Jump to content



  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by jayfromcleveland

  1. If I might comment on this point directly, I've had a spectrum of feedback about S&S. There have been irate moms who have written to say there is not enough content there, that it is very simple and should be for very small children, not highschoolers. Then there are the "stressed out moms" who tell me it's too hard, that they and their highschoolers can't handle such a difficult course. Other moms have reported that S&S has been a wonderful experience for their kids, and a couple have said it "transformed their homeschool." I figure these are the ones who have used the course as intended, as a guide to diligent observation of the sky. S&S was prepared to cover a scope of material that is consistent with traditional observational astronomy, as understood in ancient, medieval, and early modern times. A typical astronomy course usually features "big ball astronomy" -- the usual "Grand Tour of the Solar System," emphasizing factoids from modern astronomy about the planets and miscellaneous objects in space, derived from scientific data, and handed down on authority, with no observational method. The point of S&S is to teach readers to become observers of the sky, hence the illustrations (2-4 per page) that represent the outdoor scenes, correlated with a celestial perspective. Because it is illustrated, some moms think it is a comic book for babies. The moms who have stressed out apparently do so because the scope is so different than their expectations compared with typical "big ball" books. Most of those who have struggled have reported to have just read the book without attempting to perform outdoor observations. Clearly, S&S is not for everyone, and I counsel anyone to not attempt it unless they are serious about consistent outdoor field observation, and learning a lost and forgotten method of studying the sky, which is a truly "classical" approach to science, in my opinion.
  2. Hi Ladies, sorry for chipping in late, thanks for all the kind words about Signs & Seasons. (Yeah, I do still drop in at WTM once in a while, used to be a regular about 12 years ago). S&S is completely illustrated since astronomy is a visual subject, therefore requiring a visual medium to communicate the information. I've been told this approach is not "classical" enough for some people, but they can find something that uses a 1000 extra words to explain what can be shown in a single image. As for the age range, I think the web site says recommended for 13+ but usable with younger kids with parental guidance. The age rating was chosen because I think the language might be too sophisticated for younger readers, and I did not want to compete with Jeannie Fulbright's book from Apologia (which outsells S&S by like a hundred to one). But a child is never too young to begin making friends with the stars, and I myself learned Orion and the Big Dipper at age 7 (though I did not learn any more until my 20s). If anyone has any questions, feel free to drop me a line through my site, www.ClassicalAstronomy.com. We have a page by that name on Facebook. Thanks! -jay
  3. Anybody here ready for these upcoming sky events? There will be a solar eclipse visible over North America on Sunday, May 20. For much of the USA, this will be visible as a partial eclipse at sunset, where the Sun will go down with a "bite" taken out! I haven't seen one of these in 10 years, so it's a fairly rare event. Even more rare is the Venus transit on Tuesday, June 5. The body of the planet Venus will be seen as a black dot passing over the face of the Sun. This will also be visible at sunset for the entire USA. There will not be another until A.D 2117, so this is the last chance for everyone alive today to see this in their lifetime. The media will pick up these stories at the last minute, but if you're not prepared, it will be too late. More info about these events and needed resources is available in our recent newsletter. http://aweber.com/t/68imk
  4. Hi Kate, I still do surf into WTM once in a while, but don't post much (judging from my hive level, or whatever you call it. What am I, a bee larva or something?) Thanks for the kind words about S&S! FWIW, I always am happy to provide email "tech support" to anyone who is struggling with the course. I get so few takers, maybe a couple a year, so it's not a problem on my end. Who else in homeschooling gives curriculum buyers their money's worth like that? :) thanks again, jay
  5. There is a review and giveaway of our Signs & Seasons astronomy curriculum posted at the blog, "Whatever State I Am." Click the link for details. Thanks. http://whateverstateiam.com/2011/08/03/review-and-giveaway-signs-seasons/ (I don't know if this post would be considered self-serving, and I apologize if so, mods, please delete.)
