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5 Things I Learned When I Sold Almost Everything And Took My Family On A World Tour

August 30, 2016
Courtney Adamo
Courtney Adamo and her family have lived our dream of traveling the world nonstop for a year. They sold most of their belongings from their home in the UK and never looked back. This past year, Courtney, her husband and their four beautiful children have traveled to countries like Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Sri Lanka and did a euro-trip this summer, hitting up Italy, France, and Portugal. How Is this mama capable of funding this trip you ask? She is the co-founder of Babyccino and is able to work remotely. 

The most surprising things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. How little we need to be happy

We have each spent a year living out of a small suitcase, wearing the same few outfits on rotation, sleeping in rented beds (not always nice ones) and keeping only the essential personal possessions. Still, not one of us has missed the things we left behind. The kids have not asked for their toys, their bikes or anything more than the few things they fit into their little backpacks. Instead, they’ve had a year full of imaginative games, new friends and time spent enjoying the company of their siblings. It wasn’t easy to part with all the things we thought we needed, but it was very liberating once we did.

Courtney Adamo

  1. There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing

Family time was a huge motivating factor in taking this journey. What could be better than 24/7 with your loved ones? We were all really looking forward to spending so much time together and getting to know each other on a deeper level. I didn’t anticipate that there could possibly be too much time.

Apart from 20 minutes of yoga on rare mornings (or on the beach while the kids were playing), I have hardly had any time to myself. We have done everything together as a family — from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed – without the breaks that school, work or babysitters normally provide. The kids would probably say they found it difficult at times too. It’s not easy, even for a three year-old, to spend every waking second with five other people. But we’re all so happy we did it.

Courtney Adamo

  1. Homeschooling is hard work, but very rewarding!

Michael and I both thought teaching our children would be relatively straightforward and easy — enjoyable even! We equipped ourselves with the right curriculum books and the necessary supplies, and looked forward to teaching concepts one by one. How little we knew! The first month was turbulent as we learned to teach and the kids warmed to the idea of learning from their parents. Our eldest, Easton, responded well to being taught by his dad, but Quin and Ivy, both great students in the classroom, had a much more difficult time. We underestimated the challenge of teaching three students in three different year groups and different abilities at the same time. I think we did everything wrong before we got it right, but we got there eventually and it has been extremely rewarding to watch them learn and progress. I would even say that their progress has been more noticeable than any other year in traditional school!

Courtney Adamo

  1. Social media is a wonderful tool for travelers!

I could just as easily write a paragraph about the things I don’t like about Instagram, but when it came to our travels this year, I was so grateful for that little app. We made wonderful friends and met so many interesting people thanks to it. Instagram connected my family to a world of like-minded families and individuals – people who reached out to us to offer tips, to invite us for dinner at their house or to meet for a picnic in the park. It changed the way we connected to each country and the things we did there. Easton remarked last week, ‘I have so many friends now, all over the world.’ We think that’s pretty cool.

Courtney Adamo

  1. It’s easy to land back on your feet

When we made the decision to take the year off and travel the world, we had to make some immediate compromises. We sold our newly renovated home, our car and lots of our stuff. We took our children out of a school we loved, and Michael left his job with no promise of return. Naturally, we worried about what would be here when we returned. City life moves quickly — would we be forgotten or passed by? The truth is, not much changes in one year. Most friends remarked, ‘gosh, has a year gone already?!’ Indeed everything we left behind was available upon our return. Michael was approached for wonderful work opportunities and the kids could have easily slotted back into school. Though we’ve made a decision to settle somewhere new, re-entry was reassuringly smooth. Other travelers hoping to do a trip like this needn’t worry.

Courtney Adamo

 

P.S. ShopUp by Babyccino kids is having an event September 18th & 19th. Come shop the 40 different booths, while your kids enjoy a plethora of activities and lets not forget all of the delicious food vendors! Find out more about the ShopUp event  here.  

Courtney Adamo

Advice, Contributors, How to, Parenting

Easy Tips To Get Your Little One To Love Reading

June 24, 2016

As a kid, one of my favorite things to do was curl up next to my mama and read together. When we connected with Holly, speech-language pathologist and co-founder of The Story Box, we knew she was the perfect person to shine a light on how to get kids to love reading. As busy mamas we were excited about her monthly subscription service that delivers high-quality children’s books, leting us have extra time to snuggle up to our little one and read a good story. Read Holly’s  go-to five-step approach below and let us know how it goes!

 

How do I help my child learn to love reading?

Well, that’s an excellent question and one that I am frequently asked!  First, let me say that reading has endless benefits for your child, even very young children.  In fact, I say it is never too early to start reading to your child.  Research has consistently demonstrated multiple positive outcomes like improved communication skills, preparedness for school, and social-emotional health. Here’s how to help your child get reading early:

  1. Model it.

Children are great imitators, so modeling the desired behavior is a practical and effective strategy.  Read often in front of your child.  By doing this, you are showing your child that you enjoy reading enough to do it on a regular basis.   Also, model the use of reading and writing to accomplish tasks.  For example, show your child that you are reading a recipe to gain information about how to cook their favorite food, and show your child that you use writing to make a grocery list.  These strategies will help your child understand that print is meaningful and useful, and she/he will soon begin to imitate you!

  1. Read together every day.

From a young age, children begin to learn from their daily routines and even anticipate activities that occur regularly.  Take advantage of this and build reading into your child’s everyday routine.  Find a cozy place to read, make sure books are easily accessible, and select a consistent time of the day.  Reading with your child can become as regular and as automatic as brushing their teeth!

  1. Have a good variety of books in your child’s reach.

To maintain your child’s interest in reading, you will need to supply a good variety of books.  Offer books that are simple and short, books that are longer with more complex stories, books with detailed illustrations, books with simple illustrations, books that rhyme, and books that don’t rhyme.  (To learn more about some of the qualities I look for in books, visit www.jointhestorybox.com/whatsinside.) Messy mom tip: try board books if you are concerned about your child destroying the books.

  1. Balance leading and following while reading.

Find a balance between Being the Leader and Following the Leader when reading with your child.  When Being the Leader, you may go through the book page by page, in the correct order, and read most of the actual text.  When leading, you are modeling book routine, exposing your child to story structure, and modeling lots of great language.  When Following the Leader, allow your child to lead the interaction and decide what will be discussed.  You may allow him to choose the book he wants to read and even allow him to look at the pages in the order that he prefers.  Allow him to initiate the interaction.  Wait for him to point to a picture that he is interested in, and you can respond by saying something about the picture.  A more verbal child may say something about a picture, and you can model good language by repeating what was said and adding a little something extra to it.  Both Leading and Following can help your child develop communication and early literacy skills.

  1. Use children’s books to inspire your child’s play and art.

Use your child’s favorite books to inspire your play activities and crafts.  This is a popular and effective strategy that has been used by teachers and speech-language pathologists for decades. Using books to inspire play and art gives your child even more opportunities to have fun with books.  It also allows you to discuss the story elements and use the vocabulary from the story multiple times.  This redundancy increases the likelihood that your child will retain the information and vocabulary he learned from the book.

Those are my top 5 tips for helping your child fall in love with reading!  To start getting new, high-quality books for your child each month and more tips like the ones above, join The Story Box today.  We love helping parents and little ones enjoy reading together!

Happy Reading!

Holly