Homeschool Stories: The Space Launch

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“T – 22 minutes.” I said as I slathered the 8th warm sourdough bun with honey. We were fully immersed in a lunchtime assembly line, powering up before our SpaceX launch party.

We found out about the launch a few days ago. We had been patiently waiting with our homemade straw rockets made from the NASA website printable, complete with a data sheet and graph if you wanted to measure how far your rockets fly down the hallway.

There’s been a lot of spit flying with the rockets over here, and some healthy anticipation.

You see, in our homeschool journey we generally take ONE idea, event, or topic, and just EXPAND it.

So what do I mean by that exactly? It means, if we’re going to watch a SpaceX launch on a live stream, we’re going to build around it, before and afterwards…

Pre-launch we watched a History 101 documentary on Netflix about The Space Race… which led to a lot of interesting conversations on The Cold War, and some strange fictional journal writing on missiles that made this mama laugh a little.

We then did some BrainPOP Jr. videos on all things space related, and even some BrainPOP (not Jr. edition) videos on spaceflight and the International Space Station.

Each piece of learning continued building upon the next, and the little brothers rifled through their LEGO bin in search of their Benny the Spaceman mini figure.

For our post-launch learning activities we read some pages in our Factastic – LEGO adventure in the Real World book, which by chance had a space section. As we read, we googled unanswered questions, because honestly off the top of my head I didn’t know how much an astronaut’s yearly salary was… but I could tell you now.

We then watched real footage of Neil Armstrong leaving his footsteps all over the moon. And while the rest of us were mesmerized, my youngest, who is apparently only familiar with colour TV yelled, “Hey! Get the grey off!!”

Later we’ll be putting our magnetic solar system onto the fridge again. There will probably be some journal writing, and hopefully a fictional story about an astronaut’s journey. You could even add in spelling words ranging from asteroid to rover if you were feeling crazy.

Build the idea, build the curiosity, research answers to the questions, and enjoy the learning process together, bit by bit.

“For real, the astronauts are named Doug and Bob?!” He asked me with big eyes.

I nodded with a glint in my eye, fully knowing that those were indeed his most popular character names for every fictional story he had ever written since the age of 4. I could see on his face that it almost seemed too good to be true.

“How much does a spacesuit cost? Can we buy one?” The answer by the way is nope. If we ever stumble across 12 million dollars we won’t be buying a spacesuit with it.

“What’s that blazing light on the screen beside the earth Mom?” And suddenly me singing that song about how the earth goes around the sun finally makes sense to his little mind. Curiosity plus understanding, plus connection, is quite a delight to see unfold.

“It takes 19 hours to get to the ISS? How do they go to the bathroom?” Every single child’s favourite question related to space.

“I’m not waking up at 5:24 a.m. to see them dock the capsule…” He said to nobody in particular, and yet to all of us at the same time.

Thank heavens… me neither. I’m not the least bit curious before 7 a.m. 

“Maybe we can watch the Youtube live video around a more reasonable time… YouTube will save it right? He asked. I nodded a relieved yes.

“Ok great… 3, 2, 1, blastoff!!”  He yelled, as he rocketed down our hallway seeking out the next thing on his childhood agenda.

It’s pretty fun to gather your family together to watch a little bit of history unfolding.

It’s also pretty fun to watch your kids learn something, to listen to all of their questions, and to take the time to find the answers together.

 

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