Make Money from Your Homeschool Experience
by Carol Topp, CPA
Could you use a little extra money? Of course you could! Why not use your homeschool knowledge to make a little extra money? It can be done! Here are some ideas that use your experience as a homeschool parent as well as tips from those who make their livelihood in the homeschool marketplace.
Many homeschool parents write their own curriculum because they couldn’t find what they needed. That’s what I did when I wrote the Micro Business for Teens series. It’s easier than ever to self-publish and distribute your curriculum to homeschool parents using services such as Amazon’s CreateSpace.com and CurrClick.com.
Stroll through any homeschool convention hall and you’ll find homeschool families running bookstores like Jay and Maria Asplin who own JM Cremps: The Boys Adventure Store from their home in Minnesota and travel the country during homeschool convention season. Other booksellers stay home and run their stores completely on-line.
Homeschool Group Administrator
Some homeschool groups, especially co-ops, are so large and active that they hire an administrator to run their programs. The homeschool group may be a nonprofit, but it operates like a business and needs someone with administrative skills to keep the group flourishing. Be sure to brush up on the laws regarding employer taxes. My new book Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization covers the details.
Many homeschool parents find they are qualified to become private tutors earning money from tutoring math, reading, or foreign languages. My friend, Cynthia, tutors Spanish to individuals and small groups of students. She has also has been hired to teach Spanish at several homeschool co-ops. Katie tutors online with Tutor.com in the evenings after her children are in bed. She could earn more with face-to-face tutoring, but the online model fits better with her schedule.
Why not use all that grammar and punctuation you’ve been teaching your kids to good use. Offer your service as an editor to bloggers, novelists, and writers of all kinds. Mary Jo Tate raised her four sons on her income as an editor while homeschooling. To learn how she did it, read her book Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms available at FlourishAtHome.com. She explains, “I didn’t know much about running a business, but God providentially led me to some conferences for entrepreneurs where I began learning principles that could help me grow a home business while continuing to teach my children.”
Many homeschool parents need advice from experience homeschoolers. You could consider sharing your wisdom by offering phone counseling or webinars. Hal and Melanie Young offer a five-session webinar called Boot Camp 9-12 for parents with pre-teen boys at RaisingRealMen.com/bootcamp. As parents of six sons (and two daughters), they offer helpful, practical advice and get paid for it!
Melanie advises that is important to stop and ask yourself, “Is this something I would have paid for in my homeschool journey?” She said, “People won’t pay for things they can easily get free, so you need to make sure that what you are planning to offer is marketable. Involve your family as much as you can in your business; that way it becomes “our family business” and not “Mom and Dad’s business” that takes time away from the family.”
Lee Binz, of TheHomeScholar.com, applies what she knows about homeschooling through high school in her consulting business. She offers her time to parents who need help with transcripts and college admissions. You could also convert your experience into a home-based business. By the way, Lee’s website and products are an excellent model of how to run an online business. Take a look and copy some of her ideas that fit your service and your style.
Learning Disability Specialist
Kathy Kruhl, of LearnDifferently.com, is a specialist in learning disabilities. She consults with families who need help adapting their homeschool to a child’s learning challenges. She advises on planning, curriculum, support, withdrawal from school, and transition to high school level work, employment, and college. Kathy, advises, “Many people enter this field because they have a child with special needs. While your own experience is an asset, strengthen your usefulness and marketability with personal study and training. You may do this work out of love, but remember that your time is worth something. A wise woman – who had seen others burn out from years of giving their time away in this work – advised me to charge for my work.”
Art and Music Lessons
Art and music classes were always in demand at my homeschool co-op and parents were frequently willing to pay an additional fee for the classes. You can approach co-op leaders in your area and see if they will let you teach a class.
You take care of your own children all day, so it may be possible to run a daycare from your home without too much additional work. Offering before and after school childcare would be a popular service in many neighborhoods. Or offer to be available on snow days and charge a premium price for the short notice!
Turn your homeschooling experience into a money-making micro business. Most of these ideas can be run completely from home and are flexible enough to allow you to balance homeschooling and a micro business. I hope the examples from other homeschool parents have inspired you.
Carol Topp, CPA (HomeschoolCPA.com and MicroBusinessForTeens.com) operates a home-based accounting practice helping business startups and nonprofits. She is the author of Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out and the Micro Business for Teens series. Carol and her husband live in Cincinnati, Ohio and have two daughters, both homeschool graduates.
Originally published in The Old Schoolhouse magazine, Fall 2015