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.