Educational Resources

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Popular Online Vendors


iLEAD Exploration offers many approved online vendors for our middle and high school homeschooling families. These vendors offer a wide range of high school courses that can be used by our learners on both the customized or A-G graduation paths. Learners on the A-G path should look for vendors with teacher support and ensure that the courses are posted on the UC Doorways website. Not all vendors provide teacher support, but most of them have grading and progress monitoring access. The cost of the courses will differ amongst providers as well. We recommend that families research or discuss their specific needs with their EF when looking for an online course. Here is a list of some popular choices that our families have often used. The complete list is available on the Hub or you can click here.

What’s Next: Is Community College for You?


Attending a community college has a number of benefits and can save your family a great deal of money. Community colleges offer learners the opportunity to discover what they want to major in before transferring to a four-year university, and/or they provide a chance to earn an associate’s degree in order to earn more in the workforce. Community colleges offer flexibility if learners want to work while they also take classes. Some learners who struggle with academics in high school might find that community college gives them the fresh start they need. Check out the 10 Reasons to Attend a Community College by US News. Community college may just be the best option for you!

College Tours: Finding Your Type


College tours help you choose your future home. Do you prefer large or small, a town or city, relaxed or spirited? Do you want an intellectual atmosphere, a campus with a football team, or a faith-based school? What about small seminar classes vs. large lecture halls? With so many choices, how do you even begin? Begin by finding your type. Check out this College Personality Quiz to get started.

Southern California is known for its abundance of colleges. In addition to our UC and Cal State Universities, we have a multitude of private colleges including Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Occidental as well as private universities such as Chapman, The University of San Diego, Redlands, and USC. Interested in STEM? Check out CalTech and Harvey Mudd. Southern California is also home to a variety of faith-based universities such as Biola, Azusa Pacific, Point Loma, and Pepperdine. Regardless of where you live, you are close enough to take a tour.

Plan to visit different types of colleges to see what feels right. At this stage, it is not about finding a specific college, it is about finding a good fit. Once you know your type then it’s time to make an appointment with Laura Kazan. She is here to help you build a list to match your academic strengths and extracurricular interests. So start making some visits. You might be surprised at what you find!

You can sign up for an appointment directly with Laura at

Challenge of the Week

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Looking for a new workout routine? This week’s challenge will help you keep your brain in shape! Research has shown that using brain teasers strengthens your mental muscles and builds problem-solving skills in all learners, especially children! We challenge you to work through some brain teasers with your family and notice the positive potential of playing with puzzles to bolster critical-thinking skills.

Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude SLO

The month of November is the perfect time to focus on our monthly Schoolwide Learner Outcome (SLO) of Gratitude. Below are a couple of videos that we hope will inspire learners and families to continue the active pursuit of this important character trait.

Upcoming Webinars and Workshops


Our final upcoming Fall webinars are quickly approaching. We are proudly offering an in-person workshop on Learning Styles November 18 in San Bernardino and November 20th in Los Angeles. In addition, if you are interested in learning more about CTE, you won’t want to miss the webinar taking place on December 5.

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TED Talk: Gratitude

Gratitude SLO

November is here, and what better way to celebrate than with our SLO of the month, gratitude!

If you have any thoughts that you’d like to share, we’d really like to hear from you on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Here are some great questions for family discussion after you watch the video:

  • How do you recognize what other people do for you?
  • How do you show appreciation for opportunities and express appreciation?
  • What are you most grateful for in your life?

Workshop: Unique Learning Styles



Santa Clarita Park Day


On November 19, we are celebrating Kindness Day by painting rocks and writing encouraging sayings on them. We would love for learners to take the rocks and place them around the city for other people to find. The event will take place at Heritage Park in Santa Clarita (24155 Newhall Ranch Rd., Santa Clarita, CA) from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. RSVP here if you would like to attend.


Monthly SLO: Gratitude

Gratitude SLO

November is the perfect time to reflect on the things that we are thankful for. This month, the schoolwide learner outcome focus is on gratitude. Expressing gratitude encourages a positive mind-set, reduces depression, and increases connectivity. Below are a few articles that you may want to take a look at to better understand why gratitude is an important part of our character education.

