Book of Astronomy (Crew Review)

Book of Astronomy Review
Growing up, my brother was the one interested in space, and I’m only now beginning to realize how much I missed out on by not listening to him more.  For the past couple months, our whole family has been learning together as we go through the Book of Astronomy Set from Memoria Press, a company known for its classical Christian education materials.  This set is a great way for elementary students to learn about the constellations and the solar system.

About The Book of Astronomy Set

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
The Book of Astronomy Set consists of a Student Book and a Teacher’s Guide, which contains the full text of the Student Book with the answers written in, blackline masters for creating overhead transparencies, and tests for the end of each unit plus a final exam.

There are four units in the book.  Unit 1 is the longest because it contains introductory material that will be needed to go on.  Then it covers the constellations found in the summer-fall sky, and the summer-fall zodiac.  Unit 2 covers what can be seen in winter, and Unit 3 covers spring.  Finally, Unit 4 takes a look at the solar system, covering the planets, dwarf planets, and major moons.  At the end of each unit there are “Exercises,” where the student answers questions about specific facts presented in the previous lessons, and draws and labels the constellations.  There are also further exercises at the end of the book that cover information from all four units.

The first assignment is to memorize the 15 brightest stars in the universe.  We memorized the list by singing the names to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and both boys had it down within a couple days.  In true Classical style, that memorization work was an essential foundation for the rest of the course.

Workbook pageI love the way the lessons build upon each other.  For example, when the first constellation (Lyra) is introduced, the students write out the names of the 15 brightest stars (which they learned earlier), as well as listing Lyra next to Vega, since it’s part of that constellation.  Each time a new constellation is learned (both the Roman and English names), the student adds it to the list, rewriting all the stars and constellations learned so far.  Through this continual repetition, the students become masters of the material and can not only say the names of the stars and constellations (I was really thankful for the pronunciation guide at the back of the book!) but spell them properly as well.

Because many of the constellations were identified back in ancient times, it is helpful to have some familiarity with Greek mythology.  The book actually includes page references for D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths, so we were able to spend some time reading about Hercules and other important characters whose names popped up as we went through the Book of Astronomy.  (Other Crew members received the Memoria Press study guide to go along with D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths, so check out their reviews by clicking on the banner below if you want to find out more about that product.)

Our Experience

The Book of Astronomy is designed for 3rd grade and up, but I was pretty sure Ian (8) would be able to handle it even though he’s just finishing up 2nd grade.  After looking at the materials I decided to invite Elijah (6) along for the ride as well, so I bought a second student book for him.  I think both of the boys had more fun because they were going through it together.

Astronomy Workbook
I especially appreciated the continual practice drawing the constellations.  It made it that much easier for the boys to start finding the real thing when we’d get a clear night and search the skies for ourselves.  We talked about how knowing the stars has helped people find their way for thousands of years, and we ended up starting a unit study on the Underground Railroad after learning about the Drink Gourd/Big Dipper and how it helped guide slaves to freedom.  One night when I was out, the boys spotted the Big Dipper and were so upset that I wasn’t there to see it with them!

Going through the Book of Astronomy has given my boys a new appreciation for the night sky.  I loved watching Elijah and my father looking up at the stars one night, pointing out what they could see.  Grandpa was pretty impressed when the 6-year old said, “That’s a first magnitude star!”  It won’t be long before he’s telling him the name of it as well, for I intend to keep going until we have finished this whole course.  I’m so impressed with how much the boys and I have learned so far, and I’m looking forward to what’s still to come.

I’m really glad I went ahead and included Elijah.  Both boys take great pride in filling in their Student Books, and I think these are going to be wonderful references for the boys to turn to for many years to come.

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
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