Tag Archives: Nikala Asante

Updates and Summer Math Tutoring

Greetings,

I hope your summer is off to a great start.  We are visiting family for the summer and then heading back to Belize.  This year has been productive so far; I’ve been blessed to co-write and release a new book, 50 Afrikans You Must Know Vol. 2 with Dr. Samori Camara, and to walk with my Master’s in Education from the University of Houston.  The focus areas of my master’s program were Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Technology.  I’m using the tools that I’ve gained to offer more distance learning opportunities to our children.  This year, that involves the independent educational services I offer, instructional design for Kamali Academy, and helping international African-centered schools transition to online platforms.

More updates – Belize has been a good move for us.  It has been peaceful and I’ve been able to get a lot of writing done.  Many of our friends and family have been down to visit.  My son has been having a great time too.  He has not made a ton of new friends, but his friends from Houston have been coming to visit for extended periods.  He also communicates regularly with his friends on Google Hangouts.  He enjoys seeing new animals and swimming in the river most right now about our environment, but spends a lot of time working on writing, programming, and animation too.  He just finished writing his first novel, which I will be helping him edit and publish over the course of this year.  This is his third full length book and he just turned 13, so I would say that homeschooling and being in a rural environment has been good for him creatively.

We took a trip to Merida, Mexico by bus over Easter for 9 days.  It was sooo awesome!  Since we live by the river in Belize (not close to the beach), it was great having lots of beach time and also enjoying all of the excitement of the city.  Merida is safe and very affordable for family trips, in my opinion.  A nice hotel with wifi and AC was around $20US per night and taxi rides were $1 – $2US around the city.  Also, many of the attractions (such as the beach, street concerts, museums, and city events) were free.

Some of the highlights of our trip were: the delicious food, the vibrant markets, cotton candy, snow cones, fresh fruit popsicles every day, free museums, the Spanish/English bookstore, horse and carriage ridin’ through the city, Mayan sculptures, LOTS of art everywhere, cheap taxis, dancing in the streets with live bands, watching the crazy amazing Mayan ball game, stunning beaches, fresh fried fish on the beach, the old school traveling carnival with games and bumper cars, visiting the pyramids, swimming in the cenotes, meeting new people, and being amazed at the MAGIC of each day.

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, night, shoes and outdoor

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If you are looking for a fun trip this summer, look into Merida.  A final update – I am offering online math tutoring this summer for grades 6 – 12 one-on-one via Google Hangouts.  I can take 4 more students based on my schedule at this time, with monthly flat rate pricing on a structure based on your child/children’s learning goals for the summer.  Please fill out this short interest form if you are interested and I will contact you: https://goo.gl/forms/vM0sw7Ru6tPkDIXB2.  I have 8 years tutoring experience and have assisted many children in reaching their educational goals.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Those are my updates for now!  What’s going on with you this summer?  Feel free to message me or comment – it comes straight to my email either way.  I love you all!  Happy schooling!

Love and Light,

Nikala Asante

 

 

 

10 Women to Research for Women’s History Month

Greetings,

While many of us seek activities to fill our children’s calendars and minds for Black History Month in February, fewer remember to celebrate in March, for Women’s History Month.  I am also guilty.  It seems that only every couple years I remember that March is Women’s History Month and do something special.  The acknowledgement of March as the designated time to celebrate Women’s History commenced in 1987 in response to a petition from the National Women’s History Project.

Before this month comes to an end, take the time to research women history makers with your children.  The women listed are from different points in history and have made varying contributions.  While this is by no means a comprehensive list, or meant to relay the “most important” contributions, it is a start.  Please comment with the woman your family chose to research first and what you found out about her.

yaa

10 Women to Research for Women’s History Month

1. Hathshepsut

2. Yaa Asantewaa

3. Ida B. Wells

4. Fannie Lou Hamer

5. Dr. Wangari Maathai

6. Elaine Brown

7. Mae Jemison

8. Winnie Mandela

9. Queen Mother Moore

10. Alice Walker

Who would you add to the list?

I look forward to your comments about who your family studied and what you learned.

Love and Light,

Nikala Asante

 

 

What We Are Doing This Semester

Greetings,

One of the tricky parts of homeschooling is adjusting our curriculum to remain student-centered.  If the work is too easy, too challenging, or not in the best format for the child, we have to go back to the drawing board.  Otherwise, we may be giving assignments that are not engaging or not being retained.

Last semester, we used Time4Learning for our core classes (Math, ELA, Science, etc…), Kamali Academy’s curriculum for Africana History ideas, and a mix-mash of other resources.  We belonged to a homeschool collective in Houston where my son was also able to learn Gardening, Sewing, Yoga, and Martial Arts.

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Having fun down by the Mopan River.

