iLEAD Exploration Remains Open Virtually for Learners

iLEAD Exploration continues to operate its independent study model in an entirely virtual format. Click here for resources.

Jul 27, 2020 @ 01:00

Monday Message

Our News & Events

Happy Mother’s Day!

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This week, we would like to honor very special ladies who are both moms and teachers. We see how hard you strive to be the best mom and teacher to your kiddos. We admire you for all that you do to help your children become all they are intended to be. We hope you know how much you are loved and appreciated.

A Teacher Is…

By Julie Spann

A teacher is someone who inspires.

They make you want to learn.

A teacher is someone who applauds.

Their praise students want to earn.

A teacher is someone to respect.

Their dedication sets them apart.

A teacher is someone to admire.

They’re compassionate, funny and smart.

A teacher is someone who explains.

They makes things easier to comprehend.

A teacher is someone very special

Who is a faithful mentor and friend.

Learner Spotlight: The McLaughlin Family

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The McLaughlins are longtime homeschoolers who appreciate the freedom to pursue their passions and learn what interests them. Both Owen and Tess McLaughlin appreciate the flexibility to shape their own education to their learning styles and adjust its pace to their needs.

Owen McLaughlin is a 14-year-old freshman. He has been homeschooling for eight years and takes full advantage of the great vendors iLEAD Exploration offers. He rock climbs, plays the piano, and is working on his second-degree orange belt in karate. His two favorite subjects are history and science. He enjoys history because he likes to understand the events that contribute to where we are today. As for science, he has loved this subject since he could talk. He loves the challenge science offers and the logical answers it gives through discovery. Owen has been on the Hart District Robotics Team 691 for two years, where he is the team’s quartermaster. This year was super exciting because his team made it to the world competition.


Tess McLaughlin is an 11-year old iLEAD Exploration learner who has been homeschooled from the start. Her passion is ballet and she is excited that this year she goes on pointe. She has taken voice and musical theatre lessons since she was six years old at one of iLEAD’s wonderful and nurturing vendors, Vibe Performing Arts Studio. She has made the leap this year to the big stage with another one of iLEAD’s great vendors: The Canyon Theatre Guild where she has performed in James and the Giant Peach musical and now has landed a lead in The Adventures of Robin Hood. She is happy to have found a tribe of kind and supportive homeschool kids at the theatre! Her favorite subjects are reading and science. She loves reading because it can take you into worlds you never would have imagined. She never leaves home without a book in hand. She loves science because of the hands-on experiments (such as a bioluminescent experiment).

Asked where they see themselves in 10 years, Tess imagines herself dancing with the Joffrey Ballet Company as a prima ballerina, while Owen imagines himself as a mechanical engineer in his dream job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Bravo to the McLaughlin learners!


Vendor Spotlight: Vibe Performing Arts Studios

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Vibe Performing Arts Studios located in Santa Clarita offers instruction in singing, dancing, acting, instruments, and magic! Instructors create a warm, supportive environment for their students as they grow to discover their full potential through creative expression. CLICK HERE to visit the website.

iLEAD Experiments Launch to ISS

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The progress of DreamUp 2019 has been building for months, as so many learners have risen to the challenge of creating a real-world experiment designed to help us learn more about the effects of microgravity. We had over 600 learners, family, and community members in attendance at the iLEAD Space and Innovation Expo on December 7, which was our first peek at the innovation of our iLEAD scientists. Their projects have gone through many steps, including drafts, rewrites, rubrics, more edits, the narrowing down to 27 experiments, more work, the narrowing down to nine, more work, and video pitches, which we have shared on the iLEAD Student Aerospace blog as well as social media. We want to congratulate the hundreds of iLEAD learners and dozens of facilitators who were inspired to participate in the DreamUp 2019 challenge.

The beauty of the DreamUp program at iLEAD is that even if your learner’s original idea for an experiment wasn’t picked, they still can be a part of the DreamUp team. There is still much work to be done to get these experiments launch ready, and the project teams will expand. Applications will go out in the fall Monday Message to recruit additional learners to build out the DreamUp 2019 team!

The three teams selected for flight aboard the ISS are:

“What is the Effect of Microgravity on Mycelium?” (SCVi, 11th grade)

  • Team Members: Brayden Hall, Connor Raskin, Mario Robles, Adam Simpson (Click here to see the team’s video pitch)

“What is the Effect of Microgravity on Ulva Lactuca?” (SCVi, 4th/5th grade)

  • Charlie Halvorsen, Gabriel Olmos, Maliah Sanmarti, Skye Van Verseveld (Click here to see the team’s video pitch.)

