Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
- Mahatma Ghandi

Welcome to LIFE of Florida!

Our secular and inclusive Florida-wide Informal Education support group acts as a resource center and clearinghouse for homeschoolers, informal learners and alternative educators interested in enriching their learning environments and maximizing their learning opportunities, as well as an advocacy center for Curiosity Driven Learning.

There is no cost to be part of LIFE of Florida -- just join in at our email discussion and announcement list, Florida LIFE, where you can download your membership card -- good for educational discounts throughout FL -- and stay informed and updated on events, issues and resources, and connect with other informal learners throughout the state.

If you're just getting started in homeschooling, be sure to check out our LIFE of Florida Quick Links, our list of Useful Docs, and our enormous collection of resources in the side columns, and visit our Inclusive Homeschool Support Groups page to find a group near you.

If you'd like your regional inclusive support group to be networked with LIFE of Florida, drop us a line with a group description, contact and other relevant information and we'll add you, free of charge, to our directory. All your group members will be automatically considered members of LIFE of Florida, and are entitled to membership cards and all the benefits we offer. Virtual school families are also welcome to enjoy our resources, support and camaraderie.

We're all inclusive and free of charge, and we're here for you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

‘Discrimination Through the Eyes of Our Youth’ FL High School PSA Contest


for full details and entry form

Next year as part of our 40th anniversary celebration, the Florida Commission on Human Relations will be hosting a PSA contest for high school students (grades 9-12) in Florida. We are asking students to create and record a video PSA regarding human and civil rights and what that means to them. Topics that can be covered include color, race, age, sex, disability, national origin, religion, and familial or marital status. All of the contest information is available at

‘Discrimination Through the Eyes of Our Youth’

Florida High School Public Service Announcement (PSA) Contest

Official Contest Rules

1. All entries must be original works created by students. Adults and media professionals may only provide encouragement, advice and guidance.

2. PSAs must cover one of the following areas: color, race, age, sex, disability, national origin, religion, familial status, marital status, hate crimes, human trafficking, bullying and sexual orientation. Students can incorporate personal experiences to show how these issues affect young people.

3. PSAs shall not be political in any way, and shall not include endorsements for a candidate, political party or issues. PSAs cannot lobby for or against, endorse or propose federal, state and/or local legislation or constitutional amendments.

4. The sponsoring teacher must submit the Entry Form, which will contain the proposed summary of the PSA and required signatures, to the Florida Commission on Human Relations on or before January 31, 2009. Commission staff will send approval messages within 3 weeks of receiving the entry form. To expedite the process, entry forms can be scanned and emailed to All original copies must be received by the Commission via postal mail.

5. Any copyrighted materials, materials containing a trademark or service mark or non-student work must include a release that gives the Florida Commission on Human Relations permission to use the information contained in the PSA without charge or liability of any nature or type.

6. Music, artwork, lyrics and other materials used in the PSA must be original or include authorization for its use form the holder of any trademark, service mark or copyright.

7. Students may work in groups of no more than five individuals, excluding actors, artists, or musicians.

8. All individuals participating in the contest (including actors, artists, and musicians) must sign and complete a release form that must be submitted with the final PSA.

9. Students may submit up to three PSA entries.

10. PSAs must be 25 seconds in duration from first visual/sound to finish and must include a copy of the script.

11. Entries should be submitted in DVD in .avi, .mov, or .DV format (.DV format is preferred). Each DVD must have a label that includes student names, school name, district, grade, and date(s) of production. Each DVD must include only one entry. If there is any problem with this required format, please let the Commission know.

12. Completed entries must be approved and submitted by school officials. All entries and required forms must be received by the Florida Commission on Human Relations by May 1, 2009.

13. Awards will be given to district winners in the 9th/10th and 11th/12th grade categories (a total of eight winners). A list of winners will be posted to the Florida Commission on Human Relations’ website.

14. Entries will not be returned and may be used by the Florida Commission on Human Relations for public education and promotion.

15. The Commission will include the FCHR logo and website information on the winning PSAs after the winners have been announced.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

LIFE Tapestry of Homeschool Survey Report Online

Nearly 1000 homeschoolers completed the Tapestry of Homeschool Survey conducted by Learning is for Everyone over the summer. Results are online at

No surprises, but a nice look at homeschooler experiences and concerns, in their own words.

