Tap Into the Homeschool Market
by Sarah Bolme
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 (<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>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 (<span
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, <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>The Link (<span
every other month, boasts a readership of 75,000 from a 25,000 print run, and
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
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 (<span
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.
Sarah Bolme is the director
of Christian Small Publishers Association (www.christianpublishers.net) and the
owner of Crest Publications (www.crestpub.com). Sarah’s newest book, <span
class=8StoneSans>Your Guide to Marketing Books
in the Christian Marketplace, can be found at