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!

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
http://www.flgov.com/contact_governor 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
marketplace.

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
flourish.

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
Governor.

http://www.flgov.com/issuesignupform

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
campaign.

Florida KidCare "Act-Out for Health" PSA Contest

www.actout4health.org

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:

http://progressivehomeschoolersofflorida.blogspot.com/2008/10/homeschooling-and-\
2008-election.html


and


BOTH Barack Obama and John McCain support the UNCRC:

http://debate.waldenu.edu/video/question-12/


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: http://www.homeedmag.com/blogs/newscomm/?p=590


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

http://freethinkinghomeschool.blogspot.com/2008/02/un-convention-on-rights-of-child-threat.html


and from Australia

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

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/AJHR/1999/28.html


See also:

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

http://childrightscampaign.org/documents/MythsandFacts.pdf

(also supported by Church Women United: http://www.churchwomen.org/RightsoftheChild/myths-facts.asp)


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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_crisis_of_2008

Health Care: http://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/

Foreign Policy: http://www.cato.org/foreignpolicy/issues.html

Wars: http://www.comw.org/warreport/

Climate Change: http://www.pewclimate.org/

Energy Crisis: http://www.planetforlife.com/


Here’s a look at where the candidates stand on some of these issues:

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1855269_1855265,00.html


You can also visit their respective websites for more information:

Barack Obama: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

John McCain: http://www.johnmccain.com/informing/issues/


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