One of the advantages to homeschooling through high school is we get to pick more science classes than typically offered in traditional high school.  And living in Houston with access to NASA, it is only fitting that we added Astronomy to our high school science classes.  Due to the number of planetarium visits, observatory tours, and observations through multiple telescopes this class was considered a lab science.  The following is how we covered Astronomy:

Online Class:

  • Astronomy: State-of-the-art by Chris Impey from Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona via Udemy


In-person Classes:

  • Civil Air Patrol Astronomy Lessons (Civil Air Patrol’s “Astronomy Activity Booklet as a compendium to AEX Astronomy Module”)
  • Held a private star viewing night at the Greater Houston Soaring Association glider port
  • Full Expedition at George Observatory (Two-hour adventure class, students spend half of their time as astronauts aboard the spacecraft and the other half at the consoles in Mission Control. All students are astronauts and mission controllers.)
  • NASA Homeschool Days (special astronaut lectures and hands-on experiments)
  • Junior Ranger Night Explorers (completed workbook and earned the badge)
  • Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer (completed workbook and earned the badge)
  • Becoming a Spacewalker (Purdue University had a 10-day curriculum to compliment Astronaut Jerry Ross’ book)


Videos Used:

  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey by Cosmos Studio & 20th Century Fox
  • Core Astronomy by Ambrose Video
  • At The Edge of Space by NOVA
  • 400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology, and Thought by PBS Home Video
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Outer Space by Disney
  • Moon (Our Partner in Space) & Jaw Drop (Eclipses & Auroras) by Science Discover, Film Ideas Inc.
  • Sun (Powerhouse of the Solar System) & Galaxy (Our Milky Way) by Science Discover, Film Ideas Inc.
  • Discovery (History of Astronomy) & Night Sky (Navigating the Constellations) by Science Discover, Film Ideas Inc.
  • Bill Nye The Science Guy: Comets and Meteors by Disney
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: The Sun by Disney


Books Used:

  • The Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Black Holes by Ellen Jackson
  • Aerospace Dimensions Air Environment Module 3 by Civil Air Patrol
  • The Cosmic Adventures of Alice & Bob by Cristy Burne & Aska
  • Astrotwins: Project Rescue by Mark Kelly
  • Astrobiology: The Story of Our Search for Life in the Universe by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • The International Space Station by Franklyn M. Branley & Scott Carpenter
  • Exploring Space: Astronauts & Astronomers by Judy Monroe Peterson
  • Astronaut Living in Space by Kate Hayden
  • Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
  • The Constellation Draco: The Story of the Dragon by Amy Van Zee
  • The Constellation Taurus: The Story of the Bull by Arnold Ringstad
  • The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
  • Space: Discover the Universe by Miles Kelly
  • Exploring Our Sun by Dr. Mae Jemison
  • Earthwise: Sun by Jim Pipe
  • Stars and Constellations by Elizabeth Bennett
  • The Planets by Jeff Bauer
  • The Solar System by Jeff Bauer
  • Becoming a Spacewalker: My Journey to the Stars by Jerry L. Ross
  • Buzz Aldrin Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin
  • 1000 Facts About Space by Pam Beasant
  • Solar System: A Visual Exploration of the Planets, Moons, and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun by Marcus Chown
  • The Planets: A Journey Through The Solar System by Giles Sparrow
  • Universe: A Journey from Earth to the Edge of the Cosmos by Nicolas Cheetham
  • The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium by Jay Pasachoff and Alex Flippenko


Museums, Observatories, & Planetariums Visited:

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science Planetarium (the following planetarium shows: Unseen Universe, Tales of a Time Traveler, Arcs to Auras, Black Holes, Edge of Darkness, Solar Superstorms, Dark Universe, Starry Night Express and Passport to the Universe)
  • McDonald Observatory Visitors Center (guided tour)
  • George Observatory (star viewing, sun viewing, and meteor showers)
  • MIT Solar Eclipse watch party (had special viewing scopes and glasses)
  • NASA Johnson Space Center (open houses and special tours)
  • Space Center Houston
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
  • Museum of Science Boston
  • Telus Spark
  • Discovery World Science and Technology Museum
  • Explora