Posted in Covid-19, Holiday, Homeschooling, Life, Science, Social Studies, Space, Thanksgiving

Solar System Model Building – homeschooling week 6

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope whatever you are doing to celebrate this weekend, you are safe and have lots to be thankful for. Some things that I am thankful for this year:

  • our collective health
  • family and friends (especially our grocery fairy) who have helped us immensely while we continue to stay isolated
  • being able to work from home
  • being able to homeschool Steven
  • the internet for keeping us connected to the outside world

We are currently cooking our Thanksgiving dinner to enjoy while we video chat with Liam’s family later. Our grocery fairy picked us up a ham, which Liam is cooking following this recipe, and we’ll have whatever I can find in the cupboard on the side (I think peas and mashed potatoes probably). And I’m going to try out this apple pumpkin crisp recipe for dessert.

In case you’re looking for some things to keep your kids entertained (and maybe even teach them something) while you cook, here are some free printable things I found, in no particular order:

We’re also taking this opportunity to discuss the origins of Thanksgiving and start on some social studies topics. We’ll do some more formal learning on the topic later in the school year, but even when Steven was in public school we generally would take every opportunity to discuss social studies. It’s a huge topic, and arguably the most important one.

Week 6 – building the solar system

This week Steven finished up the science worksheets we had been doing with the exception of the one page covering Canada’s contribution to space travel and research. That will be done at the start of week 8, leading into a research essay project. We also built the solar system model that he had planned out with the help of these worksheets last week.

I made a couple of adjustments to his plan because I wanted the planets to all move independently for the sake of some discussion. In hindsight, we should have also made the moon rotate around the earth, but that adjustment will be easy to make later.

As usual, this project took way longer than expected. It seems arts and crafts projects always do. We spent most of my day off this week working on it! But we had fun, and I think we needed a fun day. We watched some documentaries while we worked and generally just enjoyed spending time together.

We used foam balls for the planets and sun, which Steven painted as accurately as he could. I found some lava rock beads in various sizes, which became our moons and asteroids. The whole solar system is supported by copper wires, which rotate around a thick bamboo skewer, and some of the longer wires have little cardboard stands to help support their weight.

Steven was determined to include the asteroid belt that goes around the inner planets. This addition wasn’t in the original plan, and I therefore hadn’t ordered supplies for it. The only way we could think to make it was to use some sort of netting (which we didn’t have). So I ended up showing Steven how to use a knitting loom and how to add beads onto the knitting.

Originally, the asteroid belt was going to go all the way around, but my largest knitting loom wasn’t quite large enough. So it ended up being split into 2 sections. But I think that made it easier to see everything anyway.


This week, Steven was getting really frustrated with his school work. To the point where on Wednesday we moved all the activities we normally do daily (French, Music, Phys Ed, Prodigy, reading) to Saturday and just focused on the solar system model.

We discussed it multiple times over the week and finally figured out that he was just getting frustrated that the year wasn’t progressing as quickly as he wanted. He was worried about having enough days off earned to have the Christmas break he wants. He also apparently envisions himself having a March break and being done school early June?

I assured him that I had planned for him to have enough days off banked for the 2 weeks off that he wants to take a Christmas. But I also had to remind him that the potential days off earned included his summer break. If he wants to continue only doing 4 hours or so of school a day and take weeks at a time off he is going to end up having school work left to do in the summer.

To solve this problem, I’m working on putting together another binder. This will have work he can do in his free time to finish extra units on his own. I haven’t figured out all the details yet, but it will have to be things that he can do independently. It will probably end up being a lot of math, to be honest. I might also include a section of suggested things to do with us on weekends that don’t involve so much “work”, like streaming some stage productions and discussing them for drama. Will he actually do any of this work on his own? Who knows! But at least he’ll be able to make the choice to check off units faster if he wants to. He seems happy with the idea for now anyways.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the long weekend however you can, and stay safe!


Just another parent stumbling through the ridiculousness that is 2020. I'm lucky to be able to work full time from home, which gives me a bit more time to figure out this homeschooling thing. I started this blog mostly as a personal journal, but I hope it might help some other parents out <3

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