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!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Florida Wildflower Foundation Seeking Volunteers for Wildflower Surveys

This year the Florida Wildflower Foundation completed spring, summer and fall surveys of naturally occurring wildflowers along the five-county St. Johns to the Sea Loop trail (Putnam, Volusia, Brevard, Flagler and St. Johns counties), which will soon become the state’s first Wildflower Trail.

In 2010, the Foundation plans to survey other wildflower-profuse areas in the Panhandle and in North, Central and South Florida. The surveys will identify showy areas of native wildflowers in order to document species and suggest management practices. This research also will help us promote Florida’s native wildflowers as economic and intrinsic community assets.

First, though, we need the assistance of residents and visitors to find wildflower sites throughout the state. They can help by sending the following information by Dec. 1 to the Foundation at wildflower.research@gmail.com:

1.Approximate locations of any showy roadside or trailside (paved bike or foot path) native wildflowers seen in Florida during spring, summer and/or fall.

Include:

a.The scientific or common name of the plant species. If the name is unknown, describe the flowering plants’ characteristics (i.e., color, height, growth habit, etc.).

b.The road’s name, as well as a nearby intersection or another landmark that will help us locate the site.

c.The geographic region (defined below) and the city and/or county in which the site occurs.

d.The approximate date of the sighting. If the date is unknown, please include the season.

e.A description of the habitat (i.e., wet ditch, sand dune, pine forest, etc.).

f.Digital photos, if possible.

2. The names and locations of public lands (state, national, city and county parks; water management district holdings, etc.) that have great native wildflower displays, along with species names and approximate bloom dates,

Garden or civic clubs that have planted roadside or trailside native wildflowers can help by sending the planting’s location and a species list.

Geographic regions are defined as:

Panhandle: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Jackson, Washington, Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Wakulla, Leon, Jefferson.

North Florida: Madison, Hamilton, Columbia, Baker, Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam, Clay, Marion, Alachua, Levy, Bradford, Union, Gilchrist, Dixie, Lafayette, Suwannee, Taylor.

Central Florida: Citrus, Sumter, Lake, Volusia, Seminole, Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Hernando, Sumter, Citrus, Manatee, Hardee, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Indian River, De Soto, Sarasota.

South Florida: Charlotte, Glades, Martin, Lee, Hendry, Palm Beach, Collier, Broward, Dade, Monroe.

Florida Wildflower Foundation
PO Box 941066
Maitland, FL 32794-1066
407-353-6164
www.floridawildflowerfoundation.org

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Virtual View on Virtual Schools


There are emails going around, on both sides of the fence, about virtual school program legislation currently under consideration in FL (SB 534 and HB 7067). Some of the emails encourage signing a petition to allow home educators to participate in School District Virtual School Programs (SDVIP) without previous enrollment in public school, and others protest the legislation.

All home educators are urged to become informed about virtual school choices in Florida, whatever your opinion or preference regarding the schools, and to make sure you have all the facts (or as many as you can find) rather than acting on fear based or uninformed arguments on either side.

Support for SDVIP Enrollment Expansion
With respect to the petition, found at http://www.flvirtualfamilies.org/petition/ and this particular phraseology: "In looking at this law, it is a great tool for those parents that would choose to homeschool." …

It's important to remember that SDVIP is great tool for those interested in having a *public school education option that they can administer from home*. Participants need to understand that the laws under which those enrolled in this program would provide that education are different from homeschooling laws.

The petition calls on Florida representatives "to change the portion of House Bill 7067 that states a child must attend public school for one year to qualify for this program. We feel that this discriminates against children that previously home schooled or that would have to come out of private school that would want to use this program. Parents of all children should have the option to use this if they so chose. Treat all children fair"

Grammar issues aside,  the bill doesn't actually discriminate against homeschooled children or anyone else. This is a procedural issue, not a home education issue . Transferring to SDVIP should be handled as any public, private or homeschool program transfer is handled, using existing Florida State Board of Education transfer rules.

Opposition to SDVIP
Long time home and private school lobbyist Brenda Dickinson, of the Home Education Foundation, is concerned about the Senate version of SDVIP legislation, SB 534, for other reasons, principally her contention that SDVIP "will lead to the demise of home education as we know it."

In a recent email, referencing a Christian Broadcasting Network article titled "Online Charter Schools Proving Popular" she contends:

"Parents are going to be more confused about virtual education than they were last year if Charter Virtual Schools are created in Florida. This year some parents who have enrolled their children in the School District Virtual School Programs (SDVIP) are forming their own support groups and asking for membership in the Florida Parent Educators Association. They think they are home educators. However, students enrolled in a SDVIP, using K-12, Inc and Connections Academy are not home educated students; they are public school students. I believe in a short time this confusion will lead to the demise of home education as we know it.

