Learner Spotlight: Mateo and Quinn Garcia
iLEAD Exploration learners Mateo and Quinn Garcia have been homeschooling for three years. Originally, they began homeschooling to have more time together as a family after a particularly trying year. They had planned to return to brick-and-mortar school after the first year, Quinn to the Waldorf school for 6th grade, and Mateo to a local public high school.
After one year of homeschooling, both learners discovered they enjoyed the rigor of homeschooling. They decided to continue so that they could pursue their outside interests. Homeschooling has allowed them to dive into the topics that interest them most and to focus on independent projects.
The essence of synergy is to value and respect our differences, build on strengths, and compensate for weaknesses. Through family time, friendships, and other outside interests, the Garcia Family has been given the opportunity to practice this habit to build and reinforce a mindset that says, “I get along well with others — even people who are different from me.” For curious learners like Mateo (11th grade) and Quinn (7th grade), it is less important to have the “right” answers and more important to create an environment where questioning and learning can occur.
Eighteen-year-old Mateo has many active hobbies; he enjoys surfing, skating, and snowboarding. He is also an accomplished musician. He plays bass and guitar and studied music at Los Rios Rock School in San Juan Capistrano with a Grammy-winning musician as his mentor. He plays in the advanced live group at his rock school, performing at multiple venues around Orange County, including House of Blues and Coach House. Mateo has worked with the younger and less experienced students at his school, volunteering as a junior instructor. Mateo played bass on a re-creation of The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” album through Los Rios, which was a final contender for a Grammy nomination for 2020. He is currently in a band that plans to release an album of original music soon. Mateo has taken community college courses in music, in addition to his regular curriculum load through iLEAD. Mateo is particularly interested in music technology and production. Mateo also really loves the ocean. He often cleans our local beach, which he can walk to, after rainstorms or high surf. He is conscientious and diligent. Mateo is very good at balancing his work and leisure activities.
Quinn (7th grade) is as accomplished as her brother. She enjoys reading, writing, creating, and surfing. Quinn is a multitalented young lady and never has trouble filling her time. She is nearly always writing or creating something. Her mind is full of imagination for stories and drawings. When she isn’t creating new work, she is reading. She hopes to become a published author at a young age. She loves to recommend books to other people and likes to say that she is a “book doctor,” giving a prescription to cure what ails you. Quinn is currently creating content with the intention of either publishing a blog or hosting a website for her fan fiction and fan art. She is a member of South Coast Repertory Theatre’s Junior Players ensemble, which is a select group of young actors that participate in paid performances at the theatre. In addition, Quinn performed in A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory as one of the Cratchit children. She also participates in musical theatre classes. Since COVID-19, Quinn has acted in two radio plays, and she wrote a play that was performed virtually through Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro, CA. Most recently, she won Drama Notebook’s contest for Best Original Monologue. Lately, Quinn has enjoyed making videos of her science experiments.
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