Welcome Homeschoolers in Pasco

LIFE welcomes HIP Homeschoolers to our directory of inclusive homeschool support groups in FL:


HIP Homeschoolers is intended for active homeschool families who seek to proactively develop friendships and learning opportunities for their children and themselves.


We're glad you're here!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anthony H. 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee

On December 10, the 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee was held at Starkey Park Educational in New Port Richey. Six homeschooled students competed, from Pasco, Pinellas, and Citrus Counties.

Questions were particularly tough this year. Answers to some of the stumpers were Manitoba, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

Anthony H. , age 10, of East Lake was the winner, with Neatia D., age 13, of Holiday was the first runner-up (above, with event organizer Loni Kaplan). Anthony will take a 70-question written exam to see if he qualifies for the state competition in April.

The Bee was sponsored, in part, by Learning is for Everyone. For more information, or to be put on a list to receive information about next year's bee, please contact Loni Kaplan at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Young American Creative Patriotic Art Award

This Tampa Tribune release comes from Riverview, but it's a statewide/nationwide contest and you can find a local Ladies AVFW sponsor if your child wants to participate by visiting the Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW website:


RIVERVIEW - Artistic students eager to earn college scholarship money have several months to create patriotic art that could land them thousands.

The Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 8108 is looking for students to participate in the Young Patriotic Art Contest, offered to grades nine through 12.

The Young American Creative Patriotic Art Award is one of the many programs available through the auxiliary. "This is a wonderful way to encourage our young people to use their artistic talents to express patriotism, love of country and respect for the American flag," said national chairwoman Patricia Sistrand on the auxiliary's Web site.

"There are now seven scholarships to be awarded on the national level, from $500 to $10,000 for the first-place winner," she said.

"If it gets past the district level and to the national level, that is when they can win the college scholarship money," said local chairwoman Norrine Forrest. "Scholarships are available at varying levels."

Sad as it is, Forrest said, she rarely receives more than a handful of entries. Students are missing out on a huge opportunity for scholarship money, she said. The only requirement for residency is that a student live in Hillsborough County.

Here's how it works:

The art must be on paper or canvas. Water color, pencil, pastels, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen-and-ink or oil can be used. Digital art can be submitted but must be on paper or canvas.

Submit canvas entries on stretched frames. Other entries must be matted in white only.

Anyone choosing to include the American flag in their work must abide by the federal flag code as far as the color and number of stars and stripes and other rules.

All entries must have been completed in the current school year, and a teacher must sign them. Students can submit only one entry.


For deadlines and to obtain an entry form, contact Norrine Forrest at (813) 677-9559.

Last Chance to Register for 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee

The 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee in Pasco/Pinellas and surrounding counties, sponsored in part by Learning is for Everyone, will be held Wednesday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. at Starkey Park Education Center in New Port Richey, FL

For those who wish to compete, please visit the National Geographic Geography Bee website which offers further information and links to study questions:

All are welcome and invited! The following rules apply only to those who go on to the next level (state competition). The competition is for those in grades 4-8. The student may not reach their 16th birthday before May 1, 2009. A student may not be enrolled in more than three academic courses at the high school and/or college level during each school year of the competition.

If you have a question about whether or not your child is age-eligible, please contact Loni Kaplan at

The winner of this bee will take a written test; the top 100 scorers in Florida will be eligible to compete in the state bee in March. The winner of the state bee will be sent to Washington D.C. for the National Geographic Bee in May, 2009, all expenses paid by the National Geographic Society.

The winner and runner-up of our bee will also receive trophies. Every participant will receive a Certificate of Participation.

Please feel free to forward this message on to any other lists you belong to, and any individual you feel may be interested. This bee is open to any homeschooler, regardless of where you may live.

The cost to participate in this bee is just $5/child, to defray the cost of registration with National Geographic.

Please contact me by email, and include your name, your child's name and age. I will contact you closer to the date with further details.

Thank you for your interest!

Loni Kaplan

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Welcome Palm Beach County Homeschoolers

Welcome to Palm Beach County Homeschoolers! They've just joined LIFEs Statewide Directory of Inclusive Homeschool Support Groups .


Palm Beach County Homeschoolers

Our goal is to help and support all homeschoolers without discrimination of any kind. We meet twice monthly at parks as well as offering field trips and a variety of social and educational activities.


Jean Cavanaugh


If you have a group you'd like listed, drop us a line.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Art Builds Florida! Statewide Student Arts Contest - deadline Jan 20

Art Builds Florida! Statewide Student Arts Contest sponsored by Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc. in collaboration with the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs, is open to all Florida high school students in grades nine through 12.

