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.

Aug 23, 2020 @ 01:00

Monday Message

Our News & Events

What’s New at the OC Studio?

OC Studio


Science Vendors


Science can be interactive and engaging, but also a little bit intimidating. We have put together a few of our most loved science vendors to help give your science lessons just the boost they need.

Steve Spangler (ages 5-18) – Perfect for your kinesthetic learner.

Home Science Tools (ages 5-18) – Fun, hands-on kits and curriculum for science activities.

Academy of Science for Kids (ages 5-18) – These kits allow for a guided inquiry approach and encourage the development of important processing skills.

MEL Science (ages 10-14) – New chemistry experiments delivered to your door every month.

Timberdoodle (ages 4-18) – Unique, innovative kits with an emphasis on engineering and thinking skills.

Learner Spotlight: Ballinger Brothers


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.


Learner Poll: Tell Us How We Are Doing!


For families interested in helping us measure how well we are doing as a school, please consider having your learner take this Gallup Poll!
The web-based survey has 24 core items which measure four elements including engagement with school, hope for the future, entrepreneurial aspiration and career/financial literacy of students. The results will provide our school with great feedback on learner engagement and ways we can improve our program for the future.
WHO can take the poll?
Learners in grades 5-12
WHEN can the poll be completed?
Between Sept 24-Oct 26
The survey is only accessible Monday through Friday between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm US Central time.
HOW long does the poll take to complete?
The survey will take an average of 10-15 minutes to complete.

We thank you for your input!

PSAT Practice & Sign Ups


Please complete this formstack to sign up.


October Homeschool Days

Homeschool Days

Did you know that there are endless educational opportunities right in your community? Many organizations have designated special days throughout the year to support homeschool families. Homeschool days are a great way to expose your learner to enrichment experiences for free or discounted rates. We have put together a list of some of these days that are happening in your area during the month of October. For more information, please visit their website or contact the venue directly.

Los Angeles County
Natural History Museum – Oct 9
Kids Space Museum – Oct 10
Six Flags Magic Mountain – Oct 15
La Brea Tar Pits – Oct 17
The Autry Museum – Oct 18

Orange County
Aliso Viejo Ice Palace- Every Monday!
Mission San Juan Capistrano – Oct 17
Pretend City Children’s Museum – Oct 19
Riley’s Stone Soup Farm and Heritage Orchard – Oct 26
Riley’s Apple Farm – Oct 30
The California Science Museum – Oct 29 and 30

San Bernardino County
Amy’s Farm – Oct 11

San Diego County
San Diego – “Kids Free” opportunities. Each year during the month of October, 100+ San Diego attractions offer free admission to all learners!

Learner Spotlight: Carson Sandlin


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.

Student Support Symposium

Symposium Invite

Join us for our 3rd annual Student Support Symposium on Oct 9!

WHY: The goal of this year’s symposium is to empower educators to use their talents, passions, and interests to positively influence their learners in their education. We hope to continue to carry on the vision of iLEAD schools by transforming and informing change in the world of education.

WHO should come: Every educator/parent who is committed to helping students impacted by challenging disabilities, trauma, and/or other emotional challenges succeed. Learners are invited as well!

At iLEAD schools we want to ensure we are facilitating healthy environments, supportive schools, and targeted instruction that helps all of our learners engage in meaningful opportunities to expand their knowledge and heighten their achievement. Attend this year’s symposium to gain insight on proven solutions, game-changing ideas, and the tools you need to create pathways to equity for all. Each and every learner needs and deserves a safe, challenging, and supportive learning environment—especially those who have special needs, cultural or language differences, or are historically underrepresented.

Please RSVP here!

High School Zoom Meeting

HS Feature


Zoo-Phonics Workshop in Castaic

Zoo phonics


High School: Online Curriculum


High school can be difficult to navigate. This week we are excited to share some of our online resources that might help you. Please be sure to connect with your EF before enrolling in any courses.

Many iLEAD Online courses are a-g approved and could be taken by learners on the customized or a-g paths. The courses are facilitated by highly qualified teachers. Check out the course catalog of innovative, project-based online courses.

Global Student Network is a corporation accredited by AdvancED as an online and homeschool curriculum provider.

BYU Independant Study has a variety of course offerings! Our learners may enroll in the paper, online or teacher-led (TL) courses. If a learner is on the a-g path, the learner must enroll in the TL courses.

Blue Tent offers a variety of honors and AP courses. Most learners who take courses from Blue Tent take the AP test upon course completion. These courses, designed for high achievers, are very rigorous. They are not a-g approved and may only be used with the customized path.

