Beyond School by Wendy Priesnitz Life Learning Magazine
The digital magazine for homeschooling / unschooling / life learning families
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Contributors' Guidelines

Contribute to Life Learning Magazine

Who We Are

Life Learning is a subscriber-supported, bimonthly digital magazine that has been published since 2002 (in print until 2008). We present articles for and from the community of people living and learning without school. This includes unschooling – which we prefer to call "life learning" – as well as progressive homeschooling, self-directed education, and other forms of interest-led, active, informal, non-institutionalized, school-free learning. Our readers are located at many different places on the unschooling spectrum.

Here are some guidelines for contributing to Life Learning Magazine.

What We're Looking For (and not)

Readers of and contributors to Life Learning work together to:

* Explore how people of all ages learn without school what helps and what hinders
* Share ways to respect and trust children to learn as if school doesn't exist
* Be inspired and informed by other people's life learning experiences
* Reassure ourselves that children can be trusted to learn what they need to know
* Legitimize the principles of interest-led, self-directed learning from life

We are especially looking for real-life personal experiences of people of all ages who have learned on their own (written by the learner or a parent/observer); articles about how we have been limited by a society that believes in compulsory schooling and how we can transcend those limits; stories about how adults have deschooled themselves in order to help their children and themselves learn; ways in which extended family members can help children learn without school; and profiles (autobiographical or otherwise) of teens and adults who are/were unschooled. But please do not let these suggestions limit you; if you have an article idea, please discuss it with us!

Life Learning Magazine articles dig deep and challenge the assumptions related to "experts" (whether within the homeschooling community or outside it); to learning as a result of being taught; and to the trappings of school, such as grading, testing, curriculum, and hierarchy. Our readers understand (and try to live) the basic principles of life learning: that children do not need to be taught in order to learn; that trust, respect, and dignity are cornerstones of non-coercive living and learning; and that learning comes naturally when the learner is ready and motivated by personal interest, no matter what their age. Our readers do not need to be convinced of the benefits of living and learning without school; they look to us for reminders, reassurance, and concrete examples of those principles. Stories of your family's personal journey and day-in-the-life articles are welcome. Our subscribers also like to read articles that provoke them to think about some of the issues that arise from the unschooling lifestyle. We are not afraid of controversy and are willing to present articles that deal head-on with challenges in the unschooling and homeschooling communities...examples of those that we've tackled include gurus/experts, bullying, and extending trust about learning into other aspects of life (although we prefer not to use the term "radical unschooling").

We are not necessarily looking for professional writers; Life Learning Magazine is mostly written by its readers, whose contributions reflect their personal experiences with life learning and non-coercive parenting. We will only consider a repeating column proposal from someone who has a track record of writing articles for us that are on target and on time.

We use gender-neutral language and appreciate our writers structuring their work to avoid referring to all people as "he" (accepted articles will be edited to reflect this policy if necessary). Because Life Learning Magazine is about non-institutionalized learning, we are not interested in the academic credentials of our writers; in fact, we do not, by policy, include degrees or other credentials in writers' bylines. (They are acceptable in your bio, which will appear at the end of the published article.)

Our readers are located in the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Japan, and many other countries around the world. Therefore, articles should not focus on any one country or on political issues relevant to just one country or area. We prefer to use the term "life learning" rather than "unschooling" and do not refer to all people as "he." We reserve the right to edit articles based on those policies.

We appreciate tight writing that is well-organized and doesn't ramble, but article length is flexible – from 800 words to 3,000. (Since this is a digital journal, longer articles should be broken up with subheadings, sidebars, etc.; we can look after that for you if preferred.) We are not an academic journal and our presentation reflects that. If required, your article will be edited for spelling, punctuation, grammar, clarity, space, and consistency in tune with our editorial style. If major renovations are required, your article will be returned to you with suggestions for reworking it. We reserve the right to edit or replace the title of your article if necessary.

You can find a selection of articles that we have published in the past here. Click on the covers on the left side of this page and you'll be able to read some current issue tables of contents. If you haven't yet read Life Learning Magazine, please have a look at these pages before querying us.

How to Query Us

Please query first by email with an outline of your proposed article and a bit of background about you and your experience with the topic and with writing. We need to know if your article has been published elsewhere – either in print or on the web, or if you have submitted it elsewhere, or plan to do so. (That does not necessarily mean we won't publish your article.)

We are unable to pay contributors but like to barter. All contributors will receive, at minimum, a one-year subscription, and we will link to your website or blog in the bio at the end of your article. If you send us a photo of yourself, we will also add it and your bio to our contributors' page. We also barter for advertising.

We require your permission to publish the article in the magazine (which is published in PDF and available to paid subscribers) and to possibly have it appear in that context on our website, and as part of third-party CD/DVD/Internet versions or compilations of the magazine's articles for libraries. Writers retain all other rights to their work, and are therefore free to contribute their articles to other magazines or websites without our permission. However, we ask that, as a courtesy, if your article has not already been published elsewhere, you not do so while the issue of Life Learning Magazine in which your piece is running is current. And if your article was written specifically for Life Learning Magazine, please ask future publishers, as a courtesy, to give us a credit with a link to this website

Please submit your article as an attached Microsoft Word document or another kind of text file (not PDF), removing any special formatting and not embedding photos. If that is not possible, cut and paste your article into the body of an email message.

If you wish to submit photographs to accompany your article, they should be high quality electronic files in JPG format. Please include photo credit information and suggest captions (although we may not caption the photos). If the photographs have been taken by someone other than the writer, we require a release signed by the photographer. If you are submitting photos that include recognizable individuals, you should also have their permission, preferably in the form of a release form signed by those recognizable individuals or a parent/legal guardian. We reserve the right not to include your photos if they don't fit with our layout or are not of sufficient quality.

Issues are published for January, March, May, July, September and November. Deadlines are the first of the month prior to publication.

I appreciate your interest in contributing to Life Learning Magazine and look forward to helping you share your thoughts and words with our readers!


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