"The type of school listed (in the article) is NOT a virtual school; it is a distant learning program. A box of books and materials are delivered to the child's home and the parent is the primary instructor. With the cost of curriculum and private education in these uncertain and difficult economic times, the charter virtual school described below will appeal to many parents. These programs contain highly structured curriculum with 180 days of lessons sent to the parent with a distant teacher provided who checks on the student periodically. Notice that the teacher only has to contact the student once a month. Since the State requires schools to provide 4 to 5 hours of instruction a day for 180 days per school year, these private programs are requiring parents to provide 4 to 5 hours a day per child for 180 days per school year.  The State will now bear the cost (about $5500 per child) of these children who will be enrolled in a public school run by an at-home private school with the parent as the primary instructor. Though it sounds a lot like home education, it has the structure and standardization of a private school.

"
SB 534 is filed for the 2010 Session and will create the same virtual charter school in Florida described in the article below. My question is: How long will home education parents be able to direct their children's education if these schools are established in Florida?  Many parents are afraid to step out on their own to take over the education of their children under the home education law, so this highly structured program will appeal to those parents. Within a few years, there will be almost no one in the elementary grades who develops their own curriculum and tailors it to their own child's interest, pace and learning style. Most parents, new to home education, will be persuaded that this is the only way to teach your child at home."

The virtual school induced death knell has been rung for homeschooling for almost ten years now. (For the record, almost identical complaints were leveled at FLVS at the time, even though now, FLVS is lauded by many of the same homeschoolers as a model virtual program for home educators.)

Home education is,in fact, changing and has been since its inception. But that's different from suffering a "demise."  More people than ever are aware that they can in some great measure influence and direct their children's education, perhaps not as completely as some of us have chosen, but more than many more people ever would have considered doing.

A future now suggests itself where everyone tailors his or her education to best suit individual needs, interests and abilities. This has the potential to bring a far higher quality of family life and education to more people than does circling the wagons to protect "home education as we  know it." Life as people knew it a hundred, two hundred, three hundred years ago no longer exists. While some good things are lost to time and history, many more good things have been gained: civil rights, greater longevity, multiculturalism, fascinating and useful technology, and more access to knowledge than ever before. 

Get the Facts
With any of the virtual school arguments or supplications, important points of clarification should be:


  • Sources and evidence for "slippery slope" arguments of doom;Specific studies regarding virtual school program effects on home education;
  • Specific instances of school district strong-arming (some emails claim school districts are performing portfolio reviews with the intention of intimidating parents into choosing SDVIP programs);
  • Focus on real issues: equitable application of uniform transfer rules, or truth in advertising for SDVIP programs – issues that apply across the board to all families trying to make informed decisions.

Advocating and empowering all families to make informed educational decisions for themselves and their children is, in the long run, the best way to protect homeschooling.

You can read more about HB 7067 at

 
And about SB 537 at http://bit.ly/2ZPaKm 

Thoughts and insights are welcome, as is additional information that others may find helpful in weighing their options.

And for the record, any virtual school families seeking support and resources are very welcome to join Learning is for Everyone of Florida. We don’t care how you learn at home, and we’re happy to help you make the most of your time together with your children.

Terri Willingham
http://LIFEofFlorida.blogspot.com


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Enjoy a Symphony of Science



Visit http://www.symphonyofscience.com/ for more information and more joyous science!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Florida Students Invited to Participate in US Dept. of Energy's Real World Design Challenge

Chancellor of Public Schools, Dr. Frances Haithcock joined Lt. Gov. Jeff
Kottkamp Aug. 25 to announce that Florida is one of 25 states nationwide
participating in the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Real World Design Challenge (RWDC).
The annual event provides high school students in grades nine through 12 the
opportunity to work on real-world engineering challenges in a team format. The
RWDC presents student teams with a challenge that confronts one of the nation's
leading industries; this year the focus is on aeronautics and energy usage.

Participating students will have a chance to apply the lessons of the classroom
to the technical problems that are being faced in the workplace, and utilize
professional quality computer-aided design software to develop their solutions.
Teachers participating in the challenge are also able to obtain professional
development opportunities as well as software engineering tools valued at nearly
$1 million.

To learn more about the Real World Design Challenge, visit
http://www.scied.science.doe.gov/RWDC/index.html. Districts and schools
interested in participating may contact Sally Sanders with the Florida
Department of Education at sally.sanders@fldoe.org.

They've confirmed that homeschool and private school students can register teams.

"I Am What I Learn" Video Contest

To further encourage student engagement, the U.S. Department of Education is launching the "I Am What I Learn" video contest. On September 8, we will invite students to respond to the president's challenge by creating videos, up to two minutes in length, describing the steps they will take to improve their education and the role education will play in fulfilling their dreams.
 
We invite all students age 13 and older to create and upload their videos to YouTube by October 8. Submissions can be in the form of video blogs, public service announcements (PSAs), music videos, or documentaries. Students are encouraged to have fun and be creative with this project! The general public will then vote on their favorites to determine the top 20 finalists. These 20 videos will be reviewed by a panel of judges including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The panel will choose three winners, each of whom will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
Starting this Friday, you can visit www.ed.gov/iamwhatilearn to find out more.