  6. Thanks everyone, especially Jean, for your comments. Just breezing through WTM and saw this thread. I'm happy to answer any questions directly, just send an email through my site, since I don't visit here often. The whole point of S&S is to learn the sky as actually seen and understood throughout classical times and all history prior to the 19th century. It's not intended to be a "sit and read the book" course, since a 2-dimesional page is a poor imitation of God's 3-dimensional sky. As for cloudy weather, I recommend using a planetarium program like Stellarium (free open source app) for making simulated "virtual observations." But that's just in a pinch, since there's no substitute for the real thing. Thanks again for your interest in our work. -jay
  7. (Surfing in late here, sorry....) FWIW, my 10yo son read and understood the whole thing while I was writing it. The objective of the S&S course is to go outside and observe the sky. This is why every page is heavily illustrated, to depict what one might hope to see outside. I don't agree with "armchair" science curricula, where the entire learning experience is merely contained within the pages of the book. Science is supposed to be the direct study of God's natural world, and that cannot be accomplished by just reading a book. I've had some people peruse the sample and imply that S&S looks like "a comic book, for very small children." I doubt if young kids are prepared to tackle the observing activities, especially the data tabulation and analysis. Though S&S was created to be visually appealling, I've had some moms complain of the difficulty of the subject matter, since there are no other books or other materials anywhere that encompass the scope of this forgotten area of science, and most of the concepts are new to most readers, and require effort to comprehend. Anyway, when I had a pick an age level, I decided on 13+ to not compete with the astronomy curriculum of my friend Jeannie Fulbright, which would be no competition since she sells about 15 times as many copies each year as me. However, young kids are more sharp-eyed and observant, and are thus actually better prepared to learn the constellations and otherwise observe the sky. The course can easily be completed in a semester, or even over the summer, but I tried to provide enough activities to fill 120 hours for a Carnegie Unit credit. I'm happy to answer any questions via email if you'd like to drop a line. Thanks for your interest in our curricula. -jay
  8. Happy Passover, alpidarkomama. Question for you, as I am just an ignorant Gentile trying to understand. I read in Exodus 12 and Numbers 28 that the Passover is on the 14th day. The latter chapter also says that the 15th is the first day of unleavened bread. I see different modern Jewish sources that say either 14 Nisan or 15 Nisan for Passover. Not sure if this is because the modern Jewish calendar is tabulated in advance rather than based on sightings of the New Moon at Jerusalem, as was in Biblical times, or maybe there is something else. Can you help me understand?
  9. The Full Moon is next Sunday evening, April 17, for observers in the Americas. That evening at sundown is the start of 14 Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, or Passover. Most people today do not realize that the Bible teaches that Passover falls on the first Full Moon of spring. You can follow the waxing gibbous Moon over the next few nights, and observe the coming of Passover in the evening sky. Here's some more info: http://www.classicalastronomy.com/news/anmviewer.asp?a=19&z=13
  10. Hi, just surfing into WTM and saw your post. I created Signs & Seasons to be ultimately flexible (much to the consternation of the many very rigid homeschool moms out there!) Anyway, though the course is recommended for 13+, my son read and followed it when he was 10. The book can be read in a couple weeks of casual reading, and the field activities are all electives. In other words, you can fit into a short span, or drag it out for a whole year, if you like. I've heard about students completing the course in as little as three months. Please drop me an email at my site if you have any questions. (Not sure when I might be back to WTM to read this thread). Thanks and God bless, jay
  11. Missed this before, sorry. You probably saw a shadow transit of one of the Jovian moons across the face of Jupiter. These are very common occurrences and there are tables and software online for finding the times. Not sure where, but the Sky & Telescope site is a good place to look.
  12. Hi Lisa, thanks, I drop in WTM from time to time. It's always been a "mom-only" environment around here! :) I assume you're looking at Jupiter and Uranus through a scope. Yesterday was the closest conjunction of these two, only 0.9 degrees, and I'm sure they made an interesting pair as seen in the eyepiece. For my part, I rarely drag out the scope and missed it. I forgot to mention that in my newsletter, even though such conjunctions occur at 12 year intervals. FWIW, Jupiter is presently retrograding, and after it moves east again, it will swing past to Uranus on the evening of Jan 2, 2011. That time it will be even closer, only 0.6 degrees separation, a little more than a Moon diameter. Venus and Mars will make their closest pass next Tuesday evening, September 28. It will be a challenge to spot Mars as it will be a distant 6 degrees away from Venus, and very faint, low in the sky during twilight and nearly on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth. I'd recommend a very flat horizon for looking for Mars, such as over water. Are you on the Gulf Coast? I'm still seeing Venus in the evening, but it is low to the southwest due to the inclination of the ecliptic in the current season. Send me an email if you succeed in spotting Mars in the coming week.
