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, October 27, 2010

Voter Education Resources

It's election time (as if you couldn't tell from the onslaught of silly campaign ads), and time to get down to the business of separating fact from fiction (as much as possible) and trying to make some educated election decisions.

To that end, here are four great, nonpartisan civic engagement resources:
There are many more at Learning is for Everyone's Civic Resources page, too.

So good luck, and vote carefully out there!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bach Festival Society Young Artist Competition

This prestigious competition provides high school vocalists and instrumentalists throughout Florida the exceptional opportunity to prepare for performance before judges who are respected in their field. The winners of this annual all-state competition perform their winning selections at a concert that is free and open to the public, benefiting the community not only by providing an enriching musical experience, but also by offering role models to youngsters and inspiring future art patrons. For more information about the competition, or to obtain an entry form, email education@bachfestivalflorida.org
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Visit http://www.bachfestivalflorida.org/outreach/young-artist-competition  for more information.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two Great College Resources: Florida Trend NEXT Magazine and College Live!

Florida Trend’s NEXT Magazine Now Available

Florida Trend’s NEXT is a magazine designed to help Florida teens prepare for their future after high school, whether that involves college, technical school or the workforce. Copies of the 2010-2011 edition have been provided free of charge to over 900 high schools across the state. Students may contact their guidance counselor to obtain a copy, or visit http://www.floridanext.com/  to view the complete digital e-dition. While at the website, students can also sign up to receive monthly eNEXTletters, request more information from magazine sponsors and advertisers and register for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card.

For teachers and counselors, NEXT also provides an accompanying Classroom Activity Guide filled with engaging lessons to help students apply information from the magazine to their own lives. The Classroom Activity Guide is available exclusively at www.FloridaNEXT.com under the “Teachers’ Lounge” heading. Here, educators can also register to receive their own monthly eNEXTletters; those who register by Oct. 31, 2010, will be entered in a drawing to win one of five $50 Amazon.com gift cards.

For more information about NEXT, please contact Tanya Creneti at editor@FloridaNEXT.com.
 
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College Week Live!

CollegeWeekLive! is coming to a computer near you on Nov. 3 – 4, 2010. The free online event is designed to connect prospective students with colleges and universities in a live interactive environment. Attendees will be able to navigate through a virtual exhibition hall, visit virtual booths, and learn about scholarship resources and networking capabilities, as well as win prizes and take advantage of special discounts from event sponsors and participating organizations. More than 300 colleges and universities will be represented and students can chat with admissions officers and students on topics such as filling out their application, how to write a winning application essay and how to pay for college. Registration is free at http://www.collegeweeklive.com/ .

Upcoming Statewide Community & Academic Contests & Awards

Check out upcoming contests for Florida students:
  • 2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week Poster & Video Contests
  • Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Seeking Nominations
  • Celebrate Literacy Week Public Service Announcement Contest
  • Careers in Energy Week Essay Contest
2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week Poster and Video Contests
The Florida Division of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross are again teaming up to sponsor the Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week campaign that includes a poster and video public service announcement contest. Students are encouraged to submit an entry about how to be prepared for the natural hazards that affect the Sunshine State. Entries for both contests must be received by Jan. 10, 2011.

Poster Contest
Florida fourth and fifth grade public, private and homeschool students are invited to submit an entry for the poster contest. The winner’s artwork will be displayed in the State Emergency Operations Center the first full week of Feb. 2011. Prizes include tickets for the winner and his or her family to Walt Disney World, weather radios and other prizes. Entries must be postmarked by Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, and must arrive at the American Red Cross office in Tallahassee by Jan. 10, 2011.

Video Public Service Announcement Contest
Florida middle and high school students in grades 6-8 and 9-12 in public, private and homeschools are invited to produce a 30-second public service announcement that incorporates a safety or preparedness message about one of the following topics: Hurricane Preparedness, Flood Safety, or Building a Disaster Supply Kit. One individual or group (limit four individuals per group) winner will be chosen for both middle and high school videos with the winning video to be professionally reproduced for broadcast by the Division of Emergency Management in their statewide public awareness campaign. Prizes include professional production of the video in the winner’s hometown with the winner serving as project director, tickets for the winner and his or her family to Walt Disney World, weather radios and other exciting prizes. Final digital videos must be mastered as a DVD, postmarked by Friday, Jan.7, 2011, and received by the Florida Division of Emergency Management by Jan. 10, 2010.
Complete contest rules and information for both contests can be found at www.FloridaDisaster.org/SWAW/2011.

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Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Seeking Nominations


The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honor middle and high school student volunteers in grades five though 12 for their community service and the search is on to identify young Floridians for their contributions during the past year. The awards, presented by Prudential Financial, Inc., in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, are the nation’s largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer community service. Interested students, principals and community members are encouraged to nominate individuals in recognition of their volunteer service. The deadline for applications is Nov. 1, 2010. Visit http://spirit.prudential.com or www.principals.org/spirit  for more information and an application packet.
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Celebrate Literacy Week Public Service Announcement Contest


The Florida Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida! Office encourages all students in grades K-12 to create a 26-second public service announcement on the topic “Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! – Champions Read, Readers Lead.” The contest is part of 2011 Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!, a week-long salute that celebrates and promotes the importance of literacy in Florida. Entries should be created with a combination of video and audio effects, must include credits and may not include any copyrighted music, footage or images. All entries must be received by the Just Read, Florida! Office by Dec. 17, 2010. Complete contest details can be found at http://www.justreadflorida.com/literacyweek.asp . If you have any questions, send an e-mail to justread@fldoe.org  or contact Kevin Smith at (850) 245-0503 .
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Careers in Energy Week Essay Contest


Careers in Energy Week, led by the Florida Energy Workforce Consortium (FEWC) with the support of Florida Governor Charlie Crist and the Center for Energy Workforce Development, is a week dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness of energy careers and their importance to our communities, state, and nation. The weeklong recognition is Oct. 18-22, 2010, and will be highlighted by an essay contest for Florida high school students (grades 9-12) around the theme, “Energy Workers Make a World of Difference.” The contest guidelines and registration form are available at http://www.fewc.org/?page_id=136 . iPods will be awarded to the top three winners in the state, and winning entries will be published on the FEWC's websites at http://www.fewc.org/  and http://www.getintoenergyflorida.com/ .