iLEAD learners Legend and Maverick Maltin are two adventurous learners. Homeschooling has allowed them the gift of learning through hands-on, interactive experiences. They gain valuable insight from new places and the people they meet when they travel.
In the past couple of years, Legend and Maverick have traveled to Cambodia, Thailand, Australia, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece. Currently, the Maltin family is training for an Everest Base Camp hike. They love the transcendent beauty of nature and the Himalayan Mountains.
As Maverick puts it, “The sky is an infinite movie to me. I never get tired of looking at what’s happening up there,” while Legend does his best to “live in the moment.”
Outside of homeschool, the boys enjoy all manner of things including boating, fishing, scuba diving, rock climbing, surfing, hiking, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts. However, their favorite pastime is spending time with their family and learning all about people and cultures around the world.
Even though they are new to homeschooling, the four Strom learners: Karen (10), Bennett (9), William (6), and Matthew (4) are OWNING homeschool life! On their first day, the boys came to the table decked out in superhero costumes. Rounding out their enthusiastic inaugural week was a family camping and hiking trip and an important and impromptu lesson about forest fires.
The Strom learners all love reading, LEGOs, and the flexibility that comes with homeschooling. Living room dance parties are another favorite occupation of these learners. Karen, Bennett, and William practice singing for choir while Matthew accompanies them on his toy instruments. Most impressive of all is Karen’s drive to wake up early and finish all her schoolwork before her brothers.
iLEAD is thrilled to journey with the Strom learners through their first homeschool year!
The Ballinger brothers, Brody (grade 9), Ronin (grade 7), and Owen (grade 4) can be found most days in or near the water. Although their competitive water polo and swim teams keep their schedules packed, homeschooling allows them the flexibility to excel in their studies and in their favorite water sports. The Ballinger boys also like homeschooling because it has provided many opportunities to explore a wide variety of activities such as kayaking, capoeira, guitar, and art classes.
Brody, Ronin, and Owen appreciate the freedom homeschooling gives them to learn about topics that they are passionate about. iLEAD has also allowed them to develop a special bond with each other while adventuring across the country as they camp, hike, ski, and visit museums as a family.
Carson is a high school learner with iLEAD Exploration. His passion for fishing started at the young age of 4 when he began tying his own hooks and cleaning the fish that he caught.
Carson fishes lakes and rivers, but he finds ocean fishing the most exciting. Amazingly, Carson has seen a giant squid, turtles and many whales while fishing on the ocean. Yellowfin tuna and dorado in Mexico are his favorite fish to catch.
Carson spends a lot of time reading and watching shows to learn more about fishing. He has a heart for the hungry and the homeless and would love to teach others to fish for food. He recently started diving and spear fishing, and caught his first dorado with a spear last summer. Carson dreams of working on a fishing boat or being a professional fisherman someday.
Riley loves the freedom of homeschooling! He is a high school learner who is also earning college credit through dual enrollment at a local junior college. In his free time, Riley enjoys sailing with Mariners 936. Mariners 936 is a nonprofit scouting organization that teaches maritime activities. Sailing, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking are just a few of the activities that this co-ed sea scouting program offers!
Riley’s favorite activity to date has been a cruise to the Channel Islands aboard The Spirit of Dana Point, a traditionally built replica of a 1770’s privateer schooner used during the American Revolution.
Kallie (5th grade) and Dodge (3rd grade) Olson are beginning their third year of homeschooling with iLEAD Exploration. As a family they especially enjoy studying history. They both love the outdoors and camping. Some of their favorite science units have been completed in our beautiful national parks.
Kallie loves that homeschooling allows her an opportunity to read as much as she wants. This summer, her favorite book that she read was “Rascal” by Sterling North. Kallie’s love for reading has spilled over into an enjoyment of creative writing and studying new languages. One day, Kallie hopes to become a veterinarian for large animals. She was able to attend a week of horse camp this summer where she learned about horse behaviors and training. Kallie also enjoys sewing. She made a dress, shirt, multiple bags, and mended several shirts and suit jackets for her great-grandfather this past year.
