Understanding the Homeschool Market

chalkboard1by Jennifer Self

American homeschooling families are an eclectic group with a variety of interests. Some homeschooling families have children with special needs so they use outside education to help with that. Others will have different children in different types of schooling options based on the individual child.

Christian homeschooling families tend to be more conservative spiritually and politically, and they base their decision to homeschool for Biblical reasons. They believe the public schools to be institutions espousing the pagan religion of the government and prefer to raise their children according to their values and educational philosophies. Christian families are heavily involved in their church and are interested in ministries that promote apologetics and young earth Creation science.

While they mostly do their studies at home, they are just as likely to be found at the park, homeschool co-op or involved in a variety of enrichment activities like sports, swimming lessons, 4H, ballet, music lessons, martial arts and the debate team.

They are typically single income families or Mom works part-time from home. Many operate family businesses, and a surprising amount of the moms have teaching degrees. (They’ve seen the village, and they don’t want it raising their child — a popular adage among homeschooling families.) They are typically frugal and approximately 80% are interested in healthy living. A large percentage raise their own food to some extent and homesteading is popular in some regions among homeschoolers.

While homeschooling styles are as individual as homeschooling families, here are some of the major camps of homeschoolers:

  • Unschooling – This is child-led, interest-based schooling. If they are interested in dinosaurs, they will immerse themselves in the study of dinosaurs for as long as the child is interested and pull in math, science, language arts, etc. as it relates to the subject being studied. This is a counter-cultural model and some take it to the extreme and are not well-rounded students or prepared for college. For others, it balances out and works quite well.
  • Classical Education – This is, in short, the study of education chronologically over a 4 year time period. It espouses three stages of development, so a child will have four years of learning history on a basic level, then four years learning a little deeper and the last four years going even deeper. They emphasize Latin and rhetoric.
  • Charlotte Mason – She was a British educator and many look to her as a founder in modern homeschooling. She espoused the ideas of the one-room schoolhouse and focused on living books rather than textbooks and nature studies as an avenue for science learning. She also had an emphasis on music appreciation.
  • Textbooks – Homeschoolers refer to this as the “box curriculum”. These are the parents who implement the textbook style of public or private school into a Christian home setting.
  • Charter schools – These parents use public school curriculum done at home. The school system receives a large amount of money for each student enrolled from the state. They provide a computer and the student does their schooling online, reporting to the school as if they were in the public school classroom. Some homeschooling families, particularly Christians, don’t consider this a true homeschooling option. Others find it a way to be accountable to structured schooling and supplement religious training alongside the required studies.

These are just a few options and most families pull from several of these to make their homeschool unique and to fit their family’s needs. An author with an educational or health-related message can do very well in the homeschool market. Often, homeschooling moms joke that they replaced all their walls with bookshelves, and they are all full. Perhaps there are a few spaces left for your book?

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 Author’s 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!