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Life Learning: Lessons from the Educational Frontier
edited by Wendy Priesnitz


This passionate collection of essays from the leading edge of educational theory and practice demonstrates how families around the world are embracing the philosophy of life learning.

Life LearningAcademics, parents and young people describe why non-compulsory, non-coercive, active, respectful, interest-led, family- and community-based learning from life is growing in popularity and will displace prescribed curriculum, standardized testing and the other regurgitation-based relics of our outmoded school system. This innovative way of learning through living not only fosters intellectual development and academic achievement, it allows children and young people to develop an understanding of themselves and their place in modern society so they can create a better world.

Life Learning is the story of how children can personalize and control their own learning . . . and what adults can do (and stop doing) to help them.

These essays from some of the contributors to Life Learning Magazine provide a great introduction to this progressive style of education, written by those who have experienced it first hand. Includes learning to read and do math without being taught, the importance of unstructured play, learning when you’re ready, what’s wrong with curriculum, trusting children to do their best naturally, a grandparent’s reaction to unstructured homeschooling, learning in the real world, parents as role models, self-reliance in life and learning, and much more.

The Essays and the Authors: (Check out our authors page for details about these contributors.)

  • Introduction: Learning in the Real World by Wendy Priesnitz
  • The Educator’s Dilemma and the Two Big Lies by Daniel Grego
  • Self Reliance in Life and in Learning by Gea D’Marea Bassett
  • What is Education? by Sarabeth Matilsky
  • Taking Risks & Breaking Rules by Wendy Priesnitz
  • What We Should Know by Nathanael Schildbach
  • Restructuring Education by Roland Meighan
  • The Flow of Self-Directed Learning by Amy Spang
  • Play is Self-Directed Learning by Marty Layne
  • Doing Their Best, Naturally by Rachel Gathercole
  • What You See May Not Be What You Get by Jan Fortune-Wood
  • Whose Goal is it, Anyway? by Pam Laricchia
  • Principles, Not Rules by Robyn L. Coburn
  • Did Einstein’s Mommy Worry? by M. Jeanne Yardley
  • Reading When You’re Ready by Ruthe Friedner Matilsky
  • Zen and the Art of Unschooling Math by Rachel Gathercole
  • Always Learning by Carlo Ricci
  • Culture & Community by Eva Swidler
  • Children and Power by Lael Whitehead
  • Re-choosing Life Learning by J. Ann Lloyd and Erica Gotow
  • Learning Love of the Natural World by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko
  • Letting Go by Renata Rooney
  • Birthing Our Selves, Our Children and Our World by Amy Childs
  • The Hardest Thing is the Unknown by Karen Ridd
  • Learning is Children's Work by Wendy Priesnitz
  • Learning and Prospering in the Real World by Gaye Chicoine
  • The House That Heather Built by Deb Baker
  • Teachable Moments by Suzanne Malakoff
  • The Case Against Teaching by Naomi Aldort
  • Becoming Self-Directed Teachers by Nathalie Zur Nedden
  • The Labyrinth of Life Learning by Dayna Martin

About the Editor:
Wendy Priesnitz is a North American homeschooling and self-directed learning pioneer. She and her husband helped their two daughters learn at home when it was almost unheard of, beginning in the mid-1970s. In 1979, she founded the Canadian Alliance of Homeschoolers and continues to share her experience and long-term and progressive perspective internationally. She has also authored twelve other books, including School Free and Challenging Assumptions in Education. She is a former broadcaster and an award winning journalist, and is the founding editor of Life Learning Magazine.

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Life Learning Magazine information

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Natural Life Books specializes in adult non-fiction about ways that families and individuals can live and learn on Planet Earth in a healthy, socially responsible, environmentally sound, self-reliant manner. We are the retail division of The Alternate Press, an imprint of Life Media, an independent, family-owned book and magazine publishing house established in 1976. We are proud to publish books and other information products about homeschooling and life learning (also known as unschooling).

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