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Experience Astronomy

The astronomy curriculum for homeschooling families who want a high quality science education plus an engaging, hands-on experience.

Think you need to be a “science person” to teach your kids science?

Think again.

Maybe you passed high school Biology by the skin of your teeth.

Maybe the periodic table makes your head swim. (Coffee anyone?)

Or maybe with 3,482 other things to teach your kids… you just need to leave science to someone else.

Think you need to be a “science person” to teach your kids science?

Think again.

Maybe you passed high school Biology by the skin of your teeth.

Maybe the periodic table makes your head swim. (Coffee anyone?)

Or maybe with 3,482 other things to teach your kids… you just need to leave science to someone else.

You started homeschooling not because you “know everything”…but because you wanted to give your kids a great education outside the classroom.

Here’s a little secret for you:

You still can.

See, the most successful science-teaching homeschool parents aren’t the ones who know everything —

They’re the ones who find the best resources, who sometimes roll up their sleeves and learn alongside their kids, and who ultimately teach their kids to teach themselves.

Introducing

Engaging, hands-on science…that practically teaches itself!

Experience Astronomy in 4 Steps…

Engaging Video Lessons

Students login to their online classroom each week and watch an engaging video lesson. Lessons are dripped out one per week so your student can follow what’s going on in the sky throughout the year!

Comprehension Quiz

Students take a weekly comprehension quiz, plus a mid-term and a final exam. Don’t worry: it’s all graded for you so you don’t have to do the work.

Field Guide Assignment

Students get outside each week to observe the sky and do their weekly field guide assignment. Too cloudy? Too much light pollution? No worries. The course will teach you how to use an online planetarium to complete these assignments when needed.

Reading assignment

Students are assigned weekly reading from Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy. It’s optional, but we highly encourage you to grab this fantastic astronomy textbook.

Optional high school track:
Experience Astronomy PLUS (Level C)!

When students sign up for Experience Astronomy Level C, they can earn high school credit. In addition to everything included in Level B, students receive exclusive access to 12 extra training videos plus corresponding assignments to take them deeper into the study of astronomy.

Students learn about the fascinating connections between human cultures and astronomy all over the world. From the writings of Plato and Cicero, to the building of famous archeoastronomy sites like Stonehenge in England, the Chichen Itza in Mexico, to the tower of Babel, students explore how ancient peoples interacted with the sky in their everyday lives.

Students also learn about modern space exploration — from the invention of space telescopes, to human voyages to the moon, to space probes visiting the outer planets, to fascinating insights into intergalactic space.

I wondered if my son would be able to complete Experience Astronomy independently…

Would there be enough accountability? Would he be engaged? I’m so happy to say the answer has been “Yes!” The combination of a weekly video, quiz, and scheduled outdoor activities each week was perfect. My son has found it highly enjoyable. He has been inspired to learn the night sky and teach his younger brother too. This has been a valuable resource!

– Elizabeth B.

CHOOSE FROM 2 EXPERIENCE ASTRONOMY PROGRAMS

Option 1:
Experience Astronomy PLUS (Level C)!

This track will give your student plenty of options to acquire enough hours for high school credit! And it’s perfect for students who want to delve deeper into the study of of astronomy.

35 fun and engaging video lessons dripped out one per week so your child can follow what’s going on in the sky as it’s actually happening.

Carefully planned observation activities throughout the year so your child always knows when and where to look in the sky. The sky will come to life!

Online, graded quizzes and exams, so you can take a break from correcting your child’s work.

Hands on activities that will help kinesthetic learners deepen their understanding of astronomy.

Assignments to help your student learn how history and literature intersect with astronomy.

Bible-based projects to help your child connect astronomy to real events from the Scriptures.

12 extra trainings with Mr. Gilkerson where you’ll go deeper in the study of astronomy exploring the fascinating connections between human cultures & astronomy and learning more about modern explorations in space.

NEW! 16 stargazing video tutorials to help your student with their outdoor observation assignments. It’s the next best thing to having Mr. Gilkerson by your student’s side as they gaze at the stars!

Curriculum guide to help you and your student understand how the course works and how to use the online planetarium when the weather isn’t cooperating.

NEW!  Lesson outlines to help your student grasp important concepts, learn new terms, and help with note taking.

Certificate of completion for a job well-done when the course is completed.

Student contests where your child can win prizes and engage more deeply in the course content.

Option 2:
Experience Astronomy (Level B)!

35 fun and engaging video lessons dripped out one per week so your child can follow what’s going on in the sky as it’s actually happening.

Carefully planned observation activities throughout the year so your child always knows when and where to look in the sky. The sky will come to life!

