Are your kids fascinated with anything to do with space and Science? Do they have curiosity about planets, stars and moons? If so, I don’t blame them. Astronomy is a fascinating subject not only to learn, but also to teach. Let’s explore five fun ways you can integrate a love of space into your homeschool curriculum – even if you don’t have a telescope. Before we get started though- for those like us who try to keep things creation centered, don’t forget to bookmark the site Answers in Genesis for kids!
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Identify the Constellations
Perhaps the easiest way to introduce your kids to astronomy is to start with the constellations. There’s something quite magical about going outside in the middle of the night, gazing up in the sky and seeing a blanket of glittering stars shining down on you. However, the real joy comes from teaching your kids about the many stories that people have created about the stars and then working with them to try to find each constellation. Their squeals of joy when they are able to see them is a treasure to behold. And with 88 official constellations (many of which are best seen during certain times of the year), this can be a tradition that you can stretch out over time. You could even pump up the fun by camping out and having a stargazing party. Not sure how to do that? Check out “How to Throw a Star Party: A Stargazing Guide”. You can also download the SkyView app on Apple and Android devices to get a bit of help with not only identifying what’s in the sky, but clicking on celestial objects on your phone to learn more. It’s a great way to get started when you are learning right along with your kids.
Watch Meteor Showers
Another wonder of the night sky that you and your family can enjoy throughout the year are meteor showers. The shrieks of joy that your children will roar when they see a shooting star (or several) streaking across the sky are worth the wait. The great thing is that meteor showers (though they may seem random) are actually really predictable. Groups of them come around every year around the same time. So if you know the dates and the viewing conditions are good, this could be another fun thing that your family does throughout the year. For more information, check out this informative article on “How to Watch a Meteor Shower” that walks you through choosing the best time and place so that you can enjoy the show.
Chart the Phases of the Moon
Looking for something that you can do each night? Why not chart the phases of the moon? This could be equal parts of astronomy lessons and art lessons! I would start by explaining to your kids that the moon orbits the Earth and that it takes 29 whole days for it to do that! While it’s doing its thing around our planet, we are able to see it in its different phases. It could be really fun for your kids to go capture a drawing (or a picture) of the moon each night to see how the orbit looks when mapped out. This is also a great way to teach them about the different cycles of the moon – from New Moon to Fill Moon to Waning Crescent and back again. Check out this helpful article on “How to Make a Moon Phases Chart”
Join a Local Astronomy Club
Ideally, we would all live near a planetarium or space museum. They’re so much fun! However, if you don’t live near one, that’s no reason to feel deprived of the opportunity to dive deep into astronomy. Do some digging to find out if there is a local astronomy club that your family can join. Check local Facebook groups, schools, universities, community centers and science organizations to see if anyone is able to point you in the right direction. You can also scour websites like Sky & Telescope and MeetUp to see if there any groups or clubs in your town or surrounding areas. Of course, do your due diligence to make sure the people are safe. But you might be surprised how many people in your area have a genuine interest in Astronomy and simply want to share it with others. If you can’t find one, why not start your own? It could be the start of something big that your family can be proud of.
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Check Out NASA Kids
Looking for more ideas on how you can integrate a love of space into your homeschool? Who better to guide you than NASA? Luckily, they have an entire website devoted to teaching kids about space. NASA Kids includes fun games, plenty of info and lots of links to other educational resources. And of course, there is always the main NASA website as well as all of their social media accounts if you and your family really want to stay on top of all the exciting things that are going on in the field of astronomy.
I hope that these have given you some ideas on how you can make Astronomy a big part of your homeschool curriculum. How do YOU inject a dose of out-of-this-world fun into your schooling? Let me know in the comments below! Also- this is just part one in our series! So make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss a thing Sometimes I have exclusives JUST FOR my subscribers. Coming up will be more Science topics too from Creation based resources, our visit to Kennedy Space Center AND unit studies!