My plan last year was to spend a semester on Astronomy and a semester on Biology. I planned so well that we had way too much to finish in one year. So we did Astronomy only, and we loved it!
My kids were 6 (first grade) and 8 (fourth grade) when we started. Our main text was Real Science for Kids Elementary Astronomy. We added several books from home and a few we picked up at the library. We also did a lapbook I found on Currclick.com.
Our extra books included The Kingfisher Encyclopedia of Questions and Answers 1: Earth and Space Science, The Usborne Science Encyclopedia and Janice VanCleave’s Solar System science experiments,
The lapbook is Knowledge Box’s Astronomy Basics Lapbook, which I downloaded as a PDF from Currclick. It had some basic information, but we used it as a fun review after studying a topic.
We started each new topic with the text book and the lab activity, which took our two science days that week. The next week, we read from Usborne one day and Kingfisher another. The last week, we read any other books I had and did the lapbook section.
We usually covered the same information 3-4 times this way, but each book added something a little different. Plus, repeated exposure leads to better recall.
When it was time for the Super Blood Moon Eclipse in September of this year, the kids recalled the information we’d learned, and we expanded that knowledge with topics we had not covered including apogee and perigee. I loved seeing how excited the kids were about the eclipse and everything they knew about it! It led to even greater excitement about studying it in-depth. That’s what we want, right? Feed them enough information on a topic that they get more interested and want to learn more.
After the reading, labs, and lapbook we did a few other fun things. We have an inexpensive telescope that we pulled outside multiple times. We were not very successful at using it, but we did find craters on the moon one night!
The science museum was a huge aid in our studies as well. Our planetarium has some great programming, and the space exploration section is still a favorite of my kids.
I know my kids have a solid base on which to build their astronomy knowledge, so I’m eager to move into more advanced topics the next time we hit astronomy in the science cycle. It was thorough, easy, and most importantly – FUN!
Bonus: We watched some episodes of our favorite space and time traveling Doctor. (Okay, maybe it isn’t REAL astronomy, but it makes astronomy even more exciting!)
Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.