In September, we moved to San Ignacio, Belize.  For the first 5 weeks or so, we continued to use Time4Learning, also spending a lot of time outdoors, going on low-cost excursions, cooking, playing chess, watching movies, and just bonding.  We have also had some fun day trips; for example, we caught a bus to Chetumal, Mexico a few weeks ago for around $25USD.  I am also in graduate school online with the University of Houston, assisting with Instructional Design for Kamali Academy, and working on some new books, but it is a lot easier to manage my time here.  I always seem to have more time than tasks.

My 12-year-old son, Hotep, loves to create video games in Scratch (scratch.mit.edu), so he has been spending at least 2 hours a day just programming games, alone or with friends.  There are two other boys about his age on our street that he hangs out with every day.  He is also working on writing his first fiction book, a chapter book about a boy with unique shapeshifting powers.

Since we live in the rainforest, the internet connection is sometimes unreliable.  In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to buy textbooks and workbooks for the year and bring them rather than to depend on daily internet service.  For the past few weeks, I meditated on how to solve this issue.  At least 2 days of each week, Hotep is either unable to access Time4Learning or it runs terribly slow, resulting in him spending twice as long to complete his assignments.  Today, I cancelled our Time4Learning subscription and designed a new curriculum for the rest of the school year that involves downloaded books that can be accessed offline, active time outdoors daily, and fun educational activities.

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Taking a walk by the river.  The river was high this day because there was recent flooding.

I would like to share our curriculum outline with you to get your feedback and maybe also help you through your process.

  • Math – downloaded 7th grade math textbook from ck12.org
  • Grammar/Vocabulary/Language Arts – downloaded Middle School Grammar textbook/workbook from vanlueschool.org
  • Writing/Publishing – downloaded composition textbook from ck12.org for; also working on fiction book and self-publishing completed book of poetry
  • Typing – freetypinggame.net
  • Ourstory/US History – Classical Africa by Dr. Molefi Asante (e-book)/A Young Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn (e-book)
  • Science- learning about Belizean ecology outdoors (helper site: http://www.ourbelizevacation.com/ecology-in-belize.html); also downloaded Life Science textbook from ck12.org
  • Technology – Video Game Programming and Animation using Scratch (scratch.mit.edu)
  • Physical Education – 30 min together per day outdoor exercise/play
  • Spanish 15 – 30 minutes together per day using Berlitz Essential Spanish (print) and Pimsleur Spanish (audio)
  • Weekly Field Trips Friday – i.e. nature walks, bus rides to other cities, Cahal Pech, Belize Zoo, Jaguar Reserve, etc…

The structure of our courses will be a combination of guided and independent work.  Ourstory and US History will be on alternating days, Monday through Thursday.  On Wednesdays, we will work on book publishing rather than Science and Technology.  I had gotten away from spelling tests, so I will be resuming giving him spelling words on Monday and spelling tests on Fridays.  If we have a short field trip some Fridays, we will also do some fun learning activities and watch a movie or a documentary.

We have about a month and a half left in this semester, so I will work out the kinks of our new program during that time.  What are you using for your children’s curriculum this semester?  Do you have any ideas of what we might add?  Have you ever had to adjust your curriculum mid-semester?  Please comment with feedback and questions.

Love and Light,

Nikala Asante

 

Haiti and Belize, Part 2: Belize

Greetings!

We have returned safely to Houston from Belize, and we have exciting news.  But, I will tell you about that later.  First, I would like to share with you about our time in Belize.

My son and I were invited to Punta Gorda by the Wagiya Foundation Belize.  We were hosted because I served as a fundraiser for a project with Wagiya to assist the Garifuna community of Seine Bight with aesthetic revitalization in order to boost their tourism economy.

We flew in from Haiti to Belize’s international airport, with a layover in Miami, and then caught a local flight to Punta Gorda.  Our local flight was covered due to my service work, but it would have cost us each about $100 – 200US, depending on the season, to fly from Belize International to Punta Gorda.  Another option, which we employed on the way back, is to take the local bus.  Catching a taxi to the bus station is $25US from the airport, and then the bus trip is about $12US per person to Punta Gorda.  The flight was pretty short, but the bus ride takes 6 – 8 hours.

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Local flight to Punta Gorda

View from local flight

View from local flight

My son and I really enjoyed both the airport and the local flight.  The airport lounge featured long wooden benches with a tilt that allowed you to learn back in your seat, rather than upright metal chairs.  It was small and enclosed enough that I could walk around while my son sat, without feeling paranoid.  There were also little stores inside with local food and crafts for sale.  We ordered two large cinnamon buns, cooked from scratch, while waiting on our plane.

