We also stayed more local when our kids were younger but decided to go cross country when our youngest just finished 3rd grade. It seems you have a window of opportunity when they are old enough to remember a big trip but before other activities start to get in the way and it’s harder to be away for an entire month.
I’m going on my 3rd year as a middle school special education teacher in my current position. 1st here consultant 7th grade, then last year 8th grade and now back to 7th. I agree it is hard to learn the different curriculums. I agree it is a little easier since two of my own children have already gone through those grade levels. Our middle daughter is in a daily living curriculum because of her special needs.