Heart and Will

Gauging Your Gratitude

Choosing an Angle

Gratitude Poster

Learning Through Games

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It’s not a surprise for homeschoolers that learning through play is an excellent way to practice, comprehend, and master a subject. For English language learners, game play is highly beneficial. Learning through games is a low-stress, meaningful opportunity for learners to practice English. Game play offers learners the opportunity to use their language skills rather than think about whether they’re saying words and phrases correctly. When a learner is using their language skills, rather than thinking about their language skills, learners remember faster, better, and with more meaning. So break out the board games, card games, and computer games — and start playing!

Positive, Negative, and Interesting

Age Group: Teens

  1. Put learners in pairs if possible.
  2. Explain to the learners that they need to think about the positive, negative, and interesting points of an idea.
  3. Show the learners an idea statement (see below) and give them time to think of some positive, negative, and interesting aspects of the idea.

Statement Ideas:

People should be allowed to eat meat only once a week.
There should be an extra tax on unhealthy food.
Life would be better without government or rules.
All children should have the right to vote.
All children should speak only English in school.

Roll the Dice, Make a Question

Age Group: All levels

Write one to six on a piece of paper and a different question word (who? what? why? where? when? how?) next to it. When a learner rolls the dice, he or she needs to make a question with the corresponding question word. The learner then calls on a family member or friend to answer it.

Ship in the Fog Game

Age Group: All levels

Ship in the Fog is a fun and engaging way to practice directions with your learner. In this activity, a parent or another sibling makes an obstacle course in the house. A blindfolded learner must then complete the obstacle course while being given directions verbally by other family members. Players can take turns giving the directions and receiving directions.

Bilingual Employees and the Workplace


The need for bilingual employees in the workplace continues to grow! In fact, the number of jobs aimed at bilingual workers more than doubled from 2010 to 2015. Speakers of Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish are in high demand. Understanding and speaking multiple languages is an advantage in the workplace and makes one more marketable.

The US government is currently seeking out translators, intelligence officers, and diplomats to serve in foreign embassies. Locally, law enforcement hire and pay bilinguals more because they have a better ability to investigate crimes, interview witnesses, and respond to emergencies. In the private sector, bilinguals have an advantage because multinational companies need employees who can communicate with clients who are in different parts of the world and speak different languages. Outsourcing in the technology industry has also opened up the job market for bilinguals, and it actively seeks out an international workforce that can span various countries. They are specifically looking to hire bilinguals who can communicate in highly technical and trade-specific work. With a rapidly growing healthcare industry and with 10 percent of the population speaking English as a second language, there is a constant demand for bilingual nurses, medical assistants, medical administration, and doctors. There is a wide-open road ahead for those who have an ability to speak more than one language!

For more information, please visit “Top Trending Jobs for Bilingual Speakers in 2019” and “Top 10 Careers If You Are Bilingual.”

The Cognitive Benefits of Multilingualism


¿Hablas español? Sprichst du Deutsch? 你会说中文吗?

Did you answer, “Sí,” “Ja,” or “会”? Then chances are that you share membership with the multilingual majority of the world! Yay, you!

Multilingual people don’t just sound impressive and have an easier time traveling to different countries; their brains actually function uniquely different from those of people who speak only one language! Recent advances in brain-imaging technology (fMRI) have given neurolinguists a special look to learn how the brain interacts with language and learning.

The brain’s left hemisphere works linearly and processes information logically, while the right hemisphere is occupied with arranging emotional and social brain activity. Language is a practice that involves both of these hemispheres. Since children are still developing a specialization in left- or right-brain preference, they are easily able to access both sides of the brain. This allows them to learn languages more easily and rapidly, because they are naturally activating both hemispheres in their acquisition. In a typical adult’s brain, language would be accessed on one side of the brain (most commonly, the left). This literal “one-sided” approach stagnates language acquisition and is a large reason why learning a second language as an adult is so difficult!

