You’re starting to hear more mainstream people in the VC and startup world talk about homeschooling/unschooling/alternative approaches to government factory schools and their private mimics.

The first question is usually, “What new startups will grow huge while serving this growing market?” There are ideas around rented facilities, online courses, social networks, and more.

These are all interesting and potentially big ideas. But I can’t help but wonder, after decades around homeschoolers in several cities and states and in several clusters (classical, unschooled, art focused, science focused, philosophy focused, tech savvy, tech hating, religious, atheist, conservative, hippy, etc.), whether the idea of homeschoolers as a “market” is just too far from reality.

Education is just something that happens in life unless you stop it (the best way to prevent it is often with school). So saying, “What company can you build for people who learn stuff without school?” is kind of like asking, “What company can you build for people who eat?” or, “People who live in houses?” It’s not enough of a unique commonality to create a defined niche community or market. Homeschoolers are very fragmented and this will only increase. And it’s not for lack of a social platform or network to bring them together. It’s because learning stuff the natural, non-coercive way is too broad a thing to have in common.

Schooled people think homeschooling is so exotic they imagine homeschoolers as a unified block of outsiders. But reality is nothing like this. All the unified blocks are too small for a massive category king type of company, and home/unschooling in general is too broad to serve with a single product/channel as distinct from products that serve everyone else anyway.

I might be wrong, but this is my contrarian question. What if homeschoolers aren’t a market? What if you’ve got to get tighter?