I have not posted in a while because honestly, my daughter and I were struggling during the first part of the year. But we have seemed to reach our stride, and I am feeling better about homeschooling and ready to share again! I’ll start with a block from last semester… Astronomy. You can tell in my daughter’s handwriting and drawings that she was not pleased with me, but hopefully there will be something here to give some inspiration!
I mostly followed Eugene’ Schwartz’s lessons. He indicated that it is best to steer clear of the traditional focus on the constellations, as this is something that is readily found anywhere, and to map these constellations and draw their pictures seems a little public-schoolish. We can do better, he says.
So, if we are not covering constellations, then what are we to do? We help the child to understand our relationship with the cosmos around us. The earth, moon, sun and stars. Where are they in the sky? How do they “move around us”? This was a wonderful way to approach the subject, especially considering that my daughter has been fascinated by astronomy since 2nd grade, and had already read H.A. Rey’s book on the subject, plus a few others. And, she can already find the constellations on her own.
My Resources for this Block:
So we began by going outside several times in one night to track the movement of the stars. We drew pictures showing their movement in each of the four directions. Next we discovered how we see the stars in different places, depending on our latitude. These lessons come directly from Eugene Schwartz. The “movement” of the stars is covered in detail in Sky Phenomena, and the relationship of the pole star to our latitude is covered in The Stars.
Before the block, we observed the moon for a month, and my daughter recorded the changes. Then we learned how to find the moon in the sky, according to the cycle and season:
We learned about the sizes and distances between the sun, moon, and earth:
So, even though Eugene convinced me that his approach to astronomy is better than simply covering the constellations, we tried to sneak in a few of them anyway (inspired by Live Ed’s Astronomy book):
Here are a few of my drawings:
And finally, I asked my children to continue working while I took a quick shower. When I came back, my daughter informed me that she has balanced her ruler perfectly and has taken photographs to prove it. Me: “Umm… did you get any further with your picture”? Her: “No, I wanted you to see the ruler.” Excellent.