home school program
As the world’s largest celebration of opportunity in K-12 education, National School Choice Week is a time to celebrate the fact that we have a choice where our children go to school to access their optimal learning experience. Thank you for choosing iLEAD Exploration to be such an important part of your lives.
There are many ways to celebrate this week. We’d like to share just one that spotlights your child’s facilitator. To celebrate school choice and also share appreciation for your iLEAD Exploration educational facilitator, simply download the thank-you letter template here, create a message on it, and share a selfie with your creation at ileadschools.org/stories.
If you prefer, you can forego the template and create a thank-you message in your own fun way.
We look forward to seeing your photos!
If you send us a photo or video, we will consider this approval for use on our school websites and social media accounts. Please do not include images of video conference screens showing learners.
Three years ago, iLEAD Exploration learner Christina Virchis, 13, was uncertain and a little anxious about her future. The private school she had been attending was closing and she didn’t think going from a small and close-knit school family to a school with thousands of kids was the right fit for her. She and her family decided on homeschooling and, with a lot of effort, her learning has been smooth sailing since then.
Even though this is her last year in middle school, Christina hopes to attend college one day. Since she has a mindset of beginning with the end in mind, she plans to take college prep classes now and will be enrolling in college classes in the fall of 2021 at a local community college as a freshman in high school.
One of her favorite things to do is attend a learning center. From academics to the arts, she chooses classes that fulfill her both academically and artistically. She enjoys interacting with not only her peers but with knowledgeable educational facilitators who encourage her to aim high in everything she does. Christina enjoys playing the piano and painting and the Thai martial art of Muay-Thai.
The Ramirez family is filled to the brim with creative, fun-loving learners who enjoy supporting each other in everything they do. Karina (9th grade), Victoria (6th grade), Adrianna (4th grade), and Samuel (1st grade) love spending time with their family and their dog, traveling in their RV and experiencing new places. They have been homeschooling since 2012 and have been with iLEAD Exploration for three years.
The quest for understanding before acting is something these learners hold dear. Karina (14) asks lots of questions to facilitate understanding. She strives to make connections with others and enjoys sharing ideas in general. She loves to communicate and to philosophize about morality. Victoria (11) tends to be more quiet and reserved. She sits back and listens, but her great sense of humor appears every once in a while, showing you that she’s been listening. Nine-year old Adrianna loves to tell you how she feels and is very kindhearted and compassionate. Samuel (age six) has lots of ideas he enjoys sharing with the group. He longs to have the whole family’s or group’s attention before he speaks and then the ideas flow, surprising others with his vocabulary and understanding.
An awareness about the people and communities surrounding them comes naturally to these learners. Karina, acting on her finely tuned sense of justice and compassion, wants to help others and dreams of helping homelessness in the future. Victoria strives to connect with others by asking questions and finding things in common with others. Adrianna loves to tell you how she feels and is also very kindhearted and compassionate. Samuel is very friendly and outgoing and loves to make friends at parks.
All four of the kids love anything LEGO. Their favorite subjects are history and science. They love doing anything that is hands-on. Karina, interested in a career in criminal justice, plays the guitar, swims competitively, and loves crafting, especially focusing on “upcycling” or repurposing discarded objects. All-star soccer player Victoria also loves to read and write and is currently reading Keeper of the Lost Cities. She enjoys writing books and is currently working on one she hopes to self-publish one day. Adrianna adores dinosaurs and ninjas and anything related to art. She is currently remaking My Little Ponies into other cartoon characters. Samuel is all about video games! But he has also just learned how to ride a bike without training wheels and wants to play baseball when in-person activities are once again allowed.
Graphic novels have invited readers of all ages to view and unpack those witty visuals for centuries. What a classic way to engage your learner and invite them to create their own comic strip with personal connections.
Storyboard That offers a free platform for all learners to be creative and tell their own story with backgrounds and captions of your choice. We challenge you to check it out and build a tale of your own!
Speaking is usually thought of as the most important of the four skills. Below is a list of activities to enhance a learner’s ability to speak English.
Describe a Picture
Using the two links below, learners are able to look at daily pictures and graphs and describe what is happening in each picture or graph. For each picture, there are guiding questions for the learner to think about and answer. The learner also has the option to read how others respond to the picture/graph. When describing a picture, think about answering who, what, where, when and why.
What is It?
Place 5 objects on the table under a towel or blanket. Describe each object and let your partner guess what it is you are describing, then switch.
The object I have is (heavy/light).
It is used in the (room).
Give your learner a statement. Have your learner think about whether or not he agrees or disagrees with the statement. The learner writes notes defending his statement. Have your learner present multiple reasons why he agrees or disagrees with the statement.
