About

About

Hi, Welcome to my online home.

I’m Erica, and together we can create a new pulse in parenting that can ripple out into your community and make a positive impact on your family.

Having my own experience of raising three children, teaching for over 20 years, and working with hundreds of families I have observed the difference in children, who have a true sense of self worth, without the praise.

Put simply.

 

You don’t have to carry the weight of fulfilling your child’s every need, alone.

 

Instead, you can lean into our community built on mutual respect and trust.

Using RIE ™ (pronounced wry) methods for learning through observation and the Waldorf setting that emphasizes outdoor play and the beauty of nature we create a second home for children and parents to flourish.

 

Optimistic Parenting is my commitment to support families in an environment where they can discover, grow, and thrive together. We are an online and in-person resource, paired with classes, workshops, and consulting for parents and future parents.

How did my journey begin?

You might not be surprised to hear that my journey towards helping children and parents started during my own childhood.

From an early age to three years old, my grandmother filled the role as my primary caregiver, while my parents worked full time in Los Angeles. I was sent to group care at three years old when my grandmother became ill, and began her journey with cancer.

She passed when I was only four, yet she set the foundational course for my future based on Unconditional Love and Respect for growing, while guiding those same values to others.

Rooted in those values my passion to help parents and children started during my young and tender years. Knowing full well that I was one of those children that wanted to be helped.

Drawing from my experiences of growing up in a group day care I chose to become a child development specialist. Four years into my career, I discovered and later became a certified RIE ™ Associate. 

When I became a mother of three and with all the parenting philosophies under the rainbow to choose from I had already decided that following the RIE ™ principles would be best for my family.

This method is rooted in respect, something I didn’t have a lot of experience with growing up after my grandmother passed. It also taught me a new piece that had been previously missing in my parenting puzzle about respecting my own boundaries along with my children’s boundaries. 

Years after learning about RIE ™ I walked into a Waldorf classroom for the first time completely by chance. As soon as I stepped foot in this room it was a big A-HA moment of how I always wanted a classroom to feel and look like. Not only was it a beautiful place for children to learn, the entire experience was pleasing to all of the senses.

Since 2001, I have dedicated my time and life’s work to building space for children of all ages and their parents to discover, grow, and flourish together. Along with developing our school, Homeschool Garden, to be used as a model for more locations, I am writing a resource book for sharing Optimistic Parenting’s principles.

Some Fun Truths

When first meeting someone I secretly want to know their happiest childhood memory. 

When I’m not working with children I love to participate in charity runs, I’ve ran them all 5k, 10K, half and next a full marathon, supporting groups like CATS (Center for Assault Treatment Services), mental health charities, and City Impact a charity for at-risk youth.

Most people don’t know I’ve traveled more with kids than without kids, since I wasn’t bitten with the travel bug until after they were born.

My favorite indulgences is experiencing a snapshot of Korean culture by visiting the Korean spas and eating at my favorite Korean restaurants.

I can’t live without remembering what it’s like to be a kid.

My favorite way to sweat is running outdoors and the barre class at Physique 57.

My biggest weakness is international foods: Korean, Argentinian, and Cuban are on the top of the long list.

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I had two of my three children in a home birth.

To me living it up means traveling to visit friends across the country and world. My next adventure will take me on a family trip to Hawaii.

 

Professional Bio

As Director and Founder of Homeschool Garden since 2001, Erica Orosco Cruz’s mission is to keep families grounded and cultivate optimistic parenting.

Her real life experience draws from diverse settings with groups of children from infancy through adolescence: in a preschool setting, a family day care setting, at a resident camp, as a nanny, and as a mother who homeschooled her own children. During that time she became a certified RIE ™ Instructor, trained in Waldorf, and most recently she spoke at Herstory 2014 to more than 125 women and parents.

Erica is dedicated to providing an environment where children and families can thrive and grow together with a foundation of mutual respect.