Whether you're a former elementary school teacher or just someone who is passionate about helping children learn, there are plenty of opportunities available for freelance education writers.
Education is one of the hottest political topics around, whether you're talking about teacher salaries, implications of the No Child Left Behind legislation, or budget cuts at the elementary school. If these types of issues interest you, contact local newspapers and media outlets to offer your freelance reporting services. Smaller publications may not need an exclusive reporter for the education beat, but they may be happy to call you whenever a suitable topic comes up.
Keep in mind that you need to be able to understand both sides of the issue when acting as a journalist. An article needs to provide an unbiased account of the facts, not a simple rehash of your personal opinions. If you feel so strongly about education reform that you can't be truly objective, this may not be the right area of freelancing for you.
Education Topics in Parenting Markets
Web sites and magazines targeted towards parents of young children often publish many articles on education-related topics. For example:
- How to encourage a love of reading
- Is my child ready for kindergarten?
- Resolving homework battles
- Fun math activities you can do at home
- Finding resources for a gifted child
- Signs your child may have a learning disability
- Tips for hiring a tutor
- Career exploration activities for middle schoolers
If you're interested in writing these types of articles, pick up a copy of the newest edition of the Writer's Market and study the writer's guidelines for submitting queries to the publication of your choice. You'll also want to devote some time to reviewing other articles the publication has ran on education topics in order to determine if your tone is right for their readers.
As you're planning to research education-related stories for parenting markets, keep in mind that ProfNet can be a good resource for connecting with university professors, book authors, and other professionals to use as expert sources for your article.
The Homeschooling Market
Many parents are becoming interested in pursuing homeschooling options for their children, especially those who live in areas with poor public schools but don't have the income needed for private school tuition. Since the decision to begin homeschooling isn't one that should be made lightly, there are plenty of resources available to help parents make this decision. Some of the topics that are covered include:
- Choosing a homeschooling curriculum
- Educating a special needs homeschool student
- Dealing with state laws for homeschooling
- Teaching subjects you aren't an expert in
- Keeping your children motivated to learn
- Homeschooling students applying to college
Here are a few examples of homeschooling markets that accept submissions from freelance education writers:
When writing for the homeschooling market, keep in mind that personal experience is highly valued by this population. An article should include quotes from several different homeschooling families, especially if you're not an experienced homeschooling parent yourself.
Freelance Education Writers for Classroom Materials
Writing educational materials can be a wonderful way to build your freelance writing business. Companies hire freelance writers to produce:
- Lesson plans
- Games for the classroom
- Test questions
- Tutorial materials
- Study guides
Requirements for these jobs vary, but most will ask that you have at least a year or two of teaching experience in the subject and grade level that is being targeted. For example, a former elementary school math teacher may find it difficult to be seen as an expert for the purpose of preparing materials for a high school English curriculum.
To get an idea of what types of jobs are available for freelance education writers, check out Writing for the Education Market. This helpful blog features regular postings of education-related job leads.