because there were not ready opportunities for them to get involved with those interests, Natalie has had to start a number of new activities for her area.

When you want to get started with starting an organization, simply contact them, tell your story, ask what needs to happen in order to start a branch or local group. That is what Natalie has done over and over. Her teens and others in the community have been truly blessed.

In no particular order, let’s talk about the things she has started for her homeschool high schoolers and homeschool community! 

Congressional Award

As a military spouse, Natalie’s teens have volunteered a lot. Her family has always been a family of service – specifically, military service. But separate from that service in their military communities, they have given back, a charitable service very important to them as a family.

Having said that, Natalie realized years ago in her military spouse service that there was something called the Presidential Service Right Award. She was being asked to give her hours so that they could be calculated, so she looked into it, and by doing so, she found the Congressional Award.

She started the Congressional Award for the volunteers of her support group, Ft. Belvoir Home Educators. She wanted them to be able to get credit for their services, along with anyone over the age of thirteen to get credit for their volunteer work. At first, Natalie thought no one would respond to the Congressional Award when she promoted it on social media channels. But she did get responses and people came out of the woodworks to volunteer.

Natalie saw this opportunity and did not keep it to herself. She shared it on social media and that is all it took to give other people the confidence to jump in on the process.

National Beta Club

Next on Natalie’s to “done” list is the National Beta Club, a club for homeschoolers. It started in 1934 in Spartanburg, South Carolina and has lasted over eighty years so far. 

Many famous people have been a part of the National Beta Club, such as Kevin Duran and President Clinton to name a few. It currently has 445,000 active members and 9,600 clubs nationally and internationally.

So what is the National Beta Club, exactly? Beta has four principles that they seek:

  • Achievement
  • Character
  • Leadership
  • Service

They recognize and honor “Achievement,” which means students can compete in their state and national conventions to take tests in academic subject areas.This helps pre prepare young people for life and empowers them to be successful. 

Beta club chapters have presidents and offices that the students serve. They present leadership skills and make speeches for their peers to choose who should serve in office. It is leadership developing the leaders of tomorrow, which is what the Beta club focuses on primarily. 

The Beta club has done charity work in homeless shelters, where a representative will go and speak to the people there. This is one way for the kids of the club to know about those who are less fortunate and teach them how important it is that everyone is all in this together. 

This Club was the only homeschool club available in their area in the Washington, DC area. There are two different ones depending on age, beginning with a Junior Beta from 4th grade to 8th grade and then a Senior Beta from 9th grade to 12th grade, and they had both clubs. 

Natalie got involved with the Beta Club when she heard they opened the doors to homeschoolers. She felt God was tapping her on my shoulder to join. And so she did!

Homeschool Moms: If our teens need it, we can start it!

A few of the other leadership opportunities and services Natalie’s teens have been a part of are:

  • The Fairfax County Watershed Cleanup
  • A military organization called Blue Star Organization

They also partner with Starbucks to put yellow ribbons on Christmas trees in the Starbucks so people can acknowledge the military service and give thanks to them. 

Toastmasters Youth Leadership Group

Natalie loves public speaking, even though she’s never received official training. And Toastmasters Youth Leadership Group is a program that enables young people under the age of 18 to develop their communication and leadership skills through practical experience.

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organization’s membership is approximately 280,000 in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries.

Natalie had an opportunity for her and the kids to participate in a Youth Leadership Group (YLP) for Toastmasters. The YLP has a training they recommend students go through first in order to set up a Toastmasters Youth Leadership program. 

Once they went through the training, the kids absolutely loved it, so when they moved to Northern Virginia, Natalie started the YLP again. 

4-H

Natalie has always been fascinated with 4-H. One thing she appreciates is that 4-H to no longer just agriculture. It is an organization with so many opportunities now, more than just about farm animals. They have summer camps and several leadership opportunities. 