Online, graded quizzes and exams, so you can take a break from correcting your child’s work.

NEW!  Lesson outlines to help your student grasp important concepts, learn new terms, and help with note taking.

NEW! 16 stargazing video tutorials to help your student with their outdoor observation assignments. It’s the next best thing to having Mr. Gilkerson by your student’s side as they gaze at the stars!

Curriculum guide to help you and your student understand how the course works and how to use the online planetarium when the weather isn’t cooperating.

Student contests where your child can win prizes and engage more deeply in the course content.

When you enroll in Experience Astronomy, you’re making an investment that’s much more than a textbook—it’s an experience your family will never forget!

Our homeschool had been turned upside down with family and health issues…

…so my daughter needed structure—something that would be there for us every week but would be flexible enough that she could use it at any time. Experience Astronomy was the perfect answer for our situation. We could count on science for that time period.

– Linda R.

I didn’t know if Experience Astronomy PLUS would be challenging enough for my high schooler…

I hadn’t ever enrolled in an online course and was was new to homeschooling. I’ve been very impressed with the assignments the upper level students complete and especially like the tie in to scripture for some of the projects. I highly recommend your program. My only wish is that there were more courses for my high school student to do!

– Heather D.

Select a Program and Enroll

*Field Guide and Student Guidebook are provided as a pdf download with the purchase of the course. You may purchase a physical copy of the books separately.

 

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I was concerned enrolling my kids in Experience Astronomy wouldn’t be a good use of our financial resources…

However, by my estimate, each week’s lesson costs just a few dollars per week—an excellent value!

– Tammy

You’ve got questions… we’ve got answers!

How long will my student have access to this course?

You’ll have access to 1 new video per week throughout the school year, starting in early September. The course officially ends in mid-May, and the videos will be available for review through the end of August. Once each video is live, your student can watch and re-watch it anytime he or she wants throughout the duration of the course.

What is covered in the course?

Great question! Check out the Experience Astronomy Scope and Sequence here for an overview of the topics we cover in this course.

Which class is right for my child: the elementary or the upper level course?

Experience Astronomy is designed for students in the junior high years and Experience Astronomy PLUS is designed for students in the senior high years:

  • Video lessons are longer than the elementary-level videos and taught using language more suitable for teens.
  • The concepts taught in the upper level course go much deeper than the elementary course, which is more basic.
  • The upper level has weekly outdoor observation activities (often in the late evening or early morning) which are more appropriate for those looking for an observational/lab science. Activities in the elementary course include more hands-on creative projects, better for younger children.
  • The recommended reading for the upper level courses is a textbook geared more towards teens. Reading assignments for the elementary course are living books that can be used as read-alouds or assigned as independent reading, geared towards students ages 6-11.

How does the high school PLUS track differ from the Basic track?

Experience Astronomy PLUS is an opportunity for students to learn even more about Astronomy while earning high school credit for this science course. In addition to all of the training and information made available in the Basic course, your student will be given hands-on projects along with projects that tie astronomy to history, literature, and the Bible.

Your students will also be able to participate in 12 extra trainings with Mr. Gilkerson where they’ll go deeper in the study of astronomy. The trainings will give your student the opportunity to learn about the fascinating connections between human cultures and astronomy around the world and will also dive into studies of modern explorations of space.

The extra assignments and trainings will be enough to allow students to earn high school credit for this course.

In most states, students need to accumulate at least 120 hours of instruction and course work to receive high school credit. Experience Astronomy PLUS provides enough coursework so your child can accumulate these hours (plus 30 more!).

How much time per week will this class take?

That depends on if your student takes Experience Astronomy or Experience Astronomy PLUS.

Experience Astronomy (Level B)

Experience Astronomy Level B takes students on an adventure of discovering the Lord’s sky over the course of 35 weekly lessons. There are a number of components to each of these lesson: 

  • Weekly video lessons (20-25 minutes)
  • Observation activities take (15-30 minutes)
  • Quizzes are also offered weekly (15 minutes or less).
  • Weekly reading assignments assigned from Sign & Seasons (varies)

 

Experience Astronomy PLUS (Level C)

Experience Astronomy PLUS builds on our Level B program—with all the same lectures, quizzes, and outdoor sky observations—and then takes students to the next level.

In addition to all of the assignments from the Level B program, students will have 12 extra lessons throughout the year (one is released every 2-3 weeks) with an accompanying project or research paper. Students should plan to spend at least 2 hours per week on the lesson and/or working on their projects.

Does my child have to view the course videos on specific days?

