We have always loved staring at the stars. We lay outside at night during the summer, try to find shapes the stars make, and stay up late to watch meteor showers.
With this idea, we decided that this year, we would study Greek Mythology, Astronomy, and begin studying ancient Greek. Memoria press had a couple of courses that looked really good for this, and so we picked up their D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths and Book of Astronomy.
Astronomy starts with memorizing the 15 brightest stars in the sky, learning five each week. Beginning with the Summer-Fall Triangle, students are introduced to a constellation and its brightest star. For each constellation, information is given along with the star pattern, which the students connect, in order to see the shapes our ancient ancestors saw in the night sky.
The course ends with a unit on the solar system, which includes the eight official planets, and describes some of the major moons orbiting the planets.
In constellations named for Greek heroes or Gods, there is a reference to D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths, including the page number. We love the connections between the mythology and the Greek and Latin we are learning. These connections help everything “stick” in their minds, and they love to see how everything is interconnected in some way.
We spend most evenings now looking for the three constellations of the Summer Triangle, some of those stars are pretty dim near the city so they’re hard to see. We’re planning a night in the desert so we can stare at the stars without the city lights!
The course would take a normal school year, if you’re doing two lessons a week. We’re doing one to two lessons, so we’ll probably finish it up early next summer. There are two Bible verses in the entire program that they ask students to memorize – we will be substituting with something else, as they just don’t fit with our homeschool style. Besides this, it’s just good ol’ astronomy with mythology included!
The Book of Astronomy can be purchased at: www.memoriapress.com/curriculum/science/book-astronomy
Update 3/13/2015: Last night we had great fun staring at the stars, and finding the constellations visible right now. Lots of fun, and being able to really see the fruit of our labor was truly gratifying! We’re a little more than halfway through the book, and we LOVE this curriculum.