Florida’s 67 counties have been grouped into four regions; each region representing one of the focus areas of the plan.Students can submit original, two-dimensional artwork to assist the Division in promoting the four key areas of Florida’s strategic plan, Culture Builds Florida’s Future.

Finalists will be announced on the Division’s Web site by early February 2009. The four winners and their parent/guardian will be invited to Tallahassee in April 2009 for events recognizing their achievements in the contest.

Simultaneously, an exhibition in the Division of Cultural Affairs Gallery for Innovation and the Arts will feature the work of the finalists next spring. The top winner in each of the four categories, Learning and Wellness, Strengthening the Economy, Design and Development, and Leadership will be awarded a $1,500 cash prize.

For further information including the deadline postmark date and all contest rules and submission guidelines, visit the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Web site at or contact Laura Stone, Arts In Education Manager, at (850) 245-6475.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Statewide Tuition Hikes Planned

Tuition hikes are in the offing, reducing coverage by Bright Futures

Crist to announce plan to raise tuition statewide

Gov. Charlie Crist backs universities' bid to raise tuition

You can contact your representatives via Online Sunshine or the Governor's office at or (850) 488-7146 to make your feelings known.

For what it's worth, here's Gov. Crist's reasoning/clarification of his effort, that I received in some mass email he's sending around:
Dear Friends,

This week I unveiled a comprehensive proposal to reform our state
university system in a way that provides access for you and your
families while giving Florida's 11 institutions the resources and
governance they need to prepare a strong workforce for our many
businesses and industries.

Every Floridian should have access to a high-quality and affordable
higher education. As Governor, and as a graduate of Florida State
University, I am committed to supporting Florida's public colleges as
they prepare graduates for the increasingly competitive global

For decades, we have looked to Florida's universities to make our
great state better by educating future doctors, lawyers, nurses,
teachers, scientists and entrepreneurs. Many of you are graduates of
this system. Your success in life is proof of how important these
universities are to our quality of life here in the Sunshine State. As
Governor, I am committed to giving our universities the resources and
support they need to excel.

That is why I am proposing a set of reforms that will strengthen
Florida's universities now and for decades to come. By establishing
clear lines of governance at the individual institution and the state
level -- and by balancing universities' financial needs with
affordability for families -- our universities and our students can

I remain as committed as ever to keeping our universities affordable.
But I also understand that our institutions must be able to set
tuition at levels that enable them to maintain the strength and
competitiveness of their faculty and degree programs by recruiting the
best professors. My proposal balances these two ideals.

Under this proposal, the boards of trustees at each of our 11 state
universities would have the option to establish, with final approval
from the Board of Governors, a tuition plan that is higher than the
base rate charged to in-state undergraduates. This could not exceed 15
percent each year.

Base tuition would continue to be covered by the Bright Futures
Scholarship Program. Also, the tuition changes would not affect
families that have purchased contracts through the Florida Prepaid
College Plan. To help families with financial needs, 30 percent of the
differential tuition would go toward need-based aid. The remainder of
revenues would be used to retain and recruit professors and
researchers, programs that improve graduation and retention rates, and
other areas identified by the individual schools. The result will be
stronger Florida universities that prepare graduates for the
increasingly global marketplace.

My proposal also would clarify governance of the universities, by
giving individual boards of trustees the authority to oversee daily
operations and university-level matters including the selection of
presidents, budgets, and growth planning. The Board of Governors would
have authority to approve trustees' tuition requests, as well as their
requests for curriculum changes, program expansions, and long-term
strategic plans.

A well-educated workforce opens the door to endless opportunities for
every Floridian, and for the Sunshine State. I look forward to working
with the Legislature and the higher education community to make our
universities stronger than ever.

God bless you and God bless Florida.

Receive Regular Updates from Governor Crist

I would like to keep you informed about actions my administration is
taking on education issues, as well as many other topics, if you are
interested. I invite you to click the link below and select the issues
you want to learn more about. Feel free to select as many topics as
you like.

Thank you and God bless. It is a privilege and honor to serve you as

Monday, November 10, 2008

Florida KidCare "Act-Out for Health" Contest - Deadline 12/5

Only One Month to Submit Your Entry

Florida KidCare "Act-Out for Health" Contest Deadline Approaching

Tallahassee – The deadline to submit PSA and print advertisement
entries to the Florida KidCare Act-Out for Health Contest is quickly
approaching on December 5th. Middle and high school students from
across the state can produce a 30 second television commercial PSA or
create a print advertisement promoting Florida KidCare, a state and
federally funded program for uninsured children.

