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!

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

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tampa Area Homeschooler, Anthony Hengst named Florida Geographic Bee Semi-Finalist

Anthony won in the LIFE co-sponsored Tampa Bay area Homeschool Geographic Bee and is going on to the state Geographic Bee next week in Jacksonville.

Congratulations, Anthony!

_______________

2009 Florida Geographic Bee

Sponsored by National Geographic Society, Google and Plum Creek

Semifinalist Press Release

_______________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local Student Named Florida Geographic Bee Semifinalist

By National Geographic Society

Student’s Name: Anthony Hengst

Parents’ Names: Bethany Hengst

School Name and Address: Homeschool, Palm Harbor

Grade Level: 5th

The above-named student has been notified by the National Geographic Society that he is one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2009 Florida Geographic Bee, sponsored by Google and Plum Creek. Bees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school’s Geographic Bee winner. School-level winners then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. In each of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and the U.S. territories, the National Geographic Society invited the students with the top 100 scores to compete at the state level.

The 2009 Florida Geographic Bee will be held at Jacksonville University on Friday, April 3, 2009.

The state winner will receive $100, the “National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World,” and a trip to Washington, D.C., where he/she will represent Florida in the national finals at the National Geographic Society headquarters, May 19-20, 2009. The first-place national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the Society. The national winner will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos Islands with “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and the “Jeopardy!” Clue Crew. The winner will experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscape of Galápagos. Travel for the “Galápagos Adventure with Alex Trebek” is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society.



How would you fare as a Bee contestant? At the school-level Bee this year, students had to answer such questions as:

Which state does not rely on corn and soybeans for much of its agricultural output – Pennsylvania, Illinois, or Iowa? Pennsylvania

The Laramie Mountains, a livestock and timbering region, extend north from Colorado into which state? Wyoming

You can visit an aqueduct built by the Romans in Segovia, a city located approximately 40 miles northwest of Madrid, in which country? Spain

Approximately 40 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line despite an oil and gas boom in which country where Baku is the capital? Azerbaijan

Mexico City is located on the site of Tenochtitlan, the island capital of what empire that was conquered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century? Aztec Empire


Contact Ann Barrett (202-857-7662)/ abarrett@ngs.org or John McFeely (202-857-7659)/jmcfeely@ngs.org at National Geographic’s Communications Office for more information, or check out the National Geographic Bee web site at www.nationalgeographic.com/geographicbee/.

###

Participate in Earth Hour 2009! Saturday, March 28, 8:30pm

Here's your chance to Go Green by Going Dark! Or, at least, a little dim.

From Earth Hour US: http://www.earthhourus.org

Earth Hour is World Wildlife Fund's global initiative where individuals, businesses and governments turn off their lights for one hour to show their support for action on climate change. Earth Hour is a symbolic event designed to engage people from all walks of life in the climate change discussion to send a strong message to our political leaders that we want them to take meaningful action on climate change. It's the largest climate event in history where millions of people around the world will unite by turning off their lights for one hour, Earth Hour, to demand action on the climate crisis.

When is Earth Hour?

*Earth Hour 2009 takes place on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm–local time.
* Just like New Years Eve, Earth Hour will travel from time zone to time zone starting at 8:30pm in New Zealand.

What do we hope to accomplish through Earth Hour 2009?

* Through Earth Hour, WWF hopes to create political momentum for enacting national climate legislation and a global climate treaty.
* Through Earth Hour, WWF will continue to educate and raise awareness about the climate crisis and offer ideas and solutions that people can merge into their daily lives.
* Through Earth Hour, WWF aims to unify people's voices from around the world who are demanding action form our elected officials to solve the climate crisis.

What does a pledge to turn out your lights involve and commit me to?

Participating in Earth Hour is easy. All you have to do is sign up at www.EarthHourUS.org, tell your friends / co-workers about it and then turn off all of your non-essential lighting on March 28th at 8:30pm. Through signing up you are not committing to anything specific. Rather you are agreeing that strong action needs to be taken to find a solution to the climate crisis.

Who can participate in Earth Hour?

Anyone. Earth Hour is an inclusive event and everyone is invited to participate. WWF will provide tools online to enable any town, community, school, individual or organization to be part of the event.

Why is Earth Hour at 8:30pm this year instead of 8pm?

As the campaign has grown from one city in one country to a truly global campaign, the time has been moved to allow the maximum number of cities around the world to be suitably dark for the lights out campaign to have a greater visual impact. Earth Hour is held around the spring equinox, which ensures nearly equal sunset times in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Do I have to turn off all of my electricity for Earth Hour?

Not at all. Through Earth Hour we are asking people to turn off all non-essential lighting. Emergency lighting, televisions and computers can stay on for the hour. The main point of Earth Hour is to unite people, companies and governments around the world through the symbolic flip of a switch. Earth Hour in itself will not lower our carbon footprint, rather it sends a signal to those in a place of power that we as individuals and communities demand action.

The decision on which lights to turn off can be made individually, but usually consists of overhead lights in rooms (whether it is your house or a business), outdoor lighting that does not impact safety, computers, decorative lights, neon signs for advertising, televisions, desk lamps, etc.

Visit www.EarthHourUS.org for more information.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

April is homeschool month at Dinosaur World

April is homeschool month at Dinosaur World. All homeschool students and their families will an $8 discounted admission rate the entire month of April. Please bring some kind of homeschool ID . We have educational materials available as well that I’ll be happy to share. Please call if you have a group of 12 or more to make reservations (for rate of $5/person). We hope to see you in April!


Nicole Randall
Marketing Director, Dinosaur World
Marketing Contact Location:
711 Mammoth Cave Road
Cave City, KY 42127
270-773-4345
www.dinoworld.net