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

homeschool program

Fall Webinars

Fall Webinars

On Wednesday, November 18 at 12 PM, please join us for a webinar where we will be sharing ideas for how to supplement core social studies curriculum with learning kits. Register HERE.

Updated Webinars flyer with links

Kindness Rocks!

Kindness Rocks

Kindness Rocks! 12_4

Fall Webinars

Fall Webinars

The high school team will share an overview of dual enrollment and present the advantages of taking community college courses while in high school. Join us for this helpful webinar on November 6, 2020, at 10 AM. Register here.

Updated Webinars flyer with links

Halloween Fun

Virtual Halloween Parade

Thank you to all who submitted photos of this year’s creative costumes. Please take a moment to see our learners all dressed up in their Halloween best!

View Halloween parade here!


Kindness Rocks!

Kindness Rocks

Kindness Rocks!

Fall MAP Testing

Fall MAP Testing iLEAD Exploration

We wanted to remind you that our MAP testing window is coming to a close on October 30. We hope you take this opportunity to gather information regarding your learner’s progress.


FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Attention: All Graduates


Graduates will want to submit an application online to qualify for grants, loans, and other types of financial aid for college and career training. Here are a few important things to know:
  • FAFSA opens on Oct 1 and closes on March 2. It is recommended that you fill it out ASAP (before January) to secure grants.
  • Prior to filling out the FAFSA, learners and parents must have their own FSA ID. Create your FSA ID at Requesting your FSA ID is very easy and takes about 4-5 minutes. Make sure you have your social security number on hand. One of your parents will need their own FSA ID. You will receive your FSA ID between 3-4 business days.
  • Upon receiving your FSA ID, complete your FAFSA at Learners and parents should sit together when filling out the FAFSA. You will report your prior income and tax information from 2019.


College Application

Last week, an invitation to Scoir was sent to all iLEAD-issued high school email addresses. Scoir is a college search tool that helps you search for colleges in greater depth. You can take an interactive tour of the college’s campus, watch student videos describing student life, and visit a school’s social media wall to learn about campus clubs and activities. Scoir provides an overview of important college information, such as admission stats, costs, and application deadlines. There is so much to learn about a college and Scoir can help!
Through Scoir, all iLEAD high school learners have access to YouScience. YouScience is a comprehensive career assessment program that combines aptitudes, interests, and 21st century careers to make career and educational recommendations. Through the use of 5-8 minute performance-based exercises, YouScience captures a learner’s true areas of highest potential. Once logged into Scoir, you will click on “My Profile”, then “Career Profile” on the left side bar. Then select “YouScience” to get started. It will redirect you to their outside website, but saved careers will sync back to your Scoir account.

College Deadlines

College Deadlines

College application season is upon us, and learners are hard at work filling out applications. Each college will have its own decision dates and rules. Here is an overview of the different types of applications.

Early Deadlines: Learners apply early and receive an early admission and financial aid response. Early option deadlines are often in November and December. There may be more than one early option:

  • Early Decision (ED) is a binding decision and cannot be broken. The parents, learner, and the high school counselor will sign a contract stating that if the learner is accepted, they will withdraw all other college applications and commit to the college. You should only use this option if you know you can afford and are willing to attend this college. Students can only apply to one college using early decision.
  • Early Action (EA) is a non-binding decision. While the college’s admission and financial aid offers come early, an admitted student has until May 1 to make a decision. A student can apply to as many early-action colleges as they wish. EA can be advantageous because it shows learner interest and could result in special scholarships. Important note: Early decision overrides early action admission offers.
  • Restricted Early-Action (REA) or Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) is a non-binding decision; however, often the college adds restrictions. Most often a learner who applies under REA/SCEA may not apply using early decision to any college and may also not be allowed to apply early action. REA/SCEA does not restrict regular decision applications. Only a handful of very selective colleges use REA/SCEA.

Regular Decision (RD): Most colleges have a regular-decision deadline in January or early February. The deadline allows students to take the time they need to complete a strong application and apply to numerous colleges. All colleges must provide an admission response by April 1, and the student has until May 1 to accept an offer and submit a deposit.

Surprise Deadlines: Students who are applying to majors such as music, dance, theater, film, business, or other programs may have an earlier deadline. This is especially true for majors that require auditions, creative supplements, or an extended interview process. Some colleges may also require an earlier application if the student would like to be considered for scholarships. Check the website of each college for financial aid deadlines.