Read the full text of his speech at http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/
 
Watch webcast:
http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/aug20forumlive/

President Barack Obama's Education Address: "...Set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them."

 Text of President Barack Obama's planned public schools address:

 



Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009
Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today. 
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.   
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year. 
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn. 
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox. 
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve. 
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. 
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. 
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide. 
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future. 
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy. 
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country. 
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in. 
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. 
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right. 
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying. 
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. 
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America. 
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall. 
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same. 
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it. 
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things. 
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK.  Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." 
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying. 
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in. 
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals. 
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. 
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?  
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
______________________

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

LIFE Fest 2009 is Just Three Weeks Away!!

Our annual LIFE Fest Celebration of Learning will be held Saturday, September 26th at the Eckerd College Conference Center and Lodge at 4200 54th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, FL from 10 a.m. – 5p.m.

Admission is just a $10 donation per family. And, in the spirit of our Green LIFE Fest, carpool discounts of $10 a (safe and legal)carload will be available the day of the event.
Lodging is available right on the premises for just $65/night, and puts you just down the road from beautiful beach of Ft. Desoto Park, and near all the great museums, parks and shops of St. Petersburg. Call the Eckerd College Conference Center and Lodge at 800-456-9009 to reserve your room.

Our LIFE Fest 2009 line up ...

Demos and Exhibits on
Education and Community Support Groups

Workshops on:

and more!

And with our gratitude for support from

Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts
, operators of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, for the their generous donation of a Family Pass for four (valued at $152) for our raffle, and

Nature's Insight for Herb Cohen's kind donation of artwork for a door prize,

and many others!

Be part of the fun and knowledge and join us at LIFE Fest 2009!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

LIFE Fest 2009 Roster Growing!

Learning is for Everyone 's roster of vendors and community groups joining in on our 8th annual LIFE Fest Celebration of Learning is exciting and growing. LIFE Fest 2009 will be held on Saturday, September 26th at the Eckerd Conference Center and Lodge at 4200 54th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, FL from 10 a.m. – 5p.m.

Joining us so far this year:
  • Homeschool Ballroom Dance Team
And workshops and round table discussions on:
The event brings together home and alternative learners from across Florida, educators, museum and library program organizers, community education groups, youth groups and clubs, parent support and networking groups, and anyone interested interested in exploring a wide variety of learning and teaching ideas, opportunities and resources.

General admission is just a $10 donation per family, $8 prepaid via Network for Good (click and pay at http://LIFEofFlorida.blogspot.com by August 21 - bring your receipt as your ticket). And, in the spirit of our Green LIFE Fest, carpool discounts of $10 a (safe and legal) carload will be available the day of the event. Lodging is available right on the premises for $65/night. Call the Eckerd College Conference Center and Lodge at (800) 456-9009 to reserve your room before August 1.

We'll have a variety of great vendors, lots of free materials, great workshops,door prizes and raffles, and a fun and educational children's area with art and animals, all adding up to a full and exciting day that will offer ample opportunities to meet other home and alternatives educators from around the state and to learn how to make the most of your home based learning adventure.

Vendor space is still available, and we’re happy to provide free exhibit space to youth groups and clubs, home school and educational support groups, community education groups like libraries, parks, nature centers, museums and associations providing free or very low cost learning opportunities. If you feel your group or service qualifies, and you’d like to join us to provide outreach and information to guests about your support and education programs, please write to us with the name of your group, the services you provide, and the costs of your program(s).

For more information on any LIFE Fest 2009 opportunities, please email info@learningis4everyone.org for full details. Also contact us if you're interested in hosting a presentation, program or workshop, or providing raffle or door prizes.

All proceeds from LIFE Fest 2009 fully support Learning is for Everyone’s community education programs, including FIRST robotics, Picturing America Endowment for the Humanities program, Tampa Bay Mentor Match, homeschool support and more.

_____________________________

Learning is for Everyone is a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization supporting family choice in learning and empowering families and students with information and networking resources, on the web and off. Visit www.Learningis4everyone.org to learn more.

Monday, May 25, 2009

LIFE Fest 2009 Planners Drawing Entries & Vendor Discount Deadline Nears

May 31 is the deadline for both our Planners Drawing Entries and a $50 Vendor Discount. Read on for more details:

_____________________

The annual LIFE Fest Celebration of Learning will be held Saturday, September 26th at the EckerdConference Center and Lodge at 4200 54th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, FL from 10 a.m. – 5p.m.

This is a great location that lends itself well to a family friendly event, with Ft. Desoto camping and beaches just down the road,and St. Pete museums and other attractions nearby. After last year’s event drew over 300 guests, LIFE has reserved both Conference center buildings to better accommodate attendees, vendors, community groups, speakers and workshops.

The event brings together home and alternative learners from across Florida, educators, museum and library program organizers, community education groups, youth groups and clubs, parent support and networking groups, and anyone interested interested in exploring a wide variety of learning and teaching ideas, opportunities and resources.

