Exploring the Universe

This week has been chaotic in our home. We're getting closer to the date of our oldest son's wedding. We're shopping for the dresses and the suits, shoes to match, fitting for alterations, calling invitees who haven't returned their RSVP's, and preparing for the Rehearsal Dinner, which will be at our house. At times like these I'm so glad for the online curricula we use for Samantha.  I don't need to worry about planning lessons with either one. I feel like I have homeschool help.  If only I could get household help, but that's a different story.  In addition to having the lessons already planned and providing progress reports, I have teaching guides that help me dig deeper into subjects and worksheets which help reinforce what she learned online.

Sam's science lesson this week was about exploring the universe.  This is a completely new topic for her.  We had to take this a little slow this week. The science lesson began with a short story about a boy getting into his astronaut suit and going into his shuttle. His space shuttle was a big box which seemed to have been colored and made into a simple space ship by the boy.  I think this will be a fun project for Samantha and her friend to do together.  The boy in the story talked about his pencil floating when he let go of it because in space things float, and he talked about the things he saw in space. When Sam finished the story, there were some discussion questions. This was helpful in helping me determine that while she understood some of the things the boy saw in space, she didn't necessarily understand what space is.  

While a typical child may understand this in 1st grade, Samantha, who is a teenager with Down syndrome doing first grade science, had a hard time conceptualizing what space is.  Outer space or our universe is not something she has seen or that we've talked about all that much.  So I found some videos online that we looked at together.  She was amazed by some of the videos we saw. Actually, I was amazed myself.  Just seeing how small we are and our earth is in the big perspective of the universe.  I had to constrain myself so as not go into other areas. With my other kids this would've led to so much deeper conversation into Creation versus Evolution, constellations, gravity, speed of light. Samantha and I looked at a video that showed the earth zooming out to the universe, a video of the planets, stars and galaxy, and videos of space shuttles.  We will continue studying the universe for some time. 

This is one of the things I love about homeschooling. Learning can be so interesting and exciting. I get to observe the wonder and the spark in their eyes as they learn something new and something amazing, and I get to learn with them. It doesn't need to stop at the wonder of watching them take their first step. I cannot capture every moment on camera, but I sure wish I could. 

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