Run a Business, Homeschool the Kids, and Keep your Sanity (with Jodie Perry)

homeschooling working mom WAHM life unboxed Jodie Perry Homeschool conversations podcast
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More and more moms are combining work and homeschooling, and sometimes it’s a struggle to balance the responsibilities of business and homeschool, not to mention the rest of life! Jodie Perry from Life Unboxed joins us in today’s episode to discuss homeschool momtrepeneur life. Her tips and advice are sure to be an encouragement to many!

Be sure to check out all the other interviews in our Homeschool Conversations series!

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homeschooling working mom WAHM life unboxed Jodie Perry Homeschool conversations podcast

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Who is Jodie Perry?

Jodie is a wife, homeschooling mom of 6 (ages 2-17), and an accidental entrepreneur. She’s been successfully running her virtual assistant business ( and homeschooling her kids for almost 10 years. She understands the challenges of raising kids, running a business, and keeping your sanity…most days; she writes about these topics on her blog She shares her experience with other moms, so they can be confident that they can do it too.

homeschooling working mom WAHM life unboxed Jodie Perry Homeschool conversations podcast

Watch my homeschool conversation with Jodie Perry

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Amy Sloan: Hello, friends. Today, I am joined by Jodie who is a wife, homeschooling mom of 6, ages 2 to 17, and an accidental entrepreneur. She has been successfully running her virtual assistant business and homeschooling her kids for almost 10 years. She understands the challenges of raising kids, running a business, and keeping your sanity, at least most days. She writes about these topics at her blog,, and shares her experience with other moms, so they can be confident that they can do it too. I am so excited that you are here with us today to chat. Here at the beginning, I will just ask you to tell us a little bit about yourself and your family and how you got started homeschooling.

Jodie: Well, thank you so much for having me. I am a mom of 6, so 2 to 17. We have our first litter, which is 17, 15, and 13. Then our second litter, which is nine, five, and two and a half. Got them all right.

Amy: I’m very impressed.

Jodie: Oh, trust me, the doctor’s office and the birth date, I’m like, “Give me a minute.” I’m actually a second-generation homeschooler. Homeschooling is something that I wanted to do from the time I had my first son. He was born in New York City. That’s where we were living at that time.

My husband and I were both working full-time, so we weren’t really seeing how this could actually happen or we could do it, so we set this goal of, like by middle school, then that’s when I want to be homeschooling because middle school is kind of like, there’s a lot of all those angst that needs to be worked through. It’s like, “Why would I want them to work them through in this public school system when they can do it at home? It will be a better environment for them to do that.” That’s how we started homeschooling.

homeschooling working mom WAHM life unboxed Jodie Perry Homeschool conversations podcast

Jodie’s growing thoughts about homeschooling

Amy: Well, how has your approach to homeschooling or thoughts about education grown or changed over the years?

Jodie: That is a good question, because I was homeschooled. Part of me wanted to do it the same way that I did. I was coming to the place of realizing my kids aren’t me. I know that’s a really hard place for parents to come to because it would be so much easier if they were you and then you could just be on the same page all the time. It really is saying that. I really love, like open the box, pull out all your curriculum, and you’re ready to run.

Most of my kids, it didn’t work for them at certain grades. We figured it out now. That was a huge, I guess, changing point for me, was realizing, “Wait a minute, I’m homeschooling not so I can hate what we’re doing but so that I could tailor curriculum to fit their learning style.” That may not be open the box and let’s go. That’s going to be tailored and specific for each individual child. That I would say would be the biggest change for me.

Amy: Did it end up being middle school when you had started homeschooling or did you start homeschooling sooner than anticipated?

Jodie: Well, it was sooner than anticipated because I got laid off. It was like I had a three-month severance package, so it was very much do or die to get my business up and running because I also had my daycare provided by my job, so I lost my salary, I lost my daycare, and I didn’t want to go through the hassle of trying to find something new as far as daycare and then applying to jobs and looking for jobs and not knowing how flexible they’ll be. Being a virtual assistant was something that I had thought about for a very long time.

I had three months to, “Okay, we’re doing this, this is what we’re doing.” I did not homeschool my kids at the same time. We waited until I got a little more established and then I pulled them out the following year.

Amy: Wow, that is amazing. I can’t wait to talk to you a little bit more, too, about just advice for moms who want or need to homeschool and work at the same time. I think it’s just so encouraging to hear from somebody else who is doing it that it actually is possible and that it doesn’t always start in this beautiful way where you had this amazing plan, worked out.

Jodie: Not at all.

