Christopher Hernandez is an 8th grader who is in his second year of homeschooling with iLEAD Exploration. Christopher is bilingual and speaks Spanish and English. The opportunity to be homeschooled has brought great successes for Christopher as he has demonstrated great progress in math, karate, and drum skills.
Name: Christopher Hernandez
What languages do you speak?
I speak English and Spanish.
What is your favorite saying in your native language?
“¡Yo tengo hambre!” (“I’m hungry!”)
What is a family tradition that you enjoy?
I enjoy going to church with my family.
What career would you like to have?
I would like to be a boxer.
What is your favorite subject?
Writing is my favorite subject.
Has being multilingual allowed you any special opportunities?
I think it’s useful because if I have a job and if there is a person who knows only Spanish, and I know only English, then we can’t communicate, but since I know both languages I am able to communicate with the person who speaks Spanish.
What is your favorite hobby?
What advice would you give to someone trying to learn a new language?
Try speaking the language as much as you can because it’s good practice and it will help you improve!
Using technology can be very beneficial for English language learners. In particular, the use of apps can help learners become more proficient in English in a variety of ways. First, using apps can build proficiency through repetition and review. Many apps out there have games, videos, activities, and quizzes that repeat words and phrases over and over to help the student learn English. When learning any language, the more exposure to vocabulary and grammar, the more proficient the student will become. Second, apps can provide opportunities for the learner to practice listening and speaking skills in English. Some ELL apps have recording options so that the learner can repeat words or phrases while recording themselves. They can then replay the recording and listen to themselves speak. The recording functions can serve to be great tools to track the progress of a learner’s English speaking skills and build fluency. Third, apps give EL learners more experience and exposure to the English language. Of course, the best exposure is interaction with English speakers, but apps can be fun, interactive, and engaging for the EL learner.
There are many apps geared toward EL learners, but here are a few popular ELL apps that we would like to highlight! Check them out!
This app is for all ages. It is simple and easy to use. Each lesson is comprised of a short animated video/movie to coincide with interactive features, games, and quizzes. The learner will be able to learn and practice vocabulary, listening, speaking, and grammar with this app!
This app is geared more for the younger learners although older kids who are just learning English could benefit from it, too! Their approach is to use games to teach English. The games are colorful, highly interactive, and engaging and are especially helpful when learning vocabulary.
These are four different apps but they are all very similar in that they provide user-friendly and personalized learning of any language you want, including English! They encourage the learner to complete 10-15 minute lessons daily to help with memory and review of vocabulary and grammar. These apps also focus on teaching language for daily conversations and regular life situations.
FluentU utilizes a different and unique approach to teach English. They use real-world videos such as news, music videos, commercials, and inspiring talks to teach the language. This is a natural approach to help the learner ease into the culture and language over time. The learner will learn how English is spoken in everyday life. This app would benefit older and more advanced learners.
Beelinguapp teaches English through the use of audiobooks. They present the text in both the native language and the language you want to learn. The learner can listen, read along, and practice pronunciations with this app!
The road to becoming proficient in speaking the English language can be a vibrant and life-giving experience. Bilingual learners are typically exposed to a myriad of creative learning opportunities that include theatre, music, cooking, comedy, books, videos, games and social projects. However, much of this acquisition is informed by regular examinations and proficiency tests. This has the potential to be the source of much frustration and anxiety. Students who are expected to participate in this endeavor can find themselves in a place of vulnerability and apprehension. Likewise, this anticipation is felt by parents who feel helpless about testing results. Understanding how to prepare for testing events and how to process the results are key steps toward feeling confident about the task.
Did you know that bilingual learners are more aptly disposed to take tests?
Studies have shown that those who are learning to speak more than one language demonstrate a higher level of performance across all subject areas. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, these students will also score significantly higher on standardized tests than their monolingual peers due to the neural pathways their brains have established. This is encouraging data since standardized testing is a reality of higher education and most career paths!
Good test takers know that the best preparation is an interweaving of the material in everyday life. ELPAC holistically tests in the areas of reading, speaking, listening and writing. Proficiency in academic language is an important area of focus since it is more descriptive and formal than conversational English. In addition, parents ought to emphasize literacy skills. This will increase the learner’s exposure to academic language and integrate actual concepts and questions they will see on the test.