A recent study by the University of Florida Institute for Child Health
Policy identified children 12 through 18 years old as the largest
population of uninsured children in Florida. The contest encourages
students to use creative messages and images to demonstrate the
importance of having quality healthcare.

Students can win scholarships Best Buy gift cards and money for their
school. Winning entries may be featured on television or newspapers
and magazines across the state during the 2009 Florida KidCare media

Florida KidCare "Act-Out for Health" PSA Contest

Contest Deadline: Friday, December 5, 2008 at 4 p.m.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Homeschooling and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

With respect to the currently (re)circulating UN Convention on the Rights of the Child contention that, if the Democratic Senator -- who is rumored to be unsupportive of homeschooling in the first place -- is elected, the first thing he will do is sign it and we’ll loose our right to homeschool, please consider the following:

Like John McCain, Barack Obama does support home education:\


BOTH Barack Obama and John McCain support the UNCRC:

Facts to consider about the effects of UNCRC on homeschooling:

Homeschooling has been illegal in Germany since before they signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and not as a result of the treaty:

Reflections on the UNCRC from a homeschooler in Canada, a country which signed the treaty years ago:

and from Australia

Myths and facts concerning the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Australia

See also:

Myths and Facts on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

(also supported by Church Women United:

And for what it’s worth, this late on election day, what folks might really want to consider when voting is where the candidates stand on various issues of major national importance that affect us all right now, things like

Economic issues:

Health Care:

Foreign Policy:


Climate Change:

Energy Crisis:

Here’s a look at where the candidates stand on some of these issues:,28804,1855269_1855265,00.html

You can also visit their respective websites for more information:

Barack Obama:

John McCain:

It’s a lot of reading, but it sure beats ignorance.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Homeschooling and the 2008 Election

I want to address some contentions that I think are erroneous and misleading that are currently making the rounds of homeschool communities; and that’s namely that whoever wins the presidential election will determine whether we get to continue homeschooling.

To put it mildly, I think that’s stuff and nonsense. Our nation is confronted with an economic crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in nearly 80 years, health care issues, foreign policy issues, wars on at least two fronts, and climate change issues. I can pretty much guarantee you that the first thing any incoming president does will NOT have anything to do with homeschooling or the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

There’s a lot more at stake in this election than homeschooling, which isn’t an issue on anyone’s platform. I think we should all be more concerned with national issues of economy, health care and foreign policy than the states issues of homeschooling right now.

Whoever you vote for, whatever you vote for, please make your vote an intelligent and informed one, based on facts and not fear mongering conjecture. Homeschooling is alive and well and thriving in America, influencing educational choices nationwide, inspiring innovation in pubic and private education that will not be reversed, and neither John McCain nor Barack Obama will significantly affect it one way or another.

And if at any point, there is any threat coming from the national level with respect to how you homeschool, I can guarantee you it won’t come from the White House, but from wolves in sheep's clothing like HSLDA and other special interests with private agendas masquerading as homeschool saviors.

Protect your right to homeschool by supporting everyone’s rights to live, worship and learn in ways best for their families. Vote with common sense and intelligence, not fear.

Terri Willingham
LIFE of Florida

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs

The Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) College Fairs are designed for students interested in pursuing undergraduate and graduate study in the areas of music, dance, theater, visual arts, graphic design, and other related disciplines. Students have an opportunity to attend a PVA and meet with representatives from colleges, universities, conservatories, festivals and other educational institutions with specialized programs in the visual and performing arts. The next fair held in Florida will be on October 19, from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at the University of South Florida Sun Dome. For more details, visit

2008-2009 Arts for Life! Scholarship Program

The Arts for Life! program recognizes 25 graduating high school seniors from across Florida for outstanding achievement in the arts. Each recipient receives a $1,000 cash scholarship toward their pursuit of the arts in higher education. To be considered for an Arts for Life! Scholarship, students must:

  • Be a high school senior graduating from a public, private or home education program in Florida.
  • Submit a completed application, brief essay explaining "How the arts have positively influenced my life," and "What role the arts will play in my future," and a sample of work in dance, music theatre or visual arts.