Amy: As a fellow second-generation homeschooler, I loved hearing your perspective on the revelation like, “Oh, my kids are not the same as I was as a student.” Also then for me, I realized, “I’m not the same as my mom either.” We share a lot in common, and there’s so much that I love about all that she did for us in our homeschooling, but we just are different people. We have different family dynamics. Things are just different.

Sometimes I still find myself comparing what I do with, “Oh, I remember all these amazing fun things my mom did. I don’t feel like I’m a very fun mom.” I guess that’s like the second-generation homeschool version of deschooling. You have to deschool from your own homeschool.

second generation homeschooling joyfully homeschooling amy sloan misty bailey

Jodie: Exactly. I was thinking of the same thing. I’m like, “Oh, we used to go to plays all the time and different things.” I’m like, “But wait a minute. I don’t live in the same place that I do now as I did.” We were military, so that changed anyway all the time. My mom didn’t have to work. There’s all these things that, “My circumstances.” She didn’t have six kids that she was homeschooling. She only had me and my sister, so it’s a huge difference. It’s not the same. We’re not in the same– Our circumstances are totally different.

Amy: I think that’s helpful for people to hear. I hope that’s encouraging because I know that sometimes I’ve heard people say, “Oh, it must be so easy for you. You already have it all figured out because you were homeschooled.” We’re still just doing this by God’s grace, figuring things out as we go along just as much as every other homeschool mom, for sure.

Jodie: Yes.

Some of Jodie’s favorite parts of homeschooling

Amy: Well, Jodie, what have been some of your favorite parts of homeschooling?

Jodie: I like the fact that I don’t have to do carpool. That’s a huge one. I have to say getting the big boxes in July, I do feel like it’s Christmas in July. That’s all the fun parts about my favorite parts.

To go deeper than that, I love the fact that I am the biggest influence in my kids’ life. I have three teenagers now, and I’m like, “I like having teenagers in the house. This is a lot of fun.” I don’t really have to deal with a lot of, I guess, the typical teenage rebellion, and I think that is in large part to the fact that they are home.

They’re not dealing with all these peers or the peer pressure or groupthink or anything like that. I am fully aware that I don’t have a lot of problems because they are not in school. That is– I think the best part is I get to be the biggest influence on their lives right now.

Amy: It’s such a gift. I’m thankful for these times, even on the hard days. It’s still a good thing.

Jodie: It is. I am so grateful for these things that we can get through the hard things, the hard days.

Some of the hard parts of homeschooling

Amy: Well, what are some of those hard days or harder parts of homeschooling and how do you seek to overcome those challenges?

Jodie: I think for me, my continual fight is going to be figuring out balance and how to get it all. I’m never going to arrive. I think I’ve come to that place like I’m never going to find the perfect balance, because it changes every year. Our circumstances change or we have a baby, and that changes the dynamics. That is, I think, one of my biggest challenges, is learning to find balance and to be okay in the season that we are in. Yes. I know it’s kind of vague, but I think the hardest thing for us as moms is to be okay with the season that we’re in, even when it’s not the season that we’re envisioning it should be.

Amy: Yes. I think so often it’s those misconceptions– Not the misconceptions even but just the assumptions, like these ideals that we set up in our heads can sometimes be our own worst enemy, like we create the ideal version of ourselves and then we don’t live up to our imagined view of what life could or ought to be instead of just being content in the moment and the realities of our finite, messy lives.

homeschooling working mom WAHM life unboxed Jodie Perry Homeschool conversations podcast

Misconceptions about being a working homeschool mom

Well, going along with that, you brought up this idea of balance as being a challenge. I think that’s a challenge for any homeschool mom but especially those of us who are working while homeschooling. I would love to hear what are some of the misconceptions you think people might have about being a working homeschool mom? What does that look like in real life?

Jodie: The number one misconception would be that it can’t be done. Again, going back to the seasons, it’s a lot different when you have high schoolers or middle schoolers when they’re kind of independent learners to when you have kindergartners. Right now, I have the gambit. I’m experiencing, I guess, all of those phases. Now, obviously, kindergartners need more time and attention, but the plus side is they don’t need all day. They really need like an hour, two hours so creating a routine that you can be flexible with.

With my clients, they don’t set my hours, I set my hours because I am an independent contractor. That is a huge distinction between working the 9:00 to 5:00 office job and working from home, like, “No, I can pause in my work to, okay, let’s do math right now and then you can take a break” with my kindergartner, but I also have to say my daughter has really stepped in and said, “I’ll just do the work with him.” That has really taken a load off of my plate as well, that she is actually doing the majority of the school work with him.

