Wendy is an agent of change who, when she was barely out of her teens, recognized the need for rethinking how we work, play and educate ourselves in order to restore the planet’s social and ecological balance. For the last forty years, her mission has been to help people understand the interconnections within the web of life on Earth and to encourage them to challenge the assumptions inherent in the often conflicting choices we make in our daily lives.
In her quest to inspire, support and live grassroots change, she has been at the leading edge of (and ahead of it, in some cases) many progressive trends and movements. She is recognized as a pioneer in independent publishing, unschooling, environmentally sustainable business practices, home-based and women-owned business, and green politics. Her work is rooted in her experience of motherhood, which taught her about the emotional, social, cultural, economic, educational and environmental responsibilities involved with bringing a child into this world.
Trained as a school teacher in 1969, Wendy quickly rejected the factory model of processing children and became an early proponent of experience-based, self-directed learning. She founded The Canadian Alliance of Home Schoolers in 1979 as a national support and advocacy organization that kick-started the homeschooling movement in Canada, cooperating with John Holt as he breathed life into a parallel movement in America. In 1987, Wendy wrote School Free – The Homeschooling Handbook, which is now in its fifth edition and has become a best selling classic around the world.
Her more recent book on the subject, Challenging Assumptions in Education (2000), is a controversial look at what’s wrong with public education and at the hows and whys of deschooling our families and society. It is on the reading list for college education programs internationally and was updated and reissued in 2008.
In 2002, as a way of encouraging and supporting families to trust their children to learn without being taught, she founded Life Learning Magazine. She also edited the book Life Learning: Lessons from the Educational Frontier , a collection of essays from Life Learning magazine, which was published in late 2008.
Under her co-leadership, Natural Life Magazine continues to help its readers to integrate life learning and natural parenting, green living, sustainable housing, socially and environmentally responsible self-employment, organic gardening and natural healing into an ecologically responsible lifestyle. That work led to her being recruited to a successful run at the leadership of the Green Party of Canada in 1996.
Her work in politics and journalism has given Wendy an understanding of the environmental and social dangers inherent in the globalized corporate mindset and of the transformative power of local small business. In the mid 1980s, she began to help life learning families create home-based businesses – as she and Rolf had done a decade earlier in order to unschool their own daughters. So she founded The Home Business Network, a source of advocacy, information and support for home-based businesses, taught women to start home businesses, hosted a small business television show, and wrote a weekly small business newspaper column for a decade. Her book Bringing it Home – A Home Business Start-Up Guide for You and Your Family was published in 1996 and is still helping people balance work and family life.
To read Wendy Priesnitz’s complete bio, please visit www.wendypriesnitz.com
“Our outdated assumptions about how children learn are crippling both our young people and our collective well-being. Only by challenging these assumptions will be able to replace a system that is not relevant to the lives of todays young people. We must give up on the hierarchical, coercive, industrial model of education whether it looks like a public school, a charter school, a private school or a home school because it impedes learning and enslaves children. Then we need to create opportunities and infrastructures that respect children, help them learn, and equip them to meet the immense economic, social and environmental challenges of this century.”– Wendy Priesnitz
To find out more about this book, please visit www.lifemedia.ca
Read all about how other people just like you and your children have learned without being taught…what helps and what hinders, and what they have achieved in their lives as a result.
Laugh, cry and identify with parents who are helping themselves and their children learn from the real world…and learning a lot about themselves along the way.
Think about how we are limited by a society that believes in coercive education…and how we can transcend those limits in our daily lives.
Find support and reassurance for interest-based, learner-directed education (for all ages) and non-coercive, natural parenting.
This type of learning is sometimes known as “unschooling,” “radical unschooling,” “unstructured homeschooling,” “natural learning,” “autonomous education” or “free-range learning.” We prefer the term “life learning” and see it as a lifestyle rather than as a method of homeschooling…and we like to think it applies to people of all ages, not just children.
Our writers provide honest and thought-provoking ideas that will let you think outside-the-box about ways to encourage and support active, self-directed learning. Most of our contributors are life learning parents and teens, or adults who learned without schooling as children. In addition, some of the world’s foremost educational thinkers, researchers and writers share their journeys of exploration into how people learn informally.