The course officially starts in early September. Students will have access to one new video every week (except for a three-week break around Christmas when there will be no new assignments). Videos go live each week on Sunday morning (EST), but students can watch them any time throughout the week. Once released, each video can be reviewed as many times as the student wants through the end of the course.

Lessons correspond to weekly outdoor observation activities. Because one of the goals of the class is to see the changes and movements in the sky over the course of nine months, the course is paced so students cannot “get ahead” by doing a lot of lessons all at once. Because the sky is always changing, it is important for students do their best to keep up with the assignments week by week.

Can I enroll more than one child in this course at the same time?

In the upper level course, each student receives their own grade, online portal, and auto-graded quiz so each student should enroll separately. We do offer generous multi-student discounts for families enrolling more than one student in the class at the same time.

What is your discount for enrolling multiple students?

If you have multiple students (in the same immediate family) enrolling in an upper level course, we offer a 50% discount for the second student, and 75% discount for the third and fourth student.  

What kind of outdoor observation activities will be expected of my student?

There are 33 outdoor assignments in all. All assignments involve observation with the naked eye (no telescopes needed) and some kind of note-taking or drawing of what is seen.

Most activities can be completed in 15-30 minutes, but all of these activities involve going outside at specific times. Some will require students to go out at 10pm, at midnight, at 5am, etc. So while the course activities are relatively easy, they need to be done at specific times.

What about bad weather? Or light pollution?

There are some areas where viewing the stars at night is more difficult because of manmade “light pollution.” And of course, bad weather is inevitable, making star observation difficult or impossible at times. A few things to consider…

• Be sure to always take advantage of good weather. However, most outdoor activities can be postponed a week or so without a problem.

• The course focuses on the brightest, most-obvious constellations, many of which are viewable even in suburban locations.

• When the bad weather doesn’t let up or activities can not be completed due to light pollution, there is an alternative. You can use an online planetarium to complete your assignments. (You will receive instructions for how to do this as part of the course.)

Do you teach about creation or evolution in this course?

While this class touches on the reasons why God created the stars, it does not get into concepts about the age of the universe or scientific theories about the beginning of the universe. The course does not touch on how to interpret the days of creation in Genesis 1. The focus of the class is to discover the motions of the heavens, not the creation or history of the heavens.

Can my student earn high school credit for this course?

In most states, students need to accumulate at least 120 hours of instruction and course work to receive a high school credit.

We now offer a high school track, Experience Astronomy PLUS so your child can accumulate these hours (plus 30 more!). They’ll need to complete all of the following to accumulate the necessary course hours:

  • complete all the course lectures
  • take all the quizzes and exams
  • complete all recommended readings
  • complete all outdoor observation assignments as part of the regular course
  • watch all 12 advanced level training videos
  • complete 12 advanced level projects

Please note: our basic level Experience Astronomy course does not include enough hours for most students to receive credit. If you are intending your student to earn high school credit, be sure to select the Experience Astronomy PLUS program upon sign up.

Can I take this course if I live outside the United States?

Yes, but this course is for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere. We’ve had students take this course in all parts of North America, Europe, and most of Asia. This course is not for those living in the Southern Hemisphere.

What additional books or supplies will I need for this course?

Experience Astronomy: Level B

This course is a “naked-eye” astronomy course. That means, you won’t need to purchase any telescopes, binoculars, or other specialized equipment for your student. However,If you wish to purchase one, you can check out our buying guide.

Though not required, your student would benefit from a small red flashlight. Since students will be outside in the dark, drawing what they see in the sky, a red light will help them see their paper without destroying their night vision. You can easily purchase one online, or there are a variety of apps you can download that will turn a smartphone into a red light. The first class of this course gives students instruction about how to make their own from a regular white flashlight.

It is highly recommended, though not required, that you purchase the textbook Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy, by Jay Ryan*. This is the finest textbook on the market for learning about the motions of the heavens.

Signs and Seasons, is available for purchase in our store.

The student guidebook and field guide are included with the course as free PDF downloads, but you can purchase hard copies in our store if you’d prefer.

Experience Astronomy PLUS: Level C  

This course is a “naked-eye” astronomy course. That means, you won’t need to purchase any telescopes, binoculars, or other specialized equipment for your student. However, If you wish to purchase one, you can check out our buying guide.

Though not required, your student would benefit from a small red flashlight. Since students will be outside in the dark, drawing what they see in the sky, a red light will help them see their paper without destroying their night vision. You can easily purchase one online, or there are a variety of apps you can download that will turn a smartphone into a red light. The first class of this course gives students instruction about how to make their own from a regular white flashlight.

The textbook Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy, by Jay Ryan is required reading for the high school level of Experience Astronomy. This is the finest textbook on the market for learning about the motions of the heavens. Signs and Seasons, is available for purchase in our store.