That it can be done as number one, and then number two would be, so how to actually do it? I kind of answered that question a little bit already, but practically, it would be just establishing boundaries with your clients and then also with your kids.

One of the things I don’t do is I don’t talk on the phone. Occasionally– I don’t think there’s any job where you can 100% avoid it, but it’s like 2% of all of the things that I do. I don’t talk on the phone because I have kids in the house, and I just don’t want to have to figure out how to work around like, “Okay, kids, be quiet now.” I also tell my kids– It’s okay to tell your kids, “I can’t help you right now. You’re going to have to wait because I’m in the middle of something,” and for them to learn, that they cannot demand your attention whenever they want.

That’s hard for moms, but it’s a good lesson for your kids to learn as well, because in the real world, that’s a life skill that they’re going to have to put into place, a big one actually. Those would be, I guess, my two tips when it comes to just challenging that misconception that it can’t be done.

Amy: In my actual day today, I was like, “Oh, this is kind of a perfect illustration, I’ll have to share in our interview today,” because earlier today I was at the park on a play date. I had my younger kids, and there was a time-sensitive issue that came up with my virtual assistant job, and so I’m able to deal with that on Voxer without having to be like, “Sorry, kids. We’ve all got to get back in the car and go home and miss the playground.” There is that side of things where I can bring my work and fit it in even while I’m also taking the kids to the park.

Then later today, I had this whole grand plan for some dedicated work time, and it actually wasn’t one of the younger kids. It was an older kid who’s not one who typically wants to talk. When this teen came in and was like, “Mom, I need to talk,” there was a part of me that was kind of like, “Oh, this is not very good timing,” but I knew like, “No, I need to jump on this,” because when teens are ready to talk, you’ve got to put everything to the side.

I was so thankful with the flexibility of being able to be in charge of my own schedule, that I could do that. I could both do my Voxer-at-the-playground work, and I could also set work aside when an actual child was more important.

Jodie: I have checked email at co-op before because it’s just something that needed to be done at that time.

Jen Mackinnon homeschool conversations interview working while homeschooling

Scheduling life as a working homeschool mom

Amy: How are some practical ways or how do you schedule your days or your weeks to be able to hit all of these needs? There’s school and work, but there’s also just family time and your personal life. How do you manage all of that?

Jodie: For me, I’m very much the type of person, like I have to compartmentalize things. That’s just how my brain functions. As far as my office hours with the clients, it’s only Monday through Thursday. Fridays are totally free and for the most part– There may be something that comes up, but it’s so rare that it’s like, “Okay, yes, sure, I can help out.” It’s not an all-the-time ask. When it does happen, then I can be flexible with them, but for the most part, it is only Monday through Thursday. That leaves Friday for us to do different things, to do co-op, to do something fun on a school day instead of doing school work. That’s the overview of the week. I really am a fan of routines.

I think once you can get all of your kids into the routine of what to expect for the day, it helps your day run so much smoother. A routine is different from a schedule because you’re not setting specific hours or a specific time when things need to get done. If we don’t get up until nine o’clock or 10 o’clock, the routine can still happen. It’s not affected by a specific time.

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Amy: They just know what’s going to come next.

Jodie: Exactly.

Amy: “What’s next, what’s next, what’s next?”

Jodie: Even if you change your start time, they still know what to do next. Simple things like now they get up, they eat breakfast, they brush their teeth, they start on their schoolwork. That is what we do every morning. That is what they know to do from the 17-year-old to the 2-year-old. They know what they have to do, so it’s not me constantly telling them, like, “No, you need to do this next, you need to do this next.” They know what they need to do.

Not with the kindergartner, I would not do this with him, but with the rest of the kids, I’ve put the onus on them to make sure their schoolwork is done. If they want to take a break or a few breaks, that is completely up to them, but nothing else happens that day until their schoolwork is done. That is all on them.

It creates an environment for independent learning, and it really gives them the responsibility of taking on their learning. What happens is, most of the time, they just want to get it done as soon as they can, because once they’re done, their time is theirs. I do not necessarily add more to it except for lunch. They will have to get their own lunch, but I don’t add anything more to it, and so they are free to do whatever they want with their time. That is I think the best thing that I have figured out in all of this, is create that routine and then have them do it.

Now, for me, I get up before the kids do so that I can have time in the mornings where I’m not disturbed. I do start to work, but it really is kind of my time. For the most part, it was quiet and then my son got a job. He has to start getting up with me so he can do his schoolwork first, but I did tell him, I was like, “You are not allowed to talk to me in the morning. This is my time, and you’re not allowed to talk to me. I can’t handle the noise so early or the questions.”