Dodge’s favorite subjects have always been math and PE. He participates in soccer, karate, biking, swimming, skateboarding and hiking. Last year, Dodge advanced two belt levels in karate. In his free time, he enjoys playing games like Monopoly, Life, and Yahtzee! The outdoors are very important to Dodge. During hikes, he has observed bird nests, local snakes and lizards, a grey fox in King’s Canyon, and a beaver in Wyoming. He also loves LEGOs, robotics, wood crafts, and building giant forts. He is not exactly sure what he wants to be when he grows up but for now a civil engineer, park ranger, or even a chef are all possibilities.
The Sousa sisters (say that five times fast!) are accomplished gymnasts. Ellie (10th grade) competes in trampoline and Emma (7th grade) competes in artistic gymnastics. Together they compete in acrobatics. Ellie is a national champion on trampoline. Her routines look absolutely terrifying as she flies 20 feet in the air while executing 10 skills between each jump. Emma is a regional champion on floor and vault. Her flexibility and agility makes you wonder if the body is really supposed to bend that way. Together Emma, Ellie, and a third teammate compete in acrobatics where Emma is routinely flung up in the air. The talent, trust, and confidence they have in each other is remarkable. Success in gymnastics requires dedicated athletes who are willing to put the time into their sport.
Homeschooling has allowed Ellie and Emma to balance school and practice dedicating 20 and 30 hours, respectively, per week to the gym. When they are not training and studying, Ellie and Emma enjoy horseback riding, shopping, and going to the beach. Although these talented athletes are serious about their sport and school, they are also really sweet, kind, and funny. The sky is the limit for the Sousa sisters!
The Jensen family is starting their fourth year with iLEAD Exploration. Eilee is in 6th grade, Emme is in 2nd grade, and Eden is in kindergarten. These sisters love anything related to music! Homeschooling allows them time to take vocal lessons, dance classes, piano lessons, and participate in a children’s choir. The Jensen girls have loved being a part of the Voices of Hope Children’s Choir for the last two years. They have had an amazing journey over the last five months as their choir has been competing on America’s Got Talent. After passing the audition round, the choir moved on to the judge cut round and received a golden buzzer to perform in the live quarterfinal show in August. America voted, the results were counted, and Voices of Hope made it through to the live semifinals which will take place on Sep 4!Please support the Jensen sisters as they perform on America’s Got Talent on Sep 4 at 8 pm by watching and voting for Voices of Hope!
Maximus Gomez enjoys learning about the human body and how it all works together. He is so interested in both the human body and robotics that he has decided to be a biomedical engineer when he grows up. He is also fascinated with robotics and Legos. Creating and playing with Lego Boost and Lego Education are some of his favorite activities.
Art is also very important to Maximus. He enjoys going to museums, and his favorite artist is Picasso.
For extracurricular activities, Maximus competes on a local swim team. He worked hard and took first place for backstroke at his last meet! Maximus is drawn to the ocean and this summer he stood up on his board and surfed his first wave! He also enjoys playing piano, and his favorite songs to play are “Imperial March” from Star Wars, “City of Stars” from La La Land, “Alone” by Marshmello, and “Auld Lang Syne”.
His favorite quote is by Walt Disney: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Lucy and Jack Kurtenacker are two of iLEAD Exploration’s amazing learners. Lucy has been homeschooled for two years and this is Jack’s first year to be homeschooled. Both Lucy and Jack are grateful that they can be homeschooled. They love that they can spend extra time on the subjects that they enjoy the most as well as have the flexibility to take learning on the go whether it is outdoors, on field trips or on family trips.
Claire and Will Larson are two talented and enthusiastic learners who are new to iLEAD Exploration this year. These siblings lean into their passions on a daily basis and are full of curiosity and creativity.
Claire is an imaginative, artistic and thoughtful second grader. Her dream of riding horses came true this year at the Traditional Equitation School where she is learning how to ride, saddle and groom horses. When she’s not out on the trail, Claire can be found enjoying a good book (lately the “Little House on the Prairie” series), baking, drawing and creating fashion designs, going on nature walks with her watercolors, playing piano, singing in her church choir, dancing jazz and ballet, riding her bike, and sewing. A few of her favorite subjects are French, geography and artist studies. Claire spends her time tide pooling at the beach, hiking up to the Griffith Observatory, visiting the Huntington Gardens, and playing with her close friend at their weekly park day. She balances so many activities with confidence and joy.