Please remember to check the University of California’s a-g approved course list to determine if a class is a-g approved. To do so:

  1. Visit the University of California A-G Approved Course List

  2. Choose the programs/online publisher option and type in the program name.

  3. Use the populated list to review courses that are a-g approved.

Monthly Subscription Kits


Monthly subscription kits are a wonderful resource to supplement the curriculum you use to teach the core subject areas. These kits are mailed directly to your home each month. Here is a list of iLEAD Exploration vendors who offer subscription kits:

KiwiCo (ages 3-16) – Hands-on science kits
Little Passports (ages 6-12) – Social studies kits that allow you to discover a new country each month with souvenirs and hands-on activities
Raddish (for all ages) – All subjects are taught using cooking as a medium for teaching
M is for Monster (ages preschool to kinder) – Kits include four themes and four activities centered around the theme
Ivy Kids (ages 3-8) – Each kit includes math, literacy and science activities based on a classic children’s book
EEME (ages 7-12) – Hands-on kits and online lessons to teach kids robotics, coding, and electronics
Bitsbox (ages 6-12) – Each level introduces a new computer science concept with a set of amazing app projects
Cultured Owl (ages 6-10) – Each “Country Kit” allows learners to journey to a new land, learning about its people, culture, and way of life
Girls Can! Crate (ages 5-10) – Each kit includes an activity book and STEAM activity to meet a new woman scientist or leader
Groovy Lab in a Box (ages 8+) – Science lab kits that include everything needed to do hands on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics experiments
History Unboxed (ages 5-16) – Immerses learners in lessons that bring the cultures, peoples, and eras of human history to life
Indigo Artbox (ages 5-16) – Art projects combined with art history, instructional videos and material for a fine art project
Super Charged Science (ages 5-16) – Hands-on science curriculum
Young Scientist Club (elementary ages) – Science kits that provide fun and fascination

Learner Spotlight: Riley Bristol

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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.

Picture Day


Lifetouch will be at the OC learning studio on Friday, Oct 12 from 10 am-1: 30 pm. The studio is located at 2850 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Learners and parents taking their pictures will also receive a FREE ID. Please sign up here for a time slot!



If you are unable to attend the OC picture day, you may also schedule an appointment with Lifetouch.


Discovering the MAP Test


Not sure what to do with the MAP test results and curious how to use Exact Path? Come to an in-person training where iLEAD educational facilitators will explain how MAP results can help guide instruction.

When: Tuesday, Oct 2
Where: Barnes and Noble 23630 Valencia Blvd, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Please RSVP to the event here.

Get Ready for the FITNESSGRAM!


Attention all parents of 5th, 7th, and 9th graders!

The Physical Fitness Test (PFT) for California schools is called the FITNESSGRAM®. Learners in grades 5, 7 and 9 will be participating this spring.

Here’s a heads-up on what we will be evaluating. You and your child can work on these skills throughout the year.

The PFT encompasses the following skills:

Shoulder Stretch Video

Push-Up Video

Trunk Lift Video

Curl-Up Video

One-Mile Run Video

For general information about physical fitness testing, please CLICK HERE.

iLEAD OC Learning Studio

OC Studio copy

The OC learning studio has some exciting opportunities available to ALL iLEAD learners that you don’t want to miss!

October 5Fall Festival and Cardboard Arcade
Come welcome fall with a festival! Caine’s Arcade inspired a revolution of creative play across the world five years ago. Let’s celebrate the anniversary of his movement with our own cardboard arcade! At, you will find Caine’s story and inspire your learner to create his/her own game for other learners to play.

October 26Pumpkin Bots
Bring a small pumpkin and we will have all the nuts, bolts and other hardware to turn your ordinary squash into a pumpkin bot!

November 9Treats for Troops and Multi-Cultural Potluck
Yes, sometimes you can get too much candy, so what’s better than donating candy to our amazing service men and women? Bring your unwanted candy, and we will make sure it gets to Soldier Angels’ Treats for Troops project. We will wrap up the day with a multicultural potluck feast.

December 7Holiday Boutique
Calling all entrepreneurial learners! Come sell your handmade or homemade goodies and creations at our holiday boutique.

All events will take place from 10 am-12 pm at our studio in Costa Mesa. Please stay tuned for more details.

High School Support

High School

We are very excited to support your high school learner as your family navigates through critical learning years. Please join our high school experts virtually as they host monthly meetings on important high school related topics.

Our first Zoom meeting is scheduled for Oct 3 at 9:00 am. We will be discussing the topic High School Planning: A-g or Customized?

For information on how to log in, please contact your EF directly.

Learner Spotlight: Kallie & Dodge


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.


Vendor Spotlight: WISH CO-OP

MAP Testing


We are excited to announce that fall MAP testing is underway. This assessment is free to all our families and provides a detailed report on your learner’s progress in dozens of sub-categories in reading, writing, and math. The test is taken from the comfort of your home at a time convenient for you and your EF. You can explore the test and how to use the results on the NWEA website here.

Navigating Curriculum


Do you ever feel overwhelmed choosing curriculum that is best suited for your learner? With the ever-growing buffet of options it is easy to find yourself buried in choices. Help is here! We have created a “Curriculum Guide” that can be found on our website when you log into the Hub. With filters and search options you can quickly explore recommended materials complete with descriptions, format details, learning styles, links to purchase, and much more!


Learner Spotlight: Emma & Ellie


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!

Favorite Material Vendors

Material Vendors

We are proud of our growing vendor list, but sometimes you just need a quick go-to. Here are a few of our most popular material vendors:

  1. Rainbow Resource
  2. Staples
  3. Office Depot
  4. Lakeshore
  5. Quill

For additional guidelines and instructions, please log into the Hub to view our ordering guidebook!

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