High School Highlights
In January, high school learners had an opportunity to get together for a game day. It was a great time to get to know one another and a great time was had by all. One learner, Kniyah, said, “It was a fun experience because I got to socialize with other homeschoolers and I got to play games and just be around other kids. The food was great and so were the games. I can’t wait for the next game day!” We hope you can join us at our next event, our high school hike and hangout! See below for details.hangout
At iLEAD Exploration, we are happy to provide learners with high school
curriculum and online vendor suggestions, both of which can be purchased using instructional funds. We also have a variety of free resource suggestions for our high school families. While this list is non-exhaustive, we hope you find it helpful. These resources are available through the Hub on our website when you log into your account. The results can be narrowed down by subject and grade level. A few of our favorites are MITOpenCourseware, KhanAcademy
February is Gap Year Exploration Month! A gap year is a purposeful break between high school and college. There is often an emphasis on experiential learning and pushing beyond one’s comfort zones. Learners return from gaps years with a better understanding of future college goals and a clearer sense of purpose. Gap years can be structured or unstructured. The Gap Year Association offers advice on how to plan a gap year.
Learners can approach gap years in two ways: They can wait to apply to college or they can ask the college to defer their start date. Not all colleges will allow a student to take a gap year, so find out the college’s policy before you apply. Some colleges will require a student to apply again the following year while others will allow the break.
If you are interested in looking at the gap year option, the Gap Year Association has information on accredited gap year programs as well as scholarships. Students can search by interest and timing, or they can look at a full list of opportunities including alumni reviews.
Hayden joined iLEAD Exploration in 2019 and exemplifies the definition of true grit! In order to pursue his acting career, he chose the homeschool path which fits his lifestyle perfectly. Juggling homeschool, courses at the local college, piano lessons and time on set, this learner knows how to get the job(s) done. Hayden works hard in all he does and sets his goals high.
Hayden began acting at the age of 10, in a church production of Newsies. By the age of 13, he was traveling between his home in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles to film for Nickelodeon’s Nicky Ricky Dicky and Dawn (you may know him as Dooley). He and his family moved to LA full time in 2017. He has been in other feature films and shows including Disney’s Magic Camp, Schooled on ABC, Adam Ruins Everything and more.
This learner has an incredible attitude, a smile that brightens any room he enters, and is a perfect gentleman. He sets a perfect example of one who excels because of the dedication he puts into his daily routine.
Friday, February 28 from 10:30 am-1:30 pm
This event is for high school learners only.
Hike on one of the nearby trails
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Hang out in the picnic table area at the cafe to play cards, board games and chill! Learners can bring a sack lunch or can purchase lunch at the cafe. Water, snacks, and cookies will be provided.
If you’re looking for a productive way to spend your summer and are interested in greater college preparedness, consider attending a pre-college summer program. These programs can be a great opportunity to experience life on a college campus, earn advanced college credit, build relationships, and increase your admission chances. Summer programs are available locally, with commuter or on-campus options, and across the country. They can cover general college readiness and subjects or focus on specific areas of study. Is there a specific college you are interested in attending? Apply to their summer program! Don’t delay! Most programs have application deadlines in March and April and many offer financial aid for those who qualify. Here are a few suggestions, but you can do your own research as well:
Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Summer Program
This list is in no way exhaustive but should get you started in the right direction. If summer programs like these are out of your reach, acquiring a summer job or taking a course at the community college can also add depth to your admissions profile.
The College Board website offers free, full-length SAT practice tests.
The ACT Test website provides practice test questions.
Khan Academy Test Preparation is an excellent resource for SAT test preparation.
Free test prep is available online at:
Mobile Apps for Test Prep:
Daily Practice SAT by The College Board
ACT Online Prep by ACT, Inc
Khan Academy App
ACT: Practice, Prep, Flashcards by Varsity Tutors is a great app for ACT practice. It can be found in the Apple iTunes store.
The best form of need-based and merit-based financial aid comes directly from a college or university. Need-based aid depends on a family’s financial situation while merit-based aid, also known as scholarships, comes from student achievement or talent. This can be in the areas of academics (grades and test scores), visual and performing arts, community service, leadership, athletics, and more. It takes effort to research scholarships provided by each college, but it is worth it.
Some things to know when exploring scholarships:
Locate the financial aid section of each college to see what types of scholarships they offer.
Check carefully for scholarships that require an extra application or additional requirements.
Be aware of stacking and displacement. When a student receives a scholarship and need-based aid, the college may stack the aid, allowing the student to receive both, or displace one form of financial aid with the other.
Students may also be able to find scholarships through local businesses, service organizations, or even their parents’ employers. It is wise to conduct a Google search to see what is out there. Organizations such as the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Los Angeles, and other organizations may provide financial opportunities.
High Achieving Underrepresented Students
There are several large scholarships that are available to high achieving students from underrepresented groups such as low-income students or minorities. These include Questbridge, The Posse Foundation, the Gates Scholarship, and others.
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
California is in a group of states that offer a tuition exchange called the Western Undergraduate Exchange or WUE. Participating colleges require a minimum GPA and/or test score to qualify. Some colleges award the WUE rate automatically and some award the rate to only a few students. WUE nonresident tuition discounts average up to $9,400 per year making these schools more affordable than some California schools.
