Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Switchman

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

I begin each school week with high ambitions to accomplish much. Sometimes, things derail, or rather the Switchman puts us on a different track. I think that is what happened to us this week. But I am fairly certain it turned out more fruitful than anything we may otherwise have done.

Our usual Day 1 (Tuesday) was scratched because Daddy had an extra day off and I was still recovering from the weekend's birthday festivities for Alice (now 7!)

Wednesday (this week's Day 1), we managed to get everything done in a timely manner, with just a few minutes to spare before three friends arrived for their first Spanish lesson. Royal and Alice joined in with their friends while Almanzo napped, and we had a fun time of singing and playing and acting out things in the foreign language.

Thursday also went well. It was a shorter day, lesson-wise, so we got everything done. This afternoon, Royal decided he wanted to sew some buttons on his pajama pants to make them look like thermal underwear or something (like in the olden days), so I let him. The plan for his handicraft was to do some leatherwork with his Grandpa this evening while Alice was at volleyball practice... Well apparently Grandpa was watching a show on the Alaskan frontier and so the leatherwork didn't get touched. Royal enjoyed it, of course. (And it just fueled his desire to be a backwoodsman when he grows up).

Friday for some reason didn't work out to be as efficient and we ended up having to postpone a couple of lessons (Parables of Nature and A Drop of Water) because we were running behind and needed to get to our first piano lesson by 2:30. Oh, and Almanzo refused to nap today. But I was able to coax him into at least staying in his room to play until I went to get him. (I think we must be transitioning into the age of no-daily-naps soon, sniff-sniff).

The first piano lessons went great and the kids enjoyed them. This is really a God-send and I thank the Lord for sending us our new friends and neighbors. Our kids play well together and we both homeschool. I bought our keyboard from them, and now my friend teaches our kids piano in exchange for me teaching her kids Spanish. Sweet!

Saturday we had early volleyball games. My plan was to return home to do a regular day of school; however, the weather was SO glorious, I just couldn't bear to be inside at the table. I sent the children outside for the remainder of the morning to play and explore until lunch. As it happened, they chanced upon a wonderful patch of milkweed vine with a number of monarch caterpillars! 

I toted the nature journals out there and had a little impromptu nature study, talking about the visual difference between a Queen and a regular Monarch caterpillar. 

Alice's sketch

Isn't this just the cutest sketch ever?!?

We saw 2 Queens and one Monarch. The children wanted to bring one inside to our habitat, but as we already have one, I wanted to leave the others to enjoy their natural surroundings. I suggested we just go check on them every day. After lunch, however, Royal came rushing back to me and said the fire ants had eaten the two Queens! Fantastic. So this evening I wanted to go poking around some more out there to see if I could spy any more. Fortunately I did, and this one (also a Queen) was so tiny! I think I even found a couple of monarch egg sacs deposited underneath one of the milkweed vine leaves.

During Almanzo's nap today we did get a little school done; however, due to our morning adventures and discoveries outside, we fell far short of a full day of book-learning. But really, I am ok with that ... especially when Royal makes his own written entry in his Nature Notebook alongside his drawing and later tells me that Nature is his favorite thing and how glad he is that we don't live in a city.
Royal's sketch and entry

I have been reading a bit of what Heather over at Bent Leather has been writing this week (and in this post particularly) ... and after today's experience outside, I am further encouraged that women, children (amateurs) can take away so much more from the world of science if they are actively curious than they can from whole volumes of scientific material produced by the experts.


What blessings have you experienced from a week of "failed" plans?


  1. Royal's enthusiasm and work are inspiring...and now I have seen your version of the caterpillar over on Instagram too. :) The kids must be so enjoying watching them.

    1. Yes, we have had some excitement around here with our caterpillars. And now we are in the waiting game as the butterfly goes through metamorphosis. I am sure it will be a thrilling sight to witness when it emerges from its cocoon! :-)

  2. How exciting for find Monarchs like that! We have yet to have a day where the kids do their nature notebooks independently, but one of these times, I hope! Sounds like a wonderfully productive day, even if it wasn't quite what you had on the schedule. I think those days can be some of the best learning, when I can learn to roll with it.