As a homeschool Mindset mentor, I often work with clients who are struggling over thoughts surrounding “getting it all done”.
You are Mom, Wife, Teacher, Housekeeper, Cook, Taxi Driver and SO MUCH MORE. It’s natural to question how everything gets done.
The real issue surrounding getting it all done
The thoughts may vary slightly, but all goes back to – I need to FINISH. And if you don’t finish, there will be a CONSEQUENCE. Not finishing is bad.
As a homeschool mom you may be thinking:
- I can’t get everything done
- How will I get everything done
- We need to finish this curriculum
- We won’t finish if we (add an extra park day, take time to go deeper with this topic, add holidays into our day)
Can I tell you a secret?
You’re not going to like it, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
It’s NOT going to get done, and finishing isn’t the GOAL.
Read that again:
It’s not going to get done, and finishing is not the goal.
Finishing isn’t the goal because nothing is ever TRULY done. We are always adapting, growing, and evolving
My homeschool mindset clients get hung up on this because not finishing the laundry means naked people. Not finishing the curriculum means the kids are “behind”. We think we can overwhelm ourselves to take action. We make deadlines and lists designed to MAKE SURE we get everything done.
You might get this to work from time to time, but more often the feelings of overwhelm and stress cause us to shut down, and do less, or even nothing at all.
Where do feelings of overwhelm come from?
The feelings of overwhelm don’t come from the deadline or the mile-long to-do list. Feelings of overwhelm come from our THOUGHTS about the length of the to-do list, the deadline, or even the unpleasantness of the task itself.
.Being aware of this will help you on your homeschool mindset journey.
One of my favorite tips is to question your thoughts like a detective.
- Thought: If I don’t finish the curriculum, my kids are going to be behind.
- Detective: Is THAT true? Do all the families who don’t finish the curriculum have kids who are behind? What does being behind mean?
The important things DO get done, don’t they? The kids are dressed, fed, and they learn things everyday. AMAZING things.
Why your brain drives the crazy train
So why does your brain like to become the engineer for the crazy train? The simple answer is, your brain is doing its job.
Thoughts such as this swirl around in your brain like a whirlpool because our brain thinks it is protecting us. Our brains are hardwired to protect us, and this is what leads to feelings of desperation or overwhelm when it comes to getting things finished.
You may think – WHAT? How is our brain protecting us by swirling thoughts around in our heads? – Well, when you are overwhelmed enough, you’ll actually subconsciously slow down, and for the brain, this is conserving energy- exactly the brain’s goal.
The kicker is if you follow the thoughts and feelings without intercepting them, you can get stuck in the spiraling loop. Your brain uses the feelings of overwhelm as proof that you can’t get everything done.
- Brain: Look how stressed we are. There is so much to do.
- Brain: It’s too much, we can’t get everything done.
- Brain: Right. Yeah.
So we stay in the loop and the outcome is inevitable: we do not finish. Panic sets in, and the feelings of overwhelm continue.
Change your thoughts to change the outcome
We need to change our thoughts to something BELIEVABLE.
- I get the important things done
- Every little thing counts
- Everything that needs to get done, will get done
- Finishing isn’t the goal
You don’t need to be perfect or have a perfect mindset. Just being AWARE of your brain driving the crazy train is enough.
Real-life homeschooling and classroom teaching examples
Getting it done as a homeschool Mom
When I was deep in the throws of homeschooling we followed a routine. I thrive on structure and believe kids do too. It wasn’t strict, like math at exactly 8 am every day and I didn’t have a bell system ringing in my house, but we did have an order and routine.
Spoiler alert: Even with structure and routine, I still didn’t have enough time to get everything done.
My kids WERE learning…but still I wondered if it would be enough. So I would try again tomorrow to get everything done….
But teachers get everything done, right? If my kids attended school, the routine, structure, and standards would cause all the planets to align, and everything would get done.
Getting it done as a classroom teacher
In my classroom, I was required to have a much more structured approach.
I DID NOT GET *EVERYTHING* done in any of my 19 years in the classroom.
When I needed more time for an epic science project – I scheduled it in. I honestly can’t tell you how many times one of the “special” teachers had to call my classroom because I was in the middle of teaching and forgot to send my fourth graders to their scheduled class.
I’d be embarrassed if that sort of thing embarrassed me. I was BLESSED to have specialists to teach such classes as Art, Music, PE, and computers to name a few – but I was always deep into whatever we were doing and lost track of time.
After 15 years of classroom teaching using handwritten as well as fancy online lesson planning – I never, even once got it all done. That’s right folks – Mrs. Awesome teacher never got it all done. Perhaps you know a secret I don’t or I’m not as awesome as I think I am.
I never finished the Math or Social Studies textbook. I never covered every 4th-grade standard (or whatever grade I was teaching). There may have been a day here and there that I accomplished the *day* as it was laid out – but I’m not sure I can prove that!
Even as a classroom teacher, I often wondered if it was even possible in 180 days to cover it “ALL”. Every year I tried – believe me, it was always going to be “this year”…but again, and again, it never happened.
You can judge me or perhaps it makes YOU feel better about what’s going on in your homeschool.
So what is getting done?
What I am sure of is this: I gave my children (and my students) my LOVE, my TIME, and my PASSION for the topics we were learning.
My children (The Bugs) are finished homeschooling and out in the adult world (College, jobs, cars, apartments). I have students that I helped homeschool in similar situations, finishing their schooling, or graduated – all right where they should be – regardless of what we “finished” in a day, week, or year.
Through social media, I am in contact with many students that were educated in my classroom in one way or another. Those that came early in my career when things were unpolished and very much by instinct and those that came a little later (through their parents) that had the pleasure of a teacher with more experience and were “homeschooled” in a classroom. They all survived not finishing. In fact I don’t think they realize we didn’t finish.
They share memories of EXPERIENCES, both when I was unpolished and when I was “experienced” and my LOVE, TIME, and PASSION were enough for all of them!
What to focus on instead of getting it all done
Each day as you begin, rather than focus on what you “need to get done”, I encourage you to focus on sharing your LOVE, TIME, and PASSION for learning and let the rest fall into place.
If you don’t get it done, It likely wasn’t important.
When you NEED to get something done, like file your taxes, pay a bill or even create lesson plans for your homeschool, and those things have your brain swirling with overwhelm, here are some tips:
Chose one thing you want to get done. Think about how you need to feel to get it done.
(Pro Tip: you don’t have to feel amazing, joy-filled, or another highly positive feeling) Choose a feeling that is easy for you to believe. Committed, dedicated, devoted, passionate, motivated, and staunch are some feelings I use.
- Even though I don’t think I will finish, I’m committed to getting as much done as I can.
- My kids need this, so I will work on it.
- How can you create dedication, rather than overwhelm?
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