History is a tricky thing. On the one hand, we’ve got the well-known, “front burner” historical facts and figures that most of us learn growing up. But then there’s all the less-well-known aspects of history that are just as true, just as valuable, yet often hidden from most people as they learn about all the things that brought us to the place we are today.
When I started Enrichment Studies many years ago, right away I noticed the lack of women and people of color in the arts, and that put me on a path of questioning and discovery. Were there any women or non-white people creating music and art through the ages? I learned that the answer was yes! But why don’t we hear more about them? Why haven’t their contributions earned a spot in the history books? If we only look at the surface, it would be easy to think that so many things have come to us solely through the talents and innovations of white men. Indeed, due to the social structures and conquests of the past, white men have often been in the best position to create and innovate, but they are not the only ones that have. Home educators and involved, mindful parents can reclaim the fullness of history for ourselves and our children by digging deeper and learning more than just the surface level with helpful resources like the ones Tamara Shiloh has created in her Just Imagine….What If There Were No Black People In the World book series. Affiliate links are used in this post.
This book caught my attention one day, because the topic matches two we focus on at Enrichment Studies: Inventors and Scientists. I also liked it because this fits in with my desire to help bring about a broader awareness of our diverse history to the homeschool community. I have had the privilege of speaking to Mrs. Shiloh on the phone a few times, and was so excited when she agreed to have me review these books for you. She is also generously sponsoring a giveaway, so be sure to enter at the bottom of this post!
In this sweet story, a young boy named Jaxon is taken on a magical adventure, thanks to his grandmother’s necklace and his curious mind. When he asks himself one day, “What if there were no Black people in the world?” he is taken on a journey of discovery about how his everyday life would be impacted without the many inventions and scientific advancements that were created by the men and women of color that came before him. As I kept learning about these remarkable people, I was filled with gratitude for being able to learn about them, and also filled with a desire to make sure other families get to learn about this too. This isn’t just a book for Black families, although certainly people of color will want to add this delightful book to their collection. But this is a book for every family that truly values history and wants their children to grow up with a broader awareness of our collective human story, and wants to be purposeful in fostering a curious mindset and appreciation for the diversity that is woven into our everyday lives. In the book, one of the inventors says to Jaxon, “We’re your history, and history never goes away.” We have an opportunity to make sure the history and accomplishments of all people is not swept aside and hidden from our awareness, if we are willing to. Change starts at home, and every family has the power to foster greater awareness, compassion, and appreciation for our fellow humans.
In addition to the main storybook, there are three wonderful companion books in the series, so far. Jaxon’s Journal reinforces the information from the main book, while also inspiring kids to create their own journals about things they have learned. Jaxon’s Black History Coloring Book includes the many inventions and scientific advancements from the main book, plus many more. It’s a perfect addition to the book, and provides an activity for younger siblings and students who love to get out their crayons and colored pencils! Jaxon’s Black History Activity Book includes word scrambles, crossword puzzles, word puzzles and games, reading and writing activities about the inventors and scientists, and more. All together this set will provide a lot of fun, historical richness, and reinforcement for your children. It is perfect for a unit study for homeschoolers, or a starting point for research projects. Due to the nice range of materials included in this bundle, I think children from K-high school could certainly appreciate the content, with the elementary and middle school ages probably being most ideal. These books are available at TamaraShiloh.com as well as through Amazon Prime.
Author Tamara Shiloh is on a mission to educate about Black History year-round, and has many other books in this series coming soon! You can look forward to sharing with your children about Black women that were instrumental in science and inventions, Black cowboys, Black people involved in aviation and astronomy atNASA and beyond, and more.
Attention: Registration for Experience Astronomy closes on Saturday, August 27, 2016!
A hundred years ago when I was in college, I took an astronomy course. It was in the spring, which was perfect timing for it, and I remember the enjoyment of spending evening classes stargazing out in the crisp air of upstate New York. (when spring finally comes to that region after those long, brutal winters, it. is. heavenly!) However, other than the North Star, and the big and little dippers, I really haven’t retained much of whatever I was learning.