Cost
As before admission is just a $10 donation per family, $8 prepaid via Network for Good (click and pay at
http://LIFEofFlorida.blogspot.com by August 21 - bring your receipt as your ticket). And, in the spirit of a Green LIFE Fest, carpool discounts of $10 a (safe and legal) carload will be available the day of the event.

Lodging
Lodging is available right on the premises for $65/night. Call the Eckerd College Conference Center and Lodge at (800) 456-9009 to reserve your room before August 1.

Content
There will be a variety of vendors, lots of free materials, great workshops,door prizes and raffles, and a fun and educational childrens area with art and animals, all adding up to a full day that will offer ample opportunities to meet other home and alternative educators from around the state and to learn how to make the most of a home based learning adventure.

Vendors
Vendor booths are $100 if reserved by May 31; $150 after that, through August 21, and will be sold on a first-come, first-served, paid-in-full basis. A sliding scale may be considered for very small, family based businesses. An additional 10% discount is provided to vendors supplying a door prize.

Planners Drawing

As before, we’re inviting our guests to help plan the party by holding a Planners Drawing in which those who send us LIFE Fest ideas by May 31 are automatically entered to win a great prize (last year it was tickets to the Edison-Ford Estates).

So send your ideas now to info@learningis4everyone.org with “LIFE Fest Ideas” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, address and contact info and you'll be automatically entered in a special LIFE Fest Planner award drawing at LIFE Fest 2009. You have to be present to win -- but you're helping plan so why wouldn't you be?!


LIFE Fest Bazaar
This year, the LIFE Fest Bazaar will be held in its own room. Cost is still just $20 for Bazaar space. Vendors can sell books, curricula, toys, clothes, and any other (reasonable) household goods at our LIFE Fest Bazaar. There will also have a give-away table available.

Reserve by August 21
Vendor and LIFE Fest Bazaar booths must be reserved by August 21. More information will be available at Learning is for Everyone throughout the summer.

Program Advertising

Guests at LIFE Fest will receive a printed program describing the day's agenda, workshops and round table discussions, and listing vendors. Costs to advertise in the program range from $25 to $100. Contact Learning is for Everyone for a rate sheet.

Community and Support Groups

As always, free exhibit space will be provided to youth groups and clubs, home school and educational support groups, community education groups like libraries, parks, nature centers, and museums and associations providing free or very low cost learning opportunities.

If you feel your group or service qualifies, and you’d like to be part of LIFE Fest 2009 to provide outreach and information to guests about support and education programs, please send LIFE the name of your group, the services you provide, and the costs of your program(s).

For more information on any LIFE Fest 2009 opportunities, please email info@learningis4everyone.org for full details. Also contact LIFE if you're interested in hosting a presentation, program or workshop, or providing raffle or door prizes.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Florida Virtual School Programs Safe

Just a short update -- Florida Virtual School reports that while the school suffered some cut backs like all schools in the state, no programs have been cut, nor will be in the foreseeable future.

Evidently, vigorous outspokenness by supporters helped legislators see what Florida Tax Watch Center (PDF) concluded in 2007 about FLVS (www.floridataxwatch.org/resources/pdf/110507FinalReportFLVS.pdf ):

"FLVS students outperformed their statewide counterparts on two independent assessments, both the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and Advanced Placement examinations. They earned higher grades in parallel courses. And this was accomplished with less money than was typically spent for instruction in traditional schools." (Up to $1000 per student less!)

At any rate, we can continue enjoying FLVS as we have before -- at least until the next budget go-rounds next year!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

House Bill 363 - Liability Waivers and Parental Authority

Some of you may have seen this making the rounds. But it didn't seem clear to me, just what the actual issue was when the consulting and lobby group, Home Education Foundation, sent out an “Immediate Alert Info” email about House Bill 363, so I sought some clarification.

The bill, endorsed by Walt Disney World but applicable to all family activity providers, expands the waivers and personal injury release forms that parents sign before doing things like renting theme park boats, going on certain rides, or field trips or participating in certain activities, to cover negligence on behalf of the activity provider. That means if you sign a waiver before going on a ride, for instance, and the ride breaks and your child gets hurt or worse, even though it's the provider's fault (and not yours or your child's for horsing around or using the equipment improperly), the provider is not at fault.

A competing version of the bill in the Senate (SB 886) does not cover provider negligence. The Legislature has only two weeks to resolve the issue before its 2009 session ends May 1. HEFs position is that this bill affect home educators directly because we participate in a variety of activities that require waivers. HEF believes, reasonably enough if seems, that those providing such activities shouldn’t be immune from responsibility or liabilty if a parent signs a waiver.

From the Home Education Foundation:
http://www.flhef.org

Homeschoolers have a well-rounded curricular experience which often includes field trips and extracurricular learning opportunities. In recent months, the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Legislature have moved to better define which activities may not only put students at risk but also whether or not those providing such activities should be immune from responsibility or liability should a parent sign a waiver.