Parent Today provides some fantastic tips to bring your English learner more confidence in a testing situation:
- Use the language as much as you can at home and in everyday routines.
- Attend events where the language is reinforced in authentic social situations.
- Collect multimedia, books, and music to support acquisition in creative ways.
- Use repetitive strategies and differentiate the ways they are being learned.
- Try to learn in shorter blocks of time more often, rather than cramming in a lot of information in a session.
Reviewing the results is almost as important as preparing for them! If given the opportunity, reflect on the questions that fell flat in an effort to address knowledge gaps. Determine what techniques might be helpful, and plan for how they will approach the next test. If the results aren’t what you were hoping for, celebrate that every test is a learning experience and an opportunity to improve. It is meaningful enough that the child is engaged in the process at all. Every experience truly contributes to the growth and future excellence; test-taking is a key part of the journey!
Friday, February 28 from 10:30 am-1:30 pm
This event is for high school learners only.
Hike on one of the nearby trails
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Hang out in the picnic table area at the cafe to play cards, board games and chill! Learners can bring a sack lunch or can purchase lunch at the cafe. Water, snacks, and cookies will be provided.
If you’re looking for a productive way to spend your summer and are interested in greater college preparedness, consider attending a pre-college summer program. These programs can be a great opportunity to experience life on a college campus, earn advanced college credit, build relationships, and increase your admission chances. Summer programs are available locally, with commuter or on-campus options, and across the country. They can cover general college readiness and subjects or focus on specific areas of study. Is there a specific college you are interested in attending? Apply to their summer program! Don’t delay! Most programs have application deadlines in March and April and many offer financial aid for those who qualify. Here are a few suggestions, but you can do your own research as well:
Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Summer Program
This list is in no way exhaustive but should get you started in the right direction. If summer programs like these are out of your reach, acquiring a summer job or taking a course at the community college can also add depth to your admissions profile.
The best form of need-based and merit-based financial aid comes directly from a college or university. Need-based aid depends on a family’s financial situation while merit-based aid, also known as scholarships, comes from student achievement or talent. This can be in the areas of academics (grades and test scores), visual and performing arts, community service, leadership, athletics, and more. It takes effort to research scholarships provided by each college, but it is worth it.
Some things to know when exploring scholarships:
Locate the financial aid section of each college to see what types of scholarships they offer.
Check carefully for scholarships that require an extra application or additional requirements.
Be aware of stacking and displacement. When a student receives a scholarship and need-based aid, the college may stack the aid, allowing the student to receive both, or displace one form of financial aid with the other.
Students may also be able to find scholarships through local businesses, service organizations, or even their parents’ employers. It is wise to conduct a Google search to see what is out there. Organizations such as the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Los Angeles, and other organizations may provide financial opportunities.
High Achieving Underrepresented Students
There are several large scholarships that are available to high achieving students from underrepresented groups such as low-income students or minorities. These include Questbridge, The Posse Foundation, the Gates Scholarship, and others.
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
California is in a group of states that offer a tuition exchange called the Western Undergraduate Exchange or WUE. Participating colleges require a minimum GPA and/or test score to qualify. Some colleges award the WUE rate automatically and some award the rate to only a few students. WUE nonresident tuition discounts average up to $9,400 per year making these schools more affordable than some California schools.
RaiseMe is a website that allows students to earn micro-scholarships based on grades, activities, work experience, and more. Participating colleges guarantee that students will be awarded a minimum amount of scholarship money based on the accurate information provided. RaiseMe is a great way for a student to gauge how much a college might award in merit aid as well as earn scholarship money that would otherwise not be available. Students can start adding their grades and activities as early as 9th grade and watch their scholarships build up throughout their high school years. Check out iLEAD’s RaiseMe page.
To explore and learn more about financial aid, make an appointment with our College Advisor, Laura Kazan.
Keep an eye out for our webinar on financial aid and the college search in April.
When high schoolers say they want to go to a large university, they are usually interested in school spirit, choices of majors, and an active and vibrant campus. What many learners don’t realize is that they are also usually schools that have a high level of research. At a research university, the focus is on faculty research and scholarship.