To apply for a 2008-2009 Arts for Life! Scholarship, interested students should visit for an official application, and more information on additional requirements. Applications must be postmarked no later than Feb. 2, 2009.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kennedy Space Center Salute to Homeschool Students - October 25

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Presents:

Salute to Homeschool Weekend 2008!

Homeschool students, families and teachers: be our honored guests for full-day access to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex shows and exhibits. You'll get the chance to take a bus tour of KSC, participate in special hands-on activities, learn about the latest NASA accomplishments, strap in to the NEW Shuttle Launch Experience and even come face-to-face with an actual astronaut. Homeschool teachers, pick up a packet of NASA education materials and help your students reach for the stars.

Homeschool Field Trip 2008 Dates:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Times: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

2008 Tuition: $31.50 per person (plus tax)

Homeschool Students from around the country are invited to
participate in the annual "Salute to Homeschool Students" on October
25, 2008 at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, a day filled with
adventure and activities designed to inspire the next generation of
space explorers. This year's activities focus on the International
Space Station truss system. Teams of 5 pick a name, a strategy, and
a design which will hopefully wind up being the strongest and longest
truss span.

Participants will have full access to Kennedy Space Center Visitor
Complex shows and exhibits, take a tour of Kennedy Space Center,
enjoy a 3D IMAX space film, tour the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame,
attend a private, interactive briefing about NASA's latest mission
and meet an astronaut with a special message to scouts.

Admission to "Salute to Homeschool Weekend" is $31.50 per person plus
tax and includes activities from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and lunch
plus a second day of admission to explore Kennedy Space Center
Visitor Complex. For more information or to register please visit or call (321) 449-4400.

Tara Reaves
Group Sales Manager
Kennedy Space Center
Visitor Complex
Phone: 321-449-4832
Fax: 321-455-6944

Friday, October 3, 2008

4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee - Greater Tampa Bay area

I am pleased to announce the 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee in Pasco/Pinellas and surrounding counties! This year's bee is sponsored in part by LIFE of Tampa. The bee will be held Wednesday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. at Starkey Park Education Center in New Port Richey.

I want to begin early to gather the names for the e-mailing list for the bee.

For those who wish to compete, please visit the website which offers further information and links to study questions:

I encourage all competitors...the following rules apply only to those who go on to the next level (state competition). The competition is for those in grades 4-8. The student may not reach their 16th birthday before May 1, 2009. A student may not be enrolled in more than three academic courses at the high school and/or college level during each school year of the competition.

If you have a question about whether or not your child is age-eligible, please contact me.

The winner of this bee will take a written test; the top 100 scorers in Florida will be eligible to compete in the state bee in March. The winner of the state bee will be sent to Washington D.C. for the National Geographic Bee in May, 2009, all expenses paid by the National Geographic Society.

The winner and runner-up of our bee will also receive trophies. Every participant will receive a Certificate of Participation.

Please feel free to forward this message on to any other lists you belong to, and any individual you feel may be interested.

This bee is open to any homeschooler, regardless of where you may live.

The cost to participate in this bee is $5/child, to defray the cost of registration with National Geographic.

Please contact me by email, and include your name, your child's name and age. I will contact you closer to the date with further details. Thank you for your interest!

Loni Kaplan

Monday, September 29, 2008

FYI: New State High School Diploma Requirements

There’s a lot of interesting reading in this Senate bill text, pertaining to changes in the Sunshine State Standards (ie “ Next Generation Sunshine State Standards) .While, in and of itself, this legislation has no specific bearing on home education in Florida, it's useful for several reasons, not the least of which is simply being informed about curriculum standards in FL.

Some homeschoolers follow along with the standards, many do not. But if there’s a chance that you plan to enroll your child in public ed, you may want to stay informed about upcoming changes. Even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to stay informed about changes to standards, especially if you’ve got kids making their way through high school at home and you plan to create diplomas for them, or want to align their transcripts with public ed requirements for college or career needs.

You can see (and save a copy of) the new diploma form here:

You can see the new "Next Generation Sunshine State Standards" (in progress) here:

From the FL DOE (excerpt below - visit link for full memo)

DATE: September 25, 2008


Recently enacted Senate Bill 1908 created a new section of statute that requires the following four new designations are included on the standard high school diploma beginning with the 2008-09 school year, as applicable:

Major Area of Interest, pursuant to completion of credits as provided in section 1003.428, Florida Statutes

Completion of four or more accelerated college credit courses in AP, IB, AICE, or dual enrollment if the student is eligible for college credit pursuant to sections 1007.27 or 1007.271, Florida Statutes

Career education certification in accordance with section 1003.431, Florida Statutes

Florida Ready to Work Credential in accordance with section 1004.99, Florida Statutes

Senate Bill 1908 can be viewed at: (see page 18).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

LIFE Fest 2008 Great Success!

