The Mistake of Multitasking in our Homeschools: 5 Tips to Be More Present

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

But our goal shouldn’t be to get better at multitasking, rather, it should be to accept that there’s a cultural myth around multitasking.

Straight up, you’re going to get better at multitasking without trying.

You’ll just have too much opportunity to learn the mistake of multitasking if you are either…

  • homeschooling more than one child,
  • working while you homeschool,
  • or ever need to cook, clean, or answer the telephone while you homeschool).
We think we’re going to get more stuff done when we multi-task.

(Obviously, because you’re doing more than one thing at a time, right?)

But research declares that we don’t.

In fact, we might get more stuff done, but we won’t get it done with high quality and we’ll be slower at it too.

Oh, and we will feel scattered to top it off: so less happy (but you already knew THAT).

I know that you as a homeschool mama are a skilled multi-tasker (it takes one to know one).

But the mistake of multitasking is that practicing it is just a recipe for overwhelm, unhappiness, and disconnect.

Learning to play games and attend to two or more kids at the same time: the mistake of multitasking

My mistake of multitasking: 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 (no one got hurt).

I was pretty determined to be as productive in my first post-partum days as I was pre-parenting.

The notion of multi-tasking seems like something boastable, a picture of perpetual motion, slashing the to-do list with ardor.

Our culture encourages the mistake of multitasking. Or at the very least, declares you valuable if you are.

Life is busy.

We’re responsible for…
  • our children’s education,
  • organizing the household,
  • developing our passions,
  • and 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?
  • Maybe we’re even ahead of the pack?
  • Or at least that we’re keeping our head above water?

Time block instead.

Certainly, when I began scheduling every activity of the day into my schedule, I discovered it was not possible to do everything I hoped to do in a lifetime let alone in just ONE day.

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.

I evaluated my reality.

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?

No, the categorical answer was no!

I’ve practice doing my thing, the one thing I am presently doing, and be fully present doing it.

If I don’t want to be doing it, I need to 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.

Reading and having fun with your kids together

How to do less multitasking 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. We’re overextended. So, find your thing and DO your thing every day, so most days you’ll do something for yourself. 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 with yourself, the more you’ll honour what you really want to do and how you want to show up in your homeschool. Learn more about mindfulness here.

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

Charlotte Mason

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