A Rambling Update from a Burned Out Self-Publishing-Homeschooling-Co-Op-Class-Teaching-Crocheting-Mad-Mommy

I've been overwhelmed lately. Not always in a bad way. I posted this status update a few weeks ago:

Yeah, the weasels thing was kind of my mindset, but the "burned out" post was the point of this (Had to include the weasels anyway. Sometimes it feels like I have a couple swinging from my eyebrows.).

I'm grateful that I'm finally in a place to take my writing "seriously." I'm grateful that Coryn's schooling is going well and that we have a good co-op to participate in. I'm grateful for the recent special orders I  got on my Etsy account after a long dry spell of no orders at all. I'm grateful that Claire is healthy, clever, and energetic. That I've recently gotten involved with a Bible study. That I found a critique community/website.

But sometimes, all that together, just seems like so much.

So what has been going on in all of the above?

Writing: I took the suggestions I got on my first few chapters posted of Dragon's Curse and rewrote large sections. I finished writing Dragon's Rival which ended up being the longest story so far at 65,681 words. I also started writing out a plot synopsis for Dragon's Bride and am mostly satisfied with the plans I have for it. It is for the most part a cohesive, linear plot. I've been doing a lot more editing than marketing though I do still occasionally troll the blogosphere looking for anyone who might want to review my self-published novel.

Coryn's Schooling: I posted a quick update at the beginning of the school year about the books we were using for Kindergarten and also how I was surprised that her first school day only took about an hour and a half even though it seemed like I had planned so much. Things continued to go very quickly and so I started adding in new subjects.

The first step, since she had finished the Kindergarten Hooked On Phonics set before school even started (she was very proud of learning all the words in her "reading kit") was to go ahead an purchase the First Grade kit from the same program. Coryn comes from a long line of the aggressive readers and she is easily reading at a first grade level. Right now the 1st Grade kit is focusing on blends (st, gl, fr, and other two consonant combinations) while continuing to add sight words.

Unlike the Kindergarten kit, which she breezed through, she is actually challenged by the first grade kit and while she doesn't necessarily dislike it, she never requests to do another lesson. She does sometimes ask to read a chapter of the "chapter books" we've been picking out for her. When last I wrote on this subject she was stuck on Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems

We read every single Elephant and Piggie book available at our local library (maybe eight total) and moved on to Arnold Lobel books because there were a lot of them and they are at the right reading level for her. 

Here is a list of the ones she has conquered so far:

There have been some other easy readers thrown in here and there, but these have been our most successful stories. 

I also chose to start her on geography with the Evan-Moor Beginning Geography book.

So far it is just teaching basic map skills (her last lesson was on compass points), but eventually it expands into learning the names of geographical features and by the end of the book she should be able to  name the continents which is, in my opinion, a good start for Kindergarten. 

Even though she has co-op science and my only real plan for this subject was to every so often pick up library books on "scientific" subjects and read them to her, she really seemed to love doing "experiments" so I ordered her Janice VanCleave's Big Book of Play and Find Out Science Projects. I'm still putting together most of the stuff we need to do the experiments (basic things like rubber bands and magnets which are cheap but I  didn't necessarily have lying around), so we haven't done very much of this book, but she does get excited whenever we bring it out. 

So all and all everything is going well there and it still is a relatively short school day when I get everything put together and we focus in on it.

Next on my list of good stuff that is burying me, Co-Op: Coryn's co-op classes include Spanish, Science, and Art. They do not involve any homework and I could've easily gotten away  with just volunteering as a "helper," which is what I started to do. I have some Spanish on my resume (I took some in highschool and three semesters at a community college about 10 years ago as well as occasional points where I was called to use it at the bank I worked at when the native speakers weren't available) so I said I would help with the Spanish class, but then it turned out that there were three classes for grade school students and only one for middle school and high school students. 

So I said I would help put together a student led newsletter/teach journalism. I also have a lot of experience with this because I was the editor/main writer for a homeschool newsletter all through high school. 