For those who are in the multilingual club, their brains appear visibly different in imaging systems! For example, the gray area that holds the brain’s synapses and neurons is more dense, and specific regions of the brain display enhanced animation and movement when compared to a monolingual brain. This profound hub of activity has been proven to delay the onset of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, by as much as five years. That’s more powerful than the best medicines doctors have to offer!

It may surprise you that many experts of old considered bilingualism to be a handicap that dramatically slowed academic development. They were concerned that it confused the child and caused an overextension of focus for language discernment. They argued that this fundamentally confounded concept mastery and held the learner back.

Neuroscientists have been astounded to discover that the exact opposite is true. Indeed, the multilingual brain is more healthy, more complex, more deeply engaged, and ultimately responsible for profound academic growth. A more recent study revealed that this surplus of activity within the gray matter of the brain significantly strengthened the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This faculty controls executive function, problem-solving, task-hopping, and focusing while filtering out irrelevant information. This enhanced brain function has also been linked to a stronger memory recall, visual-spatial skills, and even creativity.

This isn’t hard to imagine. The brain, like any muscle, needs exercise. The more it is used, the stronger it becomes. As it turns out, being fluent in two or more languages is a super-exercise for the brain, creating new neural pathways and connections for future learning. There certainly needs to be more education surrounding these impressive neurological advantages. Scientists and educators alike have a lot to learn from the amazing architecture of the multilingual brain. Language is truly a beautiful gift and enriches our lived experience in more ways than the naked eye can see.

Article References:

Bilingualism as a contributor to cognitive reserve: evidence from brain atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease. Schweizer TA, Ware J, Fischer CE, Craik FI, Bialystok E Cortex. 2012 Sep; 48(8):991-6. [PubMed] [Ref list]

Bialystok E, Craik FI, Luk G. Bilingualism: Consequences for mind and brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2012;16(4):240–250. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Abutalebi J, Green DW. Control mechanisms in bilingual language production: Neural evidence from language switching studies. Language and Cognitive Processes. 2008;23(4):557–582. [Google Scholar]

Upcoming Events

Growth Mindset

Welcome to the October edition of High School Highlights! This newsletter contains a lot of important and time sensitive information, so please read it carefully. Pay particular attention to the upcoming deadlines: CSU and UC applications must be submitted by 11/30. Early decision applications are due 11/15. Here are a few other important announcements:

iLEAD school photo IDs are now available and easy to order! Simply fill in the Photo ID Request and follow the directions to upload an appropriately sized headshot photo of your 6th-12th grade learner. The official school ID will be mailed directly to your home.

SAVE THE DATE – Add June 3 to your calendar for two special graduation ceremonies. We will celebrate 8th grade promotions and high school graduation at different times, but the same location. Details to follow soon!

Please join us for the upcoming high school webinars.
Exploring Naviance – College & Career: October 22 at 9 am
Dual Enrollment: November 13 at 9 am
Career Technical Education (CTE) Options: December 5 at 9 am
To register, click on each webinar you’re interested in attending on this flier.


Attention 12th Graders

iLEADing the Way with STEM x3

College Applications
California Public Colleges: The University of California and the California State University system applications are open. Applications can be submitted between November 1 and November 30. You must have your applications in by November 30, so don’t wait until the last minute!

Private and Out of State Colleges: Each college will have its own application and financial aid deadline. Deadlines are listed on college websites. Please note each deadline and make sure your application is ready.

Financial Aid
The FAFSA and the CSS Profile are open. Please be aware that each college has its own financial aid form deadline. Deadlines for grants and scholarships may be found directly on each college’s website.

  • The FAFSA is accepted by most colleges. This is for federal and state financial aid such as the Pell Grant, CalGrant, federal loans, and work study. Click on the link for more information: Student Aid.
  • The CSS Profile is required by some colleges for need-based financial aid.
  • A list of colleges that request the profile can be found here: List of participating colleges.
  • Scholarships: Deadlines vary. Check each college’s website for college-specific scholarships. There is also a great website for external scholarships: Scholarships and Contests.

Essay Help
iLEAD has teamed up with Ethan Sawyer known by most as “The College Essay Guy.” Ethan provides online classes to help learners with just about every type of college application essay! Funding may be used for discounted classes for Exploration learners, but scholarships are also available directly from College Essay Guy if a learner is out of funds and would benefit from access to his classes. Learners can contact the high school team for more information.