Once inside of the small plane, we settled into the very back seat, joking about how we were having this movie star experience on a ‘hood budget.  As the plane rose and dipped with the wind, our stomachs tossed and tumbled, but it was never so bad as to make us sick.  It felt like riding on a very non-intimidating rollercoaster, or more fittingly, in a flying car.  There were only 10 seats on the plane, so we bonded with the other passengers as we appreciated the amazing scenery.

Trees from above

Trees from above

Once we arrived in Punta Gorda, we met our host and took a taxi to her beautiful farm.  My son and I shared a one bed cabin there surrounded by fruit trees of every kind, healing herbs, salad greens, and fragrant flowers.  As far as cons – a creek ran behind our cabin which, while scenic, attracted plenty of mosquitoes.  There were also howling monkeys in the rainforest around us.  They do not harm you, but they make a horrific noise that sounds like the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park growling menacingly.  If I was not warned about them beforehand, I would have been scared out of my mind the first night hearing their growls.

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Our shared bed

Our shared bed

Over the first few days, as we got acclimated to the land, linked up with our expat friends, and met new friends, we also got absolutely torn up by mosquitoes and sand flies.  Although I was using my same homemade mosquito spray (lavender and citronella) that had been very effective in Haiti, these Belizean creatures were swarming their way through it.  Besides that minor inconvenience, everything was sweet as a ripe mango.  We didn’t do anything too high energy on the first few days, as we were still quite tired from sweating and working hard in Haiti.  We toured around the town, ate lots of fresh fish, vegetables, and mango, swam in the ocean, and spent time with friends.  I also took my son to a Garifuna drum class.

Beach within walking distance of where we stayed in PG

Beach within walking distance of where we stayed in PG

Children at Garifuna Drum Class

Children at Garifuna Drum Class

Fish, beans and rice, and veggies provided by Drums not Guns Garifuna Drum Class

Fish, beans and rice, and veggies provided by Drums not Guns Garifuna Drum Class

On the third or fourth day, we headed up to Seine Bight by bus to meet with the townspeople and plan the painting project and market day.  We stayed with friends on the beach in Plascencia and I plotted my revenge on the Punta Gorda biting insects committee.  

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Seine Bight Multipurpose Center

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Beach in Seine Bight, Garifuna community near Plascencia

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We had a lovely time in Plascencia, having deep conversations with friends, eating, swimming, and enjoying the scenery.  I also researched adjustments to my homemade mosquito spray to protect me and my son from future attacks.  The solution was to use an oil based repellent to keep the sand flies away, and keep the citronella in for the mosquitoes.  So, I mixed natural citronella oil with store brand Baby Oil and it worked!  We only got a few more bites over the course of the whole trip.

On the street in Plascencia, vendors sold fresh fruit juice in little baggies for $0.50US, as well as many other little affordable drinks and snacks.

Belizean snacks and coconut water

Belizean snacks and coconut water

From Plascencia, we caught the public bus back to Punta Gorda, bringing a couple of friends who flew in from the U.S. to tour and volunteer with us.  In Punta Gorda, we learned about local herbs, helped with development of the future rental spaces and kitchen at my host’s farm, observed local wildlife, learned about Belizean culture and history, ate a lot more delicious food, swam in the ocean more, and met many new friends.

At one location in town, A Piece of Ground Hostel, we met a lovely homeschooling family from New York.  My son enjoyed playing with this couple’s children so much that I began coming here daily for pancakes and tamarind juice, just to let them play.

A Piece of Ground Hostel in PG, owned by a homeschooling family

A Piece of Ground Hostel in PG, owned by a homeschooling family

The food there was amazing, and they had many vegetarian options.  For example, they boasted 2 distinct veggie burgers, the Afro-Burger, made of black eyed peas and chopped vegetables, and the Black Bean Burger, served with or without cheese.  As far as meat, we only eat fish, but they also had chicken, prepared in several different entrees.  The best part is, the owner, Jama, will gladly inform you on how to take a “Guerilla Tour” of the surrounding areas, saving you thousands of dollars.

You can see this cave on a "guerilla" tour suggested by Jama

You can see this cave on a “guerilla” tour suggested by Jama

We took our own “guerilla” style tour one day to Rio Blanco waterfall.  The tour brochures offered this excursion for $85 per person.  My son and I and one friend rode the public bus there from Punta Gorda for about $3US per person (an hour or so trip).  Once we got there, I was prepared to pass for Belizean (don’t judge, lol – I was encouraged to do so by the locals), but no one was there to collect our payment.  We walked down the trail to the waterfall, enthused by the bright red flowers, magically blue butterflies, and verdant green tree branches encompassing us.