Homeschooling brings to so many opportunities, such as Toastmaster or 4-H, and it allows kids to discover and use their passions and interests. Teens are able to take those passions and interests and put them into established programs or even start a club, much like Natalie did.

Homeschooling gives kids the opportunities to shine.

To all the homeschool moms out there who want to start a club: 

Be confident that you can do it. If you have an idea for your teen, there are likely one or two other moms who have that same eagerness too. The beauty is in coming together and making it happen together.

Join Vicki and Natalie for some ideas about getting things started.

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!

How Get Started Starting Things, Interview with Natalie Mack

Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack.

Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack

Tips for Homeschooling High School, Interview with Natalie Mack

Vicki and Natalie are so excited to finally connect! We have been waiting to connect to share Natalie’s expertise on homeschooling high school!

Natalie Mack is a retired Navy chaplain’s spouse (after thirty-four years of service). She is a passion military spouse advocate because she knows that the military spouses are the ones who are holding military bases and military families together. The whole family serves!

Not only that, but she is a homeschool mom (who is a passionate advocate for all homeschooling families- and especially military homeschooling families). She has five kids.

  • Her oldest graduated from Liberty University and George Washington University (Masters in International Education- fluent in Mandarin and conversational in Russian). She is currently an International Baccalaureate coordinator for the Washington DC public school system.
  • Natalie’s second daughter is a “kick-butt soccer athlete” who played Division One soccer for Liberty University. She recently completed her Masters in Social Work at Howard University. Besides preparing for her social work career, she is also on a professional indoor soccer player.
  • Her oldest son graduated from American University’s School of International Service. He worked on a Congressional campaign for a season and is now working for a nonprofit.
  • Natalie’s second son is an Honor College student at George Mason University, a Bonners scholar there.
  • Her youngest son is fifteen. He is kind of like an only child now because his siblings are all in college or beyond.

Despite being down to one high schooler at home, Natalie is still super busy. When her kids asked her why she was still so busy, she told them that she is finally doing all the things she could not do when she was homeschooling five kids as a military wife. This is a new season but there is no time to sit around eating bonbons!

These days, when she is not working on lessons with her youngest, Natalie is:

Advice from Natalie about homeschooling high school:

Natalie has gained lots of wisdom over many years of homeschooling high school! Here are a few.

When things feel thankless, remember that someday your teens will be grown up- they will thank you then

Natalie knows from experience. Sometimes homeschool days can be thankless. On those days, you have to keep on keeping on- putting one foot in front of the other. You will make it. You can do this!

Trust the process

You may feel like you are venturing into the unknown when you start homeschooling high school. That is okay. You can do this. Try not to get overwhelmed by the newness of it all (and the fears of failure). You can trust the process where you are learning how to homeschool high school right along with your teens.

Take time to enjoy your teens.

Take time to enjoy your teens

Of course, while your teens are in high school, academics are priority. However, try not to get so focused on those academics that you do not have time to enjoy your teens. Who says that every day you have to max it out till four o’clock? If you and your teens work on academics intensely all day, every day, you (and your kids) will not have anything left to give.

Use the flexibility of homeschooling to take time to enjoy. You will want your teens to still like you (and it is hard for them to do that if they feel burned out).

There will be bad days when no schooling gets done

No one will go to hell just because it is a rotten day and schoolwork needs to be set aside. Tomorrow is a new day full of grace for you and your teens. You can model resilience for your teens- it is a GREAT life skill.

So on terrible, no-good, very-bad days, remember grace and fresh starts tomorrow!

Join a support group

Natalie knows how the support groups have been important for her homeschool success and encouragement. She suggests to look for:

Remember lots of prayer

Prayer is the key to success! You need God’s strength, grace and peace for the homeschool high school journey! God is there to helpl.

Join Vicki and Natalie for a good dose of encouragement and some tips for homeschooling high school!

Also check out these Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes if you have a teen who is thinking about a military career:

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