Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The boys had a very exciting day because we finally were ready to use the Motorized Solar System that has been taunting them from on top of the bookcase.  I have been staying up late preparing all of the Earth and Space materials from the elementary geography album.  A few months ago I prepared everything I needed from the primary Astronomy album.  We started with the primary album and have been working our way through.  However, the first thing we did this morning was look at the impressionistic chart of the solar system from the elementary materials.

Afterward we worked our way through all of the planet presentations in Karen Tyler's album and Kal-El worked with the three-part cards.

I took a couple six-second videos of the solar system/planetarium in action.  The boys LOVE it.  They really needed to see this too.  Too many of the images they have seen put the planets in a straight line to show their distances from the sun.  Kal-El is excited about changing the positions of the planets around the sun according to the dates and positions given on the chart in the accompanying handbook.

 You can change the top half of the sun to a dome that has a constellation chart printed on it. It doesn't show up well on this little video I tried to take in the dark in our bathroom. Perhaps I'll get a better video at nighttime in a bigger room. However, if you look on the wall just above the device you can just barely see that it projected a star chart with dots connected for the constellations and the constellations labelled. I think "Cancer" is just above the device slightly to the left.  (Edited to add:  We tried this tonight and there is obviously no way to control the focus so most of the words are unreadable.  The constellations themselves look fine though.) Me Too took a video on the other camera of the device working in the daylight.  I will post that at a later date after I get it uploaded to Photobucket so you can get a better look.

This was the boys' first introduction to the idea of a constellation.  They were super excited.  I already have some books on hold at the library to help us get started.  And, I've made some neat constellation activities I just can't wait to get into their hands.  Kal-El was also very interested in the astronomical symbols that are printed on each of the planets.  He was able to translate them using a chart in the handbook.  There are a lot of nice things included in the handbook.  It suggests a lot of great activities.  As the boys get older they will be able to do some of the more advanced activities in the book such as calculate revolution periods for the planets and locate the planets in the night sky.


  1. I need that Solar System!!

    Nice work.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. That looks like so fascinating!

    We had the opportunity to go to a few different planetaria - with mixed results. We've had a few astronomy kits over the years - mixed results.

    Last winter was great though - because a homeschool dad was publishing an almanack every month and the winter was mild so we got outside EVERY evening and most mornings to see the night sky. Very neat! Lots of artwork involved too ;)

  3. Wow! I love this! You have done such a great job! I love the solar system too!

  4. I was just curious to know what geography elementary album you are using?

    Thank you

  5. Neptune,

    I am using the Keys of the Universe (Jessica's) geography album. It will definitely be my "go to" album for geography. I also own one other elementary geography album that I am pulling some printables from and eventually the "imaginary island" work but Jessica's album is my favorite.

  6. Jessica,

    We are going to our first planetarium in the next couple of weeks. We are pretty excited about it!

  7. Stephanie, DM,

    Thanks! Last night the whole family was lying on their backs on the school room floor staring at the start chart on the ceiling. I thing the "boy" who liked it the most was my husband :)

  8. Are Jessica's album all your to go albums? My son is finally ready to get down to work, and I am still unsure about album choices

    Thank you!

  9. Hi MBT. I tried to get the imaginary island from a website, but the zip was password protected and the author wasn't responding. Could you please tell me where you got your imaginary island from?

    I'm busy working through Karen's solar system island now and repinning loads of your pins. Thanks so much!