World Languages

The Value of a Diverse Education

By on January 21st, 2016

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

Cooney Adventures 9Most people who live in the United States believe they are well informed about world events. It isn’t until a person travels that he truly understands how wrong he is.

And by travel, I don’t mean staying at a resort and participating in touristy tours, but going to the local markets, riding the local buses and getting to know the local residents. You can only truly understand and appreciate the culture and people when you’ve transitioned from tourist to traveler.

As a result of social media and cable television, we live in a world of 24/7 news, or so we believe. In reality, very little of the “real world” news seems to filter through the noise of popular media.

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Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle While Traveling

By on December 9th, 2015

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

Cooney Adventures 8Whether you are planning a “stay-cation” or a global yearlong adventure around the world similar to ours, staying healthy, happy, and fit while traveling can present a few obstacles.

Maintaining healthy eating habits at home can be difficult and doing the same on the road requires even more due-diligence. Preplanning is the key, and can mean the difference between completely abandoning your healthy lifestyle or keeping you on track.

Incorporate some or all the following tips we’ve used to ensure you have a healthy, happy trip.
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Travel is the Ultimate Education

By on November 16th, 2015

This is the seventh 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 7Recently, friends of ours withdrew their nine-year old daughter from school to take her with them to Washington, D.C. and Iceland.

They planned to tour the nation’s capital before leaving for Iceland for the family’s first trip abroad.  To do so, Jennifer (not her real name), would miss approximately a week of school.  Jennifer’s mom contacted the school well in advance and completed the necessary paperwork to request an excused absence.  She outlined in detail all that Jennifer would experience and see during the trip.

However, the school principal did not respond and after repeated calls asking for an update, it was time to leave. Continue reading


What Travel Has Meant to My Career

By on October 12th, 2015

This is the sixth 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 6Traveling has been such an amazing opportunity for me in so many ways.

It’s taught me more than I ever could have learned from solely reading books. It’s showed me how to relate with people and find ways to communicate with others, even if we don’t speak the same language. You begin to realize deep down we’re not all that different.

Traveling has been an extremely liberating experience, though it wasn’t always easy. It pushes you and constantly forces you out of your comfort zone. Early on I had to find a way to be able to continue school while traveling. FLVS was such a great way to be able to do that. There were times when I was in the middle of the jungle in Central America, monkeys were swinging above my head and I was still able to take a test online. Continue reading


Celebrating My Hispanic Heritage

By on October 2nd, 2015

Hispanic Heritage MonthIn our Spanish for Spanish Speakers course, an assignment asks students to compare their lives in the United States with that of a fictional character in the lesson.

This character writes an entry in her diary describing her struggles to fit in with two different cultures, dealing with attitudes towards her language and towards her, and even learning to speak “Spanglish.”

I especially like part of her entry where she talks about another Spanish-speaking lady she meets at her kid’s school who owns a store in town where she can meet for a cafecito* and some very-needed Spanish conversation.

Teaching this lesson, I suddenly realized that I struggle with the very same things! Continue reading


National Hispanic Heritage Month

By on September 15th, 2015

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)

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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.

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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