Culture

National Hispanic Heritage Month

By on September 15th, 2015

Celebrating the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States as well as their heritage and culture.

Hispanic-Heritage-Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed from September 15 through October 15, was first created by President Lyndon Johnson as National Hispanic Heritage Week. President Reagan later expanded the week to a full month in 1988.

September 15 was selected as the date to celebrate the anniversary of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras.

Are you taking Spanish with FLVS?

Here are a few fun facts:

  • More than 400 million people worldwide speak Spanish.
  • Spanish is the official language of 22 countries.
  • St. Augustine, our nation’s oldest city, is known for its Spanish architecture and is celebrating its 450th year anniversary this month (founded in 1565)

Continue reading


Never Stop Exploring

By on September 4th, 2015

This is the fifth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney World Adventures 5

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

In Margret Mitchell’s novel, “Gone with the Wind,” Gerald O’Hara states that, “Land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.” While I agree that the preservation of natural places is one of the most important goals, Mitchell’s character is only partly right, in that there are other things in life worth the effort as well. There are non-material events and knowledge, which are incommensurable.  Continue reading


5 Ways to Stay Safe While Traveling the World

By on August 5th, 2015

This is the fourth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney Adventures 4Travel Safety Awareness Month is the perfect time to address one of the questions we were often asked before leaving on an around-the-world trek.

“Aren’t you afraid to travel to other countries with your family?”

As we all know, there is risk in nearly everything we do.  Whether taking a shower, driving to work, walking across the street, shopping at the grocery store, going to the movie theater, or skydiving, there is inherent risk in everything we do.  If you don’t think so, just count the number of attorney ads on TV, radio, and social media. Even after our trek, the question of safety continues to be asked when I give talks about our adventure.

Continue reading


Making the Journey the Destination

By on July 14th, 2015

This is the third post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney World Adventures Issue 3“There once was a man who became unstuck in the world. He realized that he was not his car, he realized that he was not his job, he was not his phone, his desk or his shoes. Like a boat cut from its anchor, he’d begin to drift. He took the wind for a map, he took the sky for a clock, and he set off with no destination. He was never lost.” – Castles in the Sky

Seeing the world will change your life.

There is simply no way around it. Once you take the first step in your journey to understand a new culture, learn a different language, climb a higher mountain, or sail across a deeper sea, you will never be the same. Continue reading


Traveling the World with Family: A Mom’s Perspective

By on June 5th, 2015

This is the second post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney Family AdventuresWhen Mike and I decided to take off for a year to travel the world with our three teenage sons, the decision was the easy part.

Walking away from the life we currently knew was the difficult part.  After we made the decision in 2005, we went into planning mode.  We all had our respective roles.

In between running an online business, homeschooling our three sons through Florida Virtual School, and carting them to various activities, I spent copious hours researching travel websites and books, creating a budget, and finding places where we could immerse ourselves in the culture.  What we all discovered is that planning is definitely necessary, however, it is also equally important to have a plan B, C, or D. An even better option is to learn to go with the flow! Continue reading


Creating Global Citizens One Country at a Time

By on May 4th, 2015

This is the first post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney1_coverDo you ever dream of traveling the world with your family?

Have you wondered what it would be like to sell or donate all your stuff to become 21st century nomads?

Have you ever considered the benefits of giving students a hands-on, immersive education to complement and enhance a traditional classroom experience?

A series of stories over the next several months by members of the Cooney family (including three FLVS alumni) will answer these and many other questions about what it’s like to travel the world as a family. Continue reading


Why Black History Month Still Matters

By on February 15th, 2014

black history month coverI can’t remember a time that my heart hurt as badly as it did the day my 6-year-old biracial son told me that he didn’t want to be Black.

He said that people are not kind to Black people, so he wants to be “tan like Mommy.” My heart ached for my son, for my daughter, and for anyone who has ever felt the sting of discrimination. I am a product of relative privilege; I grew up in middle class suburbia and never experienced marginalization or felt a sense of “other-ness” the way my children do and likely will as their lives unfold. Their story is not my own, but as any parent knows, there are few things that spring a mother into action as when her child is in pain. The day my beautiful, precocious, chocolate-skinned little boy told me that he doesn’t want to own the skin he’s in, my understanding of the importance of identity, cultural sensitivity, and diversity education forever changed.

Continue reading