Get to Know the Heggie Family
Watch the Video Above or Read the full interview below!
Meet the Heggie family, an Australian family who are otherwise known as Cake and Eat it 3.
Leanne and her husband Brett have been long term travellers and always knew they wanted to create a full time travel lifestyle.
They spent years saving their money, investing wisely and setting themselves up financially. Initially they would take short trips during their work holidays, and over time they were able to make the shift to full time travel. Today they have an RV in both Australia and in Europe and love getting out into the world and experiencing as much as possible.
Not one to follow the masses, the Heggie family love the learning opportunities that Worldschooling provides and in today’s interview Leanne and younger daughter Miss B share what a worldschooling life looks like for them. They share countless examples of the learning opportunities they’ve had and talk in depth about how a shift in priorities is the key to creating an incredible worldschooling lifestyle.
If you’re wondering how to get started, this interview is not to be missed.
Let’s meet Leanne now.
My name is Leanne. I’m from Cake and Eat It 3, and the three are Brett, my husband, and Miss B, our youngest. We also have an older daughter, who is all grown up, and she remains in Australia but loves traveling. Once you start them traveling from a young age, they continue that love forever.
When did you start worldschooling?
We’ve made travel our life over a long period of time. We started with our eldest daughter when we were working and building up some backing to get financial so that we could go full time. And that was four weeks here, four weeks there each year with the usual holidays you get allotted from work. And we knew we wanted to make this full time; we want this to be our life.
What is Worldschooling?
Worldschooling is just learning while experiencing the world, and being able to do that as a family so that you’re part of those wonderful memories with your kids when they’re growing up. I think it’s just the freedom to learn every step of the way, not necessarily in any classroom or learning environment, just learning through life and the people we meet.
What are the benefits of worldschooling?
In life, we learn best when we’re doing something we love. And when we’re Worldschooling, we’re learning about cultures and meeting amazing, genuine people who are not forced to be where they are at that time, so when you meet them, they’re more giving, loving, and nurturing; they want to share their lives, their country, their beliefs, their food.
We have met extraordinary people, and whether we title that Worldschooling or life, what we’ve created is just our normal life, we love the people we meet. We love the freedom and real-life topics, instead of what one particular curriculum determines essential for surviving life.
What does Worldschooling look like for your family?
We have a motorhome in Australia and a campervan in Europe. We also love spot jumping. So we’ll make a quick one to Bali or meet some friends that are traveling somewhere. We’ve done lots of weddings all over the world.
We’ve also hit the road multiple times; we’ve lapped Australia numerous times now. We don’t make decisions based on what the sheep are doing. If everyone’s going one way, we’re more than likely going the other, and we just enjoy doing what’s right for the family.
Why did you start worldschooling?
Brett has traveled forever, and we have always traveled as a family, but he was the passion behind this. So he has literally backpacked, hitchhiked, caravaned, and campervaned forever. We just continued with that, and the eldest daughter has been all over as world. We had to travel in chunks back then. Brett spent two years living in France back in the day with the eldest daughter.
From there, we have just evolved. We love everything about travel, food, culture, people, and everything. We went where the opportunities came up and where we were able to connect with others; that’s where the Worldschooling community is just wonderful. There wasn’t that community there when we started, and with the resources of Worldschooling Central, it’s an amazing feeling being part of a Worldschooling community. We’ve met up with friends of Miss B all over the world in multiple locations.
Whether we were doing it for four weeks per year back then, which was just what we were allotted, or whether we did it over a longer-term after leaving a job and going for six or eight weeks, travel always took precedence. I would take unpaid leave if I wanted it, to make sure that we had the time that we wanted to accomplish the goals, generally around trekking, and to be able to go at the best time of year, to be in a particular location. You have to be able to maneuver your holidays.
What were your initial plans for educating the kids?
I come from a long line of teachers, and I highly respect education, as a whole; I think that we owe it to ourselves and our generation and our earth to be educated. However, given what they were being taught at school and the social implications from a system that was not supporting our eldest daughter through high school, I realized that there was nothing that I could do when educating my child that was going to do any worse than what they were already enduring while they were within the school system.
So, being a self-led learner to some degree with my high school, I went on to higher education and after that held very good jobs and was semi-retired by 40. I didn’t have those self-limiting beliefs that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I believe that we can achieve anything that we want to; the information is out there now. With the internet and plenty of online education, plus we travel the world and find real-life education, it’s all available to us. It’s only how much effort we put into it. That would be the same thing for buying a car or buying a house; you don’t just go out and do it, you research it first. I think people would be amazed at the education side of things. Once you start looking into it and look at your one child instead of a class of 30, (or if that’s multiples you do it for each child). You know your child better than anybody else and knowing their learning style, incorporate that into your travel.