I didn't take this picture, but these are the butterflies that we saw

I didn’t take this picture, but these are the butterflies that we saw

Rio Blanco waterfall

Rio Blanco waterfall

No picture can do the Rio Blanco waterfall justice.  The water was perfectly clear.  I could see miniature yellow and orange fish swimming around me, exploring the floral designs on my bathing suit.  Tiny white flowers floated into the water from nearby trees, guided by the breeze.  It was just perfect.  I took a mental snapshot to use for future meditation.  We swam for a couple of hours, giddy from the overload of nature and beauty.  Our friend jumped from the high cliff into the water, but we both chickened out.  Maybe next time.

While in Punta Gorda, we also made bus trips back to Seine Bight to plan the revitalization project and hold business development workshops.  We helped the residents to define which products and services that they wanted to offer to tourists and set prices that were fair to them and the future visitors.  Seine Bight is not a tourist town currently, so they are really excited about transitioning to offering their goods and services to incomers.  It will really help the struggling economy.

I am working with educators here to define which services that they can offer to bring in extra money

I am working with educators here to define which services that they can offer to bring in extra money

A Garifuna woman talking about the food that she will cook and sell to tourists

b A Garifuna woman talking about the food that she will cook and sell to tourists

Once everything was planned and beginning to be set in motion, we left southern Belize and the Wagiya Foundation to bus up to San Ignacio.  The project is still continuing as a partnership between Wagiya and the people of Seine Bight.

In San Ignacio, we rented a cabin on Smith Family Farm, a Black owned compound where several of our friends are living long term.  While there, we ate the delicious local food, drank fresh fruit juice, and spent time with our friends.  My son got a lot of play time in and I got a lot of rest and relaxation.

Through talking to my friends there, I found that they were able to maintain a very low cost of living while enjoying a peaceful life.  My son woke up each morning picking mangoes and playing with other children outdoors.  It was beautiful.  Since all of my work is currently online and I do not have any pressing obligations in Houston, I made the decision to pack up our belongings and move to Belize!

I will still be homeschooling and blogging while there, but will be able to offer experience as an African Centered homeschooler living in Belize, rather than the U.S.  I have so much more to say about this move and I’m sure that you have many more questions, but I will save it for another post.  This one is already quite long.  Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare for this major move.  I will write you again soon.  Thank you for reading.

Love and Light,

Nikala Asante

Do You Have a Book in You?

Greetings Homeschooling Family,

Do you have a book in you?  Have you always wanted to publish a book, e-book, manual, or series, but you just aren’t sure how to get started? Or maybe it is your close friend, parent, or spouse that always talks about wanting to publish and you just don’t know how to support them in achieving their dream.  Maybe you would like for your students to publish a collection of their poetry or essays or to publish a novel for this year’s big school project?

Many people have been asking me lately about the process of self-publishing, so I am offering consultations at an affordable cost.  Visit my other blog, nikalaasante.com, and select one hour consultation if book publishing is an objective that you would like to accomplish.  During our session, I would walk you through the entire process of publishing and also include a complimentary e-manual that I wrote for you to reference back to, “Self Publishing on a Shoestring Budget”, a complimentary Manifestation Planner to guide you through each step of publishing your book with a checklist, and for my blog readers, I will be adding a bonus 30 minutes to your one hour consultation.

What you will get out of the consultation and e-manual:

  • Walks you through the entire self-publishing process – on a shoestring budget!
  • Explains the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing.
  • Presents the options available for self-publishing your book.
  • Helps you choose the right self-publishing method for your book.
  • Gives instructions on how to obtain your ISBNs and copyright.
  • Guides you to get your book listed for sale on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com
  • Guides you to publish your book in print and e-book formats.
  • Discusses marketing strategies that will help you sell your book!

As far as my credentials, I graduated with Honors from the University of Houston with a BA in Creative Writing and I have successfully written, edited, designed covers for, published, and marketed 5 books thus far in the Genres of Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Poetry with an emphasis on Africana Culture & History and Education. People often see my books and ask me, “Who published you and how can I get published?” I respond, “I published myself and you can too.” :-)

Click the Picture Below to Link to Page to Reserve Your One-on-One Consultation:

publishyourself

 

The Best Education Money Can’t Buy

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Outside of homeschooling my own son, I also tutor other students part-time. They are mostly private school students. At a session this week with a 7th grader for Pre-AP Algebra, my son, who is in the 6th grade, wanted to jump in and help him with a difficult problem. I stopped my son because I like to give my older students more time to figure it out on their own, but I was proud of him for understanding the work and for taking the initiative to want to help.  It let me know that I was doing something right. :-)

This exchange prompted me to think  about the sacrifices that we make for our children. The parents that I work with often select their neighborhoods and their career paths based on wanting their children to have access to the best possible education. Likewise, I make many decisions based on wanting my son to receive the best education – the one that God has blessed me to provide to him.

