The homeschool phenomenon is growing. Currently, more than 2 million children in the United States are homeschooled. This number rises each year by 7 to 15 percent, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Continued growth in homeschooling has spurred an annual market estimated at $1 billion by WorldNet Daily, a leading online news source.
Homeschool parents are always seeking quality products to help them educate their children. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the average homeschool family spends $600 a child per year on educational resources. While much of this money goes toward teaching materials, homeschoolers also purchase many supplemental lesson aids and other books for their children.
The good news is that even if your book is not specifically teaching material, it could lend itself to the homeschool market. Both fiction and nonfiction that impart knowledge or provide wholesome entertainment can be promoted and sold to homeschool families. As with any product, the key is gaining the attention of your target audience.
The challenge is that homeschoolers are an eclectic group and not easily reached. Ingenuity is essential. Since homeschoolers tend to have limited budgets, they rely on recommendations from sources they trust. Book reviews and ads in homeschool resources are strategic means of reaching this group.
There are more than a dozen print and online homeschool magazines. These publications are as varied as homeschoolers’ approach to education. But they all provide product reviews and accept paid advertisements.
The longest-running homeschool magazine is Home Education Magazine (https://www.homeedmag.com), which has been in print since 1984, is published monthly, and is available in many public libraries, as well as on the Web.
The largest homeschool publication (at 200 pages) is The Old Schoolhouse (www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com), a quarterly publication stocked by Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million, among others.
The homeschool community also has a national newspaper. A free publication, The Link (https://homeschoolnewslink.com/) appears every other month, boasts a readership of 75,000 from a 25,000 print run, and accepts ads.
Many homeschool parents use the Internet to find materials and support. As a result, a number of Web sites offer homeschool parents articles and discussion boards. Lots of these sites also run product reviews and accept ads, and some also sell curriculum and books.
A number of homeschool-curriculum publishers produce annual catalogs to sell their products. Many of them include other publishers’ materials, both curricular and supplemental. The largest homeschool catalog, which is produced by Rainbow Resources (https://www.rainbowresource.com/), features materials from dozens of publishers.
Every state has at least one homeschool association that provides homeschool families with information and support. These associations generally produce newsletters for their members and organize annual homeschool conventions that feature exhibit halls where publishers showcase and sell their products. Many also provide additional ways for companies to advertise products to convention attendees.
As a homeschool parent, I can assure you that homeschoolers are consumers. They purchase and read books. Quality materials will certainly attract their attention and dollars. While promoting to this group takes creativity and innovation, the good news is that once your books receive positive reviews and recommendations from trusted sources, sales will grow.
National Homeschool Associations for Specific Populations
Catholic Home Study Network of America
Jewish Home Educators Network
National African-American Homeschoolers Network Alliance
Native American Home School Association
P.O. Box 979
Fries, Virginia 24330