Once upon a time, I had a kindergartener. He was a sweet, enthusiastic boy with darkening blonde curls, big sparkling blue eyes, and a contagious laugh. He loved his little red Converse shoes, Veggie Tales, Transformers, and had a thirst for learning new things. Even then, science was his favorite subject. We studied ecosystems: oceans, savannas, rainforests, deserts, ponds.
Then it came time to learn about Space. I remember thinking, “How in the world does one teach Space to a little one?” How can one convey the vastness, the beauty, the infiniteness? I truly felt like I didn’t even know where to begin! I remember little about what we actually studied in relation to Space that year, except that we made a chart and drew out the phases of the moon each night for a month after going out to check it whenever the weather allowed. I think I still have that chart tucked away somewhere.
Whatever it was we did, Rocketboy’s love for Space stuck. His seventh birthday party had a Space theme, his cake was shaped like Saturn and we made balloon rockets for one of the games. He studied anything and everything Space related he could get his hands on.
Soon, the books at the library were “too babyish.” He already knew the information in most of them. I was researching astronomy homeschool curriculum because even though he already knew the basics, he wanted a formal study of it. So I bought him Apologia’s “Exploring Creation with Astronomy.” For whatever reason, I didn’t feel like it was a good fit for us, so I bought Answers in Genesis’ “God’s Design: Our Universe” instead. He read the Apologia text for fun on his own time.
Skipping ahead several years, Rocketboy’s love for astronomy and all things related hasn’t waned. He loves taking out his telescope and finding the planets. We’ve scheduled camping trips around meteor shower dates. He regularly checks out books by Stephen Hawking and other contemporary astrophysicists. He’s joined the community Astronomy Club, and as their youngest member has even given a presentation on Black Holes. I’m a proud Mama.
One thing that has worried me just a bit is that he’ll be 13 next month. Already. Where’d the time go? If he’s already studying all the nitty-gritty of astrophysics, where in the world does his homeschooling Mama find stuff to keep his brain engaged? He’s well past my understanding of these things! Then one night while doing some research online, I ran across this amazing sounding program: Experience Astronomy.
Rocketboy will be doing the Advanced Program this fall, for high school credit. He’s really looking forward to it! They have video lessons given by an experienced Astronomer who has taught at the University level. It includes live training events, hands-on projects, and the part that Rocketboy is looking forward to the most: weekly field guide assignments where he gets to go outside at odd hours of the night and directly observe and draw the night sky.
We are really excited to start this program! I’ll be sure to give you updates on how it’s going this fall after we’re in the midst of it. 🙂 My hope is that this amazing-sounding class will continue to feed Rocketboy’s passion for Astronomy and Space related subjects. Thankfully, it’s one of those fields where exploration and learning really never end.
What programs are you looking at for this fall? What passions or interests do your kiddos have? Do you have any astronomy lovers at your house? I’d love to hear your stories!
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