The people that you’re meeting, the wonderful knowledge that they have and share, and Worldschoolers are very happy to do that. It is just so comforting because you know your kids so well and the way that they learn, so you can create learning experiences based on their strengths and weaknesses, and improve their education in those areas.
So it wasn’t something we feared. It was something we grabbed hold off and went, yep, we can do this better. When we don’t know something, we’re not afraid to ask. There’s an absolute wealth of information out there, particularly in the Worldschooling community where there is a group of people who have come across these problems or obstacles before. We can reach out and help each other.
How do your kids learn?
We bumped into a lovely Nana, at a campsite. We were at a free camp in the middle of nowhere, and she was desperately missing her grandchildren, and Breanne said she would like to learn knitting and this Nana said I’ll teach you. So she taught Breanne, she gave Breanne her knitting stuff because she said she was getting old and had arthritis in her hands. So she ended up gifting Breanne her knitting collection of needles and wool and everything. And since then Breanne has hit YouTube, learned how to rib stitch, pearl stitch, cast on cast off. She’s knitted a dog jumper for a house sitting that we were at. She’s, knitted a wand, a Harry Potter wand and spellbook pouch for her, her trousers that she walks around with, and all because some random lovely lady offered her time and shared her love of something new, which is something that Breanne will carry for the rest of her life. You know, a skill that she can now impart her knowledge with people that she meets as well.
I think that’s all Worldschooling is, in a nutshell. To us, it’s imparting one person’s knowledge to another, free from the necessity of curriculum, or free from the guidelines that say it has to be taught this way, or at a specific time. It’s just because you want to learn and because the person who’s teaching you would love to share that with you.
Whether it’s archery in Hungary, badminton in Romania, and France., and new sports everywhere. Every country has its own sport, and soccer is massive in Europe, so we’ve had countless soccer experiences in Europe, with various levels of expertise from the players, but it’s just a good fun learning experience.
We learned the hand pan in Amsterdam, which is a musical instrument. So amazing! That was very cool.
We’ve learned cooking with a Nona in Italy. With beautiful Romanian Hungarian friends we’ve learned cooking beautiful goulash in Romania. Different learning experiences to what would be considered normal by everyday kids in Australia, that’s for sure, but just such a wealth of information.
We learned about Vikings in Oslo when we went to Norway. We visited an amazing Viking museum. We went to the VESA in Sweden, which is fantastic. That’s all incorporated. The Vikings in that era of history were actually real life! So we walk in and amongst these ruins and see the ships, watch videos and walk through the cities that you love so much and wonder How’d they build that?
Different sorts of animals. That’s Miss B’s favorites, she loves animals. We saw reindeer and moose in Scandinavia, in the middle of the road, and if you’ve ever seen Rocky and Bullwinkle we now know where they got the inspiration for the moose. He looked exactly like it. We had running jokes for the rest of the day after that.
Trying to pinpoint particular moments is actually quite difficult, although we did manage to pull about 10 there! Learning happens constantly.
And every day the language that you’re hearing. We’re currently learning French and sign language and so any opportunity we hear it… We’re currently staying in a Caravan Park in a place in Western Australia, and there’s been an influx of Germans and French that have been surrounding us and we jump at every opportunity to go and have a chat and find out their whereabouts and help them with their travel planning. By hearing the language, Miss B is able to practice; she understands it and is able to ask them in French, if they speak English. She’s incorporating that even though we’re not on the move at the moment. Every day we’re using the Worldschooling tools that we’ve learned and embracing them. The French they were so thankful, because they want to know where to go and what to see while they’re in Australia and they grab hold of you and ask a million questions and it makes you feel like you’re back on the road again.
What does a normal worldschooling day look like for you?
We wake up in the morning. We get our cuddle time, which we love, at whatever time we wake up. So that’s awesome. We are early risers because we generally like to do something fitness wise in the morning, so we go for a jog or walk along the river, or do something wherever we are. The scenery can change day to day.
We try and do the schoolwork first thing in the morning. That might be two hours, or one and a half hours, depending on what our day looks like. So if we’re going to do a big travel day, we’ll do the stuff that Miss B might need some assistance with first, then when we hit the cars, she can do the stuff that she doesn’t need assistance with while we’re driving. Or she can do reading while she’s in the car.
Right now she’s reading Harry Potter, so everything is wizarding! She’s just made some polymer clay wands, which I might say are very good. And she loves sketching and drawing, so that can generally be done in the car or when Brett and I are engaged with other activities.
We do change the way that we school depending on what we’re doing and where we are. When we’re on the road in Europe, when we’re moving quite quickly, we get up we get that schoolwork done, we have breakfast, we’re on the road by 8.30/9 o’clock at the latest and then we have the day to explore.
The only two main topics that we ensure happens is age level appropriate maths and English. I have a tendency to move that curriculum towards more real life learning, and unfortunately at the moment that entails algebra. If someone can give me an example of why that is relevant in life, I will accept that wholeheartedly.
