Sometimes, life hands you a blog post. I had intended to write about something very different today, but last night a woman I like very much pm’d me on Facebook. Her daughter is about to start homeschooling her own littles, and she wondered if I could advise them where to go to get free curriculum. I started getting the list together for her, and I realized this list might benefit a whole lot of people, even veterans looking to spruce up their schooling plans. So rather than pm her back and keep all this yummy goodness between us, I thought it might be a good idea to share it with you, too. I’m cool like that.
Before I begin talking about the moon, let me just say that if you didn’t see it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter last night, my copy of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee finally came in the snail mail. My regular readers are by now hyper-aware of what a big crush I have on To Kill a Mockingbird, so you can just imagine how excited I am to dive into this book. But I have been trying to take it slow and savor it. So instead of reading it all last night, I allotted myself 40 pages. So far, as I recently told a friend on FB, it is like slipping into a favorite old, worn-out pair of jeans. Delightful in so familiar a way you almost don’t notice it. I promise I will post a full review when I’ve finished it. Which may be later today. Unless I find some real willpower.
With that announcement out of the way, let’s talk moon. It’s a fascinating
little big ball of rock, isn’t it? The way it reflects the sun in such a myriad of colors and shapes. I have always been profoundly affected by the moon, intensely in love with all its facets, deeply moved by its cold beauty. (I didn’t even need a thesaurus for that sentence. haha) So when we studied astronomy a few years ago, I made a point to create a unit for the moon that was every bit as detailed as our planet units. You don’t really have to go that far to teach your littles moon basics, but we really enjoyed it. Along with such an in-depth study, we did–of course–include literature about the moon. So here are the moon books I recommend for your homeschool.
We love this book because it is told like an instruction manual for going to the moon. Because it is in the 2nd person, the reader gets to really engage in what is happening. We did a lot of pretending when we read this book, from packing our bags to simulating taking off. Because there are so many ways to enjoy this book, it is a definite keeper.
Sometimes I recommend books to you simply because of the warm, fuzzy childhood memories they give me. But if they make me feel that way, aren’t they likely to make your littles feel that way? Mooncake is simply illustrated but the story is really cool. It tells of Moonbear, who wants to get a taste of the moon, and Little Bird, who is trying to help him achieve the goal. Cute and sweet and all about the moon, this one would be a good addition to your moon study
Okay, so this one isn’t Just about the moon, but Carl Sagan is my Dead-Science-Guy Boyfriend because he told me I’m made of star stuff. Along with many other awesome things about how the universe works. This guy is a guy your littles should know. It was important to him that non-science types understand the world and space, so he explained things in ways even littles can understand. This adorable book introduces littles to the great man and you really can’t study space without reading it. Because I said so.
I adore the Guardians of Childhood books, and this one is no exception. Such a beautifully written, lyrical story, it draws you in from the first line and holds you there until the last. And it gives kids a bit of magic to hold onto in an uncertain world. And it’s awesome. So read it. And all the others. And buy the film. And Believe.
This sort of dark YA book gives a look at what could happen if an asteroid knocks the moon out of its orbit. How would Earth be affected if the moon were a bit closer in? Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and finally, perpetual winter. Told in journal entries by teenaged Miranda over a period of a year, this book takes a hard look at how difficult an apocalypse would really be. Good stuff.
I love this book simply for its clever title. It’s a coming of age story about a girl who pretends to be something she’s not in order to be popular. Then she moves to the moon. And has to figure out how she really is. It’s a short read, with great characters and a good sense of humor that will get your littles wondering what it would be like to really live on the moon.
I hope you have gotten enough info out of me for today. I have to go read now.
Do Not Disturb.
A couple of years ago, the Littles and I did an in-depth course in astronomy. I am constantly amazed by the things I still have to learn, and that course changed the way I look at stars on clear nights forever. One of the coolest things we found during the class was www.earthsky.org. The site has a wealth of information on it, as well as amazing pics and videos to educate about both the Earth and the heavens above us. We signed up to receive their email updates and I still read them religiously every time I get one.
Today’s lead story was about rumors floating around (apparently pretty thickly) that this December is going to bring 3-6 days of total darkness on earth due to a solar storm that was going to kick up some pretty thick dust and debris of its own. The rumor racing around the internet claims that NASA had officially predicted the storm.
Obviously, something that big would be reported more than just in your junk email or facebook page, let alone on some of the hokey websites floating around out there, just waiting to snag you in their black holes of lies and near-truths. Why some people always assume that a thing is true just because it’s in the media is beyond me.
But there are some good learning opportunities here. For one thing, this rumor and earthsky’s article debunking it present a chance to talk to your kids about the importance of internet safety, which websites they can visit and trust, and how to debunk such rumors themselves (a little research is usually a quick fix. I can’t tell you how much I prayed that actor Paul Walker’s death was an internet rumor).
This also provides a chance for us to teach our kids the truth about the media they are barraged with constantly in this age. How often the media focuses on bad things to stir up excitement and get ratings or readers. How sometimes the media focuses on one story to keep our minds off something else. How media is run by conglomerates that sometimes have their own self-interests at heart. How some venues are leftist or rightist and some are just extreme. How anyone can start an internet page and we should pay attention to the source of our information. And how as responsible citizens of a free country, we should do their best to find out every side of a story before forming an opinion.
I’ll talk to the Littles about both of these things after we share a good laugh over the latest apocalypse. Of course, they would be more interested if zombies were involved.
If you can think of another lesson to be learned from these hoaxes and internet rumors, please let me know what you come up with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.