“What is the Effect of Microgravity on Aloe Vera?” (Agua Dulce 5th/6th grade, Lancaster 6th grade)

  • iLEAD Agua Dulce learners Cody Anderson, Leo Cuellar, Samantha Diem, and Kaylee Pippin
  • iLEAD Lancaster learners Brianna Angel, Ana Lopez Barahona, Mariana Lopez, Estrella Perez, Uriah Mack, and Lizette Monze Trujillo
  • Click to see the video pitches from Agua Dulce and Lancaster.

The assessor team concluded that, given the similarities, both Aloe Vera teams have been selected and should merge and work together to optimize their experiment. This is common practice within the science community, collaborating to produce best results.

Upcoming Events in Los Angeles County


Join Fowler Museum Educators for an interactive storytelling experience as we look, listen, and learn in our special exhibition Guatemalan Masks: Selections from the Jeanne and Jim Pieper Collection with the acclaimed children’s book Abuela’s Weave by Omar S. Castaneda. A Parent’s Choice Award honoree, this story explores the culture of Guatemala through the eyes of a little girl named Esperanza, who works with her grandmother to weave textiles for sale at the local market. After the reading, explore the exhibition uninterrupted before the Fowler opens to the general public at noon. Story Time is a short format, informal storytelling program facilitated by Fowler Educators at 11:30 a.m. on the first and third Friday of most months. This event is free, no reservation required. Meet in the Fowler’s Lobby.

Introducing Melrose Mornings at the Melrose Trading Post, brought to you by Greenway Arts Alliance in partnership with the Melrose Business Improvement District. Hving launched April 28, and takes place every Sunday at the MTP from 9-11 a.m., Melrose Mornings will appeal to parents and kids from toddlers to ‘tweens. Entertainment includes kid-friendly bands and entertainers, a handmade putt-putt course, arts and crafts, face painting and more!

Museums of the Arroyo Day

Six museums in Pasadena and Los Angeles open their doors on Sunday, May 19, 2019 noon-4 PM for a free day of historical discoveries, family-fun, children’s activities and great architecture tours. Free shuttles connect: Gamble House, Heritage Square Museum, Los Angeles Police Museum, Lummis Home, Pasadena Museum of History and the Autry’s Southwest Museum, Mt. Washington Campus.

The 18th Annual Russian Arts and Culture Festival is a day of family-friendly fun. This year the Festival will take place on Sunday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The Festival is free and open to the public and it will include a day of entertainment, music, food vendors, Russian crafts and jewelry, and numerous local exhibitors. The Annual Gala Concert from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. will feature special guests from Russia.

Japanese Festival

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Come and celebrate the culture of Japan and all it has to offer. Anaheim’s first-ever Japanese festival is taking place Saturday, May 25th. Enjoy the experience of different Japanese cuisines, cosplay, merchandise, entertainment, and learning about their culture. CLICK HERE for all the details.


Vendor Spotlight: Taylor of All Trades


TOAT Lettering Series Flyer

TOAT Lettering Series Promo Video

Family Dinner Book Club

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Are you looking for a fun family activity? Family Dinner Book Club invites your family to share a great story, great art, great conversation, and great food each month. For all the details CLICK HERE.

Learner Spotlight: The Theule Family


The four Theule family learners are adventurers who love exploring nature, reading great books, playing music, and chasing curiosity wherever it may lead. They can regularly be found conducting experiments, recreating scenes from a book, translating bits of Latin to make new Harry Potter spells, or debating the merits of different Greek gods — thanks to Percy Jackson.

Penelope (11), Arthur (9), Zoe (8), and Felix (6) hike every week with their Wild + Free Nature group. They’ve earned a growing collection of Jr. Ranger badges and have plans for another epic road trip later this year during which they will cross off six more National Parks from their list! Clearly, these kids heartily ascribe to the Charlotte Mason quote, “Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.”


The Theule family continues to pursue excellence in their musical studies. All four play piano, Penelope also plays violin, and Arthur plays cello. Homeschooling allows them to practice freely and often, so they have progressed with skill and passion.

Penelope is eagerly awaiting the results of this year’s National Mythology exam, after doing quite well on the Exploratory Latin exam last year. When they get older, her siblings will have the opportunity to try their hand at earning classics medals as well.

Next up for the Theule kids is summer swim team! This will be their fifth summer competing, and they can’t wait to reunite with their team, cheer for each other, and try to beat last summer’s records.

