The Mistake of Multi-Tasking in our Homeschools

We homeschool mamas get lots of practice multitasking in our homeschools.

The thing is there’s a myth around multi-tasking.

We think we’re going to get stuff done. But research declares that we don’t. In fact, we might get stuff done, but we won’t get it done with higher quality. And we definitely don’t do it with greater happiness (but you already knew THAT).

I know that you as homeschool mama are a skilled multi-tasker (it takes one to know one). But multi-tasking is really just a recipe for overwhelm, unhappiness, and disconnect.

the myth of multi-tasking

I could tell you about the time I breastfed my two month old baby while talking on the phone AS I was frying bacon on the stove. (my first child;) I was determined to be productive.

The notion of multi-tasking seems like something boastable, a hilarious picture of perpetual motion, slashing the to-do list with ardor. Life is busy. We’re responsible for our children’s education, organizing the household, developing our passions, investing in relationships. Stuff must get done.

Or does it? And how much must get done? How much of what we’re doing are we doing because we’re trying to prove to ourselves, or others, that we’re capable? That maybe we’re even ahead of the pack? Or at least that we’re keeping our head above water?

Certainly when I began scheduling every activity of the day into my iPod schedule, I discovered it was not possible to do everything I had hoped to do in a lifetime in just ONE day. No. My expectations were a wee bit unrealistic.

Then I began to wonder if it was necessary to do more than one thing at a time. Could I really be present, in the moment, feeling my fingers tap on the keyboard as I was thinking my thoughts; rather than planning the afternoon’s activities, while writing a blog, while chatting mindlessly with my son and trying to get my slippers on my feet.

Do the thing you’re doing, and be fully present doing it. If you don’t want to be doing it, find a way not to; or accept that part of life is doing the things you don’t want to do too, and some things must be done.

Multitasking is not happytasking.

How to Do Less Multi-Tasking and How to Approach My Productivity & Time:

  1. Time Block. Determine how much time everything you want to do takes and build in intentional time (and white space & “pausing” space around it too).
  2. Include what you actually want to do with your time. You’re homeschooling. You can choose how to build your time. Ask yourself What is an Education Anyway? Ask yourself Why Am I Homeschooling Anyway? And determine what you actually want to do.
  3. Give your kids eyeball to eyeball time every day. Why? Because you actually want that connection. Because they want that connection. And when you do it fully present, they’ll often surprise you that they don’t want nearly as much time as you thought they might OR they do indeed want more time than you can provide them, but you know that you can’t be everything for them, so accept that you can’t and do the next thing fully present too.
  4. Include time just for you every day. Sometimes we resemble chickens with their heads cut off because we’re overextended. So find your thing and DO your thing every day, so most days you’ll do something for you. Just fifteen minutes set aside JUST for you. (And do what you love, not what keeps the house sanitary).
  5. Practice mindfulness. Check in with yourself throughout each day: how are you feeling? Sit with those feelings. The more you connect in with yourself, the more you’ll honour what you really want to do and how you want to show up in your homeschool.

If something must be done, it should be done well”

Charlotte Mason

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