Minding Our Business

Minding Our Business: Group Subscriptions to HSL

home|school|life magazine :: secular homeschool magazine offers discounts for group subscriptions. (Great perk for co-op members)

One thing you may not know about home/school/life is that we offer group subscriptions at a pretty nice discount. If your homeschool group of 20-plus folks wants to subscribe to the magazine, we can hook you up with a deal that lets each individual subscriber pay just $12 for her — or his! — subscription. (If you want to price it out, that’s the equivalent of getting two issues for free, so it’s a pretty good deal on a pretty great homeschool magazine.) Note: Group subscription price increases from $10 to $12 on September 1, 2017.

We see this as a win-win: We think homeschool groups are awesome. If you don’t belong to one, it really is worth the effort of stalking email groups and making awkward park visits until you find your people. We like to think that super-affordable subscriptions are a little perk we can give to support something that we see as a pretty integral part of a well-balanced homeschool life. And for us, it’s pretty terrific to reach a whole group of homeschoolers at once. We kind of love knowing that our group subscribers will always have someone to talk to about the latest issue of home/school/life when it comes out.

If you want to take advantage of a group subscription, all you need to do is appoint a point person for your group to email us with your list of at least 20 people. (We don’t care if you’re an email list group, a meet-at-the-park-twice-a-week group, or a Facebook group. If you consider yourselves a group, so do we.) We’ll send you an invoice via PayPal, which you can pay after you’ve collected the money from your group, and then we’ll send you a free download code to share with your group as each issue becomes available. It’s easy for you, easy for us, and a way to get a pretty nice discount on the subscription price.

Minding Our Business: "Why Don’t You Have a Print Edition?"

home/school/life is a digital secular homeschool magazine.

Probably once a month, we get an email from someone asking why we don’t publish a print edition of home/school/life. “I like to be able to hold a magazine in my hands and flip through it,” someone will say. And Amy will say “So do I.” So why don’t we just publish a print edition? The reason, frankly, is cost. Say that every single person who currently subscribes to the digital edition of home/school/life decided to take advantage of the print edition. It would cost about $22 per issue. That’s just the cost of printing — it doesn’t include any mailing costs, and it doesn’t include any profit for the magazine. It’s just the straight-up cost of printing the magazine for the number of subscribers we currently have. We think that’s a bit too much to ask someone to pay. (Though we will order you a print copy if you want one — just email us for the price of a particular issue and shipping.)

There are ways we could make a print edition more affordable. We could be less picky about advertisers, or trade reviews or coverage in the magazine for money that would help cover the cost of subscriber copies. But we feel like that’s not the way we want to grow this magazine. We like knowing that our readers can trust that the products we review in our pages are the ones we honestly think are the very best. We like knowing that the companies who advertise with us are companies whose products we can wholeheartedly support.

We could also reduce the size of the magazine — if we cut the number of pages in each issue in half, we’d cut the price of printing in half, too. But we like that every issue feels like a book’s worth of content — we want to give you enough reading material to carry you through the season until our next issue comes out.

Ultimately, we’ve decided to be patient. We put out a magazine that we think stands head and shoulders above other homeschool magazines. We hear from lots of readers who say it’s “the best homeschool magazine” they've ever read. We’re going to trust that we’re doing the right thing with the magazine and trust that — eventually — our readers will find us. (Some people have mentioned a Kickstarter campaign, and that’s definitely something we’re going to look into.)

Because there is a magic number where the cost-per-issue for subscriptions drops dramatically. (If you’d like to help us get there, tell your friends about home/school/life — encourage them to check out a free copy of the summer issue and to subscribe if they like what they read. The more people who read the magazine, the closer we get to offering a printed version.) Ultimately, the things we feed are the things that grow, and we want to feed home/school/life in a way that will make us proud of what it grows into. If that means it takes us a little longer to produce a print edition, we're okay with that. We hope our readers will be, too.

Minding Our Business: How We Use Affiliate Links

HSL's affiliate link policy

We believe that companies should be as transparent as possible about their financial dealings. At home/school/life, we’ve tried hard to find ways of supporting the magazine that we feel good about, and we will never trade editorial coverage for money, period. We know we're pretty picky about things like advertisers and product reviews, but we're comfortable with that. We pay our writers, buy photos, and keep our website up and running in a few different ways. We don’t make a lot of money from affiliate links, but because they can be so controversial, we want to be upfront about our affiliate links and how we use them. You probably know that affiliate links work a lot like referral fees: If you click on a book recommendation on our blog and buy the book through Amazon, a small percentage (usually less than $1) from your purchase goes into the home/school/life account. Do you have to click on the links? Nope — see below — we try to give you enough info so that you can Google the product yourself if you prefer not to support the magazine this way. But we sure do appreciate it when you do use them.

In the coming months, you’ll see a few more affiliate links in posts — and you’ll know that you’re seeing them because there will be a note at the end of every post that contains them, letting you know that there are affiliate links in that post. Why would we start including affiliate links when we haven’t used them much in the past? Well, we’d like to be able to hire another full-time writer for the magazine and possibly start moving toward putting out a print edition, and we’re hoping that these kinds of links might help move us closer toward that goal.


Here’s what we promise about affiliate links:

- We only support affiliate links with companies that we have personal, positive experience with.

- Any time we use an affiliate link in the post, we will let you know that post contains affiliate links. (If you aren’t sure, hover over the link and look for an amazon at the beginning — those are giveaways that the link is an affiliate link.)


Here’s what we won’t do:

- Give vague information that forces you to click on an affiliate link if you want to see what we’re talking about. (We’ll say “Possession may be Amy’s all-time favorite book” or "this grass green bulky (superwash, yay!) yarn" never a sneaky “This may be Amy’s all-time favorite book" or "this yarn." We're not going to force you to click on an affiliate link to follow the conversation.

- Not link to something if we can’t use an affiliate link. We love these grammar mugs, the podcast On Being, and pretty much every knitting pattern Martina Behm has managed to come up with, and we're going to talk about them even though none of them are home/school/life affiliates. — We’ll only use affiliate links in situations where they happen to exist for something we’re writing about anyway.


Here’s who our affiliates are:

(We’ll update this list if we add or drop affiliates in the future.) 

  • Amazon :: This one is probably pretty obvious, but we’re big fans of the variety of books and movies available on Amazon.com. And, you may have noticed, we recommend a lot of books.