Jennifer Knick homeschool conversations interview working at home WAHM

How to start working from home while homeschooling

Amy: Oh yes. If there is a mom listening to this, and she’s like, “Wow, this is so giving me a vision for a possibility,” what advice would you give to that mom who’s wanting to start making money from home? Where does she even start?

Jodie: Start with figuring out what you want to do. I know this sounds like, “Okay, duh,” but really, sit down– When I started, I had put this list of services that I had done in my office job, like, “These can translate to a virtual assistant.” The majority of that stuff, I realized I don’t want to do this anymore, I don’t like doing this. Travel for other people– It’s one thing when you’re doing it for one person and you’ve figured out all of the nitpicky stuff. People are very nitpicky when it comes to travel.

Figure out all the nitpicky stuff with one person, then it’s easy to do, but when you have a bunch of people and they’re going, “No, I like to fly on this airline, and I like this kind of seat, and do this, and I only stay at this hotel.” It’s just like, “I’m done. This is not a service I’m offering anymore.”

Really think through what you would like doing. I don’t sit here and say you have to be passionate about it because you can be passionate about your kids, and the virtual assistant business is just giving you the resources you need to be passionate about your kids, but don’t do something that you hate. You need to at least not mind what you’re doing.

To get started, again, think through what you really want to do and then find people. I never suggest coming up with a fake avatar of who your ideal client is. Find actual people who could help you. Either you can talk to them about what they would be looking for, or they can hire you as well, or they’ll know somebody who can hire you. Start thinking of those things, like who can actually use your services.

Amy: Jodie, do you have any resources for moms who are wanting to start working from home?

Jodie: I do. You can go to It’s right there on the homepage, and it’s a free workbook because my heart is to really help moms who were– Like when I started out in my virtual assistant business, there was nothing out there or what was out there was they wanted to charge so much money. I’m like, “I have just lost all of my income. I can’t pay for this.” That is what I have done, is to really create a ton of resources for moms to get started. You can go to the website,, and right there, there’s a free workbook that will take you through this whole process.

One of my specialties is starting a business without a niche. I know that’s the magic bullet for business, but that has never worked for me or benefited me in any way, and so I really help moms to start a business and no niche is required.

Amy: I heard a podcast episode you did about that. I was like, “Oh, I love this. It’s like the rebel mom.” I think it comes from being homeschooled, right? We never fit inside that box and we’re like, “Don’t tell me what box I have to fit inside. I’m going to do this my own way.”

Jodie: It really is, because when I started out, all the advices to find a niche and to specialize, and so I sat there, and I was staring at a blank piece of paper and I was looking at my husband, like, “I don’t know what to specialize in.” I’ve never had a job that I specialized in. I was very much the person, like, “Give it to Jodie, she can do it,” “Oh, you need to publish a book, give it to Jodie, she can do it.” I’m like, “Sure, no problem. Never done it before but I can do it.” All of these things, and I think part of it does come from being homeschooled and just having the freedom to explore so many different things.

I don't want to homeschool plan yet

Dealing with burnout as a working homeschool mom

Amy: I will definitely have a link to your resource in the show notes for this episode. That’s kind of like thinking about a mom who’s wanting to start, but what would you say to maybe a mom who has been trying to balance homeschooling and working and is just feeling completely burned out? Like, she’s just letting everybody down in all the different places?

Jodie: I’ve been there, I’ll probably be there again, who knows, tomorrow or as soon as I get done with this podcast. There are so many things. With writing on my website, it has given me an opportunity to be introspective and to realize how hard I am on myself as it is because I would tell a mom, “No, just give yourself grace. It’s okay,” but I’m not doing that for myself.

If you’re feeling burnt out, and I feel like I’ve definitely been there, you have to figure out where to take your breaks and even if it is just five minutes, like eating your breakfast in the garage just so you can have peace while you eat. There is something about not being asked for your food, that I think is, it does something for us mentally as moms.

I just want to eat my food without my two-year-old coming to ask me for food. You have to be intentional about finding the space in your day, and I’m not talking about big blocks of time, but even if you take 15 minutes to do nothing, like if you’re burnt out and you’re exhausted, it’s your body telling you that you’re tired, whether it’s mentally, physically, or emotionally, you’re tired and you need to rest.