We do keep maths and English appropriate to Miss B’s age level, because if we decide to stop somewhere or go to an international school, we want her to be able to have that option to go back into her age level.
We also believe that if there’s anything in life that you need to know, it’s how to read and write. It communicates everything, for every job, in every profession that you do, and it’s a survival skill, which we’re pretty big on. We try to teach that with real-life learning, and we generally incorporate maths into that real-life learning too.
How do you create community as you travel?
Traveling people genuinely have an interest in what you’re doing, where you’re going, what you are doing with your kids, what you did when you were in a particular area to learn with your kids because they’re going to do exactly the same thing. So when you are a part of that wonderful community, you’re only a Messenger, Instagram, Facebook, or email away from hooking up.
We’ve got multiple friends that we’ve met in multiple countries, and we’ll go to extra lengths to try and catch up with them because we know that they would make the same effort in return. It’s not difficult to connect at all.
We will learn from anyone; we don’t really care what ages they are. Generally, first-timers will actually go out of their way to try and find a particular age group because they think that’s what their child is going to want. We’ve met some amazing young kids, some amazing older kids, and love connected with Worldschoolers and traveling families. So I think just removed the limiting belief that it has to be a certain age, or it has to be a certain sex of the child, or it has to be… there is no “it has to be”, you go out there, you meet wonderful people, and you learn from whoever you’re with.
How do you afford to Worldschool?
I can absolutely guarantee you, we have saved a fortune by being on the road. We have fewer expenses because we have fewer cars and I’ve got tenants in our house paying for the costs. We do a lot of free camping so we literally don’t have electricity bills, even if I attributed a little bit of expense for a caravan park every now and then we only stay in a caravan park when we have to be based in a particular area at a particular time. So, we’ve eliminated so many day to day costs.
You eat less, you buy less, you waste less. When you’ve got a limited space in which to pack, and whether that’s putting it into a backpack, whether that’s in a motorhome, or in a campervan, you don’t buy unnecessary crap. But that’s the bottom line.
When people give gifts, they don’t give you ridiculously sized gifts that sit in the back room and don’t get used. Our gift-giving is whatever is being used. One of Miss B’s last birthday presents, which she loved, was a Swiss Army pocket knife. You know, it’s something that she whittles wood with, making wood carvings, she loves the whole survival thing making spears out in the bush. Basically what we’re saying is that you’re removing a lot of excess spending based on what you feel is a necessity to give your kids ten gifts at Christmas, or ten gifts at their birthday or is totally unnecessary. Most things don’t even get used.
When you hit the road, you’re not doing those things, you’re actually going out and experiencing life around you and not collecting meaningless items because that’s the done thing to do. You only have what you need, and when you live in a small confined space or on the road traveling in any means you only carry what you need, so you save a fortune there as well, everything, food, utilities, toys, everything. You save money as soon as you hit the road.
How can families prepare financially for worldschooling?
I would identify what sort of travel you expect, or you wish to have. I would try and associate with people who are doing that style of travel, and find out what works for them, and what ways they go about trying to save money.
I would then identify ways or things that I’m willing to sacrifice in order to get that style of travel, i.e., the old adage of, a coffee is $4.50. If you have one of them a day for a week, you put that away. Then really, you’d be very surprised what you’re going to save in one year. The important part, there is something small, with multiple steps that you can do to achieve the greater goal. So work out what those things are that you’re willing to sacrifice.
Is there a better rate you can get on insurances while you’re planning. Not one insurance bill comes in that I don’t ring and ask if I can get a better deal. So concentrate on the nitty-gritty of your day to day. Where you’re buying your fuel, what your electricity is per kilowatt. Start to care. Because when you care, and you’re saving money that gets you on the road faster. There are multiple ways that you can save money, find out what they are, find out what ways you can reduce your current costs to get to your goal,
Then, separate that cash, and really feel like you’re actually getting there and sharing that with your kids. Say, we’re one step closer, guys! So that they understand what they’re sacrificing to achieve the greater goal.
Where can we find you online?
So we’re pretty much everywhere! Our Facebook is our most regularly updated. We call Facebook the cancer of social media, it will get through when nothing else can. We’ve been up mountains, with no reception, and yet a Facebook message will make it through. So definitely Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and our blog. www.cakeandeatit3.com and we absolutely love connecting with other world schooling families.
What would you say to someone considering worldschooling?
Do it, just do it! And however long that takes you, with whatever parameters you set for yourself, just do it. If you want to go traveling, you will go traveling and whatever form that is, just do it. If you have to start small, you will get the bug, and then you will make it work. There are many ways to “skin a cat”, which is a saying in Australia, meaning if you really want to do it, you will do it.
Just do it.
To find out more and connect with the Heggie Family, check out the links to their website and social media below.
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