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, March 26, 2008

Media Hype to the Contrary - Homeschooling not Threatened in FL

It was just a matter of time before local media tried to capitalize on legal problems three time zones away, but Tampa Bay 10 finally gave it a shot. In Ruling rattles homeschool parents (although it hasn't, as far as we've been able to tell -- a non-problem Tampa Bay 10 is evidently out to fix!), a local homeschooled parent is used to lend a little insight to homeschooling in FL, and then the inevitable tie-in is made.

“(Foisi) like thousands of families in the United States, has chosen to home school her children. She feels that along with a tailored lesson plan, she can monitor their behavior.

“Now that right has been challenged.”

No it hasn't. Our right to homeschool in FL has not been "challenged" in the least.

Media hype to the contrary, the CA homeschooling case has nothing whatever to do with homeschooling in FL, nor in most other states.

We operate under a clear set of homeschooling laws in FL, whereas CAs lack of clear laws in the issue there. Further, the case is more problematic for private schools than for homeschools anyway.

Second, "thousands" of homeschoolers is a bit of an understatement; There are 55,000 homeschoolers in FL alone, and at least hundreds of thousands and more likely millions -- probably at or above 2 million in the US today.

Which leads to, third, the "constitutionality" of homeschooling. The 10th amendment is the usually accepted articulation of our right to direct our children's education.

And the proof of the success and value of that right is clear in the overall success of homeschooled children over the past 30 years, with homeschooled youth overwhelmingly succeeding in college, business, and positions of leadership and stewardship.

I would counsel that, rather than succumbing to sensationalist press attempting to connect dots that don't exist, and creating a crisis of speculation,that folks take the time to educate themselves about homeschooling and other forms of parent directed education.

Rather than talking about "going underground", perhaps homeschoolers and those who work with us should consider pounding the pavement with the message of family involvement in a world that needs intentional living more than ever.

Theresa Willingham
LIFE of Florida

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