Besides going to a couple of stargazing activities in our community, and visiting a planetarium a couple of times, our family hasn't really studied astronomy as a school subject.
I have difficulty with spatial reasoning, and studying the stars and the heavens is one area where this really shows up.
Now if the stars in the sky would just stay stationary all the time, I wouldn't have so much difficulty! But when people start talking about how the earth rotates, how the heavens seem to rotate, how the night sky changes from hour to hour, how the sun can be seen from differing locations depending on the seasons, that boggles my mind.
Basically, I don't do so well.
So, I was interested to see what the new Celestial Almanack for February 2012 from Classical Astronomy would be like.
Would it be easy enough for me to grasp?
Would I be pulling my hair out within ten minutes of delving into this 21-page eBook?
Here's what we thought about the February 2012 Celestial Almanack:
1. If you haven't yet seen a copy of the Celestial Almanack, the professionalism of this product is amazing! The graphics are very high quality, usually enough to help explain concepts being presented. This Almanack has some of the best graphics I've seen in homeschooling curricula!
2. While this is a short eBook, easy to carry around once printed out, it is jam-packed with many activities to view in the night sky - and the daytime, as well! Since this isn't a huge, lengthy eBook, it was less expensive to print out, and I was able to place the pages into page protectors so if we're outside in the misty air, it won't get "soggy."
3. Introductory notes about our calendar system and why February only has 28 or 29 days was excellent. Even with all of the ancient history we've studied, we all learned something new when reading this introduction. Well done!
4. The topics contained in this month's Celestial Almanack are varied: history of the February calendar; a neat chart about the phases of the moon compared with remarkable events on specific days in February; much information on the various constellations in the night sky in February (northern hemisphere); a view of the solar system and planets in February 2012; and much, much more.
5. And another great feature? It's only $3.00! Wow. I've seen eBooks this length sometimes be much more expensive. It's priced right for a thorough product.
1. Since most of the information presented in this Celestial Almanack was brand new to our family, we found some of the written material a bit above our heads. Even for me, as an adult, I was wishing that some of the concepts were spelled out a little bit more simply and slowly. I got a little bit overwhelmed, which isn't normal for me when reading. It would have been helpful for the girls and I to take the pages a little bit slower, sentence by sentence - in some areas - and look up the concepts online so we could learn about them more carefully.
2. In numerous places in the Almanack, it referred to the author's astronomy curriculum, Signs & Seasons, and how that explains these concepts in more depth. While I'm not opposed to seeing those comments there in the Almanack, I felt like we should have been reading Signs & Seasons first and then began using the monthly Almanack after we had a more thorough understanding of basic astronomy. I just wasn't sure how to explain in more simple terms some of what we read...and I personally needed it a little bit less complicated.
Now, please don't get me wrong. The problem could just be that I've literally had no astronomy study since I was in the 3rd grade, and it was very simply taught back then. I'm sure that anyone who has studied astronomy in any mode more recently than 35+ years ago, will do just fine with this Celestial Almanack!
3. I would have liked to have seen a few worksheets for students to use, to record data, or illustrate what they are viewing, or to develop conceptual understanding, even though I know that the best way to study and learn from the stars is just to get out there at night and view the stars and planets!
4. The last two pages of this Almanack were advertisements for other companies. This may have just been because this product was being sold at CurrClick.com. I'm not sure. I couldn't get the online catalog for CurrClick to work properly in my browser, so I don't know if this was advertised as a 21-page eBook or a 19-page eBook. If I had thought I was buying a 21-page eBook and the last two pages were advertisements, I would have felt that the length of the eBook had been misrepresented.
The Final Word on the Celestial Almanack:
The Celestial Almanack has been written for students ages 11 and up. My girls thought that some of it was a little bit harder to understand, even though they usually do well with science topics, but it stretched us in a new field of understanding, and that's always good!
This product is very professionally designed and produced, so if you are at all interested in astronomy, and you have children ages 11+, this could be a wonderfully fun way to take a "new" look at the night sky every month of the year! And, it's priced right.
We were hoping to be able to take this February Almanack outside to do some viewing of the stars, but during this time of year, our little valley is usually socked in with fog - so no stars were shining on the nights we had access to this month's Celestial Almanack. And even if we'd had a visible night sky, we have been ill with an awful cold...so it wouldn't have been helpful for our health to be out in the damp, cold night. I'm hoping in the next few days and weeks, we can take advantage of the terrific information found in this stargazing guide for February 2012, and get outside to look at some stars.
I guess I'll start praying now that the weather will also decide to cooperate! :)
If you'd like to take a look at a sample of this month's Celestial Almanack, you can view the sample in both PDF and Flash here (or if you are reading via Feedburner or RSS, you can visit that sample here: http://www.currclick.com/product_info.php?products_id=68718
...and read what other TOS Crew members had to say about this inexpensively priced stargazing almanack!
Disclaimer: I received one free eBook copy of the February 2012 Celestial Almanack in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.
2/2/2012 04:13:04 pm
Yes, you weren't the only one who felt a little bit overwhelmed by all of the new vocabulary and new concepts! But this is truly a great product, and if I knew more basic astronomy, it would have made more sense to me. Thank you for stopping by, Blossom!
Julianne, thanks for the kind review, glad you found it mostly approachable. I tried to make the Almanack so there would be something for everyone, at a variety of experience levels. It's hard to "be all things to all men" (and women) with this subject. I wanted there to be more meat for the people who already took our course, while still being friendly to the total novice. Lots of little decisions to make on every page. Of course, I'd like people to try S&S too! Thanks again for the nice words.
Leave a Reply.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!