Rolling Decisions: Many colleges have a rolling application process. This allows the student to apply anytime in the fall and receive an admission and financial aid offer quickly, sometimes as early as two weeks. Some colleges with rolling decisions do not stop taking applications until they are full and applications may continue to be accepted into the spring. Other colleges may have a final application deadline.

High School Student Spotlight: Abigail Myers

Abigail Myers

Abigail is a junior in her third year of homeschooling. This year, she is president of iLEAD’s National Honors Society and enjoys leading her peers. She enjoys finding new ideas to help encourage and support all of the members as they complete their service hours. She truly appreciates the flexibility that homeschooling provides, such as the opportunity to teach preschool weekly.

Abigail has many passions, including working with little kids, baking, and making spaces beautiful and homey. She enjoys helping friends plan and decorate parties, particularly making flower arrangements. Abigail wants to be a kindergarten or special-education teacher in her future, and she would be perfect for either job!

Spending time with friends and family is important to Abigail. She has a big heart for serving others and models servant leadership. She helps teach a preschool program at her church each week, prepping crafts, and designing activities for the kids. This is the highlight of her week as she finds so much joy working with kids. Abigail also loves coffee and enjoys making lattes for everyone who stops by her house. She loves serving in her church youth group, helping with events and social media.

In addition to her many hobbies, Abigail also makes videos of all her adventures, and even put them all on a website just for fun! She has even made camp and promo videos for her youth group, as well as a wedding video, and fun montages of trips to the beach and around town.

As a homeschooler, Abigail has traveled all around the United States, but she hopes to visit Ireland and Greece someday. Abigail is indeed an amazing learner and we are so proud to have her at iLEAD!

Learner Spotlight: Slater and Preslee Casaus

Slater and Preslee Casaus

Do you need dog training? No problem! What about a custom-made skateboard? Again, no problem! iLEAD Exploration learners Preslee and Slater Casaus have you covered. This sister and brother duo, who have only just begun their homeschooling journey, definitely demonstrate the growth mindset and a commitment to putting first things first!

Preslee is a very sweet 6th grader with a big heart for all animals. She is continuing to grow in every aspect of her life. She has a passion for writing. She has millions of notebooks full of stories. She is great at keeping reminders and organizing what needs to be done daily. Her future looks bright, and she hopes one day to be a teacher. She loves training her beloved malti-poos, Maggie and Racer. Maggie knows over six tricks! Preslee is also currently learning to rollerblade.

Slater never gives up even when his work gets hard. He keeps pushing himself to learn new things and strives to learn outside his comfort zone. He loves math, and his long-term vision is to one day be an architect. He loves all sports and recently learned how to surf, after crashing many times in the ocean. He never gave up and kept getting back up. He started racing BMX at the age of three, and this has taught him the mindset of hard work. With his dad’s help, he also made his own skateboard and skateboard ramp!

Fall Webinars

Fall Webinars

Interested in learning about your child’s learning modalities? Join us for a webinar on October 21 at 12:00 p.m. Register here.

Updated Webinars flyer with links

Digital Citizenship Week and Virtual Book Club Kickoff

Virtual Book Club

Digital Citizenship Week and Virtual Book Club Kickoff

iLEAD California strives to foster a community where our learners are digital citizens. Being a good digital citizen is about understanding the best way to connect and collaborate with others. Now more than ever, fostering digital citizenship is essential.

When we go online, we’re participating in a world where we can be instantly connected to thousands of people at a moment’s notice. When learners connect with each other from a distance, it can affect the way they behave. For example, their actions can feel removed from consequences or discovery. When people are anonymous, it’s easier to behave irresponsibly, cruelly, or unethically.

iLEAD is participating in the annual Digital Citizenship Week as a way to help our families generate conversations about what it means to be a good digital citizen, stay safe in the online world, and utilize the wonderful tools 21st-century technology has to offer to the best of their abilities.

We’ll be focusing on 5 main topics for discussion and learning this year:

  1. Media Balance and Well-Being
  2. Media/Online Literacy
  3. Building Relationships and Communication as a prevention technique to Bullying, Digital Drama, and Hate Speech
  4. Using Digital Footprint and Identity to Foster Digital Leadership
  5. Digital Privacy and Security

Each topic will include family-centered activities and discussion guides to support this driving question: “How do I demonstrate through my actions that I’m a good digital citizen?”

