Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Cleaning and Blooming from the Inside Out

We have endured Winter and change, Spring is finally here.  I invite you to bloom yourself into Spring by Cleaning what is not useful for you.  Embrace yourself in this difficult but wonderful transformation.

Spring is perfect time to initiate cleansing since nature is itself cleansing with precious water from the sky renewing the earth.  Nature's own cleansing ritual invites us to follow its path and do our own.

In order to fully embrace this cleansing season I invite you to do it fully from the inside out including Home, Body, and Spirit.

I will share some cleansing rituals I am doing this Spring to inspire your own.  Remember that all 3 Home, Body, and Spirit are connected and a reflection of each other, we should work on all 3 in order to fully bloom this Spring. Clutter keeps us stagnant and does not allow transformation to evolve.  Let go, surrender, and embrace change.  It may be scary at first but once you reach Spring you will not regret the beauty it has created.

Home Cleaning
At home we tend to accumulate things sometimes we do not even buy but keep them for sentimental reasons and soon we are left with clutter that takes over our lives.  Cleaning on a daily basis when we have many things in our homes takes precious time from more important things such as family, friends, community, and enjoying nature.

How to do this.  Try one room or one drawer at a time.  Play loud music, burn sage, and let the cleaning begin begin.

When you pick up an item ask yourself when was the time you used or appreciated this item.  If you keep something for sentimental reasons ask how much space this is taking from your home or your life and whether there are other ways you may allow yourself to appreciate the sentiment it gives you without having to hold on to an item.

For children remind them that having a lot of toys and items is not necessary but once you practice what you preach they follow without much protest. Every time my daughters have a birthday party or receive gifts in any occasion I help them remove toys and clothing reminding them we need to let go of some things so we make room for new ones. First remove any broken toys you cannot repair or games that are missing too many items. Then remove any double toys you may have.  Finally ask your children: "do you still want this toy, book, or clothing?" and "do you actually play with this toy, read this book, or use this item of clothing?".  For clothing for yourself and your children you have to also ask "does it still fit?" (and be honest).

Clean with environmentally safe cleaners or make your own.  Goggle some natural recipes most require ordinary household items you may have such as water, baking soda, castile soap, vinegar, and lemon juice.  To add scent and to help kill bacteria and fungus I also use essentials oils my favorite are tea tree, lavender, and thieves.

It is important when we clean our homes to also do not add toxins to our earth.  Please use earth friendly cleaning products.

Not really home but technology clearing is also good.  Delete texts, voicemails, email messages, and even "friends".  Too much of anything may be distracting and clutters your focus.  Ask yourself "Is this really necessary for me to have filed?" "Are these really my friends or Are there other ways I may connect with these people?"

Just as our home we also accumulate clutter in our bodies that build up and manifests in illnesses.  Many of us in our busy lives stop making time to cook healthy food then we do not allow our body's natural process of cleansing itself, that is why I think a detox is necessary. For me a detox during cleansing season creates an opportunity to create healthy habits for a more permanent life style change in my diet.

I am a mother of two vivacious daughters and work full time at a non-profit with mothers in need.  I have two very demanding tasks and need to eat well to keep up my energy up so I do not believe it is realistic for me to do juicing cleanses.  What I have done and has worked well for me is 12 day Wild Rose Herbal Detox it has vegan capsules and herbal extract.  This detox helps eliminate waste from liver, colon, kidneys, and lymphatic system. Please read instructions or consult with physician to see if this detox may work for you.  With the herbal detox I am able to eat well with minimal side effects.  Each body is different I usually get headaches and have bad body odor, but other than that I am good and can function both at home and work.

Other ways to detox body I initiate the ritual of castor oil packs where you may detox your organs without any side effects at all. Steam is also important, my favorite is in ceremony with prayers and healing herbs but even just being in a steam room is great for eliminating toxins in our body. Vaginal steams also help cleanse our wombs and vaginal walls, you may include herbs such as mugworth, rosemary, basil, or lavender.

