EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Jessica Marie Baumgartner: A Look At Her New Homeschool Budgeting Book

By Erika Hanson | Published

homeschooling

There used to be a period of time when homeschooling was a rarity. But today, educating children in the home is one of the fastest growing school trends, for plenty of good reasons. Despite the fact that more families are opting for this popular method, many remain hesitant. A large portion of that reluctance is due to concerns about the cost. Luckily, G2T’s own Jessica Marie Baumgartner has the perfect solutions for interested parties with reservations about homeschooling. We sat down with her to discuss how her new book shows families how to begin homeschooling, without breaking the bank. 

Who Is Jessica?

homeschooling

Depending on who you ask, Jessica is an avid, impassioned journalist and author, a mother and a teacher, and a loving wife. With many hats to don, Jessica is always on the go, but makes family a priority, and keeps it fun. She has homeschooled her four children from the very beginning, and while she boasts plenty of success with this method of school, she knows the road to get here has not always been easy. 10 years into the experience, Jessica is sharing her expertise, success, and ways she has been able to keep the endeavor cost-effective in her newly released book, Homeschooling on a Budget.

homeschooling

The Road To Homeschooling

“It wasn’t something I planned,” said Jessica, but it seemed the stars aligned perfectly to lead her to this calling. When her oldest was set to start preschool, the school district she lived in lost its accreditation. At the time, Jessica was unable to afford private school, so she decided to teach her daughter early education from home. While she didn’t originally think it would last this long she soon discovered how rewarding the experience was and made the decision to stick with it.

Saving Money Homeschooling

When families stop to think about the potential costs of teaching from home, they are often deterred when they start calculating the costs of needed materials, textbooks, and other supplies – especially as it pertains to big families with multiple students. However, Jessica quickly realized that in comparing the per pupil costs public schools spend on just one student, the costs for homeschooling are nowhere near as exorbitant. “The public education system spends about $15K per child each year, but most homeschoolers only spend around $500 or 1K a year and that is spread out over time.”

But How, and More Importantly, Why?

Readers of Jessica’s new book, Homeschooling on a Budget can dive into tips and tricks showing families how to pull off homeschooling without spending an arm and a leg. Inside, she shows readers the best resources she has found over her decade of homeschooling, including her favorite free and low-cost resources like School Zone and Spectrum Workbooks, Kidz Labs science kits, ALEX, and Melissa and Doug Craft Kits. Likewise, she shares some of her favorite resources from popular education sites like Khan Academy and Starfall. Jessica also firmly believes in making the classroom mobile, with trips to free or low costs events at libraries, historic sites, and countless other field trip offerings.

Other than the obvious money-saving benefits, budgeting for homeschooling has a plethora of other advantages. Jessica noted that when families choose to homeschool, they have the opportunity to take complete control of what their children are learning, and can budget for what they approve of accordingly. “When parents control their family’s education budget they can allocate funds toward children’s specific needs and don’t have to worry about all the red tape the public education system is littered with. They can use what resources work, and discard those that don’t.

Jessica’s Homeschool Style

Jessica prides herself on being an eclectic homeschooler. Understanding that her children all learn best from different methods of teaching, she takes from a blend of different homeschooling techniques. “I want to provide them with every possible option to succeed,” she asserted. She mixes in online learning, bookwork, hands-on activities, and backyard experiences like utilizing her vegetable garden in the learning experience.  

A Typical Day of Homeschooling

Jessica and her husband tag team homeschooling duties. And given that they both hold other jobs, they’ve perfected a work-life-teaching schedule that works best for their family. At 9 am, the kids sit down to complete worksheets. After that, the rest of the morning hours are spent doing art projects and reading. The afternoons are spent outdoors for physical activity. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, they make it work inside with dancing and stretching. Next up is computer time with various online educational tools. Oftentimes, they take advantage of evening hours after dinner with experiments and crafts. Weekend evenings, however, are reserved for free time and fun. 

The Bottom Line

As Jessica put it, she is “living proof” that anyone can successfully homeschool. With no college education background, Jessica set out to do what she feels is the number one deterrent that keeps many families hesitant to make the homeschool switch. She owes her success and confidence to do so to the valuable lessons she learned in life from her own educators. 

“Lessons are just an exchange of information. The best teachers I’ve had taught me through experience and so I just try to utilize that method.”  She noted that for most of recorded history, children have been educated at home. She strongly believes that with the right will to do so, anyone can take on the task of homeschooling their children. Now, Jessica is sharing just how anyone can do that, and save money doing so. You can purchase her new book, released on August 2nd, here