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

King Tut Field Trip


iLEAD learners and families drove from all corners of the greater Los Angeles area to visit the highly acclaimed King Tut exhibit at the California Science Center on the first day of spring break. We were sad to learn that King Tut’s mummy has never left his tomb and the coffins and death mask now always stay in Egypt, but there was a beautiful assortment of furniture, statues, and jewelry from his tomb as well as fascinating videos and an amazing movie at the IMAX. Everyone loved observing the ancient objects up close and decided they wanted their next iLEAD field trip to be all the way to Egypt itself (any takers?)! After touring the exhibit, families split up to explore the rest of the exhibits throughout the science center and get lunch. One family went across the street to Chick-Fil-A and were served by one of our own ilEAD high schoolers working the lunch shift there. Thanks for the good food, Jose! His manager even stopped by to leave a good word about his work there. iLEAD learners are everywhere, doing all kinds of amazing things!

Jelly Bean/Marshmallow Tower STEM Park Day

Glass jar with sweet candies and marshmallows isolated on white background

You are invited to join us at our next STEM park day in Valencia!

Learners will be working as groups, partners, or individually to design and build the tallest tower using jelly beans and marshmallows.

Where: Valencia Heritage Park located at 24155 Newhall Ranch Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 (meet at the picnic tables)
When: Thursday, April 12 at 1 p.m.

To sign up for this event please email Heidi Marino at by April 10 (please include your learner’s name and grade level).

Fun at the Firestation


On Wednesday, March 7, a group of iLEAD families enjoyed a wonderful tour of La Mirada Fire Station No. 49. Learners toured the station to see where the firefighters eat, sleep, work, and even do chores while on duty.

They learned about the truck, equipment, supplies, and how firefighters keep it all in tip-top shape. Learners were able to try on the oxygen tank or jacket and they discovered just how heavy the equipment is!

The group was able to watch the firefighters in action as the station received three calls while they were there. It was a great time!

Leprechaun Traps


At the March park day in Valencia, families had a great time making leprechaun traps! Learners designed, built and created leprechaun traps to catch leprechauns. Most of the traps used gold coins and rainbows to attract those sneaky leprechauns. Some of the traps had devices that dropped on top of the leprechauns to catch them, while others had sticky tape so the leprechauns couldn’t get away. The kids were so innovative and it was fun spending time together!

UCLA Cub Tour Review

ucla bruins

March 14 was a beautiful day on the campus of UCLA for a tour! Our learners enjoyed their time walking around the campus learning about what it’s like to attend college at the world’s most applied-to public university. The popular Urban Legends Tour of UCLA entertained the learners and had everyone guessing what was true and what wasn’t. It was a great day to be a Bruin!

iLEAD Informational Sessions

Invest in yourself. Inspire quote handwritten with brush at yel

Hello, Dear Families!

Our Love and Logic parenting series is in full swing, and these monthly courses have been a-mazing! If interested in learning more, please log into the Hub and visit the section called Parent University. We will continue to post the sessions there.

This coming week, we are hosting two special webinars. The first webinar is open to all families interested in an independent study program through high school! Please encourage friends to join the high school team for an informational meeting about our program on Tuesday, March 20 from 7 to 8 p.m.

The second webinar will be hosted by iLEAD’s directors to explain our blossoming program.


To join, please RSVP for the webinar here!

Have a wonderful week with your families!

Learner Spotlight: Natalie Saavedra


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!”

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones logo

Stepping Stones, located in Newport Beach, offers a personalized approach to education for twice exceptional learners otherwise known as 2e learners. Twice Exceptional learners are those that display exceptional intellectual abilities coupled with specific learning challenges. These learners can fall into two categories: those with mild disabilities that are able to mask learning difficulties with their giftedness, and those learners with more severe learning problems that may actually mask their giftedness. Through small group instruction and trained learning coaches, Stepping Stones breaks through these barriers allowing these learners to reach their full potential. Stepping Stones was recently featured in an article in the L.A. Times, which you can read here. To learn more about Stepping Stones, please visit their website.

Vendor Spotlight: German School Campus

german school

German School campus in Newport Beach is a language school open to all learners who desire to master the German language or to enhance their German language skills. They offer classes to native and non-native speakers from four to 17 years old. German School campus offers classes on different levels on Monday and Thursday afternoons.