Clean out toxic hygine care items are purchase natural food based products or make your own.  Instead of lotion you may use coconut oil, cacao butter, shea butter, or hemp oil.  For deodorant use baking soda with coconut oil and drops of lavender oil.  You may also make shampoo with baking soda and mint, rosemary, lavender water.  Scrubs are also easily made with sugar, coconut oil, and drops of lavender oil.  I make my own toothpaste using baking soda, calcium powder, coconut oil, cinnamon, and thieves essential oil.

Our body is important it is the house of our spirit.

Our spirit is very important since it transcends throughout the cosmos but we neglect the most.  We material beings but also cosmic beings and may feed our bodies but often forget to feed our spirits with healthy energies that allow us to transcend into our higher selves.  Our spirit that is often either poorly feed or feed only junk is full of clutter that we need to detox from.

Purge out negative energies from your life including toxic people and thoughts.  Remember you are worth it and have the right to not only exist but also to be happy.

 For those of us that follow the red road we know that this journey we call life is the ultimate ceremony our beautiful struggle and with support it truly is beautiful.  With that said, surround yourself with people that love you as you are, know your worth,and also lovingly you call you out when it needs to be done.  These type of friends allow you to grow.  Community support is essential for survival in this society, find your village.

Forgive yourself do not get stuck on shame, blame, and guilt.  Our family motto is "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy." from Ms Frizzle in The Magic School Bus, indeed that is what life is about learning from being able to take chances and making mistakes and this may get messy so we just have to clean it up and grow from this.

Forgive others remember we are all mirrors of each other, nobody is born evil, monsters do not exist, and we never know everybody's full story.  I believe we are all doing the best we can.

Do not judge just let feelings, and thoughts come without too much judgement just let it sit there accept them, enjoy them and know that they will pass.  We are constantly changing and shifting nothing is permanent so we need to let go of control.

Acknowledge that death is a part of life and live every day as if it were your last.  Say I love you often and mean it.

Smudge, Pray, Be Thankful, Be in Ceremony, and do what feels good to FEED YOUR SPIRIT.

Full Bloom
When we let go of things we also move energy and allow other items, people, creations, etc. to evolve.  Clear the way and make space in our homes and our lives.

Spring cleaning is about removing all the clutter that distracts us and clouds us to bloom to our full potential.  This also includes the clutter in our body and spirit not just our homes.


***I apologize for not including full recipes, will try to include them in another post*** thank you

Monday, March 7, 2016

Homeschooling Panel Review Part 2: Creating Homeschooling Support for Families of Color in Los Angeles

The purpose of the panel was to begin to give another option to education for working class families of color.  As Ticicalli many of us are struggling mothers of color and saw there was a need in our community in comparison to more affluent white community that has already built for years a stronger support network.  Our need is not to divide ourselves but to find ourselves and find support within our own people.

It was stated throughout the panel that homeschooling is extra challenging for families of color. It is more challenging one because of families and friends often do not approve so they do not support us in this journey.  Many of our families and friends judge us and often straight out say "This is not for you, it is only for rich white people."  There is a reason for this lack of support. For many black families it is part of they gained through the civil rights movement, access to free and "equal" education.  People died in order to integrate and receive a perceived equal education and then you choose to homeschool.  The same goes to brown families, many of our families died to cross that border to chase the 'American Dream'.  Black and brown families often are seen as we are disrespecting our elders struggle and hard work by refusing classroom education and choosing the homeschooling path.  They take our decision personal and it angers them.  This anger comes from a place of fear.  They fear that all their sweat, blood, and tears to give us a better life was in vain and we will not succeed in this country, but they do not know that success may look different to us.

For all homeschooling parents there is also a question validity in our ability to teach our own children.  In families of color the issue of validity is greater because we may be less institutionally educated or due the fact that we are of color we are seen as less intelligent to society because our ancestral knowledge is seen as ignorance.  This may not apply to all families of color in this journey but it does too many of us even those of us already in the path of self discovery, that doubt still stings sometimes. Being surrounded by other families with these same struggles will make us more secure in our homeschooling journey.

