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February 6th, 2017
Caz’s Family Adventure: Education on the Road
posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom
Education on the Road
One of our friends, readers and customers is sharing her family’s amazing adventure of education on the road with us today. Her family travels all over the globe, so she and her husband have made it an extra special way to educate their two daughters. I had the privilege of interviewing Caz Makepeace recently. I will let her tell her riveting story in her own words.
Welcome Caz, thank you for sharing your life story and your TestingMom.com experience with us today! Can you tell us more about your backstory, how you became a travelling mom, teacher and blogger and how you came to be where you are today?
Travel has been a part of my life since I graduated from University in 1997. Three days after I received my teaching degree I jumped on a plane for my first overseas backpacking experience in Indonesia. I then moved to London to begin my teaching career. I was hooked.
I loved living in another country and using that as a base to explore nearby regions and countries. I had only really chosen to become a teacher because I didn’t know what else I wanted to do. Thankfully, it was a career that enabled me to pursue my real passion of travel. After that first teaching experience in London, I have taught in Dublin, Bangkok, North Carolina, and my own country Australia. I have also travelled through over 50 countries.
I was determined to prove travel did not have to stop once you had kids like everyone told me. My two daughters have been travelling since they were born. Blogging is something we kind of fell into. We were looking for a way to create our own portable business and discovered travel blogs. They were writing the same stories that we had been living for the past ten years so we decided to give it a go. It has provided us with a full-time income and travel lifestyle now for the past four years. We never dreamed it would take us as far as it has.
What are your primary goals for your daughters, as you consider their education and build for their future?
I want to raise empowered young women who are independent and creative thinkers. It’s important to me that they can solve problems, know how to adapt to different situations and can interact with people from all walks of life. I want them to pursue their passions and curiosities and understand the value of work, and to have the ability to learn any new skill that applies to the career, or business, path they choose.
When do you fit education into your days? Is it a regularly scheduled time or does it vary? Either way, how does this contribute to your daughters’ love of learning and commitment to the tasks?
My daughters have learned so much as a result of our travel experiences. Therefore, I don’t see education as something that is segmented into a certain time or place. It’s ongoing as they continue to learn from and experience life. They have a lot of space in their day to pursue their own interests and explore the creative side of themselves.
However, I do believe in the value of disciplined work and skill building, so we incorporate specific lessons into our day whenever we can fit it in. Because of our travels, we rarely have two days that follow the same structured format. We do our best to do our formal learning early in the morning before we set off exploring for the day. It’s when the girls are most fresh. It’s very challenging to get them to do work after a day of exploring. If we have a quiet day of no activities, then we will do extra formal school work to make up for some of those days that might be extra busy.
TestingMom.com on the Road
How does TestingMom.com’s program fit into your routine and goals for your girls’ learning?
TestingMom.com is a fantastic resource for our homeschooling. As we are so busy juggling so many balls on the travel road, I don’t have a lot of time to organize materials to help develop the girls’ skills and keep them up to speed with curriculum. We will eventually register the girls back into formal school setting so I do not want them to fall behind. TestingMom provides me with so many resources to help teach specific skills, for the girls to practice these skills in a fun way and to evaluate the girls’ progress through the practice tests offered.
Do they enjoy spending time doing their TestingMom.com program?
Yes they enjoy using the program. It helps them understand concepts better, especially in math, and they love the many different games they can play.
What are their favorites at TestingMom.com and why?
My eldest has just discovered and falling in love with Typing Quest. She also enjoys Reflex Maths and Brain Pop. My youngest, Savannah loves Hear Builder and the Fun Tree and they both love GoNoodle.
Are you, as a parent, finding TestingMom.com resources helpful and effective for your goals?
Yes. TestingMom is very helpful. Thanks to my teaching experience I am able to quickly evaluate how useful and effective a resource can be. I love that I can go into TestingMom and quickly find something within one of the programs to help my girls learn. They are excellent resources and I love having it at my fingertips in one central place. I really don’t need much else when it comes to our formal instruction.
What are your main concerns/worries, as a mom, for your daughters, as you prepare them for their futures—both educationally and for basic life-skills? How do you respond to those right now?
My main concern is raising empowered children. I think if you raise confident children who can trust their inner knowing and make decisions that align with their values they’ll be okay in all other areas of their life. I also think if they have a love for learning, know how to learn, and focus their time on learning things that matter they’ll live a wonderful life. So my focus is always allowing them the opportunity to engage with life as much as possible and learn more about who they are through their life experiences.
How do you do it all? With travelling, blogging and teaching (and so many other hats), I know there must be some struggles. What would you say are your major hurdles every week?
Time! I think it’s everyone’s greatest hurdle. This lifestyle has taught me to be hyper focused and to get crystal clear on what my values are and what is important. This means I say no a lot. I’ve created what I call an unplugged life – that is one where I unplug from the chaos – the shoulds, have tos and musts we’re all plagued by – to reconnect to what is important. I have culled and minimalized so much from my life that I do have more time and space to focus on the things that will help me achieve my goals and live a good life.
Our lifestyle also enables us to layer the different aspects of our life together. Our passion is travel. We’re active travellers and spend a lot of time outdoors so we are looking after our health and well-being. The travel gives us quality time to connect as a family and create lifelong memories. The travel enables my children to learn so much about themselves and life. And the travel is also our work. So as we are doing all of this we are also gathering content to later share on our travels. So you can see how this layering of your priorities enables you to have more time to get things done.
What If I Want to Travel with My Family Like You Do?
As you approach this very unique approach to family and education, what would you tell someone, who was considering pulling up their roots and doing the same—both encouragements and cautions?
I would say get very clear on what you want to achieve and why you are doing it. Also, understand your travel style. Do road trips work better for your family dynamic? Would it be best to stay in your own country or could you handle abroad? How fast or slow do you have to move? What about finances? How can you make it work? What is your plan for earning an income while you travel? The last thing you want to do is pull up your roots and get yourself into financial trouble. How will you ensure you keep on top of your child’s education? And lastly, what is your back up plan? What if you get on the road and it doesn’t work or you hate it? What will you do?
I suggest taking smaller trips first to give the family travel dynamic to evolve and settle. Don’t try to do too much. Travel slowly and incorporate a lot of down time for your kids and you.
Mostly I say follow the callings of your heart. If you feel this is the life you want to live then go for it. Have a good plan in place and don’t listen to people who will try to steal your dream away.
And for all families, even those who don’t want to travel long-term, I suggest finding ways to unplug from the chaos of your life more so you can spend your time one what matters. Travel more with your family, even if it is just a weekend camping trip every month.
Finally, can you end with telling us more about how we may read more about your story and connect with you online, as well as resources that you may have to offer?
Absolutely. You can find out more about us on our travel blog. I’ve recently written a free ebook sharing 32 ways to empower your children to learn, grow and prosper – in school and out, which you can find here. You can also connect with me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Enjoy the journey! ~Caz
Thank you for sharing with us today, Caz. It is such a joy to read your story and imagine all of the wonderful sights and sounds your family experiences, as you learn together on the road. I personally am challenged to do some unplugging and enjoying more travel with my family. You are a true inspiration!