At times, I have thought about how I could possibly be making more money if I did not spend the time that I spend with my son.  Maybe you’ve had similar thoughts.  Yet, my sacrifices in the financial area have allowed my son to be more advanced in many subjects than my private school students, though their parents are much stronger than me financially.  Please keep this in mind if you’ve had any financial challenges due to working less hours or not working as a homeschooling mom.  We don’t always have to have more money to do more for our children.  Sometimes having less allows us to do more – and  as a bonus, our children learn not to be materialistic.

For 5 years now, my son has been out of the public school system. At first, I was really just hoping that I was doing the right thing, lol. Thanks to my heightened investment in supporting his academic growth, along with support from friends and strong sister-mentors in my community, we quickly witnessed major improvements in his reading, math, and interest level.  Within 2 years, he had strengthened academically more than I imagined that he could have so speedily.  I knew then that we had to stick with independent education.

Of equal importance to academics, he has had the space over the past 5 years to pursue computer programming, animation, chess, creative writing, visual art, and drumming to the point where they have become passions for him. He has also had space – physically, mentally, and emotionally – to research extensively on one of his greatest loves in life – animals. At the same time, he has a great sense of his culture and history, thanks to both our studies and our strong community.

If I had a lot of money, maybe I would have enrolled him in a private school and secured private tutoring for him from the beginning. When he was struggling with reading at age 6 and I felt like his teachers were against him instead of for him, maybe I would have said, “Forget this – you’re going to the best school that money can buy.” I’m so glad that I wasn’t rich, because it turned out that learning to be my son’s educator was the best decision that I’ve ever made.

If you are considering homeschooling or just starting out, stay strong in your mission. When you feel you are not doing a great job, ask yourself what you can do differently and make changes. All teachers make mistakes. It’s important to recognize these challenges and fix them instead of beating ourselves up about them. When you are doing a great job, celebrate that too. Set goals for each semester and celebrate the goals that you are able to achieve. Homeschooling is like gardening – it’s hard work and you may not the results clearly from the beginning, but it will result in a beautiful harvest.

Also, when you feel discouraged about financial challenges, look at all that your children are able to gain from your sacrifices.  Many resources can be had for free or very little money, so it is not necessary to have a lot of money to homeschool.  Stay strong, focused, and positive – you’re giving your children the best education possible!  Even more importantly, no amount of money can replace the family bonds that are forged all while providing an excellent education!

Stay tuned for the next post which will have money-saving tips, goal setting tips, and other tools for providing the best education that money can’t buy. ;-)

With Love,

Nikala Asante

 

 

 

Book Release + A Contest: Character Building for African Centered Scholars

Greetings,

The time has arrived!  Character Building for African Centered Scholars is available both as a trade paperback and as an e-book!  As you requested, I am running a CONTEST to give away some copies!  The first 7 people to comment on this post will each receive a free e-copy of Character Building for African Centered Scholars.  (If you are one of the lucky winners, please leave a review on Amazon!)

Even those who win copies may still want trade paperbacks too, so here is all of the info for where to snag your copies. (Also, you can check out the awesome Amazon previews!!!):

Character Building for African Centered Scholars, Grades 1 – 4

Character Building for African Centered Scholars, Grades 4 and Up

Again, thank you for your support, and I will be posting lots of great free resources for the semester soon, so be on the lookout!

Grades 1 - 4

Grades 1 – 4

Grades 4 and Up

Grades 4 and Up

Would you like to have a simple, fun, and interactive way to teach your children African centered moral and spiritual principles in a way where they can easily understand and apply them?

I am excited beyond words to announce that I have released a book series titled Character Building for African Centered Scholars.  The first two books are for Grades 1 – 4 and Grades 4 and Up.  The following books in this series will expand more in detail on the ideas covered in the main books or add to them.

In Character Building for African Centered Scholars, your students will learn character building principles from Ma’at, Iwa Pele, Nguzo Saba, the Adrinka Symbols , and more!  The many sacrifices that we make to educate our children are for one reason and one reason only: to shape them into successful, critically thinking, and independent adults with good characters.   Each book is fun, interactive, and written in a way where it serves as both a textbook and a workbook!  I’m so thrilled and you will be too!

With Love,

Nikala Asante

New Book Series: Character Building for African Centered Scholars

Greetings,

Grades 1 - 4

Grades 1 – 4

Grades 4 and Up

Grades 4 and Up

Do you struggle with your children’s behavior at times?  Are you looking for a way to include Character Building in your curriculum, but can only find overly simplistic or strictly religious workbooks on the topic?  Would you like to have a simple, fun, and interactive way to teach your children African centered spiritual and moral principles in a way where they can easily understand and apply them?