Both panelists and audience members had many reasons for wanting to homeschool.  Some stated that had planned this since even before their pregnancy.  Another stated it was due to having a child with a chronic illness and another parent had a child actor, both requiring many absences which school would not allow to make up or catch up.  An audience member brought up that now with the new California vaccine laws requiring all students in schools to be fully vaccinated, many of these parents are having to face whether to catch up on loads of vaccines at once or just pull their child out of school and figure out this homeschooling thing.  A teacher in the audience expressed how with all these bells and tests she is unable to teach what she feels it is important to her students and their lives.  Often the district and the state create more barriers to learning giving both parents and teachers not much of a choice.

On the panel we also had an adult that was homeschooled all her life, except for 2 days which she hated and never attempted again.  Unlike the stereotypes we hear, she was able to learn to read and socialize.  She stated that homeschooling helped her discover who she was and what she loved.  It helped to expand her creativity because it allowed her to do what she wanted without restrictions of time.  She and her family were also able to do this because they found a support network within other homeschooling families.  She said that families took turns teaching something.  Her mother an artist taught art.  She stated that it is important to build community network with like minded families where you may organize each other so the journey may be less painful.  We need to organize and support one another so that this may be a choice for all including single care givers and low income families.  We do not have to do this alone because together our struggle will be less. The panel was inspiring and empowering; to see families connect, network, share stories, and resources.  We are beginning to create community support!

Thank you to all panelists and audience members that attended, especially the children.  And to all those that did not attend but have reached out asking for more events like this one or have shared your resources.

Below is a list of co-ops or groups around Los Angeles that our friends have shared, we hope they are helpful.

Homeschooling Association of California

Anahuac Cultural Center For Self Sustainability, East Los Angeles

Flying Birds Community School

Los Angeles Unschoolers

East San Gabriel Valley Homeschoolers

Homeschooling Southern California

Multicultural Homeschooling Network

Unidos Homeschooling Co-op in Santa Ana

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ticicalli's HomeSchool Panel Review Part 1: REASONS TO HOMESCHOOL

After reviewing all our notes collectively, we have come to realize that there are MANY things we learned through our  info panel held 2/27/2016. Too many to share at all once. So we will be sharing our notes and reviews through a series of blog posts.

Our first topic is:

Note: Our panelists were from diverse backgrounds as far as ethnicity, cultural affiliations, age, professions, and years homeschooling. Hence, their answers were very diverse and enlightening.

Here are some of the things that were shared as far as what made them begin to HomeSchool, and a quick summary of what we learned from their answers.

*A Child’s Illness-
When a child has a chronic illness, attending school may be challenging. Getting up early, making a trip to the school’s  campus. Not feeling 100%. All these factors can affect the child's ability to focus, learn and perform. Absences due to Doctor's appointments or relapses can cause a child to “fall behind” on the curriculum being taught to the rest of the students at school in their grade level. This may also cause the student to feel “not up to par” or caught in a race in which he/she may never catch up. Pressure from school staff or peers to catch up may also stir feelings of insecurity within a child’s heart and mind. So much pressure is not healthy for a child.
Though sometimes we just want our children to “have a normal life”, as adults we must understand that “normal” is different for everyone. If a child with an illness is displaying discontent, low energy and lack of interest in school or other signs such as emotional challenges, HomeSchooling can be a great option.  
A family can create a schedule based on the family/parent's time availability and work around that to make sure the child is in an environment that is familiar, safe and pressure free from school peers and staff. Once the child is comfortable with the schedule and routine, he/she will be more open to receiving information and embracing it. Feeling in a safe environment to learn  can increase concentration, motivation and self confidence. These attributes can transcend into other aspects of life and shape a child's character for life!