Will is an active, brave, and caring first grader. He has been taking swim lessons this year and just recently attended his first surf camp. When asked how his week at surf camp went he said, “Epic!” A natural athlete, Will enjoys playing basketball, baseball, club soccer, and riding his bike, scooter, and skateboard. Will also spends time inside making LEGO creations, playing piano, cooking in the kitchen, reciting poetry, playing math games, and learning about circuits. His favorite places in Los Angeles are Malibu (or any beach where he can catch a wave) and Griffith Park. Will isn’t afraid to try new things and finds delight in exploring the natural world around him.
As part of their family rhythm, the Larson family loves to travel up and down the California coast, camp, and celebrate rich family traditions throughout the year. They are actively involved in their church and have partnered as a family with the International Justice Mission in the fight against human trafficking. We are so happy to have Claire and Will as part of the iLEAD Exploration family!
Wyatt Stockstill is completing his first year with iLEAD Exploration as a TKer! It has been a great year for him! Wyatt has been learning so many exciting things. He is recognizing and writing letters, his name, shapes, counting, adding and subtracting. He has had fun exploring animals, places, other cultures and is even learning how to cook. Eggs Benedict and granola cups are a favorite!
Wyatt is also very active and athletic. He played on soccer and baseball teams this past year. He enjoys playing baseball with his dad, who also loves the sport and even played for a time on a professional team!
Wyatt is learning and growing at home with his parents and younger brother, Cooper. This summer Wyatt wants to improve his math skills, swim, and enjoy playing on his all-star baseball team!
Avery, Garrett, and Grady Beck have been homeschooled their entire lives. They joined iLEAD Exploration during the 2016-17 school year. Being home schooled has allowed each one of them to seize a multitude of opportunities both in their education as well as in their extracurricular activities. They each have their own unique individual talents, but they also share a few of the same passions and continue to encourage, grow and support each other throughout their journey.
Avery is a talented and smart 13-year-old girl. She definitely has the creative mindset when it comes to school. She loves to read, write and draw about anything and everything. She has been telling stories from a very young age and began writing her first book when she was 8 years old. She has written five books since then. She also writes her own songs to sing while playing the ukulele, and has recently started performing at a local open mic club. In addition to playing the ukulele, she plays the piano. She has been chosen three years in a row to perform at the Honors Recital with her music studio Music Abode. Avery has other talents as well. She just celebrated her one-year anniversary of being a black belt. Avery has studied the fine martial art of Kyin Kung Fu at American Tiger Martial Arts for the last four years. She is an active member on the leadership and demo teams at American Tiger Martial Arts. Avery likes being homeschooled, because it gives her the freedom to explore her intellectual passions in a more hands-on way than traditional schooling would offer, and it gives her the opportunity to actively do those things she is most passionate about.
Garrett is a gifted and funny 9-year-old boy. He is a rule-oriented learner and is able to complete the task at hand when the rules are set in front of him. He excels at math and because of his right brain mindset, he is an exceptional drummer. He started playing the drums when he was 7 years old and he has blown his music teacher away with his drumming abilities. He also plays piano and recently started guitar. Garrett is naturally talented when it comes to music, and he has been chosen for the first time to play at the Honors recital, too. He currently has a red/black belt in Kung Fu, and is training for his black belt test this summer. He is a part of the leadership team and demo team at American Tiger Martial Arts. In his free time, Garrett loves to play drums for his sister’s songs.
Grady is an active 5-year old boy. He loves to be outside riding his skateboard, bike, or scooter. He is an avid lizard catcher and spends a lot of time in the backyard doing so. He enjoys using his imagination while listening to books being read aloud and is naturally studious when it comes to completing his school tasks. Like his older brother and sister, he also does Kung Fu. He has a camo colored belt in the dragons class, and performs with the demo team at American Tiger Martial Arts. Grady has the potential to become the youngest black belt in their studio. Next school year he plans to start piano lessons. His true musical desire is to play drums or bass, but that will have to wait a few years. Grady’s favorite thing about being homeschooled is that he likes to be home with his mom and siblings, learning and growing together.