Summer Camp Opportunity

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Aloha, iLEAD Families! iLEAD Schools and Cultural Bridges are excited to announce an amazing summer camp opportunity in Hawaii for grades 6-12! This July we are offering a multicultural STEAM summer camp for middle and high school learners on the beautiful island of Kaua’i. See flyer for details. For questions, email

  • Three weeks (stay 1, 2 or all 3)
  • Stay in cabins on campus
  • STEM classes during the day, fun activities in the afternoon
  • Our hope is to have 40 iLEAD learners and 40 international students


  • 1 week – $1,200
  • 2 weeks – $1,700
  • 3 weeks – $2,200
  • Includes flight, meals, and activities
iLEAD Kauai Flyer pdf

Learner Spotlight: The Strawn Family


The Strawn family loves to learn! Owen (4th grade), Ryder (2nd grade), and Molly (kindergarten) are curious and love to explore and discover. The family enjoys taking field trips and participating in hands-on activities. The flexibility of homeschooling has allowed them to inspect the world around them, and then learn more about what they have discovered. Whether it is an animal, plant, or even a BUG, it never seems to get by their watchful eyes.


The arts are an important part of the homeschool day for the Strawn family. Owen, Ryder, and Molly all take piano lessons. Not only are they learning to play, but they are also learning to appreciate music. They enjoy learning different rhythms while studying famous composers. Knowing that learning is always more exciting when you get to create while you learn, their mom likes to incorporate art into their day. They use different mediums from crayons to watercolor crystals to create beautiful journals about what they’re learning in their different subjects.


The Strawn family greatly appreciates how homeschooling has allowed their children to grow in their love for learning and ability to ask questions about why. We love having them as a part of our iLEAD Exploration family.

Vendor Spotlight: Kids in Sports


Calling all soccer players! Kids in Sports is offering a free class to iLEAD learners on Friday, May 24, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. If you would like to attend, please complete this RSVP form.


Learner Spotlight: Lana Tapson


Meet Lana, a joyful iLEAD Exploration kindergartener with a passion for dinosaurs and all things sweet!

Her sweet tooth led her to start her own chocolate shop at the age of 5, when she debuted “Lana Bean’s Chocolates” at the first West Valley Children’s Business Fair in Canoga Park. Lana worked hard on brainstorming flavors (she settled on “Milk Chocolate Strawberry Pop Rock”, “White Chocolate Mint”, and “Dark Blueberry Chocolate”) and made a nice profit that day to re-invest in her business. She even bargained with buyers and traded with other vendors!

Lana also loves to explore the cuisine of many cultures and particularly enjoys making Asian food. She works with her mother to make dumplings, spring rolls, noodles and many other delightful morsels!

Aside from her sweet tooth, Lana is a budding paleontologist, ever since discovering the TV series Dino Dan two years ago. Her fascination with dinosaurs knows no bounds; she is constantly reading and finding out new facts about them. Her favorite is the Euoplocephalus. She is very excited to travel to Dallas with her daddy later this year to visit Dinosaur World and chat with on-site paleontologists at the Paleo Lab!

A vivacious middle child, Lana loves her two sisters and cannot wait to be a big sister again in October. In her spare time, Lana loves to read about dinosaurs and weather. Her favorite TV show is Beat Bugs. She loves to sing along with all the show’s cover versions of Beatles songs!

The Allemande Music Academy


The Allemande Music Academy would like to invite you to attend a special presentation of the music of Bach and Chopin on Saturday, April 27, at 7 p.m. This educational concert hosted by the Santa Clarity Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra, will be held in the choir room at College of the Canyons, located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91355. For more information about the Allemande Music Academy, please visit them here.

Bach & Chopin Concert Poster April

Service Project: Beach Cleanup

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We are so excited about our beach cleanup taking place on Friday, April 26, at 10 a.m. Families can meet at the lifeguard headquarters building right next to the beach, adjacent to the parking lot on 2100 E Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90803. Please follow the steps down from the grassy bluffs at Junipero and Ocean Blvd. We will stroll the beach, gathering trash and cleaning up together. Please bring a bucket or bag to gather trash in, and reusable gloves or something to clean your hands after we clean up!
There is a pay parking lot adjacent to the beach and lifeguard headquarters. Alternatively, you can find street parking and walk down the stairs or ramp as well. Please be aware of street sweeping in some areas.
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Obtaining a Work Permit


Is your learner planning on working this summer? Depending on the age of your learner, a work permit may be required by the employer. A work permit is a legal document that allows a learner to hold a job. Work permits are issued based on good academic standing and attendance. Learners are not allowed a work permit if they are on academic probation. If the employer asks for one, here are the steps to obtain an official work permit:

1) Download the B1-1 Form from the CDE website. Have the employer complete and sign the workplace information section.
2) Return the signed copy to your educational facilitator, who will forward the form to the iLEAD registrar. The documented information will be verified.
3) Please include the home address where the final form should be mailed. The permit will be mailed within 2-3 business days.
4) Sign the permit and provide it to the employer.

