As you know, we’ve decided to focus on “the sky” for our next 6-8 weeks of nature study. Although this was initially an overwhelming prospect for me, I’ve gained a little perspective over the last few days and think I’ve come up with a list of areas to work from that will satisfy quite nicely. I’m well aware that this is nature study, as opposed to a science class, so I’m not trying to make it too bookish or analytical or anything. Yet, knowing Liam, that’s exactly what he’ll want. So I’m arming myself with information regarding the following points, collecting library books, and waiting for him (as I know he will) to ask the questions. Some have already been asked, but I didn’t at the time have a complete answer. And I may do a bit of leading, but no pushing.
- 1. Day and Night — Liam already understands the basics of this, but we can certainly flesh it out a little more.
2. Seasons, Solstices, and Equinoxes — understanding how our trip around the sun effects the amount of daylight we get and determines the seasons.
3. Compass Directions — specifically, how to determine your direction by the sun.
4. Colors of the Sky — why the sky is blue during the day, but orange/red in the morning and evening.
5. Moon and Moonlight — that it doesn’t give off its own light, but reflects the sun’s. Also perhaps an understanding of the different phases. This will require a few late nights, but since we homeschool, it’s not like he’s got to be up at 7AM, right?!
6. Constellations/Other Planets — I’m sure eventually the clouds will move on and we’ll get some clear night skies. We’ll let Liam have some fun spotting what he can in the night sky and seeing if he can identify Venus and a few of the constellations.
Today we read What Makes Day and Night, a children’s science book that we’ve read in the past. Liam experimented at being the earth, standing with his arms stretched out to the sides. When his left hand was facing the sun (me), it was sunrise. As he continued to turn toward the sun, morning grew into midday, when he was facing directly toward me. When his right hand was pointed toward the sun, evening. And with his back to me, midnight. A simple, but effective “experiment”. He wondered why we use words like “sunrise” and “sunset” when the sun isn’t moving around us, but us around the earth. So we spoke just a little bit about how people haven’t always known that the earth revolved around the sun, and that they thought the earth was the center of rotation. Liam was just boggled that anyone could not know such a basic fact! Funny how what once was heresy is now such a commonly known fact that a five year old knows it.