Homeschool Astronomy Resources

Kathryn is my young astronomer, and one of her requests this school year was to learn more about the subject! Astronomy is a very unschoolish subject in our homeschool, mostly because she is interest-led enough to do it on her own. (And because she’s already learned WAY more than I know on the subject!)

So, as requested, I’m sharing…

astronomy resources

Our favorite astronomy resources:

Books or curriculum:

I gave Kathryn this scratch-and-sketch book for Christmas, and it turned out to be one of her favorite gifts:

Apologia’s Exploring Creation With Astronomy by Jeannie Fulbright. We haven’t used this one because I think Kathryn already knows everything in this, and it’s geared toward younger children. However, we have used and loved other Exploring Creation books, so I think this would be a great one to use.

My mom gave Kathryn an Introduction to Practical Astronomy book, but I think it’s out of print. Good, but there are plenty of other good ones out there.

iPhone/Android App:

Kathryn’s favorite iPhone/iPod app is called “Planets.” It has SO much information! You can point it at the sky and use it to identify where the planets are at any given time. Awesome. And free!


The Tellus Science Museum is not too far from us, located in Cartersville, Georgia. They have events throughout the year, like this Junior Observatory Workshop.


A homeschooling dad is doing a series on astronomy at Tales of a House Husband. How fun is that!?

The NASA site for students. Kathryn could spend hours on this site. She likes the games but mostly loves the plethora of interesting info found here.

Zooniverse: Real Science Online: crowd-sourced science projects like helping identify galaxies.

Heavens Above: lets you see what satellites or space stations are going overhead.

StarChild: A Learning Center for Young Astronomers: another good site with interesting information and a few fun games.

Amazing Space: uses the Hubble Space Telescope’s discoveries to inspire and educate about the wonders of our universe.

Stellarium: a free open source planetarium for your computer.

Cloudy Nights: a good forum to get involved with if you are looking to learn, ask questions, buy/sell astronomy equipment.

Telescopes for Kids Resource Guide: more resources and suggestions on where to star gaze. (Thanks to my young friends at Brenham Community Center for sending me this one to add!)

How to choose a telescope:

We have a good friend who is an avid astronomy hobbyist. I asked him for tips on how to find a good, reasonably priced telescope, and he had oodles of great info for us.

how to choose a telescope

When buying a telescope, consider what you are looking for. Many features have a great impact on price range, so decide what is most important to you. Mirrors: the bigger the optics, the more light the telescope gathers and the more faint objects you can see.  (My friend started with an Orion 10” reflector and has upgraded to a 14.5” — which is huge!) Motors: your telescope can track objects for you with a motor, but these start to get expensive. You can choose a motorized telescope, a telescope that will sit on a tracking platform, or one that doesn’t do either.

The 3 main type of telescopes:

  1. Catadioptric: these usually have the motors built in and are expensive.  The most popular are Meade and Celestron.
  2. Reflector: usually do not come with motors.  You can have a platform built for these (which is what my friend did). Orion has a good line of telescopes that are motorized and non-motorized.
  3. Refractor: Usually the most expensive out of the telescope (based on the size of the optics)

Check out Astromart, like the eBay version of astronomy equipment.  There is a one-time fee to become a member but you can still look through all the “for sale” items without joining. You can also check out Craigslist, but it’s much more limited in what you can find.

Before buying any equipment, you may want to get involved with a local astronomy club so you can go out and see the different types of telescopes to decide what you like best. My friend is part of a group that meets monthly for viewing sessions.

Any more resources you’ve found?

If you know of any other astronomy resources, please share them in the comments!

Is there a subject your child has jumped on with such interest? It’s so fun to see her enthusiasm, and I’ve been learning just from her telling me all about it!

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Wow-amazing resources! I can already tell that I’ll be adding zooniverse to our curriculum for this week!

Chris Tillley (@hhtales)

Thank you for the link. I got behind on writing those but I will try to catch up.


Ugh…its so hard sometimes to keep up with your kids interest. Madison was uber interested in Space at one time, but I just didn’t capitalize on that time and now I’m not sure if she is as interested anymore. Maybe it will come back around. This is a very helpful article that I’m bookmarking, just in case. Still getting my head and hands around home schooling. Thanks for sharing it all.

Ellen, the Bluestocking Belle

I just downloaded a free pdf from Fernbank Science Center called “Getting Started in Astronomy.” I haven’t read it yet, but since it’s free, it might be worth a look! Speaking of Fernbank, we enjoy their star shows at the planetarium and the observatory as well.


Thank you SOOOO much for these resources. We are working through the Apologia Astronomy book right now with my 3rd grader, and I’m thrilled to supplement that with some of your ideas here. I hate to be all “take” and no “give,” but just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you!


We are sort of studying Astronomy this year, it’s one of those subjects that gets pushed aside often. I love that scratch and sketch book, my astronomy studiers would really get into that book. Thanks for all the resources!

Mama H

Perfect Timing! Thanks for posting these resources. We recently began a Unit Study on Astronomy as well. We made Planet Pizzas, which were a HUGE hit and it allowed us to compare planet sizes using a real objects (that are obviously yummy to eat as well). Go check out my blog for pictures… HAVE FUN!!!


We love the iphone apps SkyWalk and SkyView. We use them all the time, especially driving at night. There have been times one of us sees something in the sky and wonders what it is and we pull over and get out the iphone or ipod and start checking it out. Lots of fun. Astronomy study for us is very unschoolish, too 🙂


We’re using the Apologia book this year and we absolutely love it! It’s been fascinating! Thanks for this post, we definitely want to get a telescope at some point. We just read the book by Buzz Aldrin- Look to the Stars. I had found it at a discount book store. It’s been a great companion for the section on the moon. I was surprised at how much information the book contained. We were able to use it over the course of a week.


Just came back to say that I received the scratch-off astronomy sketch book in the mail and it is AWESOME. I want one for *me*! 😉 Thanks so much for that tip!

Jon Swinden

Hi. Nice article. I have an amateur astronomy website and I have a written a completely free guide to starting out in astronomy that includes info on what to look for in the night sky from a city, buying binoculars or telescopes, setting up telescopes and many more tips for beginners. The blog covers astronomy science and news with lots of articles like the biggest star and the biggest galaxy. I hope the site is easy to read and fun for all ages.