MAP Testing


iLEAD’s spring session for MAP Growth testing is available now until the end of school year. This past fall, families loved the convenience of being able to test from their own homes, around their own schedule, and receive valuable information to help guide instruction. Spring testing is designed to measure how much your learner has grown throughout the year. If your learner tested in the fall, we highly encourage you to have your learner complete spring MAP Growth testing to measure their progress. Let them show off how much they now know and celebrate their success!

This free and highly regarded tool is one that iLEAD highly encourages you to take advantage of. Even if your learner has not previously participated in MAP Growth testing, we believe the information you will receive will still be of great value. Please let your educational facilitator know if you would like to participate in this opportunity.

CAASPP State Testing


Families of 3rd-8th, 11th, and 12th graders received an informational parent letter last week about the upcoming state testing. Participation is one of the biggest ways you can give back to iLEAD as the state of California requires all public school programs to assess their learners annually to demonstrate growth. This week an email will be sent to sign up for the best dates and location for your family. Thank you in advance for your help to make this year’s CAASPP tests successful. For additional information about the tests, please visit here. If you have any further questions, please contact your educational facilitator.

Educational Podcasts for the Entire Family


Here are some educational, family friendly podcasts for the whole family which allow the use of technology while limiting screen time!

Stories Podcast– A free children’s story for bedtime, car rides, or family time
Bravewriter with Julie Bogart– A conversation about how to bring learning to life for your learners
Brains On!– A science podcast for curious learners and adults
Wow in the World- Combination of careful scientific research and fun
But WhyA show lead by learners. They ask the questions and we find the answers to such things as: why do we need to sleep, what are Olympic medals made of and much much more!
Grammar GirlWinner of the 2017 Best Education Podcast, Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing
Sparkle Stories– Each week a free story is shared from their original Sparkle Story series. Great for car rides, family time or bedtime

Available from the app store or anywhere you get your favorite podcasts.

Student Support March Newsletter



Parent University #3

Parent University

Hello, Families!

We are excited to hold Parent University Webinar #3 this Tuesday, March 13, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. If you missed the first two sessions, it is not too late to sign up! Please RSVP to Matt Watson at to receive the call-in information for Tuesday’s session.


Have a wonderful week!

Learner Spotlight: David Curtis-Perales

LS 2 3

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.

Lucy-Lou Mine Immersion at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Field Trip


iLEAD Exploration learners participated in the Lucy-Lou Mine Immersion at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center on Monday, March 5. They rotated through several stations learning about rocks and minerals as it relates to the history of the Gold Rush.

First, attendees learned about the Assay Office where they weighed different minerals using a scale. They also learned about smelting a gold ore in order to make gold bars to earn money.

At the Geode Cracking station, learners shouted “Let’s get cracking” by taking turns using a machine to crack open a geode rock that they got to keep and take home. At the Rockapalooza station, learners identified minerals and rocks by their physical properties; transparency, color, streak, or luster. In Rock Polishing, learners first polished their geodes or a calcite rock with sand paper.

Then they used toothpaste and a toothbrush to further polish their rock to create a luster or shiny effect on their rock. Next, learners climbed down the Lucy-Lou Mine with hard hats, picks, and shovels searching for coal in the mine. This was the most exciting part of the field trip for many of the learners!

Lastly, learners panned for gold. They learned that panning for gold was a team effort and a lot of work but the sounds of “Eureka” being shouted let them know when a team member struck gold. This hands-on, engaging field trip was a huge success.

Field Trip to IN-N-OUT Seal Beach


The IN-N-OUT field trip in Seal Beach was a lot of fun!! The learners toured the kitchen and learned about food storage and preparations. They even learned about some secret menu items! The learners especially enjoyed getting to cut potatoes into french fries. After the tour, everyone enjoyed a free meal including the fries they helped cut!

Vendor Spotlight: Outdoor Schooling

outdoor schooling

Join Outdoor Schooling for Farm Fridays! This is a special hands-on opportunity for your learner to experience farm life. They will learn animal science while actively participating in animal care. Each class focuses on a particular type of animal, integrating animal care, feeding and handling skills. Classes are held on a five acre farm in Calabasas.


Middle and High School Leadership Meeting


All sixth through 12th grade learners are welcome to join our iLEAD Leadership Team. Our next meeting is Friday, March 16 at 11:30 a.m. The leadership team is working on developing clubs and brainstorming opportunities for our middle and high school learners. Please contact your educational facilitator for details.

