Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Universe

So, for science, we decided to start astronomy. Rose is currently emphasising this by singing "Twinkle Twinkle" at the top of her little 20-month-old lungs. :) We don't have cable, so use Netflix a lot for our documentaries, and we came across The Universe. It's a TV show that was aired on the History channel until Septemeber of last year, and, if you are a secular homeschooler like us, IS AWESOME.

So far, we watched the following episodes. We only watch one each day of the week, and we started them last Saturday, which is why we've watched seven instead of five. :)

101 "Secrets of the Sun" May 29, 2007 (aired: 2007-05-29)

A look at how the sun was formed and how it could potentially die; its physical composition; how it makes energy; and the nature of solar eclipses, solar flares and sunspot activity.

102 "Mars: The Red Planet" June 5, 2007 (aired: 2007-06-05)
A look at the planet Mars, the planet most similar to Earth in our solar system; an examination of Olympus Mons the largest volcano in the solar system; how NASA probes search for evidence of past life on the red planet, and what that life might have looked like.

103 "End of the Earth" June 12, 2007 (aired: 2007-06-12)
A look at end of the world scenarios involving killer asteroid or comet impact events, solar flare and gamma-ray bursts, and the plans that scientists have to potentially save the Earth from an interstellar disaster.

104 "Jupiter: The Giant Planet" June 19, 2007 (aired: 2007-06-19)
A look at the solar system's largest planet, Jupiter; its formation and composition and its mini-solar system of over 60 moons – some of which may have the potential to support extraterrestrial life.

105 "The Moon" June 26, 2007 (aired: 2007-06-26)
A look at the formation of the Moon; how it played a role in the evolution of life on Earth; and the future plans of NASA to establish a permanent base on the surface.

106 "Spaceship Earth" July 10, 2007 (aired: 2007-07-10)
A look at the planet Earth; how it was born out of a chaotic shooting gallery during the formation of the solar system; how life could have begun here; and what could ultimately cause its destruction.

107 "Mercury & Venus: The Inner Planets" July 17, 2007 (aired: 2007-07-17)
A look at the two most hostile planets in the solar system – Mercury and Venus; one gouged with craters, the other a greenhouse cauldron of toxic gases and acid rain; both scorched by their close proximity to the sun. Scientists theorize about what sort of life could evolve on these alien worlds.

We continue our work with foreign language by using a dry erase board and a dry-erase calendar. We use a calendar similar to the one shown, with a space on the left hand side usually used for notes. What we do instead is write the day of the week in the different languages we are learning. For example, today is Friday. After writing "Friday" on the notes side, it is followed by Vendredi (French), viernes (Spanish), Freitag (German), and 星期五, writen both in simplified Chinese and phonetically as Xīngqí wǔ.

On the dry erase board we have the month in all four languages (April, Avril, abril, April, 四月[Sì yuè]), the number of the day (which is based on the date), and the color of the day. We've gotten into the habit of writing on the dry erase board with the same color as the color of the day.

Nothing was really planned for history this week. Lily has been keeping track of our paper calendar and asked about the holidays listed, so she learned about Easter, Passover, and the like, with my husband in the background making stuff up. He's an atheist, and, though open-minded, he doesn't really know much about the meanings of the holidays associated to a certain relgions. So when Lily asked the meaning behind Palm Sunday, the converstaion went a lot like this:
Lily: What's Palm Sunday?

Me: It's when Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem and...
J: Gave everybody high-fives. They were like, "Whassup, Jesus!" *gives self high-five*
Everyone seemed to like his explanation. He then added that Palm Sunday came after Thumbs Sunday and before Fingers Sunday. *facepalm*

Math, writing, and reading has been basic, using workbooks we bought at Target for $1 each last summer as well as our Brain Quest books and any other books we find in our personal library.

It's been a crazy week. The weather can't make up it's mind, but today was lovely, so we all went outside to play. :) Happy Earth Day! Rejoice in Nature! Hope everyone had a great week!


  1. The "Universe" shows would be perfect for our Astronomy studies planned for next year! LOVE your language ideas using the white board calendar! (White boards are SO handy!) Stopping by from Weekly Wrap-up!


  2. We love using Netflix!!!! They have started streaming some wonderful educational items. It's so worth the monthly fee. We end up paying for one DVD also to order geography dvds and such that are not streamed yet.

    New follower from Weekly Review. Can't wait to read more of your ideas. We just started Spanish here.

    Have a great week