Scratch paper is your friend!
This week’s challenge involves the habit of using scratch paper on a regular basis while working through your learning process! Scratch paper is so helpful, not just for figuring out math problems (a must!) but also for creating a “rough draft” in language arts. If a learner is taking a test and accidentally erases their answer on the computer (happens every year!), they have not lost their brainchild! If they use paper and pencil to first draft their response, they can type it again from the answer they wrote on scratch paper. To practice this skill, encourage this habit on a daily basis leading up to the test.
In January, high school learners had an opportunity to get together for a game day. It was a great time to get to know one another and a great time was had by all. One learner, Kniyah, said, “It was a fun experience because I got to socialize with other homeschoolers and I got to play games and just be around other kids. The food was great and so were the games. I can’t wait for the next game day!” We hope you can join us at our next event, our high school hike and hangout! See below for details.hangout
At iLEAD Exploration, we are happy to provide learners with high school curriculum and online vendor suggestions, both of which can be purchased using instructional funds. We also have a variety of free resource suggestions for our high school families. While this list is non-exhaustive, we hope you find it helpful. These resources are available through the Hub on our website when you log into your account. The results can be narrowed down by subject and grade level. A few of our favorites are MITOpenCourseware, KhanAcademy
February is Gap Year Exploration Month! A gap year is a purposeful break between high school and college. There is often an emphasis on experiential learning and pushing beyond one’s comfort zones. Learners return from gaps years with a better understanding of future college goals and a clearer sense of purpose. Gap years can be structured or unstructured. The Gap Year Association offers advice on how to plan a gap year.
Learners can approach gap years in two ways: They can wait to apply to college or they can ask the college to defer their start date. Not all colleges will allow a student to take a gap year, so find out the college’s policy before you apply. Some colleges will require a student to apply again the following year while others will allow the break.
If you are interested in looking at the gap year option, the Gap Year Association has information on accredited gap year programs as well as scholarships. Students can search by interest and timing, or they can look at a full list of opportunities including alumni reviews.
Here is some additional reading on gap years. One of the first books written about gap years is The Gap-Year Advantage.
Hayden joined iLEAD Exploration in 2019 and exemplifies the definition of true grit! In order to pursue his acting career, he chose the homeschool path which fits his lifestyle perfectly. Juggling homeschool, courses at the local college, piano lessons and time on set, this learner knows how to get the job(s) done. Hayden works hard in all he does and sets his goals high.
Hayden began acting at the age of 10, in a church production of Newsies. By the age of 13, he was traveling between his home in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles to film for Nickelodeon’s Nicky Ricky Dicky and Dawn (you may know him as Dooley). He and his family moved to LA full time in 2017. He has been in other feature films and shows including Disney’s Magic Camp, Schooled on ABC, Adam Ruins Everything and more.
This learner has an incredible attitude, a smile that brightens any room he enters, and is a perfect gentleman. He sets a perfect example of one who excels because of the dedication he puts into his daily routine.
In this fun-filled culinary experience, your child will put on their own cotton baking hat and apron, observe a baker’s demonstration of three of our favorite baked goods, take a tour of our back of house, sample from our clean kid’s menu and even decorate a cookie with tips from our baker.
For iLEAD learners age 5-12 ONLY. No siblings please. Please sign and bring the waiver linked below.
iLEAD Exploration learner Ivy Roth is a stellar example of self-control. It takes a good bit of self-mastery to manage all her hobbies, interests, and activities, all the while excelling in school. A second-generation homeschooler, Ivy learns at home with her mother, Jyoti, a practicing lawyer and former homeschooler who has chosen to work from home so she can pass on the homeschool legacy to her daughter.
This kindergartener credits her ability to manage her actions, emotions, and impulses to her daily practice of yoga and meditation, which help her to ground herself and breathe. These mindfulness practices help set the stage for good decision-making and help her weather difficult situations and stress.
Ivy has many passions that she is able to pursue along with her independent study. She likes to garden and is currently growing soybeans. An animal lover, Ivy has three bunnies that she calls “bun buns.” She takes excellent care of Chai, Pudding, and Peanut and enjoys spending time with them but also is committed to doing the less glamorous chores, such as cleaning their cages and feeding and watering them. Ivy has caught the travel bug and enjoys taking trips with her family. She’s been to Virginia and Indiana and recently spent four weeks in Alaska.