Physical Fitness Testing


It’s time for our annual physical fitness testing! The physical fitness test for California schools is called the FITNESSGRAM®. Only learners in grades 5, 7 and 9 will be participating in the testing. This is a state-mandated test and is conducted by your educational facilitator. If you have a learner in any of these three grade levels, be on the lookout for a letter from your educational facilitator with more information about the physical fitness test and the date and location they will be conducting it.

For general information about physical fitness testing, please visit here.

Thank you in advance for your participation! Please let your educational facilitator know if you have any questions.

MAP Testing


iLEAD’s spring session for MAP Growth testing is available now until the end of school year. This past fall, families loved the convenience of being able to test from their own homes, around their own schedule, and receive valuable information to help guide instruction. Spring testing is designed to measure how much your learner has grown throughout the year. If your learner tested in the fall, we highly encourage you to have your learner complete spring MAP Growth testing to measure their progress. Let them show off how much they now know and celebrate their success!

This free and highly regarded tool is one that iLEAD highly encourages you to take advantage of. Even if your learner has not previously participated in MAP Growth testing, we believe the information you will receive will still be of great value. Please let your EF know if you would like to participate in this opportunity.

Six Summer Ideas for High School Learners


If you’re looking for engaging activities to keep your high school learner involved this summer (including the pros and cons of each option), PrepScholar’s blog has some great ideas that include:

1. Getting a Job
A summer job is a great way to gain work experience that can be included on a resume or college application. It is also a great way for your learner to earn money so that they begin learning how to budget.

2. Exploring an Internship
Internships are typically more closely related to a learner’s career interests and are not always paid for. If your learner can get an internship that relates to a future career or field of study, that will show employers or colleges that your learner is passionate and dedicated to something, potentially making them a stand-out amongst other applicants.

3. Taking Summer Classes
Summer classes can be taken at a community college, through an academic program at a learning center, or even online. Having college classes on your transcript, even if they are only introductory classes at a community college, can boost your learner’s application by showing schools that they’re able to handle the rigor and workload of college.

4. Exploring Hobbies or Talents
This is a broad category that can include sports, clubs, or other activities that are enjoyed through school, a local group, or even independently. Colleges and employers like to see applicants who have outside interests and can commit themselves to a particular activity.

5. Attending a Summer Camp
More and more summer camps are being created with a unique focus on cultural immersion, performing arts, wilderness skills, and more. Many high schoolers attend these programs to learn new skills or improve skills they already have.

6. Volunteering
There are many places where your learner can volunteer including schools, animal shelters, retirement homes, museums, and more. In order for volunteer work to stand out, your learner will need to work at the same place over a long period of time, obtain a leadership position, and make their passion and interests clear.

Help iLEAD Learners Give Back!

This year during spring break a group of iLEAD learners from three entities will be working together to help the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, which is still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Maria. Learners will be replanting much-needed agriculture, and building sustainable homes and shelters for those left homeless by the devastating storm in September. And to do so they need your help! Please consider donating to the Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds. If you cannot donate please SHARE the page on social media. The learners also want to bring needed supplies to the island. You can contribute by purchasing items off the Amazon Wish list here.
Lastly, you can help raise funds for the trip by dining out on Tuesday, March 20, at Chipotle in Santa Clarita. Don’t forget to bring the attached flier with you, and iLEAD’s Back Packs Full of Hope will earn 50 percent back on your purchase. Win -Win!

More than 400 Attend iLEAD Space and Innovation Expo


Over 400 iLEAD learners and family members, along with their facilitators, gathered at College of the Canyons for our first iLEAD Space and Innovation Expo to celebrate DreamUp to Space student achievement. In partnership with DreamUp, students explored microgravity (what astronauts experience in space), the International Space Station and the engineering design process in order to develop and propose an experiment that could be run on ISS, as well as Mission Patch designs, with the end goal of actually sending an iLEAD experiment to space. Dr Jacob Cohen, chief scientist at NASA Ames, shared an inspirational message about the future of space exploration.
Experiment proposals and mission patch designs were received from learners from iLEAD Encino, iLEAD Lancaster, iLEAD AV, iLEAD Pacoima, Innovation Studios Middle School, Lancaster and SCVi. Guests had the opportunity to interact with the COC Astronomy and Physics and Makerspace clubs, NASA SOFIA pilot Manny Antimisirias and SOFIA mission patch designer Liem Bahneman, as well as enjoy hands-on “maker” items like an LED Blinkie and laser cutter name badge.
Experiment and mission patch design finalists will be posted on the iLEAD aerospace website.
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