Research universities have active campuses with sports and activities that add to the college experience. The large student body allows a significant choice of majors and specialties. In fact, UCLA offers 130 majors and the University of Southern California (USC) offers 177. Most universities also offer programs such as teaching, business, nursing, and engineering which may not be available at all smaller colleges. These universities may provide cutting-edge research and opportunities for hands-on experience as an undergraduate.
Research universities and liberal arts colleges are very different and it is important to take the opportunity to explore both. Some learners thrive when surrounded by people and enjoy the wide assortment of classes, while others feel more comfortable in small seminar classes with more personalized attention. You won’t know until you visit a few campuses, so take a look around and see what universities are near you. Take a tour and attend an information session. There are hundreds of universities in the United States, and if a research university sounds like an exciting and fulfilling place, we can find one that fits your interests and budget.
Savannah was interested in art at a very young age. She loved to sketch or paint whenever she had the opportunity. The choice to homeschool mainly came from the opportunities it would create for her to cultivate her passion and skills.
While mostly a digital artist, Savannah enjoys traditional art as well. She graduated from the Ryman Arts program this past spring and has been taking art classes at College of the Canyons. Being able to be dual enrolled at a community college and work towards her degree while still at iLEAD has been amazing.
Savannah’s hobbies revolve around art! She loves character design, character development, and fashion design.
As for her future goals, she is looking to find an internship when she turns 18. She is looking for a career where she can follow her passion for art while still having the freedom to create.
This month’s focus on “Grit” is a perfect way to highlight iLEAD Exploration learner Leo Krupp, because no matter how challenging, frustrating, or difficult something might be for him, he does his best to rise above it and keep on moving forward.
Leo has even grown to appreciate mistakes, because when they happen, he knows he will learn from them and have the opportunity to reevaluate and improve. He is learning to look at life and all its challenges as a seed that needs water, sunlight, and love. At first you do not see growth because it’s hidden under the soil, but eventually you will have a beautiful flower if you stick with it and never give up.
Although schooling has never come easy to Leo, he refuses to let his diagnoses of autism, ADHD, and other learning differences stop him from achieving anything he chooses to do. What a perfect embodiment of grit Leo is!
Leo is a natural musician and understands any musical instrument he decides to pick up. His favorite instrument is definitely the drums. This came as no surprise to Leo’s parents, who lovingly referred to him as Bam-Bam when he was a toddler. Leo plays music by ear, and he is currently learning to read music as well. When he is not taking a music lesson, you will find him playing along with one of his favorite music idols, such as his brother and sister, Lathan and Hannah. In addition to the drums, Leo has also taught himself to play the piano, and he is starting to take an interest in the guitar as well. It is just a matter of time before Leo becomes a one-man superstar band.
Leo loves to research famous people who inspire him, such as Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. He dreams of traveling to Apple’s headquarters to learn about all that goes into creating Apple products.
A strong vocabulary is an indispensable tool. When we help our learners study vocabulary across all content areas, we help set them up for increased confidence and success. We strengthen their ability to effectively comprehend complex material as well as communicate their thoughts and ideas.
Vocabulary/Spelling City, one of our optional subscriptions, is a resource that can be used to strengthen a learners’ vocabulary. The site provides grade-level, pre-made lists for the core content areas of math, science, and social studies. Vocabulary/Spelling City not only makes it fun to learn new words but incorporates a variety of strategies to help ensure the vocabulary words stick.
If you do not have a membership with Vocabulary/Spelling City, Quizlet.com is a great option for strengthening vocabulary and spelling. You can create your own lists or use pre-made lists that are on the site.
Mark your calendars! We are excited to announce that our next field trip releases (through the iLEAD Exploration website) will be over several days during the week of February 3. Please see the flier below for details on how these will be released.field_trips_feb_2020c (1)
Learning how a test is formatted and understanding the content will help you ensure your learner feels confident and does well!
The CAASPP assessments are comprised of two components:
- CAT: Computer Adaptive Test for ELA and Math
- PT: Performance Task for ELA and Math
This week, we are taking a closer look at the ELA (English Language Arts) Performance Task. This section is typically more challenging and learners would benefit from having more time to explore the content of this portion.
For targeted practice, find your learner’s grade level and break the performance task parts down into manageable, bite-sized sessions to help them become familiarized with the format.