Camping, art, violin, choir, and ballet round out Ivy’s extensive list of interests. She is also a bit of a fashionista and is currently learning to sew so she can make her own clothes. Ivy enjoys meeting with her co-op friends for weekly activities and monthly field trips.
Ivy tries to live by her motto: “If you choose to change the world, leave it better than when you found it,” and clearly this bright, active learner does just that.
The Young Filmmakers Challenge invites young people to produce and submit a short film based on the theme “What if school as we know it didn’t exist?”
Winning submissions will be screened and an awards ceremony will be held in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2020. The screening will be the culminating event of a three-day, city-wide celebration of unleashing the power of young people. The producer of the best overall film will receive $250 and, along with one guest, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC.
This nationwide challenge is open to anyone 18, and under and submissions will be accepted February 15-April 1. Winners will be announced on April 15.
To help your child feel more at ease with testing, try a practice test this week! Some may find it challenging (most do)! Use that feeling of being challenged to help them try tactics like “best guessing” and “deep breaths.”
The practice tests available online will greatly assist in preparation for these tests. They will allow learners to clearly understand the types of questions they will see on the test and will help them better navigate the online test. We appreciate your efforts to help your child prepare for these statewide assessments by using the practice tests available. Below are the steps to access them.
Click the practice test link. Take the Practice or Training Test.
Make sure the guest user and guest session boxes are set to “ON” and click the green “Sign In” box.
Select your child’s grade.
The pink and purple boxes are for the language arts and math practice tests. If available, the orange is for the science practice test.
If your child has an IEP with testing accommodations, you now have a chance to select any accommodations that you would like to have included in the practice tests. Scroll to the bottom and click the green “Select” box to move to the next page.
Make sure you can hear sound with the sound check.
Click “Continue” and then click “Begin Test.”
Language arts and math practice test answers may be manually checked at this link: Go to the Guides!
A scoring guide for the CAST training test can be found at this link: Scoring Guides. The guide provides information on alignment with the California Next Generation Science Standards, correct answers, and sample responses for constructed response items.
We’re excited to share an incredible learning opportunity for summer break!
Learners who will be entering 7th-12th grade in the fall of 2020 are invited to travel to the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kaua’i this summer for Camp Kahili! There are four weeks available to campers (June 21-July 18), and you can opt to stay for one, two, three…or all four weeks!
Community. Culture. Adventure.
Campers will be immersed in multicultural learning, adventure, and service through a multitude of activities, such as the following:
- Hike Kaua’i Mountain
- Learn to Hula
- Beach Cleanup
- Attend a Traditional Hawaiian Luau
- And Many More!
This week’s spolighted learner is Rasha Willes Samaha, an iLEAD Exploration high school freshman and a professional dancer. Calm, poised, and polite, she maintains a positive attitude and always wears a smile. Rasha is a great example of this month’s Schoolwide Learning Outcome (SLO): self control. Since beginning her homeschooling journey, she has worked to develop self-control by focusing on hard work and effort in her academic and professional pursuits.
Rasha spends over 30 hours a week training and student teaching various styles of dances. These styles include ballet, tap, jazz, and musical theater. The flexibility provided by iLEAD’s independent study setting enables her to spend a lot of time at her dance studio in San Fernando Valley. Her professional dance career includes performing at some major and well-known platforms: World of Dance Live, The Oscars Gala, Professional Dancers Society Tribute to Carol Channing and Tremaine Performance Company. All of these achievements require her to be disciplined and focused in all her endeavors. Her family is a big support in keeping her motivated to achieve her dreams.
Juggling high school classes and a dance career can be daunting, but Rasha has been handling both very gracefully since she joined iLEAD Exploration. She is currently taking classes from a local community college and iLEAD Online to stay on the a-g high school graduation path and build an impressive GPA.
Rasha believes that giving back to the community through her passion for art is equally important. She sets aside some time to teach dance for the Ishan Foundation, a non-profit organization. This organization offers special needs dance classes for all kids and young adults with neurological disorders. Rasha thoroughly enjoys spending time with the younger kids every week.
Rasha’s dream is to be a Radio City Rockette and get a medical degree as a doctor. She says, her family has taught her that anything in life can be accomplished through discipline, balance and creativity. She is well on her way!
This month, iLEAD is focusing on the monthly SLO: Self-Control. Are you able to control your emotions and impulses in order to achieve a greater goal? Don’t be too hard on yourself if the answer is no, because studies have shown that self-control is not a stagnant trait and it can be improved with practice over time.