I am excited beyond words to announce that I am releasing a book series this August (just a few weeks away!) titled Character Building for African Centered Scholars.  The first two books are for Grades 1 -4 (77 pages) and Grades 4 and Up (107 pages).  The following books in this series will expand more in detail on the ideas covered in the main books or add to them.

In Character Building for African Centered Scholars, your students will learn character building principles from Ma’at, Iwa Pele, Nguzo Saba, the Adrinka Symbols , and more!  The many sacrifices that we make to educate our children are for one reason and one reason only: to shape them into successful, critically thinking, and independent adults with good characters.   Each book is fun, interactive, and written in a way where it serves as both a textbook and a workbook!  I’m so thrilled and you will be too!

Pre-Order Now for a 20% discount!!!  Your book will be shipped by August 31, 2015.

Each chapter is easy to read for self-guided work, with images and lots of activities.  Also, there are additional activities in the back of the book to keep your student engaged and developing an excellent character:

Read an excerpt from the chapter discussing Ma’at (From Character Building for African Centered Scholars: Grades 4 and Up):

MA’AT

“I have satisfied God with that which He loves.  I have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and a boat to those without one.” – The Book of Coming Forth by Day

Ma’at is a concept of morality that originated in Kemet (ancient Egypt).  The figure of Ma’at as expressed in hieroglyphic carvings is that of a woman with extended wings or a woman with a feather on her crown.  According to this spiritual philosophy, when a human being transitions out of the physical realm (death), he or she meets Ma’at, and then his or her heart is weighed against a feather.

If one’s heart is weighted heavily with wrongdoing and poor character, it will be eaten by Ammit, a monstrous being who is part lion, part crocodile, and part hippopotamus.   Once this happens, one will not be able to achieve eternal life, but will instead become a restless spirit – a ghost.

How do we interpret this in modern day terms?  First, let’s look at the meaning of eternal life, or immortality.  Can one truly become immortal?  If so, we have not witnessed this phenomenon on earth.  Science has not generated immortality on earth, nor has religion.  However, we do see that humans have achieved immortality through their legacies.

For example, let’s examine the story of Imhotep, who is best known for being the architect of the oldest known pyramid.  He was born around 2,667 BCE – nearly 5,000 years ago.  Imhotep was born neither rich nor privileged, but he worked hard to develop his intelligence and to be of service to those greater than him.  He did not just sit around and think, “I wish that I was smarter,” – he studied regularly to build his knowledge.  He did not just read to make good grades or to impress others.  He put his knowledge into action.  In turn, he developed himself into the first known physician, a legendary architect, a brilliant poet, a scribe, an astronomer, and the advisor to King Djoser.  He went from being a regular kid with no special head start in life to being a multi-talented genius who gave advice to the king.  Wow, isn’t that incredible?

As a result of Imhotep’s practice of good character, he left a legacy that is still widely honored and studied nearly 5,000 years later.  That is a form of immortality.  Imagine – what if people are still learning from your life 5,000 years from now?  That was the goal of many ancient Egyptians – to live their lives so well, with such upright actions, with such beneficial works, that people would still study their lives as examples for how to live, thousands of years later.  Let’s now examine the principles of Ma’at to understand how the Kemetic people went about striving towards immortality.

SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF MA’AT

  1. Truth
  2. Justice
  3. Harmony
  4. Balance
  5. Order
  6. Reciprocity
  7. Propriety

What do these principles mean and how can we practice them daily?

TRUTH – Truth is to tell what really happened, i.e. not telling lies.  But, truth is also to understand what is real and what is false.  When we commit to learning history, we can separate fact from fiction and take action based on full knowledge.  For example, we know that Christopher Columbus did not discover America, so we do not honor him, celebrate him, or idolize him in any way.  We instead honor and celebrate real leaders who made sincere contributions to the advancement of African people all over the world, and to all humanity.  Truth also applies to being able to critically analyze the information that we receive for flaws or biases.  If we read a news article that refers to one young male who got into some trouble as a criminal, and another young male of a different ethnic group or culture who made a similar mistake as a troubled teen – that is a bias.  They may have both been troubled teens who needed help.  You can then write in to the news outlet asking them to make a correction, or you can write your own newspaper or blog to report from a more unbiased perspective.  Actions like these would demonstrate your commitment to truth, and also help shape your legacy.

(Pre-order now!)

Check out the Table of Contents for Character Building for African Centered Scholars: Grades 4 and Up.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction                                               7

How to Use this Book                                 11

Character Building Principles:

Ma’at                                               16

Iwa Pele                                            47

Nguzo Saba                                     61

Adrinka Symbols                              74

Character Building Examples:

Queen Nzinga                                  81

Shaka Zulu                                        82

Marcus Garvey                                83

Fannie Lou Hamer                            85

Alice Walker                                     86

Putting Principles into Practice:

Creative Writing                               89

Music                                                          90

Visual Art                                          91

Technology                             92

Critical Thinking                                93

Community Service Extensions                 94

My Glossary                                               97

My Notes                                                    101

Thank you for reading this far!  I may run a contest to offer free copies to select followers.  Comment if you would be interested in a contest of this nature. :-)

All the best to you and your family!

