Astronomy (and “Star Wars”) activities for the homeschooled kid

In the Fall session of co-op, you may recall, I taught an astronomy / “Star Wars” class. Here’s a bit of what we did!

We started the “Astronomy and also some ‘Star Wars’ ” class at co-op by reading a Magic School Bus book called “Lost in the Solar System,” and we also read a little from “The Solar System” most weeks.

We made our own story cubes featuring “Star Wars” characters, planets and vehicles. Ours were made from card stock, but there’s a nice tutorial for wooden story cubes at

We made suns to go with our solar system models. There was a sun with the solar system that I printed, of course, but the swirly painted ones we made looked so much cooler.

We made little Yoda puppets on sticks. They were painfully cute, and Pete’s been using his as a bookmark.

We discovered new planets, which we wrote about and illustrated. This was probably my favorite activity from the class. The kids were really creative in describing their planets, and the craft activity was simple and sweet.

We made constellation viewers. This one was also pretty successful. The kids very much enjoyed punching out the stars with the ginormous thumb tacks I bought.

In retrospect, it would’ve been better not to make it a mashup. I’m not sure I would’ve had enough activities to cover 9 weeks of “Star Wars,” though, so I suppose it’s just as well.

p.s. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s the end of NaBloPoMo!

Q&A Saturday: Five questions about movies

Movie you love.
“The Royal Tenenbaums” is probably my favorite. It made me laugh and cry, just like a good movie’s supposed to do. It’s also where I got the name “Butterscotch Sundae.”

Movie you vow to never watch.
Fievel taught me to “Never Say Never,” but it’s a safe bet that I’ll never watch the “Saw” movies. I’m not a horror movie fan anyway, and those look particularly atrocious.

Movie that literally left you speechless.
Wouldn’t “literally left you speechless” mean that you didn’t have anything to say about it? There have been a number of those. The last movie I saw that really stuck with me and gave Rockford and me a lot to talk about was “Boyhood.” It seems to have been a polarizing movie for a lot of people, but I’m on the “I Loved It” side of the fence.

Movie you always recommend.
You can’t go wrong with “Groundhog Day.” (Unless you’re my dad, who hated it.)

Actor/actress you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie.
Bill Murray! I even liked “Larger Than Life.”

Question source: I googled “movie questions meme.”

It’s eggnog day

Today we drove home from my brother’s house after spending a rather nice Thanksgiving with his family, my mom and a few of my brother’s friends. The day grew progressively busier after that, but in that slow, gentle holiday way. I didn’t have any eggnog on hand — a serious oversight, considering that the day after Thanksgiving is the first acceptable day for the drinking of eggnog — so Pete and I went to the grocery store and to run a couple of other errands. By the time we got home, Rockford and Poppy had decorated most of the house for Christmas.

The rest of the day consisted of a run to Target and then an impromptu trip to see “The Penguins of Madagascar,” which meant that we had popcorn and gummy bears for dinner. And then we got home and did a bit more decorating before we did our traditional Lay On The Floor And Listen To Christmas Music While We Look At The Christmas Tree routine, and suddenly it was 11:15pm and I hadn’t yet posted.

And now I have posted, and NaBloPoMo rolls on.

Happy kick-off to the holidays, friends.