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, February 5, 2010

Cards of Care for Haiti Project Launched


Volunteer USA Foundation, in partnership with the National Disaster Recovery Fund, invites students throughout Florida to send pictures and cards of love and inspiration to children and families affected by the recent earthquakes in Haiti. Anyone wishing to participate can send cards to Volunteer USA Foundation – Cards of Care for Haiti, 5970 SW 1st Lane, Ocala, FL 34474, and should include their name and contact information. 

Free lesson plans are also available to help teachers use the earthquake and other real-life disasters as examples of how Americans assist with humanitarian and recovery efforts and to provide a platform to discuss the need for all families to develop and practice personal disaster plans. For more information about the project or to learn about disaster preparedness for families and schools, visit http://www.nationaldisasterrecoveryfund.org or http://www.volunteerusafoundation.org.

New Interactive Book Club Launched: Literacy League


Literacy League, a new interactive reading initiative for middle school students, was recently launched by the Florida Department of Education to give young readers a platform to discuss books with their favorite authors. Students in grades six through eight will have the chance to read selected books and submit questions in a variety of formats directly to participating authors through a podcast series housed on Florida’s iTunesU site. The new statewide book club starts off with author Julianna Baggott, writing under the pen name N.E. Bode, and her award-winning book, The Anybodies. 

Each quarter the Department will connect prominent authors through a podcast question-and-answer session about the featured book. For the first session, students have until March 1, 2010, to send their questions in text or video format to LiteracyLeague@fldoe.org or mail their questions to the Department of Education’s Communications Office at 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1524, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400. The next book selection will be announced in April. 

For more information about the Department of Education’s Literacy League, visit http://www.fldoe.org/literacyleague. Florida’s iTunesU site provides free multimedia content to schools, parents, administrators and teachers both in Florida and around the world. To visit Florida on iTunesU, visit http://www.floridaitunesu.com.

Go Higher, Get Accepted FACTS.org Campaign

Twenty-seven Florida colleges and more than 270 high schools will participate in the 2010 Go Higher-Get Accepted statewide campaign this year. Go Higher-Get Accepted is designed to increase the number of high school seniors enrolling in college by offering guidance and support to students throughout the application process. 

As part of the campaign, colleges around the state will sponsor events in the coming months to help students examine specific college majors and programs. A key focus will be providing parents and students with hands-on assistance with admission applications, finding and paying for financial aid and workshops to assist students and families with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges sponsoring Go Higher-Get Accepted events will also offer a $500 scholarship, supplied by the Foundation for Florida Colleges, to an eligible high school senior who attends an event and enrolls at the participating college.

For more information about Go Higher-Get Accepted and a list of events and participating schools, visit http://www.FACTS.org.

Sunshine Week Essay Contest Announced

Governor Charlie Crist invites all Florida students in grades nine through 12 to participate in the 2010 Sunshine Week essay contest. Sunshine Week is observed March 14-20, 2010, and celebrates Florida’s laws dedicated to making state and local government more accessible to the public. Essays should be no longer than 500 words and must explain the importance of one or more of the civil liberties found in the First Amendment and how Florida’s open government laws protect those liberties. For complete information about the Sunshine Week essay contest, visit http://www.FLGov.com/og_home. The deadline to submit an essay by either e-mail or mail is 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010.