We encourage you to submit activities and reflections to

Join in a parent virtual book club this fall!

iLEAD California is offering a network-wide virtual family book club as part of our efforts to join in the national movement to foster digital citizenship. We’ll be reading Raising Humans in the Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology by Diana Graber.

Book Club Kickoff: Thursday, October 29, from 6:30-7:30 PM

Book Club Discussion and Reflection: Thursday, November 29, from 6:30-7:30 PM

With weekly emails throughout the month for guided questions, resources, and asynchronous discussion.

Click HERE to register.

Learner Spotlight: Gianelle and Madilyn Do

Gianelle and Madilyn Do

iLEAD Exploration learners Gianelle and Madilyn Do believe in the power of “yet,” and are always looking for new interests to explore and finding creative ways to help others.

The Do family began homeschooling when they realized their younger daughter was struggling to keep up in a traditional school due to dyslexia. The family also loved the idea of interest-led learning, and they wanted these 5th and 3rd grade girls to love what they were studying and explore other areas they would otherwise never have explored. As an entrepreneurial family, they also wanted the girls to learn to be independent and consider all the possible options out there. Lastly, they wanted to be able to spend more quality time together as a family.

The Do family has put into practice tackling the hard things first since they started their homeschool journey. The family tackles all their “busy” projects at the beginning of the week, leaving the fun or less busy projects until the end. Ultimately, Fridays have always been their “Fri-yays!” and are filled with a fun learning activity. This comes naturally to the girls and has been their go-to schedule from the beginning.

A growth mindset is central to this family. They love using the word “yet” and have learned this is a powerful word. Examples: “I don’t know how to draw this yet” or “I can’t read a full chapter book yet, but I am working on it and will get there.” They also love to try new things. Often, when they’re trying new things, mistakes happen and difficulties arise, but they love to “try again.” Gianelle and Madilyn learn from their mistakes because they know mistakes are only teaching opportunities, and if they don’t try, they’ll never know the outcome. They also believe they can do hard things. As you can see, a positive mindset is a big part of their schooling and life in general. They enjoy writing in the Big Life Journal and listening to the related podcast.

Madilyn, age eight, has been interested in dance for years. She is now in her second year of ballet and her first year of contemporary. She started as a beginner in ballet and has successfully moved up to intermediate. Her goal is to be accepted into a pointe class and move up from there. She also enjoys video games, practicing piano, spending time with her friends, and playing with slime.

Gianelle, age ten, loves to sing. She fought through her fears of performing in public, which was a big step for her. She is passionate about helping others. Last year she was able to meet with the mayor of her city for an interview and to make a public video to ask her community to help her gather supplies to make care bags for people without housing. She was able to make 100 bags! She also loves to make crafts and sell them at kids’ business fairs and saves a portion of her earnings to give back. Gianelle also enjoys fashion, makeup lessons, and her ukulele.

Student Support Symposium


This year’s Student Support Symposium will be held virtually on October 13, 2020. Please register here.

Jonathan Mooney, an award-winning writer, entrepreneur, and activist who first learned to read at 12 years old, will be the keynote speaker. In addition, over 20 exceptional education sessions will be offered. Topics include the following:

  • Understanding the Assessment Process and the Role You Play
  • How Present Levels Drive the Whole IEP
  • Occupational Therapy Activities to Support Optimal Participation in School
  • Understanding Anxiety in Children
  • 8 Skills to Facilitate Learners’ Optimal Communication Skills
  • And many more!

Due to the symposium, the curriculum library will be closed for any pickups on Tuesday, October 13, as iLEAD Exploration staff will be attending the Student Support Symposium. We hope you will find topics of interest to attend as well!

Fall Webinars

Fall Webinars

Have college application questions and need answers? Join us for our next College Application Q&A webinar on October 9 at 10 am. Register here:

Updated Webinars flyer with links



Every English Language Learner will have access to BrainPOP EL. You can watch this video to learn more about the program. More information coming soon.

College Application Time: Are You Stressed?

College Application

Application Stress

We are now in the middle of college application season and many learners and parents are feeling various forms of stree. Remember that you are not alone in this process and the iLEAD high school team is here to help.

