Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fighting the Cabin Fever

This is the time of year that I start seeing posts, written by other homeschoolers, about needing to shake things up, stray from the schedule, turn things upside-down to keep the connections strong and fight the winter blahs. It's funny that this time of year strikes me in an opposite way - this is when I have a moment of rethinking how we go about our days, and while the philosophy behind what we do feels solid, I wonder whether or not having more structure in a school-like fashion might salvage our cooped-up days! We could call it February School or something...
Interestingly, a friend of mine here who has her kids at home as well relayed a conversation she had with her 7 1/2 year old just this week (when we've been hit by a stormload of snow) about what it would be like if she were to enter public school. I think it was coming from the same place, of feeling like we don't all have enough room to find our own rhythms just now, and some imposed structure would be a nice way to, oh, have a reason to get out of bed in the morning!

So we go in and out of "doing all right" this week. These photos convey the peaceful moments, which I need reminding of...embroidering...discovering words (all on her own)...

tea parties, baking, listening to the first two books of The Chronicles of Narnia, drawing...reading books from the library, being inspired to play pirates while shoveling the driveway...
I've been offering some activities to bring us together amongst some of these side-by-side activities (the drawing, the listening, the sewing - we are together but in our own worlds...). This morning there was a scavenger hunt (the reading! so much reading! I am loving this idea!!).

The clues led to the stack of tea-stained "aged" paper we made last summer, and a bottle of ink (black watercolor paint!) and a quill (turkey tail feather) for making pirate maps.
This led to more adventuring, with a world map, then a local map to the Farmer's Market...heck, we'll work with any map around here.
For me what salvaged today was getting outside. The girls have been reluctant to get out of their pajamas this week, but for me it has not felt cozy, it has felt claustrophobic. I get out to shovel a bit, feed the birds...the other day after requesting, begging, ordering and sighing, I went out to walk up and down the block for 15 minutes. (by the way, everyone was fine. no one burned down the house.) Today I put some chocolate in my pocket, we all bundled up, and we headed for the bike path with the sled in tow. It was snowing, wet, and beautiful; we were warm, buzzed from the fresh air on our cheeks, and in the end it was I who was ready to come back in, two hours later. The girls were renewed, they were happy to be together, and I was peaceful and worn out from the pulling I did when morale flagged. Grateful grateful grateful for the big beautiful outdoors.


poppy said...

i love to imagine you chasing our children around like a photojournalist in the bush trying to document the wild and weird behavior of the strange and wonderful pirate-girls!

alissa said...

if i didn't know you, i would sure wish that i did. as it is, i think you are pretty cool. love the rhyming scavenger hunt!!

Kerry said...

uh...could ...somebody...someday...maybe make...a pirate map....for me? When I'm least expecting it? I'm 60 years old, and still no pirate map. I'm so jealous of E and A. D, you have my permission to document it on film (pixels?) because I have (besides never having a pirate map) never been a subject for a photojournalist. well, i am NOT photogenic so maybe that's a good thing.
word verification: aploy

Stacy (Mama-Om) said...

Hi Debbie.... I'm waving to you.

I know you sometimes struggle but I want to say that whenever I read your blog, I feel so honored to know you and to witness your journey with the girls, and the girls' journeys. It's incredible!!


J & Reba said...

I would love to sit and embroider alongside you all! Just wanted to send you a little encouragement. We are feeling the winter blahs a wee bit too. I keep reminding myself how good it is to be stretched. (for the boys and for myself) Every time there is an "un"peaceful moment it is just an opportunity to learn how to reconnect. To practice it, in a way.
um...that's all.

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

For us, it's about space, in part, I think. Our home is no bigger or smaller than we would wish, but it's still four walls.
Maddie does okay inside, because she flits from flower to flower quickly all day, and has lots of adventures and interests.
Trev and I need space. Space to run. Space to hear the quiet (me). Space to shout outdoors. Space to chase. Space that's big enough to let imaginations fly and soar and dip and climb and tunnel.
The other part is being active.
Energy around here (and there is loads of that) needs to be spent outside, running and jumping. A problem when the trampoline is taken down for the winter! So when Mama Nature offers us forty+ degree days, and sunshine... well. We take Her up on it and play with Her.
grin - been happening a lot lately!

I love the scavenger hunt, too. :)

Merry said...

You are so clever in finding ways to get Eliza to read!! And the look on her face shows she was loving the hunt AND being successful in reading the clues!! Great job! And look how Ani is soaking it all in too!! And your picture documentation is awesome! I'm so proud of you!