LIFE Fest 2008 was our best event yet! Nearly 300 people attended, enjoying everything from robotics demonstrations to Irish Step Dancing. Children enjoyed a full day of art activities, courtesy of Great Explorations Children's Museum, of St. Pete, and Super Awesome Cool Pottery Studio of Winter Park. Teck 4 Tykes provided children's computer classes.

Brenda Dickinson, of the Home Education Foundation, gave a great overview of homeschooling in Florida. Mary McCool, eLearning Manager with Florida Virtual School helped guests find their way around Florida's number one distance learning school. There were work shops and round tables about unschooling, getting the most out of your library, college preparation, and more.

More photos of the event will be available at the Learning is for Everyone website soon.

We can't wait for LIFE Fest 2009!

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped make it so much fun!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

LIFE Fest 2008 is just one week away!

And we've got a phenomenal Home and Alternative Learners Conference program ready for you on September 20 at Eckerd College Conference Center in St. Petersburg, FL!

At just $10 per family, LIFE Fest is a cost effective, information rich, family-fun and learning day with something for everyone.

There are workshops on unschooling, civic education, teaching higher level science and math, running homeschool co-operatives and learning the basics of homeschooling in Florida. There will be ongoing music and art activities for all ages, vendors, a LIFE Fest Bazaar and lots of information and resources from a variety of community groups, not to mention plenty of free materials at our Information Buffet and door prizes.

So come and learn about all the many wonderful ways there are to learn!

For more information, visit our LIFE Fest page or email info@learningis4everyone.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pasco County Homeschoolers Seeks Re-Evaluation of Pasco County Library Borrowing Policy

Pasco County homeschooler Loni Kaplan is trying to persuade the Pasco County Library system to re-evaluate their new short check-out policy (PDF), and is trying to reach others to inform and mobilize. Read her views and about the policy change:

Budget cuts quicken due date on Pasco library books

Reading library books should be a pleasure, not a pressure

"If you can help me get the word out to other homeschoolers in Pasco, perhaps more people will express their opinions to the library. As of now, they library system has only had about 30 complaints. They are re-evaluating their policy in November, and if they have enough complaints, they will re-instate the 28-day policy. People with comments/complaints should contact Stephen Kershner, Assistant Libraries Director at " - Loni Kaplan

Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome New Group: Middle School GT, Pinellas County

Welcome Middle School GT to our directory of inclusive homeschool support groups in FL:

Middle School GT meets monthly on the 2nd or 3rd Sat of the month for
different exciting adventures like Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Haunted
Trails, Scavenger Hunts and so much more. We are primarily based out
of the St. Pete/Clearwater area. But we welcome anyone from anywhere,
and although this is primarily homeschoolers, we welcome anyone in the
10-14 age range regardless of schooling. and

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Florida KidCare launches "Act-Out for Health" PSA contest

Florida KidCare launches “Act-Out for Health” PSA contest
Florida KidCare is seeking middle and high school students from across the state to enter the Act-Out for Health contest to help promote affordable health insurance available through Florida KidCare. Students ages 12 through 18 can produce a 30-second television commercial or create a print advertisement promoting Florida KidCare, a state and federally funded program for uninsured children.

This contest makes a great class project. Students can win scholarships, money for your school and gift cards. Winning entries may be featured on television or newspapers and magazines across the state. Contest entry deadline is Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, at 4 p.m.

For more information and to download contest entry packets, please visit Visit the Florida Healthy Kids Web site to view last year’s winning PSA entry at

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

LIFE Fest 2008 Home and Alternative Learners Conference - September update

Our annual LIFE Fest Celebration of Learning will be held Saturday, September 20th at the Eckerd College Conference Center and Lodge at 4200 54th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, FL from 10 a.m. – 4p.m. Admission is just $10 per family, with carpool discounts available the day of the event!

It's a great location that lends itself well to a family friendly event, with Ft. Desoto Park camping and world-class beaches just down the road,and St. Pete museums and other attractions nearby.