Example: The Summer Olympics are better than the Winter Olympics.
The _____ is better than ____ because….
In my opinion…..
I think that…for example…
Listening is an essential skill that we use daily. Listening takes different forms in different situations. You listen in a classroom, an airport, in a conversation, while watching television, and while listening to the radio. Below is a list of activities to help improve your listening skills.
Listen to any song, and write down any similes you hear.
Example: “And it seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind”
Are there any metaphors you hear? What about personification, hyperbole or irony?
Listen to a story online.
Unite for Literacy
Listen to a story online with the option to listen to the story in different languages.
Listen and Draw
This site has some audio files of vocabulary and scenarios that learners can listen to. Learners can draw the pictures or descriptions on a blank piece of paper as they listen to the vocabulary. Learners can also draw a picture as they listen to a story.
Ted Talks are a great resource for advanced or intermediate ELL learners. Have your learner listen to a Ted Talk two times through. For the first time, have them share the main idea. For the second time, have them listen for and then share opinions and facts.
The Walking Classroom is offering 26 free educational podcasts right now (due to Covid-19)! Their program is simple…take a 20-minute walk while you listen to a podcast! Each podcast comes with a health-awareness message and includes a character value within the narrative. It also includes discussion questions, key vocabulary, and quizzes. It is great for ELL students and catered to grades 3-8.
Comprehension is the goal of reading. This skill can be extremely difficult for EL learners due to limited vocabulary and limited background knowledge. Learners should read or be read to daily. Here are a few activities that support EL learners and their reading comprehension.
Determine Main Idea and Details
Use the flower writing graphic organizer to help a learner determine the main idea and details of a passage.
Building Background Knowledge
All students learn better when they first access what they already know. Use a KWL Chart to activate prior knowledge. Learners already have experiences and knowledge that they can build upon.
Expanding your vocabulary is a great way to improve your comprehension skills. Vocabulary Coil is an interactive site that you may want to check out.
Let learning be interactive! These games are engaging and will help build critical reading skills. The games are easy to understand and help build a child’s vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension skills. You can find something for every grade level and English proficiency skills.
There is an important correlation between writing and language development. Learners often develop listening skills first, then speaking, then reading, and lastly writing. Writing requires a large amount of language processing in order to produce a message.
Many learners perceive writing as a chore. Make it fun with a writing jar! Grab a jar or a container and fill it with a variety of prompts. Make them creative, fun, silly, serious, thought provoking, etc. The idea is to have a big range of prompts. Use them as a daily journal activity or as a way to teach the writing process: brainstorm, first draft, revisions, final draft. Have fun!
Cinquain poems offer great flexibility and help the learner focus on parts of speech. The basic formula is:
Three gerunds (words + ing)
A short sentence.
A one-word summary
Organize Your Thoughts
Use the hamburger writing graphic organizer to help organize the learner’s thoughts when writing a paragraph.
Ask Questions Through Family Discussions
Discuss with your learner about places you visit, work you do, books you read or TV shows you watch together. Talk to your learner about their ideas for writing. In order to write about something your learner needs to be able to talk about it first. Ask specific questions about your child’s writing such as, “How did that happen?”, “How did that make you feel?”, or “Can you tell me more about that?”
Encourage Your Child to Keep a Reflective Journal
Have them write about their personal feelings, pleasures and disappointments. Parents, share your own feelings and ideas paired with positive feedback about your learner’s writing.
Start a Vocabulary Notebook
Use a vocabulary sheet to teach your learner new words each week and encourage him/her to use them. Make it into a game and give points for using the new words.
We hope you enjoyed the webinar last week with Write At Home. In an effort to support our families, Write At Home is excited to host two more webinars to help in your writing endeavors. To learn more about Write At Home, please visit them here. Please see the flier below for webinar details and sign-up information.WriteAtHomeSeries_2020
That’s right, it’s Together Tuesday! We love seeing the positive images submitted throughout iLEAD nation every week — joyful reminders that we are all in this together. Thank you to everyone who submitted this week! Click the image or link to view the video.
Share YOUR Together Tuesday images and stories with us by sending them to email@example.com by midnight every Monday.
Calling all iLEAD readers! What books have you been enjoying lately? A great way to reflect on a book is to create a book review. Simply download one of the free templates below (or create your own!) and tell others how many stars you would give to a book. Share your opinion during one of your virtual calls with friends, family or even your EF at your learning period meeting. Your review just might encourage someone to pick up that book to read!
n an effort to address the emotional tension we are all experiencing during this season, the high school team would like to share some brief videos created by youth mentors who offer some solid words of advice for teenagers. Josten’s has made these inspirational videos available for free during this crisis. Please select any topics of interest to and spend some time talking about them together as a family. The topics include: our response to Covid-19, judgment, choices, changing my world, pressure, insecurities,
In addition, each Tuesday from April 14 through May 12, iLEAD’s student support team will host a virtual lunch bunch for learners by grade level groupings so that they can have an informal time to connect with support facilitators and other learners. This might be a great way for all Exploration learners to make new friends and talk through some of the questions and concerns going on in the world around us. Here is a flyer with those weekly times and links.