The Beck Family trio is truly amazing!
After an 18-week LAPD Youth Leadership Cadet Training, 8th grader Daniel McBee graduated (Devonshire Division) along with over 400 Los Angeles Police Cadets at the USC Galen Center.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck exhorted and charged the graduates to continue to uphold their responsibilities in their communities. Thanks to the Ray Charles Foundation and other foundations, this opportunity is available for both young boys and girls ages 13-17. For more information, please visit the website of your local police station.
Ariyah Hope is a lovely third grader. Having always learned at home with her parents and many siblings, Ariyah’s world is full of fun and relaxing adventures. She says her favorite thing to do is to spend time with her family. Ariyah is often found crafting, sewing, and painting little gifts for everyone she loves. She enjoys playing the piano, drawing, dancing, sewing, and staying at home. Ariyah is often found working in her tree house or making teeny tiny clothes for her dolls in front of the fireplace. In addition to creating beautiful works of art, Ariyah often finds creative ways to understand math and science concepts. For example, she uses skittles and water to help her understand the concept of density.
The de Vera sisters have been with iLEAD Exploration since it first started. Milena is a sophomore in high school and her sister Miya is in seventh grade. This dynamic duo has shared many successes together and independently. The girls were part of a hand chimes choir for over five years. This past fall, they performed on the main stage at Disneyland with over 100 participants. Milena was also able to sing during their Disneyland appearance. They have also performed in the Distinctly Teen Handbell Musicians of America and met a famous Japanese choir, MB Club, who wanted to take pictures with them. The girls performed at the Prince of Peace Pageant and were featured in the magazine, The Chorister’s Guild. Since fall they have resigned from the choir to start their own eclectic music band, MX4.
In their own unique ways, the girls are creative and business-minded. Milena is taking a full course load and over the last year and a half, she successfully began her own business. She makes delicious gluten free and dairy free mini donuts. Her decision to start this business was inspired by her sister who has Celiac’s disease. She wanted to make sure her sister could eat sweets like everyone else. Milena obtained her business license and food handler’s permit. She also created a website https://www.hoopsbynana.com for her business. The doughnuts are delicious! She is looking forward to getting her product to nearby farmer’s markets within the next six months. Just recently, Milena earned one of 20 spots available to showcase and sell her product at the Acton Children’s Business Fair which is sponsored by Acton School of Business in Orange. Milena will be there with her delicious doughnuts on Saturday, May 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at 337 E Grove Ave, Orange, CA 92865.
Miya is an artist. She helped design the stop motion video on her sister’s website and she also creates logos for websites. Miya entered two art contests this year: Doodle 4 Google and the 8th Annual Space Foundation. Along with being a talented artist, Miya is a creative writer and writes original short stories. She is also becoming multilingual with foundations in both Russian and Japanese. Miya is planning to open up an art/card business on Etsy.
These girls are both inventive, creative and excited for their future endeavors. Keep an eye out for their up and coming businesses.
Emma Fowler is an amazing young lady who is smart, talented, funny and always ready with a smile and a positive attitude! She is a seventh grader with iLEAD Exploration and has been part of the program for five years. She is full of grace and an incredibly talented writer! Writing flows from Emma’s fingertips. Whether writing poetry, crafting stories or conducting research, there’s always a pen in her hand! Emma is a passionate learner of all sorts, and in fact earned herself a position among 16 students chosen from across the country to compete academically on a cruise ship in subjects such as: history, English, mathematics, science, Latin, timeline of the world, and cartography. The competition was on a cruise ship, and she came in second place as National Memory Master.
Emma is a very busy young lady. She’s the only girl in her family and has four younger brothers. She helps her mom around the house, and has a positive attitude about everything. She plays the violin, recites monologues and poetry, is a published artist, and is working on her first book!
But this girl isn’t all work and no play! Emma also likes to hang with her group at church, spend time with friends, cook, watercolor paint, ride horses, and design and craft items to sell at craft fairs under her home company “The Little Red Door Co.”
Emma also loves the beach, and boogie boarding, but her very favorite activity of all is reading.
