Friday, June 23, 2006

How We Study the Heavens

solarsystem A reader asked:

"I was wondering if you had any suggested reading for the subject of planets, stars, moon, etc."

Our favorite book for the stars is:

FIND THE CONSTELLATIONS by H.A.Rey. The author has a nice conversational style with simple diagrams for the beginner. It is suitable as a read-aloud to children 8yrs and older or as a reader for slightly older students.

"At night time, when the stars are out, the sky all of a sudden becomes a hug picture book. You can look up and see a lion and a whale, an eagle...: that is, of course, if you know how to find them."

We also like the Magic School Bus: LOST IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM. Each planet is explored. I don't like some of the humor in it, but have no problem using my white out pen for little phrases that I deem inappropriate for my children. I like the original nine Magic School Bus books, but not the ones that follow. They just seem to get more twaddley. And too much of a good thing can be overkill. I use a little whiteout in just about all of them, but I think the information is done so well that it is worth it. (By the way, whiteout is my best friend for the early grades.) My older elementary children read ALONG CAME GALILEO and IT COULDN'T JUST HAPPEN -two books that I highly recommend. The first being a biography, and the second, an introductory defense for creationism. The first half of the book focuses on the heavens.

It is helpful to make a model of each planet with accurate sizes to show the solar system. We used our children's overhead bedroom light to represent the sun and hung painted styrofoam planets around it from the ceiling. Then we puttied glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, but made constellations with them. My kids couldn't wait to go to bed at night so they could stare at space. Staring at Orion, Castor and Pollux, Andromeda and the Big Dipper every night can't help but cement them into one's head in the most kid friendly fashion. (You can just make a simple mobile with a bent wire hanger, as well.)

We like to use our binoculars at night to get a better look at the stars. I think it is a good idea for children to be able to point out five to ten constellations. The sky then becomes a familiar friend. If a child really becomes interested in astronomy, you may wish to purchase a good telescope later. A few recommended astronomy websites include:

Kid's Astronomy

Astronomy Picture of the Day

I didn't mention the Bible because it is just 'a given' in our homeschool. All of our discussions center around this book. There are some wonderful passages in the Psalms and Job about the heavens. I just weave this into our studies.

The names of today's constellations come from Greek mythological characters, but the Hebrews had different names for the constellations that coincided with scripture. Many biblical astronomers today believe that the gospel was literally written in the star constellations. Ruth Beechick refers to this in her writings, as in the book, ADAM AND HIS KIN. We love this book. An online book source explaining the idea that the gospel in the stars is found here.

I love the stars, even more than a sunset. My children know that I spend every night before going to bed, gazing at the stars. Often, I get up in the middle of the night to help a child or to get a drink and I simply can't go back to bed without taking another peek at the sky from a bedroom window. Perhaps this love was kindled when my father began taking me out at night with my brother to gaze at the stars. He taught us their names and bought us a telescope. He always spoke of them with reverence because "that is where the King resides." It planted a longing in my heart that remains to this day. I'm doing the same with my own kiddies.

1 comment:

  1. previous commentors30.12.06

    July 24, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by barbieheart (

    What a beautiful thought: "that is where the King resides." I'll be remembering that one. Thank you for posting on "the stars."

    July 25, 2006 - Thank you

    Posted by Dana )

    Timely post as we are leaving for a Yellowstone National Park vacation!
    I was looking for books on the stars.
    I got a chance to read through your blog - fantastic really!
    Huge helps - the wisdom of a mom years ahead in HSing. Oh How I needed it.

    July 25, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by teena6

    we love in a rural area. I always say I want to take the children out and look at the stars~ I love what you shared about your dad and all........ awesome

    July 25, 2006 - I will check it out!!!

    Posted by Jocelyndixon (

    It is nice to know that you and I will probably be meeting someday!! The LORD is good, isn't He?

    I just wanted to stop by and say hello! How have you been? Stop by and visit me!! Hope God is blessing you this day!!!


    July 25, 2006 - The heavens

    Posted by kaysmarmey (

    What a wonderful post!! We are also studying the heavens in Science, how marvelous is God's handiwork. Your blog is beautiful and I have gleaned much from reading your writings today. Thank you. Melissa

    July 25, 2006 - I love it

    Posted by Jeanne (

    "That is where the King resides" --- beautiful.

    July 26, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by mamaduso (

    Hi- I wondered if you ever recieved the earings I sent from the contest on HSB. I had no idea if they arrived in time to be delivered to you.

    July 26, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by mamaduso

    I'm not sure what you mean about firefox. I use firefox and am able to post an entry on my blog and utilize the tool panel for make editing changes. I cannot however have access to the tool bar with Safari which is an apple bowser. Did that answer your question?

    Sorry I didn't get the earings to you. If you want to see them I can email a photo to you. I also posted a picture on my blog. I will see if I can find the post.