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Using the Calendar to Study Astronomy

Astronomy is a subject that is often overlooked, but it’s also one that many young students (and older ones too) are very interested in! I remember as a child when my dad told my sister and me that we would get to stay up late that night to drive out to the country and try to view Halley’s Comet. We were so excited to see it! We were especially fascinated when our dad explained that it was only visible every 75 or 76 years. He told us that it was possible we’d get to see it again when we were old. That was the beginning of an interest in astronomy that I might otherwise have never discovered. As a homeschooling mom, I am still using the calendar to study astronomy and to spark my own children’s curiosity about the universe and God’s Word.

using the calendar to study astronomy

When my son was a young child, he was fascinated with astronomy too — maybe because we made a habit of watching the calendar for astronimcal events! He loved watching the stars, picking out the constellations, looking for shooting stars, and viewing the full moon when it seemed to fill the sky. He loved to read about the sun, explore the moon and the planets through colorful books and videos, and read scientific books and magazines that told what the planets are made of and what temperatures their atmospheres are and how long their days and years are. He couldn’t get enough information on astronomy!

HHM Astronomy Notebooking Journal

 

It’s a blessing that we homeschooling parents now have access to some wonderful resources for teaching our children about astronomy. No longer do we have to dig and search for resources that are appropriate. One of my very favorite resources on this subject is a book from Apologia’s Young Explorer Series. It’s called Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Second Edition by Jeannie Fulbright. The second edition has been updated with:

  • new, current scientific data
  • callout boxes that give special attention to God as Creator
  • a new color-coded schedule for the updated textbook, notebooking journals, and lab kit
  • fresh layouts for activities found in the textbook
  • new full-color illustrations
  • space to journal each textbook and notebook activity

 

NOTE: You’ll need the new second edition if you plan to use your textbook with the new Notebooking Journals. There are two Notebooking Journals available. The Astronomy Second Edition Notebooking Journal (for students who are 3rd/4th through 6th grade) and the Astronomy Second Edition Junior Notebooking Journal (for students who are K through 2nd/3rd grade).

Below you can see one of the mini books from the Astronomy Second Edition Notebooking Journal (for 3rd/4th-6th students).

HHM Astronomy Mini Book Edited

This article and giveaway are sponsored by Apologia. Scroll to the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway!

In a recent article called Your Garden Is an Outdoor Classroom, we shared ideas and information about using gardening with our children as a way of teaching our children not only academics but also life skills. And of course gardening is a great way to spend time together and grow some yummy fruits, vegetables, and herbs at the same time! This article, in a similar way, is meant to help you share astronomy with your children and to help your children learn more about this topic in a fun and meaningful way. It can also be a great way of sharing God’s love with them!

For Christians, it’s amazing to stand under the huge night sky and see hundreds and thousands of stars and to know that God created each one and He knows each one by name!

He determines the number of the stars, and He calls them each by name. ~Psalm 147:4

And that same God knows each of us by name and loves each one of us too! In fact, God gave us these very stars not only to make the night sky beautiful and to provide some light on a dark night, but also to help us know when the seasons are getting ready to change and to determine how many years have passed.

Then God said, “Let lights in the expanse of the sky be for separating the day from the night. They will be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.” ~Genesis 1;14

HHM Astronomy Collage Venn Diagram and Planets

Plan Ahead to Observe Astronomical Events

There are lots of great websites you can use to find out about astronomical events that are (or will be) observable on certain dates in your area. A couple I found are NASA’s Skycal (Sky Events Calendar) and In the Sky (Guides to the Night Sky). Be sure to add these to your school planner and your own calendar so you don’t miss these fun learning opportunities!

We use the Exploring Creation with Astronomy curriculum, and with this curriculum, you get access to a course-related website that gives you information for your area letting you know what to look for and when to look in your night sky for certain events. You will also find links to interesting multimedia sources that relate to the book.

Fun Activities to add a Hands-on Perspective

So what kinds of meaningful activities can you do with your children as you learn about astronomy? There are many in the Apologia Astronomy book. There are lots of fun things you can do together! And it’s easy to use Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Second Edition to enhance what you’re already doing and learning!

Create Your Own Solar System

Whether you want to keep it simple or do something more elaborate, there are so many ways you can learn about the solar system by creating your own! You can find ideas on Pinterest for everything from flipbooks to mobiles to games you can play with your kiddos.

Have Some Fun Snacks

How about having an edible solar system for your snack today? Or you might enjoy using (and eating!) Oreo cookies as you learn about the phases of the moon.

Spend Some Time Viewing the Night Sky Together

It might require a trip to the country if you live in the city where there are streetlights, but it’s worth a drive to sit under the stars with your children and observe the night sky together on a clear evening! Not only is it a great time to talk with your children about what you’re learning together, but it’s also just plain fun to pick out the constellations together and relax and just enjoy each other’s company.

Link Your Study of the Stars to Greek and Roman Mythology

Studying Greek and Roman mythology was one of my students’ favorite things we did in all of their school years! (I now have 2 homeschool graduates.) They loved learning about the planets and constellations and linking those studies to reading Greek and Roman mythology. They didn’t realize they were “studying” as we were reading and discussing the myths! It was so much fun seeing their enthusiasm and learning along with them. One of my children’s favorites books of Greek Mythology is The D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

Download This Free Activity e-Book

As a way of celebrating the release of the brand new Second Edition of Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Apologia is offering free downloads of Lift Off to Learning Activity e-Book. It contains activities and sample chapters of Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Second Edition!

Play a Trivia Game Together

I’ve created a trivia game that I hope you and your students enjoy! It’s a great way to review facts and information from your lessons and have fun together at the same time. (NOTE: If you’d like to share the game–or anything else from this article–please share a link to the entire article and not to individual resources or ideas. Thank you!)

free astronomy game long

You can download the Astronomy game here.

WIN it!

 

Apologia Astronomy Spon Content giveaway

About the author

Wendy

Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 28 years ago, and they live in the South with their three children. Hannah, age 23, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 22, was the second homeschool graduate. Mary Grace, age 16, is the remaining homeschool student. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow an herb garden every summer with limited success.

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