Please note that the directors maintain the right to withdraw a work permit based on academic standing or violation of school policy. If you have any questions, email

Learner Spotlight: The Huang Family


Meet the multi-talented Huangs! Logan (grade 6) and Delphine (grade 5) are quite the impressive duo! Whether it be martial arts, speaking French fluently, learning Mandarin, playing piano or practicing Wushu (a type of Kung Fu), these two have a zest for learning and trying new experiences.

Logan P.D.Y. Huang loves animals and biology. His favorite part of homeschooling is that he receives more focused attention from his facilitator (mom), and they can move at his pace. He also loves the flexibility it offers so he can continue his studies in various martial arts, including Taekwondo, cinematic martial arts, and Wushu. He also enjoys acrobatics, tricking, parkour, hip-hop dance, piano, composing, guitar, acting, and much more! Logan tells us: “In ten years, I imagine myself in college getting a degree in biology and, hopefully, still acting on the side.”

Delphine Lily Ai Min Huang describes herself as “hard-working, fit, and very buoyant.” Her favorite part of homeschooling is history, because she likes to read about important people and how they lived, especially people such as Confucius and Hammurabi. She practices tumbling, parkour, cinematic martial arts, hip-hop, piano, guitar, acting, and modeling. She also trains in Wushu and is a black belt in Taekwondo! When asked to imagine the next ten years, Delphine replied, “I see myself as a famous actress and stunt person, while at the same time making art at college.”

Look out, world! Here come the Huangs!


2019 PBS Kids Writers Contest


Calling all learners in Kindergarten through 3rd grade! PBS SoCal is hosting a writer’s contest, and YOU are invited to participate! Enter your story or poem to win prizes and have your work published online! Each entry must be an original work, written and illustrated by the entrant. First, second, and third place winners will be chosen from each grade, and every child who submits an original piece will receive a certificate of appreciation for their participation.

Visit the PBS SoCal website HERE to learn more! Entries are being accepted through Monday, May 6th. Ready, set, write!

OC Fair’s Imaginology

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Set a course for full STEAM ahead to OC Fair’s Imaginology, April 12-14, where science, technology, engineering, art, and math come alive in the most fun and exciting ways.

Friday, April 12: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Saturday, April 13: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday, April 14: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission is free. Parking is free on Friday; $9 on Saturday & Sunday.

For more details CLICK HERE

Educator University: Writing & Thinking Maps Webinar

Mark your calendars! Our Writing and Thinking Maps webinar is coming up on April 25 at 7 pm!


Water Lantern Festival: Ontario, CA

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Water Lantern Festival is an incredible experience where families, friends, and strangers celebrate life together. Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. The festival takes place in Ontario, CA on Saturday, April 20th. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Countdown to iLEAD Student Aerospace Project Winners Announcement


All of us familiar with aerospace projects know that sometimes things do not go exactly as planned and launches get rescheduled. We have a parallel “slip” situation in an anticipated four-day delay in the announcement of our final three winners among the nine finalists. While we wait on tenterhooks for our assessors to do the difficult job of choosing which projects will best benefit the science community, let’s meet the finalists one more time by viewing their pitches over the coming days. Then in next week’s Monday Message, we will reveal which three of them are going to the International Space Station later this year. Stay tuned! Click here to read more about the finalists.

Learner Spotlight: Maliah Siyoum


Maliah is a bright, friendly 6th grader who has been diving into her first year of homeschooling!

Her favorite things to do are watch anime, visit Japantown in Los Angeles, and hang out with her friends. So far, the best things about homeschooling have been visiting museums like the Museum of Tolerance, and going to UCLA with her mom.

In 10 years, she hopes to be finishing up school at the University of Hawaii and preparing for her dream job as an animator or a manga illustrator.Thanks, Maliah! We are so glad you’re with us at iLEAD Exploration!

CAASPP Testing Is Here


Thank you for signing up for state testing! Participating in CAASPP testing is one of the best ways to give back to your charter school! Being able to show the state that our learners participate enables us to maintain our reputation and continue to receive funding for our families to educate their children freely.

This year, we have added some exciting treats that learners can look forward to on their testing days. We have worked hard to make the testing environment a safe place where your learners will feel a sense of accomplishment. They will be supported and encouraged along the way, and we thank you in advance for your participation!

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