As you watch this video, you may want to reflect on the following questions:
- Do you come prepared to events and activities that you are attending?
- Do you get to work and avoid distractions?
- Do you remain calm in stressful situations?
- Do you have the willpower to resist the “marshmallow”?
iLEAD Exploration learners had the opportunity to participate in a variety of field trips. Here are a few that were enjoyed by our learners and their families.
Queen Mary Ellis Island Experience
This field trip was a re-enactment of the immigrant experience entering the United States through Ellis Island. The trip started with a thoughtfully done video about the journey from Europe to New York and then learners were directed to an “inspection room” where they gently experienced having to submit their passport for approval. Learners had to wait to be “inspected” by a doctor and to answer questions to confirm their mental and physical health. Some learners were quarantined if their responses were questionable. Others were approved and sent to another waiting area to get final approval and had to communicate with an “immigration officer” to verify where they would be living and who would be picking them up from Ellis Island. Following this experiential learning, there was an opportunity to debrief collectively and share reflections. The people leading the experience stayed in character in order to help learners get a sense of what it would have felt like to immigrate through Ellis Island 100 years ago.
The kids learned circus arts and climbed the rock wall. They all had such a blast!
Boredom is never a word you would associate with iLEAD Exploration learner, Zachary Kennison, as he is constantly busy using his creativity. It takes a lot of this month’s student learning outcome (self control) to finish so many projects and to stick with the many activities that Zack participates in.
Most weeks, you will find this busy fifth grader reading, playing catch with his brother in the backyard, completing projects incorporating recent field trips or experiences, and enjoying multi-subject art classes with friends. Zack appreciates managing his own schedule to comfortably fit in plenty of fun science experiments, math, fiction writing, art, coding, and organized team sports like water polo in the fall and little league baseball in the spring. Between all his activities, Zack enjoys playing with friends, interacting with the family pet chameleon, learning chess strategies, creating his own board games, following SpaceX current events, dreaming up new inventions, and baking big cakes (the bigger the better).
Some of his friends say homeschoolers are lucky because they never have to do homework. Zack says “I actually do much more, because I am able to work all day long if I want to.” And he likes it that way.
It doesn’t take long to realize Zack is a critical thinker, always making interesting connections between the patterns of nature, animals, machines, art, words, and human needs. He is always thinking of new inventions to help solve both minor and major problems in the world. His critical thinking is evident from his original board game creations to his multi-faceted project presentations.
Zack possesses an intellectual curiosity that cannot be contained. He likes to explore new concepts and cultures through activities, travel, and food. For the last five years, he has participated in an annual Japanese culture program to appreciate part of his heritage. For those two weeks each year, he is known only by his Japanese name, Hikaru. The experience opened his eyes to the many cultures of the world as well. He enjoys thinking up cool hands-on projects and messy experiments. Frequently, his ideas begin with, “what if…”.
Zack also enjoys entrepreneurial ventures like selling products at craft fairs and helping to run the book fair at his brother’s school. He is learning first-hand all about product management, business financials, marketing strategies, and supply and demand.
Some of Zack’s personal achievements include writing a chapter book based on his favorite novel series, building up his math endurance, and contributing, both mentally and physically, to his sports teams. He was granted a scholarship to attend a waterman’s program in Hawaii where he continued to hone his skills paddling surf ski kayaks and 2-person and 8-person outrigger canoes.
But Zack’s main accomplishment over the last few years of learning with iLEAD Exploration is his ability to manage his own time, set his own pace for academics, and prioritize his time so he can do what’s important to him. He is an independent, forward-thinking learner who likes to learn from new experiences or by solving problems. He exhibits confidence to try new things, meet new people, and learn new concepts. iLEAD is the perfect match to walk beside Zack on his life-long path of learning.
This month’s schoolwide learner outcome (SLO) is self-control, the thinking skill that helps children learn to control their feelings and behaviors in order to make good decisions while helping to reduce impulsive actions, and dealing effectively with frustration. As an example, a person may exhibit self-control when encountering a difficult problem on a test. Rather than impulsively writing down an answer, they are able to control their anxiety and figure out the answer. We will continue to explore the concept of self-control in upcoming Monday Messages!Self-control Poster
“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” — Author Unknown
One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time. Below are some opportunities to serve as individuals and/or as a family.
Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry (Santa Clarita)
The Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry prides themselves on serving those in need with dignity, compassion and respect. They are looking for volunteers ages 12 and up to sort, organize and serve food for the needy.