Around our home, our skies are often crystal clear at night and we can see a ton of stars, and I always wish I knew more to teach my kids about it and enjoy it more myself.
True Confessions: A few years ago we got a telescope for Christmas, and can I just admit to you that we, like, totally stink at using it? On the occasions when we have taken it out to the back yard, we have rarely ever been able to see –anything– other than complete and utter darkness. Yes, We Are *That* Family.
I’ve looked at (and even purchased) some astronomy books, but never felt like they were user-friendly enough for me. So, maybe you can imagine my excitement when I found out about Experience Astronomy*!
My 4 homeschooled kids and I have been taking Experience Astronomy* during this school year. My favorite part is that it doesn’t solely run on Mom Power, which is a major WooHoo moment for me! Instructor Luke Gilkerson does all the teaching via video classes online, and as you can see in the video below, he has a very engaging style of communication. My guys enjoy his teaching style and I’ve enjoyed getting to be a learning participant instead of having to totally run the show myself.
Thankfully, we don’t need to get our telescope out and struggle to find Venus. All of the star gazing is done with our own eyes and nothing else. And hey–pretty much all the time we can find our eyeballs, so that’s a win for us! The observation assignments happen from our own back yard, too, so that’s great too.
Additionally, the class integrates astronomy with history, literature, and even the Bible, all of which makes perfect sense. I love to have my kids experience learning as it relates to other things!
What Does Experience Astronomy Cover?
The e-course integrates astronomy with others subjects, such as history, classical literature, and the Bible. Throughout the year students learn:
how to use the sky for navigation,
how to find dozens of major constellations,
the phases of the moon,
the motions of the stars throughout the night and throughout the year,
how eclipses work,
how astronomy has shaped both the Biblical calendar and our modern calendar,
information about the planets, asteroids, comets, and meteor showers,
mythologies associated with the constellations,
Experience Astronomy is a full-school year video e-course geared towards 6th to 9th graders. (I actually beefed this course up to make it a full science credit for my two high schoolers.)
Starting in September your students will look forward to the engaging, weekly teaching videos.
Students will receive a field guide and are expected to complete weekly outdoor observation activities, giving them a firsthand knowledge about the motions of the sun, moon, stars, and planets.
A course guide with supplemental reading, writing activities, and more will be provided.
Weekly online quizzes to test your students understanding of the materials will be provided. Don’t worry, the grading will be done for you!
I know I’m not the only mom that is looking for quality classes that can also take some of the pressure off, so I figured you all would want to know about this too.
What do you think? Have you studied astronomy in your past or with your kids? Are you going to take the class and join us in Experiencing Astronomy? 🙂
*Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Nicolaus Copernicus was a mathematician and astronomer who proposed the theory that the sun was stationary in the center of the universe and the earth revolved around it. He lived from 1473-1543.
At the time, his theory about the sun was controversial; nevertheless, it was the start of a change in the way that the world was viewed. Since his death, Copernicus has come to be seen as the initiator of the scientific revolution.
This video does a good job of explaining the universe according to Copernicus. It is interesting to note that his beliefs were considered to be anti-Biblical at the time.
Like this quote? I made a free printable for you!
Want to print this? Click on the image for a printable PDF.
Welcome to my blog. It’s so nice to meet you!
Welcome to the Enrichment Lifestyle Blog! I'm so glad you're here. :) I'm Erica Johns, and I love to encourage homeschool moms and help them enjoy more of the beauty of the arts in everyday life.
About me: I started my homeschooling journey in 1997 and graduated the last of my six children in 2021. Amidst all the hard work, crazy days, uncertainty, and lost pencils, what I think we really gained was the gift of a lifetime: TIME TOGETHER. So awesome! Click my pic to learn more.