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, June 29, 2012

We're Still Here, and We're Better Than Ever!

Shamefully, I know, we haven't posted in six months.  That's largely because we have a lot of other active social media, like

And we're more active than ever - just not in what would traditionally be considered "homeschool" activities, because homeschooling has literally become a way of living and learning that transcends itself and what it means to be a "home" schooler.

Back in 2005 or 2006, we published a piece called Beyond Homeschooling:  A Whole New School of Thought  that observed that" Over the last three decades, homeschooling has swung from a grassroots liberal reform movement to greater identification with religious conservatism and, recently, towards more mainstream acceptance across the political and religious spectrum. Homeschooling now includes a wide range of methodology and resources, from correspondence programs and prepackaged curricula, to part time public school enrollment to cyberschools and “free-range” or “unschooling” designs.  " 

"The ongoing debate raises some questions," we noted at the time. "  Has homeschooling become an institution in itself, so mainstream and expert-riddled that it’s become as resistant to change as public education?  Has the label “homeschooler” been applied too firmly, or defined too narrowly?  And relevant to the issue of alternative education,  can homeschoolers free themselves to move beyond “traditional” homeschooling, as they moved beyond traditional public education, and embrace a whole new school of thought, like Learning Communities or a broader vision of Home Based Learning?"

"...Perhaps the better question is, “ Can we take the next natural forward step after the one we took out the school house door thirty years ago, and embrace a whole new school of thought? 

It seems, six years down the road, that we've taken that natural step forward.  Homeschooling is just as easily learning through Kahn Academy, or open source courseware, or TED-Ed, or makerspaces , and through mentor and apprenticeships, blended learning, dual enrollment and more.  At Learning is for Everyone, we've moved from homeschool conference type events, to whole learning celebrations like TEDxYouth@TampaBay and Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire; to broad based news and information sharing, and community learning programs like our LI4E FIRST program and Makerspace Project .

That said, LIFE of Florida remains a stalwart support and resource organization for Florida home educators, providing a safe and reliable place to connect and network, and to stay informed any potential legislation, at the state or national level, that may affect the right to learn independently, outside of institutional educational environments. 

"As Home Based Learners," we wrote in 2006, " we have an opportunity to rise to the occasion and claim our inheritance not as education reform leaders, but as learning innovators, making independent home and alternative learning the rule rather than the exception.  If we can take that leap of faith and promise, the world really will be our classroom."

We've done just that, as evidenced by the proliferation of independent and individualized learning opportunities available to so many people today.  And we'll continue to showcase the wide, wide world of learning opportunities, and to provide information, support and networking opportunities for home learners in Florida for a long time to come!