3rd Grade Performance Task/Example/Practice (Informational)
4th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Informational)
6th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Narrative Writing)
7th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Explanatory Writing)
8th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Argumentative Writing)
11th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Argumentative Writing)
When was the last time you went on a trip to a new place without first looking up directions? Unless you have a superhuman sense of direction, you searched for how to get where you were going, whether on your phone or an old-school paper map. That’s what this week’s habit is all about.
Last week, we discussed the first of the 7 Habits: Be Proactive. A proactive person believes in taking responsibility for their lives and investing their time and energy on things within their control — and not losing sleep over the things they cannot control.
But how does one successfully lead a proactive life? Part of the answer lies in Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind. Starting a proactive journey is difficult if you don’t know where you are trying to go. Beginning with the end in mind is very much like consulting a road map.
In short, to begin with the end in mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of the desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing one’s proactive muscles to make things happen.
To reinforce a mind-set of beginning with the end in mind, Dr. Stephen Covey encouraged developing what he called a personal mission statement. It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life.
So what does it look like for learners to embrace a Habit 2 mind-set and develop their personal mission statements? Helpful steps include reminding themselves of the following:
- I plan ahead and set goals for myself.
- I am prepared at all times.
- I think about how the choices I make now will affect my future.
- I think about the positive or negative consequences of my actions before I act.
Do you know why iLEAD Exploration’s focus on developing children who are free thinkers fits so well with the 7 Habits? Because, for instance, Habit 2 is based on imagination — the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. When children are empowered to imagine what can be, the results can be incredibly inspiring.
Join us next week as we explore Habit #3: Put First Things First.
For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.
Lunar New Year is an Asian festival celebrated at the turn of the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Traditionally, celebrations run from the eve to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. Join the celebrations below for their annual Lunar New Year festival celebrating the “Year of the Rat” on Saturday, January 25.
Orange County: Lunar New Year Events
Los Angeles: Golden Dragon Parade
La Verne: Asian American Expo
Pasadena: Lunar New Year Celebration at USCV Pacific Asia Museum
San Gabriel: Lunar New Year Festival
Daija Hooker is a passionate, courageous iLEAD Exploration 10th grader who always has a positive outlook on life. She sets her goals and works hard to follow through even when things become challenging. She shows true grit in her academics and extracurricular activities.
Daija started her homeschool journey about seven years ago. Homeschooling has allowed her to customize a learning path that best suits her needs and goals. She continues to flourish and excel in her studies and talents. She attends learning center classes and creative classes to help develop her academic strengths and her talents. Demonstrating great resolve, Daija commits to long hours of practice for dance and acting classes each week and still finds time for her studies.
Years ago, she started taking acting, dancing, vocal, and theatre classes just for fun. Now she works in the entertainment industry and appears in television commercials, music videos, and has worked with Disney and Nickelodeon. In her free time she gives back to others by helping serve meals at food shelters, and by reading books and playing with young children at orphanages, Sunday schools, and kids camps.
Daija feels strongly that the consistency in having the same teacher every year benefits her. She loves being a part of iLEAD and appreciates her resourceful, kind, patient and accessible facilitator, who Daija believes plays a big part in her education. In just a few short years, Daija has plans to attend college and study to be a neonatal nurse.
Her motto is “I was born ready!” and she truly is ready for anything!
Mark your calendars! We are excited to announce that our next field trip releases (through the iLEAD Exploration website) will be over several days during the week of February 3rd. Please see the flier below for details on how these will be released.field_trips_feb_2020c (1)
This month’s SLO is grit, a character trait that demonstrates strength of will. People with grit show a passion and perseverance for long-term goals, as many things require tenacity.
To gauge how gritty you are at this point in your life, consider whether you identify with the following statements:
- I enjoy projects that take years to complete.
- I am working toward a very long-term goal.
- What I do each day is connected to my deepest personal values.
- There is at least one subject or activity that I never get bored of thinking about.
- Setbacks don’t discourage me for long.
- I am a hard worker.
- I finish whatever I begin.
- I never stop working to improve.