Some see this as an assault on parents' rights to make decisions regarding whether they believe an activity puts their student at "risk". Others feel this is a necessary step in order to better define, for activity providers, what guidelines should be in place to ensure a safe experience for all involved. Without this important legislation, providers may not carry insurance should negligence occur, and all costs of injury or death would be borne by the parents.

…The amendment being put forward by Rep. Llorente better defines what is currently proposed in the Florida House and will conform the House bill to the Senate bill. This issue will not be easily settled, but homeschoolers have an opportunity to weigh on this issue by asking House members to include Rep. Llorente’s amendment (# 344949) in HB 363

The bill - without the amendment - will allow the commercial activity providers cover for any negligence on their part. A parent would have to sign a waiver, which under the current version of HB 363, would waive the inherent danger as well as any negligence on the part of the activity provider.

The Llorente amendment would not allow the vendor to be immune for negligence.

The language of the Llorente amendment is:

(b) In addition to the authority granted in paragraph (a), natural guardians are authorized, on behalf of any of their minor children, to waive and release, in advance, any claim or cause of action against an activity provider and its employees for the inherent risks involved in any activity; however, any waiver or release by a natural guardian on behalf of any of his or her minor children does not grant civil immunity to any person or entity whose negligence, gross negligence, or intentional conduct causes injury to a minor child sustained in the course of an activity. As used in this section, the term “negligence” means doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do under like circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under like circumstances. Waivers and releases under this subsection are disfavored and must be strictly construed against a party claiming to be relieved of liability due to such a waiver and release. Such waivers and releases are enforceable only where and to the extent that the intention to be relieved of liability was made clear and unequivocal in the waiver and release and the wording of the waiver and release was so clear and understandable that an ordinary and knowledgeable person would know what he or she would be contracting away. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to relieve an activity provider or its employees or agents from liability for any claim based on a violation of state or federal law.

(c) Notwithstanding the authority granted in paragraph (b), natural guardians are authorized, on behalf of any of their minor children, to sign waivers or releases in accordance with chapter 773, regarding equine, activities and s. 549.09, 33 regarding motor sport activities.

You can comment to the committee members listed at http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=40275&SessionId=61 or to your congressional representatives.

You can learn more this bill and see other views at these links:

Bill info : Last Event: Added to Unfinished Business Calendar on Friday, April 24, 2009
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/SEctions/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=40275

Panel Approves Florida Child Liability Law
http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20090324/BREAKINGNEWS/90324053/1086

Florida Attractions Association
http://capwiz.com/floridaattractions/issues/alert/?alertid=13181296

Florida Arbitration Law:
http://floridaarbitrationlaw.com/blogs/index.php?blog=5&title=pre_injury_waiver_bill_hb_363_sb_886_sup&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Parental Authority Bill Threatened by Trial Lawyers
http://www.racerxonline.com/article/parental-authority-bill-threatened-by-trial-lawyers.aspx

Dilemma: How to let kids take risks, be safe from negligence
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/custom/tourism/orl-bizwaivers17041709apr17,0,7999089.story

Liability Waivers: Trial Lawyers v. Theme Parks, Florida Supreme Court vs. Legislature
http://www.floridalawcommentary.com/2009/04/22/liability-waivers-trial-lawyers-v-theme-parks-florida-supreme-court-vs-legislature/

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

St. Petersburg Times: Don't cut back on online courses, Florida Virtual School supporters say

Read the complete story, by Jeffrey Solochek, at the St. Petersburg Times:

__________________________

A proposal to scale back Florida's successful virtual school has incurred the wrath of the powerful homeschooling community and drawn national scorn from education reform advocates.

"Virtual schooling is one of the really promising innovations that has happened in K-12 in the past 10 years, and Florida is the leading state," said Bill Tucker, managing director of the Washington D.C., nonpartisan think tank Education Sector. "That's why some of these proposals in the Legislature are really puzzling and troublesome."

The Senate wants to cut as much as 15 percent from Florida Virtual School's $116 million annual budget. Lawmakers also want to reduce the types of courses the school offers, and limit the number of alternate providers that could step in to fill the void.

Visit http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/article996232.ece to read the rest and comment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Huffington Post: Don't Stifle Florida's Education Innovation

In Don't Stifle Florida's Education Innovation, the Huffington Post adds its voice to the chorus of Florida residents trying to preserve the integrity and value of Florida Virtual School:

Florida has been a leader in education innovation over the last decade, but one bill currently under review by the state senate's Policy & Steering Committee on Ways and Means--Senate Bill 1676--threatens to wipe much of that out with one misguided and foolhardy swipe.

In its present form, the bill restricts the Florida Virtual School (FLVS)--one of the bigger policy and public education innovation success stories--in such ways that, as its president, Julie Young, said, "[it] would drastically impact our long-standing commitment to support the educational needs of all students of this state."

This would be tragic, as FLVS possesses many of the hallmarks of an innovation that has the opportunity to help transform public education from its present monolithic, one-size-fits-all form into a far more student-centric experience. ...