Love and Light,

Nikala Asante

 

Book Release! Tomorrow Will Be Better (plus a contest)

Greetings!

I hope that you and your family are doing well.  Exciting news!  I’ve recently released my newest book - Tomorrow Will Be Better.  Tomorrow Will Be Better is an intimate conversation, a history primer, a discussion of current events, a Spoken Word Collection, and an invitation to engagement in social justice – all in one.   It is a non-fiction book with a target audience of African American youth between ages 14 and 25 seeking to better understand themselves and their roles in the world (although it is appropriate and a great learning tool for persons of ANY ethnicity, ages 14 and up).

As a thank you for your continual support, I am giving out free e-copies of Tomorrow Will Be Better to the first 10 readers to comment on this blog!  Additionally, those who re-post this blog to their page will be entered to win print copies of Tomorrow Will Be Better (with a US mailing address).  Thank you for your support and be sure to check out the full description below!

Tomorrow Will Be Better by Nikala Asante (<—- View Table of Contents and read a sample on Amazon)

Tomorrow_Will_Be_Bet_Cover_for_Kindle

Best,

Nikala Asante

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Hello, I’m Nikala Asante – a 29 year old mother, creative writer, Spoken Word artist, independent educator, Web Series producer, and international Human Rights advocate.  As the mother of a 10 year old son, the future of our youth is extremely important to me. In this vein – for the past 6 years, I have been actively tutoring and mentoring inner-city high school and college students. Through this work, I have been blessed with an understanding of the challenges that my generation and my son’s generation faces, as well as methods to overcome these challenges.

Concurrently, I have been blessed to traverse 9 countries in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean over the past 4 years, engaging in service and research projects that granted me a greater understanding of the world at large. All of this from the basis of a rough upbringing, earning my GED at age 22, surviving an abusive relationship, and many other immense struggles on the path to self-actualization.

Now, I am sharing my own life story, documentation of my travels, historical and cultural context for each place that I visited, how these histories and cultures connect to current events in the United States, and creative responses to what I have witnessed a concise collection of chapters, Spoken Word and interactive workshop modules. I earnestly believe that this book can and will change lives. I appreciate your support!

Who This Book Is Written For

This book is targeted to African American youth, ages 14 -25, but can be enjoyed by any mature reader.

About The Author

Nikala Asante is a creative writer, Spoken Word artist, web series producer, independent educator, and international Human Rights advocate from Houston, TX. Asante fell in love with organizing around Human Rights after traveling to the Dominican Republic to learn about garment worker rights organizing with Solidarity Ignite in 2013. Since then, she has returned to Dominican Republic and Haiti independently and with the University of Houston to help set up medical clinics, to distribute food and water, to plant food bearing trees in deforested areas, to deliver needed supplies, children’s vitamins, and toys to orphanages, and to create archives of personal narratives about Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

In her community, Asante organizes homeschooling parents around educational events and field trips to advance their children’s learning experiences, as well as tutoring and mentoring inner-city youth. Asante has received numerous awards from the community and university, including the prestigious Gilman International Study Scholarship. She was featured in Defender Networks’ Black History special on young leaders following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in 2013, on PBS NewsHour in 2015, and has spoken on Human Rights in two documentaries (“16th Strike: the Documentary” and “Nice: A Place to Start”).

Asante has published two collections of poetry, Graffiti Nommo and Re-Divining Self. Additionally, Asante recently published her first web series in 5 episodes, Pharaoh the Web Series — available for viewing on YouTube. She is currently in the process of developing her own non-profit to connect students with international service learning opportunities – Asante Global Works.

nikalaasante.com

Asante Global Works

blackhomeschoolmom.com

Pharaoh the Web Series

Roadschooling for International Service Work in Haiti: Part 2

Greetings,

Thank you for reading this far!  Please feel free to refill your drink as I share the remainder of our January journey and a bit about our future plans with this work.

At Sadhana, I was inspired by how well organized that allocation of our duties were.  Because we were cooking on an open fire, someone had to be cooking literally all day. We did it collectively, in shifts The first cooking shift began at about 6:00 to have breakfast ready by 8 or 8:30.  The next shift began right after breakfast and the final shift began right after lunch.  Also, we tended to the area.  I dug holes with a pick axe to plant citronella around the kitchen hut and main hut.