That is my best prescription for you, is to take the time to rest, and doing it one day for 15 minutes is not going to work. You actually have to incorporate it more often throughout your week, a few times a week or a few times a day even if that’s what you need to do, but it is your body screaming at you that you need a break, and so you need to listen to what your body is telling you to do.

Amy: I love that you just said, “a few minutes to eat by yourself or take a 15-minute rest,” and if you do it consistently, those small things really do add up. I think sometimes we’re like, “Oh, I don’t have time for a vacation or I can’t take time off of work” or obviously we can’t just stop being a parent, and so we think, “There’s no options. It’s just going to go on forever, and I’m going to be overwhelmed,” but we forget that those small little moments, to take a breath, even sometimes going outside and just breathing the actual outside air for just a couple of minutes can be something simple and so rejuvenating. Right?

Jodie: Yes.

Amy: Like, go stand in the grass barefoot just for a moment. Those little things really do matter, and if we can take just that little time to do something small, sometimes it can keep us from having the big major meltdown.

Jodie: Right, because I think we look at rest as just one more overwhelming thing to add to our schedule, and it doesn’t have to be. Like I am the project oriented, go, go, go, go, go until I collapse kind of a person, and rest is just out of the question because I don’t have a whole hour of my day to just chill. I’ve had to teach myself that, “No, I could take five minutes to sit and just be calm,” I think not fill it with anything but just to be calm for five minutes, and you will be surprised at how much better you feel.

Amy: That is a really great tip, and I think that’s a good tip whether you’re working while homeschooling or just homeschooling while homeschooling.

Jodie: Yes.

What is Jodie reading lately?

Amy: Oh, Jodie, here at the end, I’m going to ask you the questions I ask all my guests. The first one is just what are you personally reading lately?

Jodie: This is such a loaded question. I literally have five books on my nightstand right now, and we’re not talking about the three stacks that are on my dresser, because I’m very much an eclectic reader, and so I read heavy stuff and then I’ll read light stuff because you need the break. I decided to go with the book I just got delivered, because it’s our next book club book. The one I will be reading is called The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.

Amy: What genre is that?

Jodie: It’s fiction. She has done a lot of– She’s a great character writer. Our book club, we just like to stretch our wings a little bit on what we read, and all of us look at each other going, “I would never pick this on my own.”

Amy: My local book club too, we read all sorts of different things, and it’s fun because everyone brings in different suggestions, and so it stretches you, you read things outside your normal genre and some in your comfort zones, and it’s really fun. I think being able to chat with people about what we’re reading is a really fun part of life.

Jodie: It is. For moms, I will say, I left book club one day, and I was like, “Why do I like this so much?” I’m like, “It’s because it’s intellectually stimulating,” and you’re just talking about books and what you’re reading and being challenged with the questions and different things like that. As a mom, I think this goes back to what we were just talking about finding rest. This is one of those things that does bring me rest because my brain needs to be stimulated as well.

Amy: Yes, it’s like making our brain work actually is restful. It’s like, “Oh, my brain is still there.”

Jodie: “It’s so happy right now.”

Amy: Yes. Well, if you’re listening to this right now, back in the fall, in November, I actually interviewed one of my oldest in real-life friends who is also the leader of my local book club, and we talked all about the value of in-person book clubs, and gave some good tips for starting one with your own friends. I will put that link in the show notes.

Jodie: Definitely.

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Jodie’s best tip for helping the homeschool day run smoothly

Amy: All right. Final question, what is your best tip for helping the homeschool day run smoothly?

Jodie: It would go back to, I already gave it, so I’ll just repeat it. Creating that routine, I think that is the most successful thing that I have done with the kids, but not only that but also creating your kids to be independent learners as well. My older kids, it’s easier to do. Last year with my second grader at that time, I was like, “Okay, I have to make him independent or I’m going to lose my mind.”

Even at second grade, he was able– I gave him the schedule for the week. He knew what he had to look at, and he was able to take that schedule and just run with it. It was one of those mom moments where you’re like, “This was a success right away. This is awesome.” Those would be my two tips. Create the routine and then teach your kids to get them to be independent learners and it’s actually easier than you think it will be.

Find Jodie online

Amy: Oh, that is a great tip. I love it. Well, Jodie, where can people find you all around the internet?

Jodie: The best place to go is, and all the links are there. I am on Facebook, Instagram, Podcast, YouTube, Rumble, pretty much any place you can be, I am there, but you can find all the links on the homepage at

Amy: Perfect. I will have those links in the show notes for this episode over at Thanks so much, Jodie. This has been really fun.

Jodie: Thank you so much for having me.

Check out all the other interviews in my Homeschool Conversations series!

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