Ollly olly oxen free is a catchphrase used in some children’s games such as hide and seek. The silly sounding words are a sign that players who are hiding can come into the open without losing the game. I think it’s time talented homeschooled authors come into the open–no losers here!
Ever thought about looking for books written by or about homeschooled children? It’s not an easy task to find them. Are they hiding? Are there none in the marketplace? Well, I’m excited to have my fellow homeschooling mom, Kerry, guest post on my blog today. She will discuss this issue. After reading this interesting article, I hope you take time to post comments. I will pass them along to Kerry. Please make her feel welcome!
Where Are the Books About Homeschoolers?
by Kerry Jones
When I was growing up I knew maybe two people who were homeschoolers. When we first started homeschooling ten years ago, there was already a homeschool support group in our local area with 200 families in it. Today? There are at least five local homeschool support groups, and if I throw a rock in any direction from my house, I can probably hit the house of someone who homeschools. It is estimated that homeschooling is growing anywhere from 5-12% annually, and is now bordering on being considered a “mainstream” style of education.
When my sons and I head to our local library during the school day, it isn’t unusual to see at least four or five other homeschooled kids reading and doing school work or research there. As I watch them poring over the books, I begin to feel a question forming in the back of my mind: Where are the books about homeschoolers? Upon researching the answer to this question, I’m sad to report that the world of books has not nearly caught up with the reality of the growing world of homeschooling.
If you peruse just one shelf of your local library or bookstore’s children’s fiction section, you will find multiple books about school hi-jinks, school frustrations, school humor, and even school science fiction. But almost nothing about the adventures of your friendly, neighborhood homeschooler!
Why is that??
I don’t know how often you attend your local homeschool support group activities, but if you frequent them even a little you can probably agree with me that homeschoolers are interesting folks. In one single field trip, I can be picking pumpkins between a Rastafarian who raises Shetland ponies and a former missionary from Kenya. No, the lack of homeschool protagonists can’t possibly be from a lack of fascinating characters.
So what then? No talented writers among the homeschooled? Pshaw, I say! I don’t have to read very far into any newspaper to find some mention of an academic contest with a homeschooler as the victor. My guess is that some of our most talented writers of the next generation will have gotten most of their writing education at home.
That leaves me with a couple possible scenarios, then, for why more books aren’t written about homeschoolers and homeschooling. Either book publishers are rejecting homeschool-friendly submissions or homeschoolers aren’t making enough noise about wanting them. My guess is that it is a little of both. If homeschoolers don’t let publishers know that they are interested in more books that represent them, then publishers will just assume there is no real market for homeschool-centric reading material.
If that is the case, then there ought to be an easy fix for it, right?? We just need to make ourselves heard! And thankfully, there is even a remarkably easy way to do just that. HomeschoolLiterature.com, a website featuring books about homeschoolers and homeschooled authors, has a whole page of contact links for the most popular publishers of children’s books. They even have a sample letter that you can use as a guideline when contacting each publisher.
My children and yours deserve to have more books with characters they can relate to on a real basis. Let’s make our voice heard so that no more people have to walk through the aisles of their local library and ask the question, “Where are the books about homeschoolers?”
Kerry Jones is a freelance writer and online marketing consultant in North Carolina. She has two sons, and has been homeschooling since 1999. She writes extensively about homeschooling and technology, especially the integration of assisted technology for homeschoolers with special needs.