Complete story at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/clayton-m-christensen-and-michael-b-horn/dont-stifle-floridas-educ_b_187325.html

Saturday, April 18, 2009

LIFE of Florida Pleased to Offer Member Access to Microsoft DreamSpark tools for High School students

A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft Corp. announced the expansion of its successful Microsoft DreamSpark student program to include high school students worldwide. DreamSpark, originally available only to university students, makes professional-level developer and designer tools as
well as training available to students at no charge to support and advance their learning and skills through technical design, technology, math, science and engineering activities.

Learning is for Everyone has been approved to participate in this program, and we're happy to offer 200 access keys for LIFE families' high school students. The access key enables students to download professional Microsoft developer, designer, and gaming software through DreamSpark at no charge, to help students" unlock your creative potential and set you on the path to academic and career success by advancing your learning in the areas of technical design, technology, math, science, and engineering! It doesn't matter what classes you're taking right now, just as long as you're a current student in a verified, accredited School and use the tools in pursuit of
advancing your education in one of these areas."

Now LIFE of Florida homeschooled high school students can download the following Microsoft tools from DreamSpark:

* Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition
* Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
* Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
* Microsoft Expression Studio 1.0
* Microsoft Expression Studio 2 Trial Edition (includes Web, Blend, Media,
and Design)
* Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition
* Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition
* IT Academy Student Pass
* MS CCR & DSS Toolkit

In addition, in the spirit of cool things to download and "one-stop shopping", you can also download software (currently available on www.microsoft.com at no charge) like:

* SQL Server 2008 Express Edition
* Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition
* XNA Game Studio 2.0 (with 12-month Creators Club Student trial membership)
* Virtual PC 2007
* Visual Basic 2005 Express
* Visual C++ 2005 Express
* Visual C# 2005 Express
* Visual Web Developer 2008 Express
* Visual Basic 2008 Express
* Visual C++2008 Express
* Visual C# 2008 Express
* MS Robotics Developer Studio

LIFE is pleased to offer this great resource to homeschooled high school students in FL.

(You must be a member of LIFE of Florida to enjoy this opportunity, or a member of a Microsoft verified public or private high school.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Florida Virtual School Update and Call for Comment

Dear FLVS Supporters,


As you know from recent news reports and from internal updates, the budget passed out of the House removes the support we receive from the class-size reduction amendments. Some state leaders are making the case that we do not need this support because we don’t have four walls; others are claiming that by providing this support to us is akin to double dipping. If we cannot communicate to our state leaders the importance of this funding, the proposed House budget will have a dramatic impact on FLVS operations.


Can you help us by reaching out to state leaders to help them better understand how class-size supports both virtual and traditional classrooms?


The budget passed out of the Senate would limit FLVS to the core courses, removing electives like AP Computer Science, Personal Fitness, and many more. The Senate proposed budget also limits funding for students removing the after school and summer choices for students who want to accelerate or make up credit. If we cannot communicate to our state leaders the importance of these choices for Florida students and parents, the proposed Senate budget will have a dramatic impact on FLVS operations.


Can you help us by reaching out to state leaders to help them better understand the importance of the choice options for elective courses and taking courses in addition to the regular school day?


Please FAX your letters to your local representatives and senators and to as many others as possible. Fax numbers are listed below.


Florida Virtual School- FLVS

http://www.flvs.net

Office: 386.478.4201

Cell: 386-569-1675

FLVS 407-513-3587

fax: 1-888-771-5641

________________________________


To find your local legislators:
http://www.flsenate.gov/Legislators/index.cfm?Members=By+Last+Name

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx


Click on Image for clearer, enlarged view




Sample Letters:

Below you can find the sample letter for the House and for the Senate:

Sample letter to members of the House of Representatives:

Dear XXXXX,

I’m writing out of concern about the recent budget passed by the House that would cut a substantial portion of Florida Virtual School’s financial support. From what I understand the House, and possibly the Senate, are considering deep cuts for FLVS, including taking away the support the program receives for class-size reduction.

As you may well know, class size support was designed to bring equity to all school districts across the state. When the provision was passed, it was seen as an equalizer and designed to provide equitable funding to all districts. It was also a way for districts to hire enough teachers to keep class sizes at an appropriate level. FLVS is considered a district and has successfully served hundreds of thousands of students over the past decade. The program receives funding from the state using a weighted FTE (full time equivalent) model — just like all districts do. However, there are a couple of distinct differences in FLVS funding formula: 1) it is performance-based: meaning the program is funded only for students who successfully complete the course; and, 2) removes funding for programs not offered at the online program, including Supplemental Academic Instruction, ESE Guarantee, Safe Schools, Transportation, and School Recognition programs.

Today’s funding formula was built using sound, school-finance principles and to bring equity among the school districts. FLVS should not be singled out in today’s budget crisis. The state and subject certified teachers at FLVS work tirelessly to deliver individualized instruction to students and while their classrooms may not have four walls, their students are real and the classrooms exist.

Class-size support is a key element used to determine FLVS’ funding allocation. If the state legislature takes this support away, I’m afraid students will lose.

I implore you to reconsider such drastic actions and consider alternative ways that our state can continue to lead the country in delivering high-quality, online instruction.

Regards,



***************************************************************

Sample letter to Senate:

I’m writing out of concern about the recent budget passed by the Senate that would cut a substantial portion of Florida Virtual School’s financial support. From what I understand the Senate, and possibly the House, are considering deep cuts for FLVS, including taking away the support the program receives for elective courses, courses for acceleration and credit recovery, and for class-size reduction.

Florida Virtual School was started to serve students in rural districts, high minority schools, and low-performing schools. Many of these students would not have access to AP, advanced, honors, and elective courses without FLVS. FLVS has been funded for students who need to take courses after the regular school day and during the summer. Without FLVS many students will not be able to accelerate or make up credits for courses during the summer.

A case for FLVS elective courses from one of the FLVS AP Computer Science instructors:

• 90.1% of FLVS APCS students made a qualifying score (3, 4, or 5) on the 2008 exam compared to the Florida average of only 40.4% (or 36.3% if you remove FLVS students).
• FLVS APCS students averaged 4.20 on the 2008 exam compared to the Florida average of 2.38 (or 2.23 if you remove FLVS students).
• The median score on the 2008 APCS exam for FLVS students was a 5, but only a 1 for Florida as a whole.
• FLVS provided instruction for approximately 8% of the Florida students taking the APCS exam in the state in 2008. We are growing and project to exceed 10% in 2009.

When 60% of the state’s AP Computer Science students fail to make a qualifying score on the APCS exam, it is difficult to understand why the legislature would eliminate the FLVS elective that year after year has a pass rate in excess of 90% with average scores that far exceed the state and national averages. Given our results using a less expensive delivery model, isn’t a 90% return on investment vs. a 36% return what Florida’s taxpayers should expect to be maintained rather than discarded for a significantly lower performance?

The choices FLVS has been able to give to Florida students and parents in courses and the choice of when they take courses, has provided an economical way to ensure that all students have access to quality education with highly qualified instructors.
I implore you to reconsider such drastic actions and consider alternative ways that our state can continue to lead the country in delivering high-quality, online instruction.

Regards,


LIFE Fest 2009 Plans are Underway!

Our annual LIFE Fest Celebration of Learning will be held Saturday, September 26th at the Eckerd College Conference Center and Lodge at 4200 54th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, FL from 10 a.m. – 5p.m.


This is a great location that lends itself well to a family friendly event, with Ft. Desoto camping and beaches just down the road,and St. Pete museums and other attractions nearby. This year, we’ve reserved both Conference center buildings to better accommodate vendors, community groups, speakers and workshops.


Cost

As before (we’re recession/depression proof!) admission is just a $10 donation per family, $8 prepaid via Network for Good (click and pay by August 21 - bring your receipt as your ticket). And, in the spirit of our Green LIFE Fest, carpool discounts of $10 a (safe and legal)carload will be available the day of the event.


Lodging

Lodging is available right on the premises for a (still!) very reasonable $65/night. Call the Eckerd College Conference Center and Lodge at (800) 456-9009 to reserve your room by August 1.


Content

As before, we’ll have a variety of great vendors – we’re aiming for more this year - lots of free materials, great workshops,door prizes and raffles, and a fun and educational children’s area with art and animals, all adding up to a full and exciting day that will offer ample opportunities to meet other home educators from around the state and to learn how to make the most of your homeschooling adventure.


Vendors

Vendor booths will cost $100 if reserved by May 31; $150 after that, through August 21, and will be sold on a first-come, first-served, paid-in-full basis. A sliding scale may be considered for very small, family based businesses. A 10% discount is provided to vendors supplying a door prize.


LIFE Fest Bazaar

This year, we’ll hold the LIFE Fest Bazaar in its own room. Cost is still just $20 for Bazaar space. You can sell books, curricula, toys, clothes, and any other (reasonable) household goods at our LIFE Fest Bazaar. We’ll also have a give-away table for anything you just want to, well – give away!


Reserve by August 21

Vendor and LIFE Fest Bazaar booths must be reserved by August 21. More information will be available at Learning is for Everyone at http://www.learningis4everyone.org/content/view/2961/41/1/4/ shortly, but feel free to write and let us know if you’d like vending, community group, or support group space.


Also contact us if you’re interested in hosting a presentation or workshop.

Planners Drawing

As before, we’re inviting our guests to help plan the party by holding a Planners Drawing in which those who send us LIFE Fest ideas by May 31 are automatically entered to win a great prize (last year it was tickets to the Edison-Ford Estates).


So send your ideas now to info@learningis4everyone.org with “LIFE Fest Ideas” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, address and contact info and you'll be automatically entered in a special LIFE Fest Planner award drawing at LIFE Fest 2009. You have to be present to win -- but you're helping plan so why wouldn't you be?!


See you at LIFE Fest 2009!