Vendor registration and prepaid admission discounts are officially closed, but we've extended the deadline for registering to have a table at the LIFE Fest Bazaar, and advertising is still available in our program guide. You can visit the LIFE website at for info on both of those. Additionally, if you have a support group and would like a table, you can let us know through September 5th.

The current conference line-up includes:

And much, much more!

Round tables and workshops scheduled include:

*Homeschool 101 - Getting Started and Keeping On

*Learning Cooperatively Round Table - Organizing,managing and participating in learning co-operatives

*Homeschool Support Group Round Table - Managing a group, playing nice within one

*College Prep - Tips, tricks and tools

*Homeschooled and Proud - Creating a sense of Alma mater with mater and pater

*Out of Your Element - Teaching higher level high school subjects like chemistry, physics, and algebra

Transitions and You - Adapting to grown up homeschoolers

Civic Education - Use it or Loose it!

Speakers will include:

Brenda Dickinson, home and private school lobbyist, of the Home Education Foundation;

Mary McCool, of the Florida Virtual School;

Jamie Moorehead of Super Awesome Cool Pottery Studios;

Annette Reiter, co-author of Blast Off, Launching Your Child to College and Beyond

Erica Petramala, of Kids Voting Tampa Bay


  • Great Explorations Children's Art will be ongoing throughout the day, providing secure, supervised child care;
  • Doug Scull with Hands on Planet Earth will provide a session or two of up close and personal animal encounters;
  • FIRST Robotics teams will be demonstrating and providing information about all levels of FIRST robotics programs for children, from Jr. LEGO League through high school robotics;
  • Tek4Tykes will be providing computer learning activities for children;
  • Homeschool Ballroom Dance team and Irish Step Dance performances

Florida State Parks to Celebrate Literacy in September

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Florida State Parks are celebrating the second annual Literacy Month this September at each of the state's 161 state parks. In conjunction with International Literacy Day on September 8 and National Library Card Signup Month, entrance to all of Florida 's state parks will be free the week of September 7-13 for visitors who bring a library card, library book, or who donate a new or gently used family book.

"Promoting literacy at Florida's state parks creates an appreciation for both reading and the environment that visitors can take back to the classroom and community, said Florida State Park Director Mike Bullock. "September's Literacy Month is the perfect time for all park visitors,
including families and schools to experience resource-based recreation while enhancing the mind through literacy events."

Florida's state parks, along with local libraries and schools, will host a variety of events during September including book readings, author appearances and book exchanges. Books donated during Literacy Month will go to schools and libraries in need or be used for permanent book exchanges within state park collections. The Florida Department of Education's (DOE)
Just Read, Florida ! program will also distribute lists of nature-themed reading materials to libraries and educators, and Literacy Month bookmarks will be distributed at libraries, bookstores and state parks through a partnership with the Florida Lottery.

"Literacy Month is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about Florida 's natural, cultural and literary resources," said Education Commissioner Dr.. Eric J. Smith. " Reading is the foundation for academic success and our partnerships will bring an increased focus to the importance
of literacy."

Partners in the Literacy Month celebration include the Florida Department of State, Florida Department of Education, the Florida Lottery, Volunteer USA Foundation, Florida Literacy Coalition, Adult and Community Educators of Florida, Inc., local libraries, schools and reading programs statewide. More than 1.3 million visitors participated in the September 2007
Literacy Month celebration, with nearly 35,000 people participating in 60 events statewide. State parks collected 10,000 books for donation and DEP and the Florida Lottery distributed 15,000 bookmarks to libraries and bookstores throughout the state.

The first two-time Gold Medal winner honoring the nation's best state park service, Florida 's state park system is one of the largest in the country with 161 parks spanning nearly 700,000 acres and 100 miles of sandy white beach. From swimming and diving in Florida's rivers and springs
to birding and fishing or hiking and riding on natural scenic trails, Florida's state parks offer year-around outdoor activities for all ages.

Battle re-enactments and Native American festivals celebrate Florida 's unique history, while art shows, museums and lighthouses offer a window into Florida 's cultural heritage. Florida 's state parks are also home to the 2008 Best Beach in the nation, Caladesi Island State Park , located off the coast of Southwest Florida in Pinellas County .

For more information about Florida State Parks' Literacy Month celebration and a list of events, visit <> .

Marla Liane Chancey
Park Services Specialist
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
4150 S. Suncoast Blvd.
Homosassa, FL 34446
(352) 628-5343 X-1006

See the Real Florida at <>