Homeschooling has been around since the beginning of time. In fact, at first, that was the only option. When the pandemic of the Coronavirus spread throughout the earth, many schools temporarily closed. Since schools have reopened there has been a decrease in enrollment.
Many parents decided to continue homeschooling even after the pandemic was over. This could be because the world, and especially the United States, is shifting to a more flexible schedule with an emphasis on family time. Since many parents have continued working from home, having kids homeschooled allows the freedom of being able to up and leave whenever it is convenient for them.
Science is a really fun subject to teach at home. There are all kinds of hands-on activities and projects to keep you and your child busy. But, it is important to remember that every activity should be driven by curriculum and should lead to learning on a particular topic. The solar system is often studied at upper elementary into middle school aged classrooms. Depending on the age of your pupils, you can find a variety of tried and true solar system projects from this retired teacher.
The following are a few ideas of what curriculum could be covered while studying the solar system and all our universe has to offer.
The actual size and difference in size of the planets is quite astonishing. If you compared the size of a watermelon to the size of a blueberry that is a pretty good representation of the difference in size between Jupiter and Mars. Having kids find things around the house or the grocery store that accurately represent the size of the different planets is a fun learning activity. There is great detail about this type of project listed in the solar system projects link above.
Similar to the shocking difference in size of planets, there is also a shocking amount of distance between each planet. To put it into perspective, if you were to really draw out to scale you would need an entire roll of toilet paper and each square would equal ten million miles! You heard that right, ten million!
Every planet is unique. The temperature, the color, the shape, rings or no rings, etc. all distinguish each planet from another. One really important thing that students need to learn and practice is how to find reliable sources of information. Having a project like this that is fun to do, but also requires research work on their part is a great combination of two skills. They will learn about the solar system, but also learn about where to go to find reliable information.
Most planets are named after greek gods. Kids love the authority of having naming rights. They name their toys, their pets, and sometimes come up with creative names to call their siblings for better or for worse. The name can be as creative as they want, but they should be able to tell you the why behind it. Maybe it has some kind of connection to the size, shape or composition of the planet as mentioned above. Or maybe it’s a planet they have discovered so they will name it after themselves.