I couldn’t be more proud of Emma Fowler, and I know that she will be a great author, illustrator, or really anything she wants to be someday.
By Emma Fowler
Tis’ the day of valor true;
Tis’ the day of red, white, and blue.
Hence the day that freedom sings,
Her song was written for you.
She sings her joyous melody,
Proclamations of the free.
Her arms reach out to all mankind,
Her song was written for me.
Beloved men who made no fuss,
Took a stand, jumped on the bus,
But freedom came to guide them through,
Her song was written for us……
Meet Rafa’ella Ruelas de la Cruz or (as her friends call her) Rafa. This is Rafa’s first year homeschooling. She has enjoyed her experience thus far, because it enables her to focus on her many interests and talents. What can’t this girl do? She enjoys dancing, jiu jitsu, acting, running, gymnastics and art. She LOVES conducting science experiments, cooking and hanging out with friends. She is working on finding more jobs in the acting industry and this is a big part of why she decided to be homeschooled. She has so many interests and talents to choose from and has enjoyed being able to explore her options!
While Rafa has always loved math and science, this year she was able to extend some of her interests beyond those subjects and has since discovered a love for Shakespeare and history as well. Her mom helped her craft a unit on first ladies of our country to help her understand how they have helped make our nation great. She loves how she can use her love of art and movies to study these ladies as well.
Rafa is supported and surrounded by extended family who she uses for school support, encouragement and sometimes to act as her “pupils” as she finds that she learns things better by teaching concepts to someone else. “Support and love for my family makes me feel like I can do anything,” says Rafa.
This year was definitely a new experience and a transition year going from a brick and mortar school to a home study program.
It’s easy to see how Rafa has enjoyed the freedom to learn in her own way and on a schedule that allows her to focus on her interests. The flexibility she has with her studies have really suited her needs and blossomed her interests in learning.
She says, “I can never say no to school.”
Meet Daniela, a third grader with an amazing outlook on life and a desire to learn! Daniela has been homeschooled “since forever” and started with iLEAD Exploration in the fall. Being with iLEAD has allowed her to explore new topics and spend time with her family. She loves to be part of an interest-driven education. She can spend her time diving into a unit to really understand the nuances of the information that appeals to her. Here is Daniela dissecting an owl pellet as part of her bird unit!
Enrolling with iLEAD Exploration has enabled this creative young learner to participate in sewing classes, art classes, and piano. She also just started equestrian classes! In her sewing class, Daniela loves learning new things to sew that she practices on her machine at home. She can now sew pillowcases, backpacks, scrunchies, and pillows. Her favorite pieces are the backpack and pillowcases she made.
In her art class, she has learned how to shade, create shadows, and use different media like marker and q-tips to create unique effects. The two pieces she is most proud of are her astronaut and the deer.
Daniela loves to learn how to play instruments. She takes piano and singing lessons. She is also involved with a club through her church called “Adventures Club” which is for boys and girls, where they learn to give back to the community. They also go hiking and learn about nature and our environment.
Daniela is an energetic and wonderfully kind young lady who is boundless in her creativity. She is a joy to have as a part of iLEAD Exploration and, as her mom says, “She’s a joy to raise.”
Natalie is a seventh grader with a great attitude toward learning. This is her first year with iLEAD Exploration and she couldn’t be happier! Homeschool has provided a learning environment that is a good fit for her unique learning capabilities. She really benefits from BrainPop as an introductory lesson prior to engaging in further exploration of a variety of topics in both science and history. She loves the opportunity to stop the lesson heard on BrainPop to clarify any questions she may have during the short video. Natalie participated in a writing workshop through iLEAD Online, which focused on analyzing parts of a story. This class allowed her to use her own creativity to write a short story of her own using specific tools to follow while developing it. She felt very successful as a young author!
Natalie has a love and passion for science and history. She has learned all about U.S. history which has given her a better understanding of how our country came to be. She recently finished up the Civil War and learned the effects it had toward African American slaves. As a result, she and her family visited Fort Tejon State Park to give her real-life connections to our country’s history. In science, Natalie uses project based lessons so she can retain the information with a clearer understanding of concepts learned. Her family loves to take their time learning lessons with a pace appropriate for her learning capabilities. She uses a lot of hands on activities such as diagrams, models, and/or manipulatives.
