Natalie King spoke in 2019 at the Homeschool Convention. The Homeschool Gazette sits down with her as she shares about her keynote speech and inspiration.
Jess Kuan: Thank you for joining us! What was it like speaking at the previous Convention?
Natalie King: A welcome challenge and awesome reward. Scary, but entirely worth it! I love it when my kids see me afraid, but persistent and successful. It teaches them to not shy away from challenge, even if it terrifies you. The work put into making the convention a success by everyone involved, is incredible and inspiring.
Jess Kuan: Your topic was “Embracing Change”. Can you share a little about this?
Natalie King: Homeschooling, like life, requires great flexibility. Ride the wave of success when you drop into a good one, but if it sputters out don’t be afraid to go in a different direction. Accept challenging situations and embrace the change they will bring to your life: it’s a great way to learn and grow. Homeschooling is a lifestyle; do it your way and don’t look back. This is what gives homeschoolers an edge!
Jess Kuan: What inspired you to talk about this topic?
Natalie King: My own experience as a homeschooler, expatriate, and avid traveler.
Jess Kuan: What research did you do to prepare your speech?
Natalie King: Reading books and articles about resilience, watching YouTube videos on public speaking, lots of time spent on self reflection, and talking to my husband and kids about our homeschool journey.
Jess Kuan: What do you want your audience to remember from your presentation?
Natalie King: That I was prepared! Hopefully they were encouraged to homeschool their own unique way.
Jess Kuan: What do you fear most about giving a presentation?
Natalie King: That I would butcher everything I’d prepared, stand up in front of all those eager parents and bore them to death, forget everything!
Jess Kuan: Have you overcome that fear? If so, how?
Natalie King: Yes! I met the challenge of public speaking prepared, and head on. As I was speaking to the parents at last years convention, I received smiles, laughter, and nods of understanding. After the speech, I was approached by parents with questions and thanks. But, it was when my own children told me what a success I’d been, that I realized I did something I didn’t think I could do, and I did it well.
Jess Kuan: At what point do you come alive on stage – before you walk on, when you walk on, or three minutes after you start?
Natalie King: Beforehand, and in the short breaks between speakers, I listened to my favorite “walk up” songs–the ones that get me into my zone. Doing that kept me in an upbeat mood, and helped ease my nerves until I got up to talk; but, it really wasn’t until I got those laughs from the audience in the first bit of my speech–right when I’d hoped I would–that I felt at ease and as if I was having an out of body experience, watching myself speak.
Jess Kuan: What effect does this have on you and your audience?
Natalie King: Complete engagement.
Jess Kuan: What do you want the audience to be saying about you afterward?
Natalie King: She was prepared! I want to hear more!
Jess Kuan: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Natalie King: Go for it.
Jess Kuan: Would this advice apply to others in general?
Natalie King: Yes!
Jess Kuan: What advice would you give to this year’s speakers at the Homeschool Convention?
Natalie King: Listen to your heart about what your message should be. Share what you feel you wish someone would’ve shared with you. Be authentic. Set aside ample time at least once a week to write, uninterrupted. Then say everything you wrote out loud, and make adjustments where necessary. Once you have your message fleshed out, audio record yourself speaking. Listen to it as often as possible; on the bus, mrt, taking a walk, you get the idea. Then practice, practice, practice!
Photographs by Larry Toh Photography