We washed dishes daily with sea sponges, ashes, and vinegar.  We stumbled through cacti and tall weeds to collect fallen sticks to light our daily cooking fires.  I embraced the hard work, even in the 90 degree sunlight.  The only job that I avoided was cleaning the restrooms – makeshift 3/4 enclosed palm leaf huts with buckets inside for pee and poo.  I really avoided that job, lol.  My son did hard work too, but I let him take a lot of breaks.  He was so excited to be able to come home and tell his friends that he used a real machete.

There were bonuses to being at Sadhana.  We not only got to participate in all aspects of reforestation, but to distribute food bearing trees to neighboring residents around Anse a Pitre.  It filled me with great joy.  Other bonuses that warmed my heart were:

  • Distributing clean water through the community every time that we “flooded” the canal to irrigate the trees.  The water had to flow by people’s houses and yards before it reached the treed areas.  Women would stand outside with buckets and jugs collecting the water to bathe, wash clothes, and even to drink.
  • Learning the art of water conservation AKA “How to Grow a Forest in the Desert”.
  • Learning to build a rocket stove – an outdoor stove made of red soil, water, and donkey poo.  The donkey poo acts like concrete and is completely hygienic after the drying and the heating.

  • Learning to use solar ovens to prepare simple meals.
  • Participating in the distribution of and a workshop on solar ovens to the local women.
  • Solar oven cake!!!
  • Conducting research and experiments to see how to build a natural refrigerator and how to make ice by using a solar oven at night (only partially successful, lol).
  • Friday Documentary Film watching nights (with Solar Power, projector, and a sheet!)
  • Learning about local culture.
  • Dancing to Haitian drumming.
  • Practicing Capoeira Angola with international volunteers.

  • Drinking rich creamy Haitian hot chocolate on a cold night with my friends. (It gets cold at night in the desert.)
  • Learning to cook new healthy meals.
  • Making new friends.
  • Seeing children’s smiles surround me every time that I took a walk around Anse a Pitre.
  • Holding a Writing Workshop and poetry reading for the Sadhana community.

  • And mostly, my son’s enjoyment of it all, his growth, his writing, his love for Haitian food, love for being outdoors 24/7, inspired love for helping others, and his excitement to return and continue helping at the earliest opportunity.

I have been teaching my son bits of French, Spanish, and Kreyol over the past few years without enough consistency and no formal lessons.  After this trip, he is motivated to learn all three languages without prodding, because he wants to be able to communicate on his own in situations like our recent trip.  I cannot measure the effect that our journey had on him now, because I am confident that it developed him in ways that I will not notice until he is an adult.  I am so happy with how everything went.  So, so happy.

I will return to Haiti March 13 – March 23, 2015 to continue equity creating work in the areas of clean water security, fresh food security, and preventative health. Many people have asked me about how they can support these initiatives. Thus, I am offering this campaign as a means of making our efforts cooperative.  The fundraising goal is $1,200.  If you would like to contribute, I have a page set up at https://www.crowdrise.com/nikalainhaiti.

We are so excited about the itinerary! My friend Happy, an experienced RN, and Nailah, a 19 year old certified permaculturist, will be traveling with me. We will volunteer at Sadhana Forest in the mornings through Thursday, March 19. In the afternoons, we will travel to assess methodology for planting trees in the neighboring town of Recif. A representative of Sadhana has volunteered trees and extra hands so that we can plant right away, while we assess how to plant more!Also, we will document how the town of Thiotte builds their natural rainwater collecting barrels, and if their method is replicable in other areas of Haiti for gathering clean water.

On Thursday, we will make our way to Port au Prince to the Family Nursing School at 28 Delmas. I built a relationship with them on my May 2014 trip to Haiti, where I set up medical clinics in tent cities with the University of Houston Honors College Medicine and Society Program and assisted Dr. Carl Lindahl in training Haitian earthquake survivors to conduct interviews of other survivors to preserve authentic narratives and serve as a tool for mental healing (survivortosurvivorstories.com). The interviewers were paid for a full year’s Haitian wages for less than a month’s work – finally, fair wages!

In Delmas, we will meet with Haitian survivors who are interested in being future interviewers for Survivor to Survivor to offer them that economic and service opportunity. Also, I will facilitate setting up a space for Happy will teach a workshop to a large group of nursing students on maternal health. Lastly, I will travel with the director of 28 Delmas to take pictures of an area where he is building a school and a community to assess and document it so that I can help with their water supply.

A few people in Houston have pledged possible assistance through either well digging or water filtration, so I need to see which system would work best for the area. Also, this new community in Delmas is a desert area similar to Anse a Pitre, so there is also the potential for food growth based on what I’ve learned.

Thank you again for reading and please feel free to comment or email me with any questions that you have.  The next post will present options and advice for parents to travel with their homeschooled children for international service work.

All Love,

Nikala Asante