Natalie definitely has grown both emotionally and socially through the year. In fact, this semester she is participating at the Canyon Theatre Guild. The cast includes about thirty members. She always looks forward to rehearsals! Along with academics, Natalie has been able to participate in both art and swimming lessons where she has had time to grow artistically and athletically. Natalie’s mom is grateful to iLEAD Exploration, who said, “This program is the best fit for this explorer!”
Seventh grader David Curtis-Perales started iLEAD Exploration last fall. As a creative and vivacious middle schooler, the typical public school classroom setting was deflating for David. He felt unchallenged, distracted, and was often sent out of his classes. He never imagined that a tailored homeschooling schedule would be such a life-giving experience.
As a new homeschooler, David signed up for meaningful extracurricular activities such as art classes, martial arts and breakdancing. David loves the freedom to read more books that inspire him. In math, David is taking the plunge into algebra. “Homeschooling has motivated me to strive to be better; my education is my own.”
In recent months, David has been catching the attention of his trainers and teachers at We Break Hip Hop Company, where he has been investing in his physical form and technique. He has only been breakdancing for a few short months, but you wouldn’t know that by watching him glide across the room! David is already participating in local dance battles, recitals and a Worldwide Freestyle Session.
David says that dancing is all about a rhythmic momentum and symmetric flow. Developing this has not only built his confidence, but it has made him into a passionate young man. “Things you want badly enough require consistent balance. They require discipline and responsibility.” Regarding hard work, he speaks about mindfulness and maintaining a positive attitude. As David has been growing as a skillful dancer, it is symbolic of the deeper personal growth and maturity he has been experiencing within. It has been great to watch him develop in these ways.
Meet the Schmitt family! Audra (5th grade) and Jude (3rd grade) might just have more life experience under their belts than your average adult! They are world travelers, bilingual, and jump at the chance to tackle a wide array of new skills from sewing to gardening to wood-working.
Audra and Jude spent the past few years residing in Germany. Now in the high desert of Southern California, they have adjusted well, and continue to master the German language while reorienting themselves with English-based programs, curriculum and last but not least, reading!
These learners have delved into some great learning adventures during the past six months. Audra has a knack for cooking and both she and Jude spent a couple of weeks working on an organic farm. They’ve recently sewn their own messenger bags and also ventured out on a star-gazing camping trip.
Independent study has been a good option for the Schmitt’s this year as they continue to expand their worldview through travel. They recently trekked across Historic Route 66, making a number of exciting stops, and they have plans later this year to check out Iceland.
Mataeo Mingo is in the the eighth grade. This is his first year with iLEAD Exploration and he is loving it! So far, iLEAD Online science classes are his favorite. He is also really enjoying a variety of books this year, including a fiction novel called, “H20.” In his spare time, Mataeo creates video reviews for Hot Wheels! He is a versatile learner who loves skateboarding and soccer.
In between his studies, Mataeo acts in plays, movies, commercials and TV shows. If you want to see more, check out his IMDB page. Last summer he was challenged with his least favorite thing to do – dancing! Despite his initial reservations, he had the time of his life playing Hairspray’s Seaweed J. Stubbs! Mataeo is not afraid to try new things, especially when it comes to foods, sports and video games.
The Matthews family consists of four amazing iLEAD Exploration learners. This family loves the freedom that homeschooling allows them. Mom started homeschooling so their family would have the flexibility to combine learning and traveling. Being able to set the learning pace for each of her children has been another positive aspect of their homeschool experience.
Charisma is a talented seventh grader who enjoys playing the violin. Liberty is in third grade and plays the piano. Frederick (second grade) and Asher (TK) both play the drums and love basketball.
When the Matthews family is not attending music, swimming, dance, and physical education classes, you can find them participating in musicals or traveling the world. This school year they took a road trip to Washington, D.C.
While there, they were able to really dive into the historical landmarks of the district. Not long after that, they were able to travel to Mexico and immerse themselves in the culture of the country. The Matthews learners love taking their studies on the road and learning new things while traveling.