  13. BTW, my free email newsletter covers these sorts of things all the time, if anyone is interested in subscribing through my site (link below)
  14. If you're interested in sky happenings, be sure to keep your eyes on the sky tonight as the Harvest Moon is in conjunction with Jupiter on the evening of the autumnal equinox. Also watch for the next few evenings to observe the Moon draw away from Jupiter. -jay http://www.aweber.com/archive/classical-astro/dqpO/h/Classical_Astronomy_Update.htm
  15. Like me, I know a lot of other dads would be interested in this. Moms, please share this with your hubbies.... -------------------------------------------------------------- PRESS RELEASE Re: Talk Like Arnold Schwarzenegger Day - July 30 -------------------------------------------------------------- JULY 30 is "Talk Like Arnold Schwarzenegger Day." Ever since "Hans and Franz" hit Saturday Night Live in the late '80s, it has been a national pastime to talk like Arnold Schwarzenegger, among his fans and foes alike. Arnold impersonations turn up everywhere, from talk radio, to late night talk shows, and even Pixar movies! The "Arnold Soundboard" has been an internet sensation for over a decade. With so many people who imitate AH-nold anyway, we shouldn't they have their own day? And what better day than the Govenator's birthday! Why should the pirates have all the fun? Now in it's third year, "Talk Like Arnold Schwarzenegger Day" is catching on. Imagine a whole day when people everywhere -- at work, in restaurants, standing in lines at stores -- are talking like Arnold! Love it or hate it, but it sure would be funny! We only intend this to have fun and for some good-natured ribbing of the Governor of California. Help spread the word! Make sure all your friends know about "Talk Like Arnold Schwarzenegger Day" on July 30. Find us on Facebook! http://tinyurl.com/3xcfxco
  16. "Eagle scout" is a resume builder for a young man and scholarship money is available for college. I'm not aware of any such distinction in other youth programs. The BSA is not a "religious organization flying under the radar." It is not affiliated with any denomination, and is not exclusively Christian. There are Christian, Jewish, Moslem and even Hindu scouts, including specific-religious-focus troops chartered under different churches, synagogues, whatever. However, the BSA emphasizes "duty to God" and went to the Supreme Court to resist atheists seeking to undermine that aspect. As for gays, the issue is freedom of association, as guaranteed by the First Amendment. As a private organization, the BSA has the right to establish any leadership standards of their own choosing. If that troubles you, you will be glad to know that, since winning their Supreme Court decision, the BSA has been punished greatly by denial of funds from many sources such as United Way. The background is that in the 70s and 80s, the BSA had a serious problem with pedophiles infiltrating the ranks of scout leaders. After many lawsuits, hyper-strict youth protection policies were instituted, including FBI background checks. Though the BSA has not officially said as much, I believe the organization is wary of having open homosexuals as adult leaders for this reason. Sorry, but most heterosexual men regard man-boy same-sex attraction to be under the GLBT umbrella. At the very least, it would likely be hard for a gay-led scout troop to recruit among straight fathers of sons. Given the time and commitment level required, most scout leaders are dads with sons in the troop. I personally would be very suspicious of the motives of any single non-parent male willing to make that sort of investment in order to get close to other people's boys. At any rate, the scout adult leader application does not include a question inquiring about sexual orientation, effectively giving the BSA a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The only way orientation would even become an issue would be if an open homosexual wished to parade his lifestyle before the troop, which even some "progressive" parents might deem inappropriate. The BSA generally promotes character development and does not teach about sexuality one way or other, except perhaps in a health context. As such, the BSA does not actively promote heterosexuality per se, so any demonstations of other orientations would be similarly inappropriate. My two cents, take it or leave it.
  17. Our Christian family celebrates birthdays since this is nice, happy American tradition, and I see no harm in allowing our kids to have a special day with cake and presents. We do not celebrate Halloween since we deem it a commemoration of death and evil. We do however celebrate Christmas and Easter and see no harm in these feasts, though the common seasonal "fakelore" alleges these most solemn traditional feasts of Christianity find their origins in Babylonian paganism, in an age-old conspiracy of "Nimrod" and the Emperor Constantine. This "urban legend" was dreamed up in the mid-1800s by Bishop Hislop, author of "Two Babylons," which is discredited as unsupported and unhistorical. I've spent years studying primary historical sources and the results are in articles at this link: http://www.classicalastronomy.com/pagan.asp As for birthdays, the link below mentions the purported pagan origins of our typical American birthday celebration: http://www.classicalastronomy.com/news/anmviewer.asp?a=213&z=33 In order to completely escape the influence of our pagan heritage, one would have to take one's Bible to a desert island and live in a cave. Those who are troubled by pagan influences can find them in even most innocent traditions. It's been reported that even contemporary birthday celebrations are drawn from the ancient pagan rites of the moon goddess Artemis (Diana of the Ephesians, Acts 19), with heathen wish-making and round, candle-covered cakes symbolizing the Moon. One could argue that the LORD never commanded us to celebrate our birthdays. But the Bible does not include exhaustive instructions for every little thing that people do or don't do. The LORD gave us a mind and a conscience for discerning, so as to "abstain from every appearance of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22) To be free of all taint, where exactly does one draw the line? Should we now deny our children a joyous birthday party? It seems that we can become superstitious and oppress ourselves by finding evil under every rock. Such confusion surely pleases our Enemy moreso than our Father.