Last week, we introduced a vital element of iLEAD’s approach to education — The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Learning and practicing the 7 Habits has been instrumental to our learners’ success living out iLEAD’s motto of “free to think, inspired to lead” — not to mention how it helps our staff thrive.
This week, we’re continuing to unpack the habits with Habit #1: Be Proactive. In short, being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control.
In general, most of us fall into one of two categories: Either we are reactive to situations in life, affected by factors outside of ourselves and believing we have no control over situations — or we are proactive, realizing that we are “response-able” and that we have freedom to choose our responses. A proactive individual peppers their language with “I can” and “I will,” while a reactive person falls back on “I can’t” or “if only.”
In short, proactive people focus their efforts on what Dr. Stephen Covey calls their “Circle of Influence.” They work on the things they can do something about, like health or problems at work. On the flip side, reactive people focus their efforts in the “Circle of Concern” — things over which they have little or no control.
It has been amazing to see how understanding these concepts empowers iLEAD Exploration learners to take charge and command over both their education and their lives. We have seen time and again how it trickles down to every aspect of their lives, and that is at the heart of the iLEAD Exploration model: developing the whole child so that they are equipped to live with purpose and intent.
As Dr. Covey said, “The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct, and learn from it.” When children learn to apply this in an academic setting, it can only spread to every other area of life.
Next week, we will continue exploring the 7 Habits with Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind.
For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the Franklin Covey website.
This week, we are reminding learners to tackle those math testing challenges with “good old-fashioned” paper and pencil!
If learners are attempting a math problem that requires calculation, they should always try to work it out on paper before choosing their answer. Many young testers get so focused on the computer screen that they forget to pick up a pencil and use it to work out the problem! (Please note that there is also a feature on the CAASPP for writing and notes. However, using pencil and paper is best for solving math problems.) On test day, every child will be provided with paper and pencil. If their pencil tip breaks, learners should raise their hand and ask for a new one!
Here’s your chance to try it out! Click on this link to simple math problems to have your learner practice working out problems on paper first and then selecting their answer on the computer. If you stay with the quiz, it will show results at the end.
Grit is described as “courage, resolve, and strength of character,” and we can’t think of a family that exhibits these qualities better than the Cabrales-Goldstein kids. Meet third grader Golan, first grader Dada, and kindergartner Michaela!
All three children are excellent iLEAD Exploration learners and hardworking chess champions. Dada is currently ranked number one in the U.S. in “blitz” (fast chess) for girls age seven, and because she recently defeated the “Iron Man” of chess in highest number of games for the year, she was mentioned in Chess Life, making her the “Iron Girl” of chess. Talk about grit!
Michaela is ranked number three in long-game chess nationwide in her category: girls age five. Both Golan and Dada have a big following on YouTube via L.A. Chess Club and Golan’s competition videos have surpassed 2.5 million views. He is also ranked in the top-100 chess players for his age group.
In addition to being chess champions, all three kids are currently learning to play the drums and skateboard as well as pursuing their own interests. Dada loves to design and sew and has endless original one-of-a-kind creative ideas. Michaela loves to draw and do math as well as write. Golan is advanced in several of his subjects and is a scientist in the making. All three kids are devouring their curricula at record speed. They simply love to learn and are determined to give their best to every task, whether it be athletic, creative, academic or anything else they put their minds to.
In addition to all the hard work and determination, this family exhibits compassion, support, and gratitude in their interactions with each other and all who meet them. They are especially grateful to the iLEAD team that supports them and allows them the extra freedom and time to follow their dreams. This combination of character, gratitude, and courage definitely makes this family stand out in a crowd. What a great iLEAD family, exhibiting grit in all they do!
As you and your family talk about 2020 New Year’s resolutions, one idea might be to add “Strengthening the ability to make logical guesses” to your child’s list of resolutions! Here are some tips to discuss with them and help them when tackling multiple-choice-type questions.
Remind your child that for multiple-choice questions, they should slowly and carefully read through the question, then think through the answer.
Look to see if the answer they came up with on their own is listed as an option, and then choose it! If it’s not listed, then reread the question with even more focus.
Keep your eye out for the silly answers that can be mixed in to test if you’re paying attention.
Lastly, look through the answer options and simply choose the one that makes the most sense!
Try playing some guessing games at home to build good guessing stamina!