The student guidebook and field guide are included with the course as free PDF downloads, but you can purchase hard copies in our store if you’d prefer.

Do you offer options to use this in a co-op?

We offer co-op pricing for groups of 4 or more who have designated a single instructor/facilitator. Co-op courses are designed for groups that are meeting at least weekly. 

Our co-op courses are set up differently than our family programs to accommodate groups. You can learn more about our co-op courses here

Please note: because of the way our group programs are set up, we are not able to communicate with individual parents of students within co-ops.

Who is the instructor?

The instructor for this course is Luke Gilkerson. Mr. Gilkerson and his wife Trisha are authors of multiple homeschooling and parenting books. They blog together at Intoxicated On Life. During his undergraduate program, Mr. Gilkerson worked in his university’s Astronomy department as a stargaze instructor, and for the last several years has taught astronomy at his local homeschool co-op along with 1000s of students throughout the world through Experience Astronomy.

What is your refund policy?

We offer a 100% money-back, happiness guarantee within 30 days of the course start date OR 6 months from purchase date (whichever is less). Simply email us and we’ll give you a full refund.

Because we have a lot of light pollution around us, I was concerned we wouldn’t have a good place to view the sky…

It’s hard for us to get away from the light pollution and houses that block our view at night. But we made regular use of the online planetarium recommended for the observation assignments. The kids also spent a lot of time identifying constellations any time we were outside and it was a clear night. That worked well for us. My kids have learned a lot. I catch them telling other people about constellations whenever we’re outside at night.

– Lisa T.

A few of the things your student will learn…

Learn the #1 trick for finding your way around outside—even when you don’t have have a compass.

Constellations seem impossible to find—isn’t that the truth? Your student will learn how to spot them so they practically jump out at you!

The secrets to how our modern calendar came to be—and what astronomy has to do with it

You thought you knew Bible stories like the parting of the Red Sea, but until you know your astronomy, you’ll never fully understand them.

Once you understand the phases of the moon, something exciting happens: you’ll never see biblical holy days the same way again.

Learn how eclipses have stopped wars, saved explorers, and brought down empires.

The anatomy of the universe—it’s weirder than you think! We’ll walk you through black holes, neutron stars, and the furthest regions of space.

How astronomers kicked Pluto out of the planet club—and why Pluto had it coming.

and so much more!

We have a Fabulous Fit Promise. We want this course to be a fabulous fit for your family. Based on our parent and student feedback, we think you will be delighted with the course.

However, we offer a 100% money-back, happiness guarantee within 30 days from of the course start dat OR 6 months from the purchase date (whichever is less).

Our science curriculum was stale. I wanted to spend time with my son on a subject we could enjoy together

I loved getting outside with my son and doing the observation activities. The videos always had something that we really related well to and could remember even beyond test. And I really enjoyed the teaching on classic mythology—it’s something Christian curricula is often afraid to touch, but it opened up lots of good discussion about worldview.

– Cindy R.

Access Your Lessons on Any Device

I wanted a fun, self-guided science course that didn’t take too much of my brain-power…

I am typically very involved in teaching science, but I needed a break this year. Thank you so much for providing this wonderful course. The videos are well done and you’re such an engaging teacher. Experience Astronomy has been a HUGE blessing to me and my family, and I recommend it to homeschoolers ready to experience astronomy in their own backyards!

– Melissa R.

I was concerned that the course wouldn’t be relevant to us in England…

However this hasn’t been a problem at all. We’ve been very thankful to be able to email questions when we haven’t understood things or are confused about things. We would encourage anyone to sign up for the course—it is fascinating and so informative for the whole family.

– Zoe R.

I needed a class that that would save me from ordering lots of books, planning the schedule, and doing all the grading myself…

This year we decided to homeschool. The only things my two kids needed for the astronomy class was one binder for assignments in black and white and one download. The combination of audio and visual lessons, then quiz, followed by a hands-on assignment worked very well for our family.

– Miche W.

My main concern was the cost of enrolling both of my children in a program that we knew very little about. Our family’s income was very limited, and this was a big sacrifice.

…But out of all the science classes we have taken, this one has been the absolute best. The teaching was excellent, the videos streamed and played well, the content was amazing, and the activities were not only fun, but educational and meaningful. It was worth the sacrifice—these are memories that will last a lifetime!

– B.J.

Science comes alive with Experience Astronomy!

Select a Program and Enroll

*Field Guide and Student Guidebook are provides as a pdf download with the purchase of the course. You may purchase a physical copy of the books separately.

 

ENROLLMENT CLOSED
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