Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Blues, Whacked Schedules and Media -- oh my!

I've been trying to find things other than video games for Robert to do lately. I know that radical unschooling is supposed to be to let the child choose any thing that strikes his curiosity but I have a feeling that lots of homeschooling/unschooling families don't have so much media access in their house.

Robert seems constantly interested in World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 games, or the games on my laptop. Their are many online games he likes, too. Go Diego Go, Webkinz -- sometimes even Build-a-Bear. Even if I insist on an educational game, he finds a way to play a game on the computer, or otherwise. 

"Mom, Poptroptica has strategy games in it. I have to use my mind to play the game."
"Mom, let's play Monopoly and I'll be the banker. That's math." (I'm sorry to say this but I am getting a little tired of playing games. At least with computer/video games I can feign ignorance.)

He loves watching (and will watch for HOURS straight) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kirby, SonicX, Chaotic, YuGiOh, Winx Club, Tom and Jerry -- and sometimes Zaboombafoo on a good day. (At least it is scientific, sort-of.)

He also likes to watch Eye Witness videos. (Human Body, Life, Ponds and Rivers, Reptiles, Amphibians, Volcanoes ... ) These I like.

We've canceled cable. Now he can only watch on Saturday Morning Cartoons, which is maybe as it should be. I remember as a kid Saturday morning being a special fun time to watch cartoons that we couldn't get any other time. 

Last week was a snow week and our schedule was all messed up.  Also Aubrey was sick so we were house bound. The week before that was Paul's vacation and my grandmother died, so life was hectic and non-productive at the same time. 

We've had a rather exhausting time of it actually.

It is a Sunday today, so I'd really like to get back on our regular schedule this week -- but, oh wait (head smack) -- it's Christmas this week.  And Aubrey is out of school for two and a half weeks. And next week is New Years .... 

The stability of a schedule will be non-existent for this whole month! I don't know if I can take that.

The house is trashed already.

The kids have been playing on the computer for days, and I don't know how to get them off without having a fun back up plan. "Everybody off the computer, it's time to clean the living room and kitchen!" is not going to cut it.

There is no safe (read clean) place to be in our home right now -- causing all sorts of angst with all the members of our family. Paul asked me this morning before heading off to work:

"I need your help. The house is beginning to overwhelm me again. I just tried to make some toast and I had to move seven dishes out of the way to find the toaster. Could you please have the kids help you get the living room and kitchen straightened up?"

And Aubrey doesn't want to sleep in her room anymore because it is so messy.


I don't have tons of energy right now. And I'm not sure why.

I speculated this a few weeks ago.

I wondered if maybe I didn't have that trendy disease SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but layered circumstances that added up to something similar anyway.  

In the winter time, I like to take it easy: drink hot liquids, use wool sweaters and quilts, knit caps and books by the fireplace or under the feather blanket in bed watching a movie. I draw inward, as our ancestors did, bringing my work inside and quitting the fields after the harvests were done. 

I also know about myself that if my surroundings are chaotic and cluttered, I feel that way inside.  I get all sketchy and have anxiety "things". My irritation rises and I'm snippy with people and feel easily overwhelmed. Because I am a poor housekeeper, I unfortunately struggle with this frequently.

And then there is the fatigue generated from the depression that comes from being tired. If that makes any sense. Because I'm stressed about the house being messy, I get fatigued and the fatigue generates a mild depression and then I just want to sleep -- making a much larger mess in the kitchen.

SO. Acknowledging that these layers exist for me, I wondered if it might be a good idea to plan that this would happen next winter and instead of having a Spring cleaning, have a Pre-Samhain cleaning.  If I can get my ducks in a row, even during the month of November-say (after Samhain), I could have a clean and organized home before the winter hibernation takes place. 

Theoretically, this would eliminate my stress-fatigue-depression-blues during each winter.

But what do I do about this winter? It's already started, and the house is already undefinable. And I'm already mildly depressed about that.  And already tired. 


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