Moms and Dads

Life is One Big Adventure: Mai Kaufman on Learning and Embracing Change

Mai Kaufman shares her insights on exploring the world with her daughters, finding a new home in Spain, and exploring the changes that enrich them as a family.

Mai Kaufman has always followed the beat of her own drum. She stepped out of the limelight—away from the glitz of the design world—to focus on her family life and homeschooling her daughters Alexa and Calista, now 15 and 11 respectively.

“Making the decision to homeschool our children was rooted in love and our belief that education extends far beyond the classroom,” she explains. “We saw the boundless potential of homeschooling and we wanted our daughters to experience a more enjoyable, enriching, and holistic approach to education where they can learn at their own pace, have a deeper understanding of themselves, go for what they love doing, and be well-rounded, global children.”

“With our desire to provide a strong foundation that would serve them well in the future, we chose to focus on instilling in them a lifelong passion for knowledge and not just academic success,” she adds.

Of her children, Mai describes, “Alexa is a classical soprano who is dedicated to her singing. She is also an avid reader and enjoys playing the piano, composing music, and excels in her academic studies. Her
focus and determination in her school work are truly admirable.”

“Cali, on the other hand, is 11 years old. She is a natural artist with a deep passion for various forms of creativity. She’s particularly talented in drawing, painting, and even fashion design. She is also a graceful dancer and has a deep love for animals and reading.”

While they have their distinct interests and talents, both girls share common traits of kindness, responsibility, and independence, Mai adds, “They both have a mature perspective on life and approach their passions with a great deal of enthusiasm. They have a strong bond as sisters, supporting each other in their endeavors and adventures.”

Beyond the Classroom Walls

With the freedom away from the confines of a typical school classroom, the flexibility in their schedule meant also that Alexa and Calista could be learning from just about anywhere. This meant the entire family could take on trips together to see the world.

Mai shares that the possibilities of harnessing life lessons from traveling were limitless. “Traveling and homeschooling have been very transformative for Alexa and Calista,” she says proudly. “These combined experiences have shaped them into compassionate, open-minded, resilient girls.”

“Their profound understanding of cultural diversity has given them a broader global perspective. They are self-reliant, easy to adapt, and are both critical thinkers. They embrace change and have a love for continuous learning.”

“Homeschooling, or in our case, world schooling, allowed us to grow and learn together through shared
experiences—creating a greater family bond. It has been an incredible opportunity for us to grow and learn together as a family. We always try to work together as a team to make each adventure comfortable, enjoyable, and memorable,” she adds.

Then the pandemic happened, rooting the globetrotting family back home in Manila—an opportunity they relished in returning to their unhurried home life, with Mai finding a new creative outlet in painting, which she treats as a passion project.

“Travel and being a mother of two daughters has greatly enriched my creative process, allowing me to draw inspiration from the diverse cultures, landscapes, and experiences we encounter,” she shares. “Witnessing the world through their eyes has instilled within me a profound appreciation for the beauty and intricacies of life, which undoubtedly influences my artistic expression.”

A New Place to Call Home

Today, Mai and her family have embarked on yet a new chapter with their brood relocating to Spain for the time being. It was a decision Mai and David have made in order to further harness their daughters’ potential. This journey also meant a new start for Alexa and Calista who have enrolled in an international school, after being homeschooled since kindergarten.

While homeschooling her daughters in the past meant no two days were alike, the family has settled into a comfortable routine while reveling in the excitement of moving to a foreign city.

“Now that we have settled in Spain, the girls are studying in an international school. A typical day for us includes the girls attending school, while I dedicate time to my Spanish classes. Once they come home, we enjoy preparing dinner together, followed by our family bible devotionals, where the girls share their experiences from the day and we also have movie nights.”

“On weekends, we either visit local attractions, immerse in the vibrant culture Madrid has to offer like visiting the park, catching a theater show, exploring museums and local markets or we take day trips to nearby towns,” Mai elaborates.

Cherishing and Learning Together

Mai’s exploratory family dynamic has also allowed them to embrace change based on their family’s growing needs. Relocating to Spain has allowed them to realize the importance of balance, establishing roots, and fostering connections in a specific place. This includes cultivating Alexa’s singing talent, whose potential has been recognized by esteemed classical singers and teachers, by finding her the best mentors.

No matter where the world takes them, Mai is enjoying the journey of growing with her family, especially with her daughters.

“More than being their mother, I strive to be my daughters’ first friend. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from them is the importance of mutual respect and open communication. Through their wisdom, l have come to further treasure the beauty in our differences, maintaining a bond that allows us to learn and grow together, cherishing the opportunities to create lasting memories.”

Photos from Mai Kaufman

To read the full article, grab a copy of Modern Parenting’s special Holiday 2023 Print Edition—available on Download the e-Magazine from Readly or Press Reader for more exclusive features and stories.

More about moms achieving work-life balance?

Camille Co: “If You’re a Working Momma, Know That You’re Not a Bad Parent.”
How to Handle Clingy Kids as Working Parents
Melissa Gohing: “You Can Be A Good Mom and A Working Mom!”

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