High School Astronomy for Homeschoolers

October 7th, 2019

high-school-astronomy-homeschool

I have been researching high school astronomy for homeschoolers for quite a few years, and it wasn’t until this year that I found a curriculum that looked beautiful, was beefy but not too mathematical, and that was understandable. I finally found it! I ordered the majority of these from Master Books, but my dad already had several of the books and DVD’s. The large Hubble coffee table book we got from Costco.

Here is a list of books that we got:

  • The Stargazer’s Guide to the Night Sky (includes planisphere inside back cover)
  • Survey of Astronomy: 9th -12th Grade Teacher Guide
  • Our Created Moon
  • Taking Back Astronomy

The four books listed above are all you need for a full year of high school astronomy. Besides the huge Hubble book, I’ve also added:

  • The New Astronomy Book
  • The Privileged Planet (DVD)
  • Our Created Moon (DVD)
  • The Heavens Declare (set of 3 DVD’s)
  • Binoculars, and hopefully a used telescope at some point

Unboxing High School Astronomy

To see the books up closer, take a look at this unboxing video, where I show you the beautiful photos and describe what I am doing for astronomy this year:

High School Field Trips for Astronomy

Just during the month of September, we have already gone on 5 astronomy field trips! The first one was an astronomy workshop at a local library, where the speaker presented many different astronomy activities that would be taking place in my area. I asked him where the nearest observatory was located, where the best place to see the Milky Way was, and when the next star party was scheduled.

nasa-space-suit

On a different day we went to a planetarium, where we leaned back and observed outer space from a domed ceiling. I’ve always love planetariums because it makes me feel like I’m an astronaut in outer space, just floating and looking at the nebulae and planets.

solar-flares

We looked through telescopes at the sun during the daytime, to try to find solar flares and sun spots. On the day that we were looking, there were no sun spots or solar flares, but it was still cool to look through the expensive equipment to see the sun without hurting our eyes. The Spokane Astronomical Society had a booth at a local festival, and they were getting the public interested in astronomy by having their telescopes set up.

sun-spots

At night we attended a star party, which was also hosted by the Spokane Astronomical Society. We were able to find basic constellations, the north star, and some planets. We actually got to see four of the moons of Jupiter, and a red stripe going across it! (I’ve never been able to see that in real life before, so it was definitely cool.) And we also saw the rings on Saturn!

nasa-space-stuff

Our family also attended another workshop at a different library, presented by a NASA representative. The workshop was entitled “Space Frontiers.” We saw a space suit, Shuttle EVA suit glove, small rocket steering thruster, Martian meteorite, and other artifacts. Joe Bruce was the speaker, and he had witnessed four space shuttle launches and the launch of Space X Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center. He described what it was like, from the perspective of someone who was there!

star-party

We have learned so much high school astronomy so far and have experienced it! I’m always astounded at how much fun I have homeschooling my kids, and this year is no exception. Hands-on is the best way to learn about a subject, and we plan to go star gazing many more times this year.

Field Trip to British Columbia, Canada

September 30th, 2019

field-trip-to-british-columbia-canada

So my grandma wanted to go up to Canada, and this time she decided to haul me and my mom along. Here’s how it went.

Actually, not much of the trip had to do with my grandma at all, although I did see her a bunch, but for the most part, we split up: grandma to hang out with her brother, and the rest of us to have a sunny day out. Lunch was fish and chips by the shore of Steveston Harbour. The birds really liked when I randomly threw french fries everywhere.

fish-and-chips

For some reason, the wind decided on being weird. So whenever we went back to the car to get the kite, it would die down, and when we’d come back, there it would kick up again. Hmm. Oh well, the wind can’t foil our plans to explore the salmon cannery!

steveston-harbour

A while back, the cannery closed down, but later on some people came to clean it up and make it into a museum. Joke’s on them, because the previous owners of that place didn’t clean up the fish guts before leaving. So there was five-year-old salmon in every cranny of the machines! I don’t envy whoever had to clean it.

salmon-cannery

Coming into the place, there was a life-sized wax scene with a boat and fishermen. All around the place were little pieces of history that were interesting to look at.

picnic-at-cannery

There were different machines for everything in the cannery, and apparently no safety features, as some of the workers lost fingers. I also heard that if anything was caught in the machinery, someone had to run across the building to yell to someone to flip the off switch, and by then, what was likely your hat got caught off your head and is now torn up and has messed up the gears and chains. Congratulations.