RaiseMe is a website that allows students to earn micro-scholarships based on grades, activities, work experience, and more. Participating colleges guarantee that students will be awarded a minimum amount of scholarship money based on the accurate information provided. RaiseMe is a great way for a student to gauge how much a college might award in merit aid as well as earn scholarship money that would otherwise not be available. Students can start adding their grades and activities as early as 9th grade and watch their scholarships build up throughout their high school years. Check out iLEAD’s RaiseMe page.
To explore and learn more about financial aid, make an appointment with our College Advisor, Laura Kazan.
Keep an eye out for our webinar on financial aid and the college search in April.
When high schoolers say they want to go to a large university, they are usually interested in school spirit, choices of majors, and an active and vibrant campus. What many learners don’t realize is that they are also usually schools that have a high level of research. At a research university, the focus is on faculty research and scholarship.
Research universities have active campuses with sports and activities that add to the college experience. The large student body allows a significant choice of majors and specialties. In fact, UCLA offers 130 majors and the University of Southern California (USC) offers 177. Most universities also offer programs such as teaching, business, nursing, and engineering which may not be available at all smaller colleges. These universities may provide cutting-edge research and opportunities for hands-on experience as an undergraduate.
Research universities and liberal arts colleges are very different and it is important to take the opportunity to explore both. Some learners thrive when surrounded by people and enjoy the wide assortment of classes, while others feel more comfortable in small seminar classes with more personalized attention. You won’t know until you visit a few campuses, so take a look around and see what universities are near you. Take a tour and attend an information session. There are hundreds of universities in the United States, and if a research university sounds like an exciting and fulfilling place, we can find one that fits your interests and budget.
Savannah was interested in art at a very young age. She loved to sketch or paint whenever she had the opportunity. The choice to homeschool mainly came from the opportunities it would create for her to cultivate her passion and skills.
While mostly a digital artist, Savannah enjoys traditional art as well. She graduated from the Ryman Arts program this past spring and has been taking art classes at College of the Canyons. Being able to be dual enrolled at a community college and work towards her degree while still at iLEAD has been amazing.
Savannah’s hobbies revolve around art! She loves character design, character development, and fashion design.
As for her future goals, she is looking to find an internship when she turns 18. She is looking for a career where she can follow her passion for art while still having the freedom to create.
Be sure to view our public school profile for iLEAD Exploration (our official charter name is iLEAD Hybrid). Since opening five years ago, we have built a solid charter school option for all types of learners!
High school learners are required to take core academic classes along with some electives, depending on their particular graduation path. Elective classes are a way to prepare them for the working world and impress colleges with their transcripts. But above all, these classes can make a huge difference in their lives.
Elective classes provide a lot of room for personalization and creativity. iLEAD’s approved vendors offer our high schoolers a buffet of choices. Our learners can customize their elective classes based on their interests. Here are some examples:
Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an extracurricular activity in which learners typically role-play delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees. Click here to learn more. Our vendor Urban Homeschoolers offers MUN at their LA center.
Nautical Studies at Sea Base: Are you interested in sailing, scuba diving, rustic camping on an undeveloped barrier island, fishing, or a combination of these? Learn more about the programs offered here.
iLEAD Online offers classes in film, work experience, entrepreneurship and more!
Learn Beyond the Book‘s learning center in Santa Clarita offers courses in fashion design, sewing, public speaking, and holistic cooking.
Industrial arts, welding, and electrical courses are offered at Urban Workshop in Costa Mesa.
- Online elective classes in sports and entertainment marketing, veterinary science, theater cinema and film production, personal and family finance, and game design are offered by eDynamics Learning.
Applying to college? It’s not too late!
While the deadline for most California public university campuses has passed, there are still hundreds of colleges ready and waiting for your application. Regular and rolling decisions are happening now, with many deadlines in January and others that stretch into the spring. For colleges with regular decision, learners must apply by the deadline and will receive an offer of admission and financial aid on a specific date, most often in March. Rolling decisions may or may not have a priority or hard deadline, and decisions are granted upon application review. Some decisions arrive as early as two weeks after all paperwork has been submitted!
Check out this list of late application schools.
Be sure to check each college website for deadlines and requirements and schedule an appointment with Laura Kazan, your college advisor, if you have any questions.
There are many ways to make a living. Choosing a career that you are excited about and that allows you to earn an adequate wage is possible with certificated careers. Certificated careers are careers that do not require a four year degree but specialized training in the field.
Here are some examples of certificated careers:
- Computer Technology: Web developer; computer security analyst; computer support specialist; systems engineer
- Building and Trade: Construction and building inspector; architectural and civil drafter; industrial engineering technician; pipe-fitter and plumber; heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installer
- Medical: Surgical technologist; dental assistant; diagnostic medical sonographer; emergency medical technician; medical coder; pharmacy technician; radiologic technologist; PT or OT assistant
- Travel and Mechanics: Air traffic controller; flight attendant; airline mechanic; heavy vehicle and mobile equipment mechanic; automotive mechanic
- Other: Court reporter; veterinary assistant; bookkeeping; personal trainer; cosmetologist; hairdresser
So, how can you identify the certificated career that is right for you?