Terri Willingham

LIFE of Florida

Learning is for Everyone


Friday, April 3, 2009

Parental Rights Amendment returns as HJ Resolution 42

Right on the heels of news that Sen. Arlen Specter, of PA, is introducing his flat tax bill for a second time (Specter Swings to the Right to Save Senate Seat), while also being lobbied to get behind a parental rights amendment to the Constitution, comes a Home School Legal Defense (HSLDA) note "introducing HJ Resolution 42: the aforementioned Parental Rights Amendment, and urging homechoolers to support it.

Of course supporting or not supporting this amendment is a personal decision, but it’s advised that those who *don't* support it speak out to their congressfolk as well.

Learning is for Everyone is of the view that the amendment is superfluous, since parental rights are already protected by the Constitution, and potentially rights limiting because it opens the door to more narrowly defining "parents" and "families".Additionally, the threat of international law at this level superseding federal law is an empty, and fear mongering one.

LIFE believes, like many other individuals and groups, that the best way to protect our freedoms is to use them, by speaking out on our own behalf and that of our children, for ourselves, and for others whenever we can, and we don't want anyone else deciding who "parents" are and what a family should look like.

You can learn more about the Parental Rights Amendment and related issues at http://www.learningis4everyone.org/content/view/24/42/1/2/

Follow actions and commentary at Open Congress: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-hj42/show

See also: NHELDs Warning to Parents :http://www.nheld.com/BTN67.htm

Monday, March 30, 2009

Florida Virtual School Needs Support

From Florida Virtual School:

Dear FLVS Parent and Florida Families,

We have just had some alarming news from Tallahassee. The Florida Senate PreK-12 Appropriations Committee has adopted a series of budget and policy changes (SB 1676 - PDF) that will have a substantial negative impact on FLVS and the level of services it currently provides to students, parents, and school districts. The list below describes how such actions will impact you.

The cuts are more drastic than other proposed cuts to other Florida school districts. These cuts would eliminate 7th period course offerings and online elective courses, and they would limit student choice of online courses to the core academic courses.

What does this mean for you and your child if this bill passes?

If you are a student, …
• you will no longer be able to take the elective course that FLVS offers like AP Art History, AP Computer Science, web design, Life Management Skills, personal fitness, and maybe even foreign languages;
• you will no longer be able to accelerate by taking additional courses with FLVS after school;
• who has failed a required course in either middle or high school, and your public school offers no summer school option, you will not have access to FLVS and will likely to be retained and repeat an entire year of instruction;
• you will no longer be able to accelerate via FLVS courses and enter college or the workforce early;
• you will have limited access to FLVS courses that are not offered in your traditional public school;
• your class size in the brick and mortar school may increase dramatically;

If you are a parent, …
• your child will no longer have access to elective courses at FLVS, only core courses will be offered ;
• whose child is enrolled full-time in a public school, your child will no longer be able to take an additional course at FLVS, eliminating acceleration and grade forgiveness options;
• with a child who has failed a required course in either middle or high school, and your public school offers no summer school option, your child will not have access to FLVS and will likely to be retained and repeat an entire year of instruction;
• your child will have limited access to FLVS courses that are not offered in your traditional public school;
• whose child is taking an FLVS course, his/her class size will increase dramatically;

What does it mean for the state of Florida?
• It means that Florida will have to pay more per student. The Tax Watch study in 2007 estimated that FLVS saved taxpayers about $1000 per student each year.
• It means that Florida students will not be able to accelerate or take extra courses to prepare for college or careers.
• It means that Florida may lose its place as the thought leader in online education, and maybe even destroy the nationally #1 ranked on-line program in the country.
• It means that rural districts will be deprived of access to enhanced curricular choices.

FLVS cannot fight this battle by itself! Each of you needs to get involved. Please take the time to call and email your local legislators and tell them NOT to allow this proposed budget to remove the opportunities and choices that FLVS provides to you and your children, not to mention the cost savings to the state of Florida.

Tell your legislators your FLVS story. Has FLVS helped your child in certain ways? What did you think about the relationship your child, your child’s FLVS instructor, and you developed? Have you ever spoken to your child’s teachers that much?

It is not too late! Florida legislature will listen to you! Pick up the phone right now, and call your local legislators and the members of the four education committees. Tell Florida legislators to not single-out FLVS when making budget reductions.

Find your local legislators (Senator and Representatives) here:
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx

http://www.flsenate.gov/Legislators/index.cfm?Tab=legislators&CFID=37274819&CFTOKEN=79073907

_____________________

Contact FLVS at info @flvs.net if you'd like more information. FLVS has been a great friend to homeschoolers in Florida and thousands of homeschoolers have benefited from AP, foreign language and other advanced, extracurricular and accelerated course material. It's been a win-win situation for students and the state of Florida for more than a decade.

If you've valued your FLVS experience, please let legislators know. If you've been waiting your turn to enjoy this great resource and don't want to loose it, please let legislators know. It's a community education program that works for tens of thousands of students in Florida like few other things have.

Terri Willingham
http://LIFEofFlorida.blogspot.com
www.learningis4everyone.org