5 Ways to Attract Homeschool Students
Vol. 15 No. 1
Homeschooling is increasingly becoming a viable option for parents looking for alternatives to traditional classroom learning. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), for example, showed a 54% increase in the practice from 2002 to 2012 (1), and stories like the wunderkind twelve-year-olds starting their engineering degrees at Cornell University (2) inspire other families looking to nurture their gifted children.
However, rather than looking at homeschooling programs as competition for your private school, look to them as you would any other “feeder school”—as an opportunity to expand the pool of prospective students. This month, let’s discuss the ways in which you can leverage the unique opportunity of homeschooled students.
- Allow homeschooling groups to use your classrooms and other resources when not otherwise in use. This strategy not only opens extra sources of revenue for your school when students aren't using buildings, but also allows for your messaging to reach a group that is already impressed by the school’s generosity and facilities. You can also lease out resources like buses and other non-building assets for the groups who need them for special field trips.
- Encourage your most enthusiastic teachers to hold “guest lecturer” classes for homeschooling groups. The teachers within such programs—often driven by parents to help their children in whatever ways necessary—may lack professional expertise or content knowledge in various areas. The instructors at your school cannot be replicated within a homeschooling environment. So, offer a few of your best and brightest teachers to teach a lesson or two within a homeschooling co-op to show parents how their children may benefit within your school’s unique learning environment.
- Feature select homeschooling public events in the community event section of your school website or newsletter. Homeschool groups and co-ops may have science fairs or art shows open to the public, so offer those groups some small amounts of “free” publicity through a brief mention in your school newsletter or website. They’ll be grateful for the support, and think more kindly of your school. (They’ll be even more impressed if some of your school’s administrators like the School Head or Admission Director attend the event themselves!)
- Open your school’s intramural events to interested homeschooling groups. Casual after-school sports leagues or Odyssey of the Mind competitions can be a great way to encourage your school’s students and homeschoolers to mingle and socialize. Just provide opportunities for your parents and students to brag about the great things happening at your school, and you’ll find yourself with more inquiries in no time!
- Ask partner organizations about possible affiliated homeschooling groups, and give them promotional materials. The various organizations that your school has a working relationship with may have their own connections to local homeschooling groups. Consider asking them if they know (or support!) any such groups, then offer your school’s marketing materials to them in case they hear of any families curious about the private educational opportunities within the community. (Endorsements are always more powerful when they’re “direct from the source,” rather than collected, edited, and redistributed through an editorial department. However, it does require trust and faith in the relationships you’ve previously built!)
How has your school reached out to mission-appropriate local homeschooling groups? Let us know in the comment section below!
- According to the National Center for Educational Statistics's "Digest of Education Statistics: Table 206.10"
- According to Texas Tech University's "INTELLIGENCE BEYOND HIS YEARS: 12-YEAR-OLD HEADS TO IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL"