Understanding the Homeschooling Market

Homeschooling is a great market for authors to target.
Homeschooling is a great market for authors to target.

by Jennifer Self

An author has the privilege of serving others by sharing an important message, which is communicated in his own unique way. Sharing that message effectively means understanding the target market.  The market of homeschooling parents is a vast and diverse market that authors you can reach with a little research.

Homeschooling families are known for their love of books and devouring the printed word. However, a vast majority of assumptions about this group of people is false. They are truly a very diverse group and their reasons for educating their children at home are just as diverse even within a seemingly specific niche of people. The possibilities for sharing a message are virtually endless.

As an author, you may wish for an interview with a homeschooling family or an introduction to one of them. Allow me to invite you into our group for just a few moments and make the introductions myself. As you get to know my homeschooling friends, you will see both the rich diversity and the common ground that pulls us together as a group of moms each week.

We gather in a semi-circle, folding chairs scraping against the tiled floor of the church basement. It is our break time. We have spent the last hour teaching a variety of subjects to our combined group of children. We’re taking a breath this hour before plunging into another set of classes the next.

Cool and collected Veteran Mom leans forward in her chair with her cup of green tea. One of her children graduated from college last year, and she’s very proud of her. The other five are in various stages of middle school, high school, or college. She chats about her daughter’s new job assignment as a music teacher with a local high school and how she’s going back to school herself to renew her training as a massage therapist.

Veteran Mom’s conversations always come back to the oversupply of chemicals and the undersupply of nutrition in our food and household products. The new mom chimes in that she and her family run a bustling homestead and grow their own food. She shifts her baby under a homemade nursing cover and talks about how they are so busy with the baby goats right now.

Teacher Mom just transferred to our homeschool co-op. She taught public school for years and decided that she didn’t want her own children educated in that way. Her husband is now home from Afghanistan, but he travels for work and is only home on the weekends. She will soon be delivering twins. We eagerly ask her questions about their development and offer help once the baby is born.

The other former teacher in the group taught high school math in a previous life. Now, she’s juggling the homeschooling of her own two high school students and two elementary students. She is also supervising the education of her two high school level nephews. I lean in to ask her what she thinks of my new math curriculum. Math Teacher Mom sips coffee recommends a few additions that will prepare them for college math. She points out a popular curriculum uses stories to teach math concepts.

While I’m mulling it over, Hair Stylist Mom pulls up a chair. She’s been wrapping up some details with the church staff while we chatted. Math Teacher has a daughter that plays volleyball with her daughter. The two mothers are excited today because girls won their tournament. We congratulate them. Then bragging rights shift to Teacher Mom whose son just won an Archery award.

The conversation turns to work. Hair Stylist Mom is getting some extra hours since her husband has been laid off. Hispanic Mom shares about her nutrition business, and Fitness Mom is so excited about the new Christian yoga class starting at her gym. The other Hispanic Mom in the group lets us know in her still halting English that she is spending all her time working with her own children while their daddy teaches children in juvenile delinquency programs.

I let the conversation flow around me and remember a few of the moms who used to gather in our informal chats. Their kids are now enrolled in a classical education program which includes Latin, rhetoric and extensive writing, history, and science work.

A few homeschooling moms who used to gather with us decided co-op was a bit too restrictive for their unschooling taste. They’re probably studying dinosaurs today at the local science museum. I smile to think of the moms correcting the wording on the display signs. “Now we know, of course, that the world is not actually millions of years old but under 10,000. Can one of you tell me how we know that?”

We hear shuffling feet and see bantering groups of kids of all ages flowing from classrooms around us. “Well, I’m off to teach Science,” Veteran Mom announces and gives a little wave. Math Teacher Mom follows her to help. I look for Organized Mom who has been teaching an election class. We’re doing Spanish class together next hour. Teacher Mom pushes herself from her chair and heads toward the community helpers class for ages 3 and 4. I look behind me and see my group of teens gathering for gym class. I lace up my tennis shoes and join the banter as they try to find out what sports we’re playing today. Fitness Mom follows to help.

We’re a group of various interests, but I haven’t found another homeschool mom who doesn’t read. She might have to read in snatches while nursing or during her child’s piano or karate lesson, but she is a voracious reader. Our family visits the library every week, and I read at night when all of my children are in bed.

I think about my job on the way to the gym. When I get home tonight and put my kids to bed, I will be finding authors of interest to my homeschooling mom friends and online audiences of homeschoolers and connecting them. From our conversation today, I have plenty of new ideas!

How about you, Author Friend? Do you have a book that would appeal to homeschooling families? I would love to connect you or help you write content to reach out to them. Our Authors Community is a great place for connections. Stop by and visit our vendors and exchange ideas. We would love to help you get your message out to the homeschool market!

2 thoughts on “Understanding the Homeschooling Market”

    1. I agree with Margaret. This just shows the variety of stages in teaching and in interests.I would love to connect with homeschoolers here online, particularly in Canada. I have written a number of picture books and novels that I hope, teach as well as entertain.My books are on my site where I also blog http://janebuttery.com Thanks for this interesting blog.

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