- After reviewing the list above, check out Road Trip Nation on Naviance to learn what it’s like to work in these fields.
- Ask your community for opportunities to get to know people in the field you’re interested in.
- Find an accredited certification program.
- Read through job postings for your field, paying special attention to qualifications. This will help you choose the best certification and background for your dream job.
- Check out the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for information on average income rate and job growth.
These options just scratch the surface of what’s out there! If a certificated career is appealing to you, use the tools available through iLEAD and other free resources to identify your dream career and get started.
If you are looking for a college where the focus is on teaching, small class size, and accessible faculty, a liberal arts college may be for you. These colleges provide a broad understanding of multiple disciplines as well as a deep understanding in a learner’s area of choice. Classes are offered in humanities, social sciences, physical and life sciences, math, fine arts, and even computer science.
Liberal arts colleges have learner populations that range from 300 to 4,000 learners. The focus is on undergraduate education with limited graduate programs, so classes are taught by professors, not graduate students. Instead of large lectures with 500 learners, classes typically range from 15 to 20 learners and are taught seminar-style.
College features vary. There are conservative and faith-based schools, such as Hillsdale and Wheaton, and there are liberal secular colleges, such as Reed and Sarah Lawrence. While most schools have traditional curricula, there are alternative-style schools that have no grades, such as The Evergreen State College and College of the Atlantic. Hamilton and Grinnell have open curricula where the student has no general education requirements. Colorado College and Cornell College use a block schedule or one class at a time. One college, Hampshire, refuses to consider SAT or ACT scores in admission!
There is often an assumption that liberal arts colleges will be very expensive, but quite often the sticker price is misleading. Some of the most generous scholarships come from liberal arts colleges. For students with lower to middle incomes, a number of colleges promise to fill the financial gap between what a family can pay and the total cost of attendance. For those with a higher income, there are colleges that give deep discounts to a large percentage of learners. There are also several public liberal arts colleges that are part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange and give tuition discounts to California students. The bottom line: Don’t count out liberal arts colleges because of cost. You might be surprised!
If you need help building a list of colleges, please make an appointment with Laura Kazan, iLEAD’s college advisor, here.
William Wisneskey is a 16-year-old senior at iLEAD Exploration. His family relocated from New Orleans, Louisiana, to support William in his training in classical ballet. William is on a full pre-professional ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Gillespie School at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. He trains at least 30 hours per week in Upper 2, the highest level of training in the ABT curriculum. iLEAD provides the flexibility William needs to both finish his high school diploma and train as a pre-professional dancer in classical ballet.
William started ballet at the age of 12 and quickly fell in love with everything about it. He feels that ballet is the most strenuous and beautiful combination of art and sport. He is happiest while dancing and values every moment in the studio as a precious opportunity to improve, honor, and learn from the dancers before him. William feels there is nothing quite like the feeling of finishing a performance and having an audience applaud for you.
In addition to his training with ABT, William is dancing the role of Cavalier, consort to the Sugar Plum Fairy, in the Richter Ballet Academy Nutcracker. This lead role is usually danced by a hired professional, and William is the first trainee to be granted the role in this production. Information on this production is available here.
When he has time, William enjoys playing the game Magic: The Gathering. Last fall, he won a drop-in tournament in Anaheim. He also plays the piano, and Chopin is a favorite. Until ninth grade, William attended French School in Louisiana and participated in a student exchange program where he studied at the International School, Colège Cèsar, in Roque-Fort les Pins, near Nice. He is fluent in French and holds three French National Language and Education diplomas.
William is clearly an extremely accomplished and amazing young man with a very bright future. We are very proud of you, William!
High School Graduation will be held on June 3 at 4:00 p.m. at The Grand in Long Beach. We look forward to seeing all our graduates participate in this special event.
Associated Student Body
Congratulations to our 2019-2020 ASB Team!
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.
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 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 https://calendly.com/ilead-
Mary Miller is a senior in high school, and she has been enrolled with iLEAD since 10th grade. She is very involved in her community, and she just might have a future in politics!
Mary is in her final year of Girl Scouts and just completed her Gold Award, for which she organized a teen resource fair for her community. She also started the Model Legislature and Court team for the Antelope Valley Family YMCA. As a part of this team, she has traveled to Sacramento to participate in a mock election, and she has run for office there.
She is a board member of the Antelope Valley YMCA, and she serves on several committees, including the Teen Committee, which she founded. She was awarded the regional Excellence in Teen Leadership Award from the Metro Los Angeles YMCA, where she gave a beautiful acceptance speech. Mary has also represented her community as Junior Miss Lancaster and Teen Miss Lancaster. Those positions led her to become a junior ambassador to the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce.
Mary has also become involved in school activities offered by iLEAD. She has been invited to join ASB, and she is the president of the iLEAD National Honor Society. On a more personal side, Mary is a talented artist, her favorite television show is The Office, and she loves her cat, Olly. iLEAD is proud of all that Mary has accomplished and is excited to see what her future holds!