  18. Well, like I said, I was replying to the original post. I skimmed the thread and it looks like most of you folks got waaaay more time on your hands for goofing around than me! :001_smile:
  19. (Sorry, didnt read the whole message thread, just commenting on your first post). Not sure why authority is an issue. The Moon is a dead ball, no one lives there, and the world theoretically shares it. Fact is, the issue of "water on the Moon" has been the Holy Grail of space science, and has been discussed for decades. Every potential space-faring nation in the world has an interest in finding water on the Moon. If water can be found on the Moon, the likelihood increases of establishing manned lunar colonies. It would be prohibitively expensive to haul water from the Earth to use on the Moon. It costs about $10,000 a pound to haul cargo into space, and water weighs 8 lbs/gallon. Humans use several gallons of water each day, so do the math. Meanwhile, lunar water can be had almost for free. Plus, water can be used to make more rocket fuel, which can further offset the costs of space travel. People seem to be concerned about some sort environmental consequence to this. This was posted today on my Facebook page: "Since NASA just "bombed" the moon, is there any chance that will effect our tides or anything else?" Not at all. In the Apollo era, NASA crashed the third stage rocket into the Moon to create a simulated "moonquake" for measurement purposes. The Moon is so large and massive that we could not deliberately affect the Moon's orbit even if we hit it with all our nukes. http://www.facebook.com/pages/wwwClassicalAstronomycom/160512861074?ref=mf Anyway, there is nothing new about crashing stuff into the Moon and planets, NASA has been doing it for 40 years with no ill effects. If it tiurns out that sufficient water is discovered on the Moon, there will be renewed talk of establishing Moon colonies, from the US, Russia, China and India.
  20. Tip -- I made a special dedicated scout sewing kit for me and my three sons. It has every common color of thread for Cub and Boy Scout uniforms (red, green, blue, gold, tan, purple, etc). It also has a selection of needles and pins and one of those tomato pincushions, in a small plastic box with a close-up lid. This way, us guys can all grab the kit when we need it and sew on patches, without messing up Mom's regular sewing basket. Another tip -- I sewed on my sons patches when they were Cubs, but when they joined the BS troop, I made them learn to sew and to maintain their own uniforms. This way, they became self-sufficient and didnt make more work for us. The main benefit is they take more pride in their uniforms when they sew their own patches. The boys in our troop who have Mommy do all their work invariably are sloppier and lackadaisical about their uniform. Once upon a time, sewing was a scout requirement, and I believe that this is a useful skill that every boy should learn, so that one day when Mommy isn't around, they know how to darn a sock or fix a button.
  21. I was always pro-life 1973 following the Roe v. Wade decision, after my mom explained to me at age 11 that abortion meant killing a baby in the womb. I was mostly liberal in high school, during the Carter administration. However, after after observing weakness and incomptence of Jimmy Carter, including double-digit inflation and 444 days of hostages in Iran, I was very happy to cast my very first vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980. Though I became born again that same year, I clung to liberal ideas for several more years. I became a true conservative during college days in the early 80s when, for the first time, I took a critical look at the liberal ideas that had been force-fed to me by the public schools and the media, and which I had uncritically accepted. In other words, I realized I was brainwashed. It was as though the scales fell from my eyes. In the years since, it has become evident that the media and the schools have been downloading liberalism into the naive brains of American youth since at least the early 60s. All young liberals have done ever since is merely run the downloaded program.
  22. Scouting is a great program, and all three of my sons have been in since Tiger cubs. My 15 and 13 yo are working on Eagle scout, and my 11yo is working on First Class. The boys learn all manner of useful skills, but the program is primarily for teaching self-sufficiency, servant leadership, and character building. There are costs associated with scouting, and having to buy four uniforms would be a big bite. You can often find used uniforms, either in the pack, in your scout council, or even on eBay. Our pack charged the nominal $10 per boy, but they were expected to participate in fundraising (selling overpriced popcorn). Here's an article I wrote a while back about homeschool scouting. (Beware!!!! Christian content!!!!!) http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com/How_To_Homeschool/articles/boy_scouting_and_homeschool.php
  23. I think this wrong and it also seems troubling. But if you ask any guy, I'm sure the majority will tell you that, at some point in their lives, they saw a guy they just wanted to punch -- as though the guy had a very "punchable" face. I'd be a liar if I didn't admit this myself. My wife and I watch LOST, and frankly, I feel that way about the character of Ben Linus. I'm sure the actor Michael Emerson is a very nice person, but when Ben comes on the screen, I just want to punch him! But this partly good acting and good writing, and well executed, since the character is utterly despicable on a visceral level. As far as male aggression and the typical negative response from women is concerned, that's the way God made us, ladies! We're just not women! We don't expect you to be like us, so please understand that we're not like you! Don't get mad at us for liking movies with car chases and explosions, and we'll try real hard to not laugh at you for getting all weepy while watching "Titanic."
  24. There's no silly questions, only silly answers! Yes, Jupiter will be there for the rest of 2009, and the Moon will pass it each month.
  • Create New...