Lately we’ve been learning a lot about different aspects of space. Last month we went to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum and not only learned about space ships and space in general, but we also learned a little about the constellations and got to make a constellation craft. Our oldest son’s interest was piqued about the constellations, so we were excited to dive in to the Book of Astronomy Set by Memoria Press.
Memoria Press offers a variety of classical education materials. The Astronomy Set includes a Student Book and Teacher Guide for teaching astronomy. It covers the topics like the names of the stars and constellations, the motion of the earth and brightness of the stars. Additionally it includes information about the constellations of the zodiac and when we see them as well as the “Summer Triangle.” It also covers the sky as seen through all seasons.
It was developed for those generally at the 3rd Grade level, but it notes that it could be used by older students as well. I definitely feel it would be good for older students. We have been using it with our oldest son who is at a 3rd Grade level, and it has been difficult for him. I definitely need to mention he is a delayed reader and has writing challenges, and this definitely affected how we can use this curriculum.
Upon receiving our Astronomy Set, I immediately opened the Teacher Guide for information of getting started. The Teacher Guide only has a single page of Astronomy Teaching Guidelines. It helped give me a general idea of how I should go about teaching astronomy with this curriculum. It uses recitation and memorization, which I feel really helps to instill not only the appreciation for what he is learning, but for better understanding as well. Brayden was resistant to this at first, but with daily practice (with the exception of weekends, though I would randomly ask him to recite the stars he knows) his attitude improved.
There are also “slides” available, which are full pages of each constellation that can be used on an overhead. Unfortunately, we do not have one, so I would simply put it up on the wall and have him draw it on the white board. This is to be used regularly as reviews.
The Teacher Guide is unclear what each day’s lesson should be exactly. I am sure this allows for greater flexibility so each family can find what works for them, but I admit I kind of like when I have clear direction. Regardless, I did find what worked for us, which was learning one constellation at a time. So, one constellation each day with regular recitation of the brightest stars and constellations he has learned.
I also found the Teacher Guide to be vague overall. It’s essentially exactly like the student book but with the answers filled in. At first, there was even one spot that was blank on the Teacher Guide, and I still am not sure if it’s just not supposed to be filled in or if I’m supposed to fill in the blanks.
After the recitation and review, we begin the lesson. I follow the lesson suggestions in the Teaching Guidelines. Because he is delayed in reading, I read for him. Then he will complete his writing of the names and drawing the constellations. It notes to make sure writing is neat and accurate. Although I do check his spelling, I know it is challenging for him to write in general, but particularly when it’s on a book with pages that don’t tear out. This has caused a bit of upset, but we’ve learned to work through it, which basically means I’m not too particular about how his handwriting looks.
Overall, I have found that although it has been challenging for our son, he still has been enjoying learning about astronomy, and is definitely learning and comprehending the material. Last week we went to the local Planetarium, and he was so excited that he could actually identify the stars and constellations he has learned. Although it does relate the constellations to Greek Mythology, I didn’t find it did so in a way that made me uncomfortable. I felt it was presented in a way that was relating it to the history of the stories and not promoting those beliefs. In fact, the Teacher Guide begins with related Bible verses.
Get Connected with Memoria Press
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn
Many members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have been reviewing various products from Memoria Press. To learn more about them and to see their thoughts click on the banner below!