Then the Spanish class was so full that they decided to split it into two separate classes and give me the younger students (K through 2nd). I've had a lot of "what was I thinking" moments over the last few weeks. We've had three classes so far (we meet every other Thursday), and journalism is going all right though we only have three students (apparently there wasn't as much call for high school and middle school classes as they thought there would be). Spanish is somewhat hectic. They placed it as the last class of the day (right before lunch) and by the time they get to me the little ones are bouncing off walls and honestly just want to  go  eat and run around the playground. On the second class one of the younger children came up to me about half hour into the hour session and said, "I'm done now. Can I go eat?" Getting them to focus is hard and I am sometimes uncertain that they are retaining anything I have taught them, especially with the two week gap between classes. I've started pointing out online resources for the parents to use at home in hopes that at least some of the parents will supplement with that because one hour long class every two weeks isn't going to get much Spanish  into them. 

So, yeah, next in my rambling list is my Etsy shop.

My Etsy shop was one of the things I was considering closing down in response to my general busy-ness. I haven't posted a new item in it in forever and while I have bins filled with finished hats and toys and scarves, I have no time or energy for posting them and I wish I could just find a way to unload it all at once (best way would be to find somewhere to donate it to, but this is Florida, and I doubt there is that much call for cold weather gear; also the yarn and time I put into it represents a substantial investment).  I was going to let my shop slowly fade into the night when another shop owner who makes sushi diaper cakes contacted me asking for a large order of the fish I make. I could've turned it down, but it is actually a reorder and the first time she ordered (several months ago) I did say I would be willing to keep supplying her with fish for the foreseeable future. So I'm doing that. 

Claire is also a nutcase. She is constantly into everything and sometimes I just want to put her in a baby cage and throw peanuts at her. She is so sweet and funny but so much work. 

The Bible study isn't that much stress unless I let it be. In fact, most of the time it is a nice break, but Claire tends to make everything into an event. All three of us are moms of young ones, and it feels like every five minutes our study is interrupted by someones' child. 

Ah and Critiquing.
I've talked a few times about Scribophile and over all the amount of positive feed back has been really super encouraging. I'm so happy to have it. I'm happy to help other writers by giving my opinions on their pieces, but as I mentioned in my post about the site, providing a worthwhile critique can be a lot of work. 

So, all in all this post was just one long venting session. I know I have so much to be grateful for,  but more often than not I'm staring at a house that falls apart if I take an afternoon off to work on any of the above (to type up the assignments for my journalism class or search out print-ables for my Spanish students, to edit my writing, to critique something on Scribophile, to put a little bit of extra energy into Coryn's schooling) and I know that is frustrating to Matt who is very much a clean freak and it is frustrating to  me to have him frustrated at me. 

So I'll end this with a cute baby video to make you all feel less frustrated on my behalf.

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  1. I read your whole post and watched the video clip. Wow! You're busy. Guess what arrived yesterday in the mail, partially opened, but intact? Yep, your book. And, I needed a book to keep me entertained while my girls were at their ballet class, so I read it in the car and could have gone further, but the girls came out and it was time to go home and make dinner. I'll definitely do a review. I love your style of humor. Take care and God bless!

    1. I glad it got their safely. Maybe someone along the line opened it to read a few chapters ;). International mail can be a bit of a hassle. I remember when we were living in Japan (which because we were military is still considered "domestic" mail since it was going to a military post office) I once got a package that took roughly three months to get to me (some shoes I ordered from stateside) and by the time it got to me it looked as if someone had slammed it repeatedly in a car door. The shoes were all right but the box was a mess and had been retaped several times along the way.

      I'm so glad you are enjoying the book. I can't wait to see the review!

  2. She's so sweet. She has a sweet disposition about her. Parenthood is difficult and being a home schooling mom, even more difficult. Hang in there! You are doing a great thing, but I hope you find your routine and can stick to it. I find when I'm out of my routine, my whole house falls apart. Its also hard when you are the only person that does everything. So taking a day off isn't possible.


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