*Shyness and/or Social Anxiety-
Some kids are shy at first, then they warm up to new environments, people and routines. However, for some, getting accustomed to new people or being around a large amount of people can cause anxiety and withdraw. A child experiencing this can sometimes be mislabeled as a “loner”, “weird kid” or be outcast by his peers, leading a child to feel inadequate. School-age children are highly emotional and sometimes self-conscious. If your child is experiencing some of these issues, be sure to talk to him/her and see if there is anything you can do to help. Making after-school friends or activities, becoming involved in parent committees, etc. If your child’s shyness or social anxiety does not improve, you may consider homeschooling as an option. It can be temporary or permanent, according to your child’s needs.
Be flexible, open and understanding. It is not worth it to “push” our kids into an environment in which they don't feel comfortable in. This “pushing” can create inner insecurities within a child out of fear of disappointing family or peers. Some insecurities can transcend into early adulthood and even throughout life. Do not underestimate the effects of forcing a child into an uncomfortable setting for them. Talk it out. Check out your options and local resources! HomeSchooling may be right for you.

*Lack of Tolerance and Racism-
For most adult People Of Color (POC) it is evident that in American society we are still experiencing racism and prejudice through many avenues living in a system that was not designed for POC originally. In the school system, if a child does not assimilate into a “long day of sitting at a desk and only speak when spoken too” environment, a child is sent to detention, counseling, and placed on “special programs and lists” based around the child’s “bad behavior”. Though some efforts on behalf of school’s staff are noble, sometimes they are not comprehensive. Children; especially boys of color (Black and Brown) are quickly labeled as “trouble makers” or “thugs” in the making simply because the style of education is not right for them and the attempts to correct an “unruly” behavior are based solely around the behavior and not what's causing it. Some of the “unruly” boys and girls are actually VERY TALENTED AND POSITIVELY ENERGETIC! The “sit down for 8 hours a day at your desk” schooling is just not right for them. Some children need to be challenged with didactic activities, art projects, music knowledge, different teaching methodologies for math and other sciences. They are NOT bad kids!  Some of us have experienced working with the schools and trying to follow disciplinary and actions only to find that there is no in-depth reasoning behind the school’s orders. Sometimes children with “behavior issues” are really experiencing emotional changes or challenges. Sometimes schools miss this cry for attention and help from students. Some of us have came to the realization that the school is following outdated protocols that target and track our children in spite of their efforts to improve. In spite of parent’s efforts to be involved and change the course of their child’s behavior. It is then that some parents come to realize that the school system is a system whose foundation did NOT have the best interest of POC in mind when it was created. It is an institution with Euro-Colonial roots made for Euro-Colonial-American people.

A panelist who experienced discrimination and racism in her son’s school for some time, even after her and her son’s attempts to improve, chose homeschooling for her son and it proved to be an amazing choice!
Her son turned out to be highly gifted in the arts and music and went on to hold a career in music which he still holds today.

Sometimes, schools and staff are outdated in their methodology which is not inclusive of the many tribes, backgrounds, beliefs and abilities of all members of the community. If you are experiencing these issues, talk to your child and family and see if homeschooling is right for your child. You may learn that your child is not a “trouble maker”. Your child is a STAR. Always has been. Always will be.

For those of us that identify with our ancient Pre-Columbian culture, Decolonizing is a way of life. We are aware of who we are as a people and where we stand in the story of this continent. We have experienced what the American school system has to offer through first hand experience. Through collective in-depth analysis we have come to the conclusion that the curriculum taught in public schools offers very little life tools to our children. Not to mention that as far as historical curriculums, what is taught in public school is the perspective of the Euro-American.
As original people, we have made the choice to live up to the responsibility to educate our children and pave a path towards autonomy for them. We understand that it's up to us as parents to teach our children the ways of our ancestors and to give them the tools to survive in  current society and thrive towards self-sustainability.

A couple in our panel shared their story of decolonizing through shaping their lifestyle. Through many sacrifices they were able to open up a business that allowed them to open a cultural and agricultural center. Working their own schedules and having a place in which to grow food, they are able to provide for most of their families needs and be available to care for their children. This is a great example of what a family working together can accomplish! As original people, we have survived many tragedies rooted in colonization, but we have the ability to recover our autonomy and create the path we want in our lives by honoring our ancestors and passing on their knowledge and ways of longevity to our children.  We can do it! Working together as a family and community.

We would like to thank all our panelists and everyone who attended the panel and helped shaped this great dialogue. We will be sharing more information soon!

If you have a homeschooling story you would like to share, please email us at