Other than that, the machines looked pretty cool. Oh yeah, there were fish scales permanently embedded in the walls and ceiling. At one point, scales were dripping down like a stalactite. It was a lovely learning experience. Well, I’ve probably grossed you out enough…

fish-cannery-scene

We got to see labels of tons of different cans from each decade, even cartoons to advertise them. But it really made me realize how racist everyone was back then. It was a bragging right on labels if it was canned with “100% white labor”… yikes! Because most of the time, Japanese women were hired for the fish gutting.

fishing-boats

The drive home (and driving throughout Canada) was quite pretty actually, and made me realize how lucky I am to live in Washington, which is literally an extension of Canada. The landscape included hay farms that wrapped their bales in white tarps and scattered them around randomly, making the whole place look like a marshmallow farm… Well, anyway, I’m back, and I enjoyed my time there.

PS. This blog post was written by my daughter Rachel.

Korea Day Activities

September 23rd, 2019

korea-day

Isn’t it lovely when there’s a little Korean town in the middle of a bustling city? And isn’t it even better when that town holds a festival of its own to attract attention to its little self? Welcome to Korea Day.

korea-in-british-columbia

This is the event I went to recently on my trip to British Columbia. The place itself had a grocery store, a bunch of restaurants, and clothes stores. Oh yeah, and ninety percent of everyone was Korean.

It was interesting. It was as if I was actually in some place located in Asia; I felt out of place as an American. But after I got over that and realized that they didn’t even notice or care about me, that’s when the fun began!

korean-restaurant

We got Korean pancakes, which were filled with glorious sweet brown sugar and peanut filling. After that, me and my third cousin once removed went browsing the clothes stores while the responsible adults left us to fend for ourselves. We noticed a certain hat, maybe it’s popular in that country to have sun visors that are super long. Our time of browsing was cut short as the rest of the group were trying to find us for the past five minutes. Oops.

korean-food

We went to a restaurant next, and it was so hot in there I almost melted, but that’s not the point. All the stuff we ordered were put in separate little bowls and put all together to look pretty. There were a lot of different foods. Mostly spicy foods. I have a feeling Koreans are best friends with fiery spices. My favorite foods were the ones drowned in teriyaki sauce. These were the beef and chicken dishes. We also put a bunch of the sauce in our rice, and we had no regrets.

car-photo

Overall, it was an interesting experience to get out of the culture I’m so stuck in, and see the way people on the other side of the world live. And really, Korean culture is not so different from ours. They have styles and brands and good food, just like we do, but they have their own way of expressing it.

PS. My daughter Rachel wrote this blog post.

Homeschool Survival Essentials

September 9th, 2019

homeschool-survival-essentials

What are your homeschool survival essentials? My friend Ingrid from Mommy & Mia Homeschool Chronicles asked some homeschooling YouTubers what they must have in order to homeschool. She made up a list of 10 questions for us to answer for a more full picture of what is needed in every homeschooler’s home. So here we go…

Homeschool Survival Essentials

1. What are your top 3 favorite mom things?

  • Time alone.
  • Mom’s night out.
  • Mom’s night in.

2. What are the 3 homeschool must haves no matter what?

  • Black & white card stock paper
  • Binders with a clear pocket in the front
  • Prismacolor pencils

3. Share 3 new things that will be added to your homeschool this year.

  • Physics
  • Geography
  • Civil Air Patrol

4. Share a minimum of 3 things you will be changing in your homeschool.

  • Adding to Teaching Textbooks for my daughter for Albebra 2, including Khan Academy and Math-U-See DVD’s.
  • While filming homeschooling this year (we’ve filmed our homeschooling for the past 10 years, which you can find in the Unit Study Treasure Vault!), my son will be filming just the physics experiments without a person in the screen.
  • As long as they finish what they need to do for the school week, they can arrange their school days however they want. No rigid schedule this year.

5. Share 3 things in your survival homeschool kit. (These are destressors that will help you survive the day/week.)

  • Spending time with my mom, my sisters, my friends
  • A hot bath at the end of the day
  • Time alone to decompress

homeschool-survival-must-haves

6. 3 must-read homeschool books (for homeschool help)

  • The Well-trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
  • A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola (If you want to know more about Charlotte Mason, I have a 6-part blog series that starts here.)
  • Educating the WholeHearted Child by Sally Clarkson

7. 3 favorite subjects to teach in order please

  • Bible
  • literature/writing
  • history

8. When is the best time for you to do your planning

  • Long-range plans for the school year are done in the summer.
  • On the weekends, if I need materials for an experiment the next week.
  • For math, they do one lesson per day. That doesn’t need a lesson plan.

9. Share your favorite planner and supplies.

  • I don’t like planners, so I don’t use them. I use paper and pencil when needed.

10. Share a minimum of 3 field trips you are planning to do this new homeschool year.

So those are my homeschool essentials. What are yours?

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