Monday, May 7, 2012

This Is How We Homeschool...Solar System

Window Clings Purchased from Oriental Trading Company

We have been learning about the solar system this last month.  I found some wonderful resources that we have enjoyed using.  For our calendar time, we used the Astronomy Calendar Connection cards from Carisa at 1+1+1=1.  These are geared for 3rd-6th graders, but we simplified them to use with our kiddos.  My husband commented that he learned many new things (& was fascinated) during this unit study.

Five Little Astronauts Rhyme from the Aa is for Astronaut unit on Homeschool Printables (Maureen also has an M is for Moon unit on the same page).  I laminated and added magnets to each piece.  The kids took turns reciting the poem using a cookie sheet.  This activity was a big hit!  I even caught the kids playing with the pieces and making up a story after we were done with school time.

We found several magnet/dot paint pages on Making Learning Fun:
A is for Astronaut
M is for Moon
S is for Spaceship

Melissa & Doug Solar System Puzzle

Books we read (These are NOT affiliate links, but rather used to give an example.  I would recommend checking with your nearest public library first):
On The Moon by Anna Milbourne
The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklin M. Branley
There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
Goodnight Moon
What Makes Day and Night
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (Sign & Singalong)
Rockets and Spaceships
Astronomy (DK Eyewitness Book)

We used the Astronaut Printables from Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations.  I insert the pages into the Dry Erase Pockets I found in the dollar section at Target and the kids rotate through the different pages.  We worked on beginning letter sounds, tracing color words, tracing astronaut words, and many other activities.

We LOVE the Read! Build! Write! Vocabulary cards from Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations (available on the Astronaut Printable page).  The boys have magnetic white boards purchased at Lakeshore Learning and I made a set of magnetic letters to use with them.  Since the boys have difficulty with fine motor skills this is a  great activity for them.  Breaking the words down letter-by-letter really helps.  James just recently learned how to write some of his letters independently.  You can see all of their proud smiles below.



We also use the Read! Build! Write! word cards for James to practice typing, either on the iPad or our home computer using the Crayola keyboard.  James has mild cerebral palsy so his motor skills are delayed, but we are finding lots of fun ways for him to learn!  As a side note, James also has a cleft palate that he's undergone 3 surgeries to attempt a repair, but all have failed.  Since his palate remains open, his speech is sometimes difficult to understand especially to unfamiliar people.  We are working with James to learn how to use a communication program (Proloquo2go) on the iPad.  I will be doing a post on that once we really get going.  

Carisa from 1+1+1=1 also made a Solar System Preschool (& Beyond) Pack.  We are continually working on our sight words and below you can see the boys using the sentence building cards in our pocket chart to create then recite sentences.

You are not seeing things.  Johnathan is indeed wearing a wetsuit!  Johnathan has sensory processing disorder so we use it for pressure which helps calm him and help him focus.  He used to have a pressure vest, but the wetsuit covers more body area and costs a lot less.  We found ours at Costco for under $30.

Since Alex is older, I have him build a sentence then write it down on paper, several sentences at a time.  This helps with organization in completing his work and allows him to work independently.  Alex has PDD-NOS (autism spectrum disorder with speech delay and mild cognitive delay) so we have made adjustments with his curriculum and take a more "hands-on" approach.

One way we incorporated this into our Solar System unit was by learning the phases of the moon using Oreo cookies.  Beth at Living Life Intentionally made this printout.  The kids had fun and were able to tell me the different phases when I quizzed them.  Of course, we had left over Oreos so we had a little snack when we were done.

Dramatic play: We had an astronaut costume and the kids took
turns wearing and pretending to be astronauts.  We watched a
short video of the crew at the International Space Station from
NASA's website and talked about and pretended what it would
be like without gravity.  Fun fact:  Without gravity we wouldn't
have runny noses.  :-)

A couple of afternoons a week we try to watch a DVD or TV show related to what we are learning.  For this unit I found these DVD's at our local public library:

Check out for a great activity guide, especially for your kinesthetic learners.

During art time we marble painted the Earth.  Really it was just a circle template on a white sheet of paper.  I found an old box lid, blue and green paint, and some marbles.  It was neat for me to see the kids helping one another on this project.


The timing of this unit couldn't have been any more perfect between the meteorite shower earlier this month (confirmed pieces landing in Coloma, CA about 45 minutes away from our house) and the brightest and biggest full moon of the year yesterday. Our oldest daughter took this wonderful picture in our backyard.

My gift to you...a simple Solar System  power point I made for my children and I am sharing with you FREE.  We used ours on the iPad, but it may be used on your computer or printed out to enjoy.  If you would like to share it, please link back to my blog post and not the google document.

Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the informative post. It helped me a lot. May the Force be with you.
    Central Energy


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