Test Stress

Since March of last year, learners have been unable to access the ACT or SAT due to local school closures. There is a high likelihood that no testing will be available before college applications are due. Please do not worry! COVID-19 has brought about a change in testing policies throughout the United States. Some colleges have changed their testing requirements for this year while others have changed their testing policies permanently!

At this time, many colleges and universities have a test-blind policy which means they will not consider a test score even if you have one. Institutions with a test-blind policy include all 23 California State University campuses and UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Cruz. Other well-known colleges have taken the step to reduce test stress through a temporary testblind policy, including CalTech, Reed, and CUNY.

Over two-thirds of all colleges in the United States have adopted a test-optional policy which means that test scores may be submitted but are not required. Well-known colleges like MIT and Harvard have even adopted this policy. If you are unsure about the testing policy at your desired colleges, reach out to them directly and ask.

Learner Stress

It is normal for learners to feel overwhelmed by all the moving parts in the application process. Each college has its own application, deadline, essays, and supplements. It may feel like you need a personal assistant to keep track of it all, but we have tools to help. iLEAD uses Scoir to help learners explore and track college requirements. Contact Laura Kazan, our college advisor, to get started with Scoir. Seniors can sign up for application support here. In addition, parents who are feeling anxious about the application process are welcome to reach out to Laura Kazan as well.

Fall Webinars

Fall Webinars

Fall webinars are here! Please click the event title on the flier to register for each webinar. Please join us this week on Wednesday, September 23, at noon, to learn more about how to use MAP results to guide learning. You can register here for this webinar!

Updated Webinars flyer with links

TK-1 Virtual Read Aloud

TK-1 Virtual Read Aloud

If you have a learner in grades TK-1, you won’t want to miss this virtual event! We hope you’ll join us for our first TK-1 read aloud. RSVP here if you would like to participate.


Virtual Book Club

Book Club

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Apply to Join a DreamUp to Space Launch Team!

Dreamup to Space

Our 5th-12th grade learners are invited to apply to join one of two DreamUp to Space Launch Teams, featuring experiments designed by learners at iLEAD Exploration and SCVi!

Selected team members will run experiments in preparation for the actual experiments that will launch to space to be run by astronauts on the International Space Station with a target date of March 2021.

Team members will collaborate with facilitators and mentors at each stage. They will also be involved in promoting their mission, including creating videos and writing blogs. They will fundraise for experiment-related expenses as well as the chance to travel with their families to Kennedy Space Center, where they could present their experiment and watch it blast to space!

Watch the DreamUp to Space Launch Teams’ videos to understand more about the experiments:

If you would like to apply to join a DreamUp to Space Launch Team, please click below. You can also apply for both!

Deadline to apply: September 25, 2020.

For more information, please contact the Director of STEAM Initiatives, Kathleen Fredette, at

To learn more about iLEAD Student Aerospace Projects, please visit

Together Tuesdays

Charity, volunteering and donating concept. Raised up human hand

Last spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced our learning community to physically distance, we launched a weekly campaign with the goal to reunite our facilitators and families and lift their spirits. Every week, a new Together Tuesday video featured photos of families, learners, and staff throughout iLEAD Schools — a reminder that we’re all in this together.

Now, as we begin a new school year with distance learning, Together Tuesdays will twice monthly make a comeback. We would love to see your contributions.

The first video of the 2020-21 school year will go live on September 15. To ensure your submissions are included, please click here to submit your photos. Photos received by the Friday before each Together Tuesday are eligible to be included.

If you have any questions, simply reply to

Upcoming High School Events

Virtual High School Meet and Greet

We hope you are all settling into the new school year. If you have a high school learner, please take a look at the exciting opportunities below, as deadlines are quickly approaching.

The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. NHS serves to recognize students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. iLEAD Exploration is excited to invite all iLEAD Exploration learners who are currently in 10th-12th grade and who have been enrolled with iLEAD a minimum of one full semester and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to apply. The application period is open from now until September 30 at midnight. If you have a learner who applied last fall and received an acceptance letter, they do not need to apply again. Meetings will begin in October. Please share with your 10th, 11th, and 12th grade learners who qualify. Please click HERE to apply.

ASB (Associated Student Body) is a leadership team comprised of learners who will represent the entire student body of high schoolers. The main objective of ASB is to help learners feel more connected to school and each other through involvement in ASB-organized activities. This year, we plan to launch virtual clubs as well as several fun virtual events! Click HERE to apply!

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