Overwhelmed or just need some support? Make an appointment with Laura Kazan for guidance. Don’t go it alone! Laura Kazan’s Calendly Site

Work Permits

Monday Message

A work permit is a legal document required by the state of California that allows a person under 18 years of age to hold a job. The issuance of work permits are conditional upon satisfactory school attendance and academic performance. Please follow these steps to obtain an official work permit:

  1. For employment as a minor, you will need to complete the personal information on this CDE Form B1-1 and print a copy to be signed by your employer.

  2. Return the signed copy to your educational facilitator who will forward the form (along with a statement regarding satisfactory attendance and academic performance) to enrollment who then issues permits. Please include the home address where the final form should be mailed and indicate whether or not your child requires medical approval to obtain a permit.

  3. Once verified, an official work permit will be issued for the learner to sign and provide to the employer. This permit will be mailed within 2-3 business days.

Webinar: Different Learning Styles



TED Talk: Growth Mindset

Growth mindset Character Trait copy

We are excited to present our next TED talk for the month of October on growth mindset!

If you have any thoughts that you would like to share, we would really like to hear from you on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

As you watch the video, some great questions for family discussion include:

  • Has there ever been a time when having a fixed mindset gets in your way or stopped you from reaching your full potential?
  • What is, “the power of YET,” and what does it mean to you? Is there anything in your life right now that you can add a “YET” to?
  • Is there a goal that you really want to accomplish? Share your goal with your family and ask them to support you in keeping a growth mindset about it!

Webinar: Different Learning Styles



SLO of the Month: Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset

October is here, and it is time to introduce the new monthly Schoolwide Learner Outcome (SLO). This month we are focusing on: GROWTH MINDSET. As educators, we encourage our learners to have a positive mindset when tackling new tasks or challenges. Simply put, if they believe it, they can achieve it. Encouraging a growth mindset helps our learners recognize that there is value in the journey regardless of the outcome. In addition to fostering a love of learning, having a growth mindset can sometimes mean the difference between persevering and giving up.

Growth mindset poster




Student Support Symposium


Please join us for our 4th annual Student Support Symposium! This year’s Student Support Symposium will challenge and inspire every parent and educator who is committed to helping vulnerable populations, learners impacted by challenging disabilities, trauma, and/or other emotional challenges, to succeed. New for 2019, you have TWO LOCATIONS to choose from:

  • Tuesday, October 8 at SCVi in Santa Clarita Valley
  • Thursday, October 10 at the iLEAD OC Studio in Costa Mesa

Register here if you would like to attend.

By attending, you will learn how to embrace change and unleash your inner superpowers by exploring a variety of topics such as universal design, diversity and inclusion teaching practices, understanding anxiety, and many more critical issues.

MAP Results Webinar

Parent Roundtable


Student Support Symposium


Please join us for our 4th annual Student Support Symposium! This year’s Student Support Symposium will challenge and inspire every parent and educator who is committed to helping vulnerable populations, learners impacted by challenging disabilities, trauma, and/or other emotional challenges, to succeed. New for 2019, you have TWO LOCATIONS to choose from:

  • Tuesday, October 8 at SCVi in Santa Clarita Valley
  • Thursday, October 10 in Costa Mesa

Register here if you would like to attend.

By attending, you will learn how to embrace change and unleash your inner superpowers by exploring a variety of topics such as universal design, diversity and inclusion teaching practices, understanding anxiety, and many more critical issues.

Thinking Maps Webinar

Thinking Maps

Thinking Maps are visual tools that parents and learners can use to organize ideas and enhance learning. They are consistent visual patterns that are linked directly to eight different thought processes in the brain. By visualizing our thinking, we create concrete images of abstract thoughts. In fact, research suggests these patterns are helpful for learners to reach higher levels of critical and creative thinking. This is especially beneficial in teaching them how to organize their writing. These maps will help them lay out their ideas from start to finish. Join our next webinar on Wednesday, October 2 at noon to find out how thinking maps can help improve your child’s writing.

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