To join the High School Lunch Bunch on Tuesdays from 12:30-1:00 click here.
Taking advanced courses while in high school will prepare you for greater success in college. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are the typical high school standard for learners at brick and mortar schools, but access to AP tests can be a challenge for our independent study learners. Dual Enrollment (DE) courses also provide rigorous coursework with the additional advantage of granting access to a greater variety of courses (that are in most cases for free).
The single most important skill you will need in college is writing, regardless of your chosen major. Building those skills in high school will help you take those first writing-intensive college courses with confidence. Learners who hope to attend the most rigorous colleges should plan to take more than one DE or AP course with intensive writing during high school. Writing is not only part of an AP English course but also can be part of AP social science and history. A dual enrollment course in English composition will greatly increase writing skills which will benefit learners in all areas. Seek out courses that require essays and research papers and not just multiple-choice tests.
All learners should have a strong math background and those who are entering the arts, humanities, or social sciences should aim for at least pre-calculus or statistics. However, learners entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) should take a minimum of calculus while in high school. Community college or AP calculus will give a STEM learner a strong starting point. Classes that go beyond will help you enter college ahead of the rest!
Just about every college learner will find themselves in a science lab, so taking several lab sciences in high school is a necessity. An AP or DE science class can help prepare all learners for the rigors of college, but those entering STEM should plan to take more than one community college or AP lab science.
Language Other Than English
Some colleges require all learners to take a language while others require only those entering the humanities, arts, social sciences, and business to obtain a specific level of fluency. One way to get ahead is through a community college course in a foreign language or American sign language (ASL). At community colleges, a single semester of DE will count as 1-2 years of high school credit. Why not take advantage of this option now and knock out significant high school AND college credit?
Social Sciences and Electives
Don’t forget to take some fun advanced classes of interest such as anthropology, zoology, or psychology. These classes will help build college readiness skills and allow you to explore fields to which most high school learners do not have access.
Every learner should plan to meet with Bethany Maddox, our academic counselor, at least once a year to plan courses that will prepare for the next step–college! Sign up for an appointment here.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives, and while the constant flow of serious news can feel overwhelming, we are setting aside time every Tuesday to focus on positive images from throughout iLEAD Schools. A reminder that we are all in this together. Thank you to everyone who submitted this week! Additionally, you can share YOUR Together Tuesday images and stories with us by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight every Monday. Our theme for next week is school spirit. How creative can you get? Just in case you missed last week’s video, you can view it here.
Additionally, the iLEAD family resource helpline is available to you toll free, M-F, 8am-8pm at 833-610-0700. Please do not hesitate to call if you are in need of support. You may also want to watch our webinar on anxiety and stress here.
This month we embrace curiosity. Curiosity is defined as a strong desire to know or learn something. It is frequently the engine that drives learning and achievement. Children are curious by nature and everything is a wonder to them. Karen Stephens says, “When conditions allow children to satisfy curiosity through safe, self-initiated, and playful exploration, learning occurs naturally. As children investigate, the experiences simultaneously fuel emotional, social, intellectual, physical, and ethical development.”
For curious learners, it is less important to have the “right” answers and more important to create an environment where questioning and learning can occur. You can help nurture your child’s curiosity by following their lead, modeling an interest in the world around you, and asking open ended questions. Children’s natural inclination to be curious should be fostered and developed through their unique learning experiences.
Here is a really fun packet of ideas for children to explore their curiosity at home. Play is one of the main ways that children learn about the world around them and explore many of the big ideas we learn about in our schooling.
One great way to encourage your learner to write more is to have them focus on those topics they love to talk about; pets, sports, games or favorite foods! It is always easier to write about the natural interests in our lives. Challenge your learner to write an informational piece that explains how to do something like ride a bike, or make their favorite sandwich, or maybe how to take care of a family pet. Share your ideas with your EF, as they would love to celebrate what you know how to do!
This week, we would like to encourage learners of all ages to write a friendly letter to someone who needs encouragement. This is the perfect time to get back to basics, catch up, and connect with one another the old fashioned way. Below, you can see some of our iLEAD learners that have already started developing their pen-pal relationships.
Here is a template to help you get started:FriendlyLetterTemplate