The magazine for homeschooling, unschooling, and life learning families
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Who We Are
Life Learning is a subscriber-supported, bimonthly digital magazine that has been published since 2002 (digitally since 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:
how people of all ages learn without school - what helps and what hinders
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! In order to provide prospective contributors with inspiration, here are some other suggested article ideas gleaned from our communication with readers.
Life Learning Magazine articles dig deep and challenge the assumptions related to "experts" (whether within the unschooling 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 live) the basic principles of unschooling / 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. They 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. They 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 community.
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 do not publish "advertorials." Here is more information on our company's ethics policy. 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 appreciate tight writing that is well-organized and doesn't ramble, but article length is flexible – from 800 words to 2,000. (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. 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.
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.
We are unable to pay contributors but like to barter. All contributors will receive, at minimum, a one-year subscription. If you send us a photo of yourself, we will add it and your bio to our contributors' page.
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. 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, you not publish the article anywhere else internationally 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 to give us a credit with a link to www.LifeLearningMagazine.com.
Please submit your article as an attached Microsoft Word document or text file, 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 must also have a release form on file 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 look forward to helping you share your thoughts and words with our readers!
The term life learning refers to a form of homeschooling that trusts children and avoids the trappings of school. It is sometimes called unschooling, radical unschooling, or natural learning. Life learning children live and learn naturally, with the support of their families, based on their own interests and their own timetables, and without curriculum, tests, or grades. Go here, here and here for a more comprehensive explanation.