Learner Spotlight: Duke and Lila Etherton


iLEAD Exploration learners Duke and Lila Etherton are a brother and sister dynamic duo who have been homeschooling since day one. The Ethertons believe that people learn best through experiences, so they constantly seek out a wide variety of educational experiences for their children to participate in. From museums to nature centers, presidential libraries, factories, zoos, national parks, monuments, farms, historic sites, botanical gardens, and sporting events, Duke (10th grade) and Lila (6th grade) take full advantage of their homeschooling lifes.

Duke is an ambitious 10th grader who enjoys playing guitar, producing music, gaming with friends, reading about politics, and playing and watching football, basketball, and baseball. Duke has been a batboy since he was eight years old. He started at the collegiate level, then the minor leagues, working his way up to being the head batboy for Major League Baseball spring training games. Lila is a creative 6th grader who enjoys art, movie making, stop-motion films, digital art, sewing, crafting, cooking, playing ukulele and keyboard, songwriting, and musical theater. Duke and Lila love homeschooling! The personalized education that homeschool offers allows them to dive deeper into their areas of interest and passion while collecting memories of unforgettable experiences along the way. Homeschooling gives them the ability to keep their curiosity alive and zest for life growing!

Duke and Lila are successful with homeschooling because they put first things first. Every morning, they are actively a part of their family meetings where each member prioritizes his/her to-do list for the day. For Duke, this means completing assignments for his concurrent enrollment courses at Saddleback Community College before anything else. Duke’s strategy helped him become a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the world’s most prestigious honor society for two-year colleges. Lila is an early riser! She wakes up at 6 a.m. and has her own copy of her ILP. She takes this early morning time to look over her ILP and decide what assignments she’s going to focus on for the day. Lila succeeds in all subject areas and goes above and beyond grade-level expectations.

School assignments aren’t always easy and enjoyable, but Duke and Lila fight through the mundane and dig down deep to persevere and show true grit. Duke makes an effort to learn from his mistakes. When he gets an answer wrong, he writes down the question and later researches the answer. Duke doesn’t just want to get the answer right, but rather, he truly desires to learn. Lila demonstrates grit in her own unique way. She understands where her strengths and weaknesses lie. Lila recognizes that she learns best through creative outlets. When she comes across an assignment that she’s not thrilled about or struggles to understand, Lila finds a way to incorporate art into it. Creating a PowerPoint, making a stop-motion film, or painting about the assignment helps her learn and grasp the concept while making it more enjoyable and fun.

Through their hard work, determination, grit, and ability to put first things first, Duke and Lila Etherton have a successful and bright future. Watch out for this dynamic duo, as they will definitely conquer and positively impact the world!



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