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The “Smile Moon” of Spring

As you spend more time observing the sky, and pay more attention to the cycles of the Sun and the Moon, you can begin to notice all the little variations that occur in the Sun and Moon over the span of the year.  One fun thing to notice in the springtime is how the waxing crescent Moon appears as a “smile” in the evening sky.

During the spring, the waxing Moon follows a very steep path through the sky as it draws away from the sunset each passing night.  The crescent Moon can be seen directly above the sunset.  Since the bright edge of the Moon always points in the general direction of the Sun, the crescent Moon appears to nearly lie on its side, looking like a “smile” in the evening sky.

In contrast, in the autumn, the “horns” of the crescent Moon of autumn are nearly vertical.  During that season, the Moon follows a very shallow path through the sky as draws away from the Sun.

My wife has always like to point out the “Smile Moon” to our kids every spring since they were little.  Try to notice this with your family this spring.  And be sure to notice the waxing crescent each month over the summer and into the fall, when it will be turned “sideways” from a smile!

Jay Ryan is the author of Signs & Seasons, an illustrated, Biblically-centered homeschool curriculum for Classical Astronomy. He is also the creator of the Classical Astronomy Update, an email astronomy newseltter especially for Christian homeschoolers.  Visit his website at

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Focus on Science

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Heart of the Matter Online’s January digital magazine: “Focus on Science”.

Great articles in the magazine!  My favorite one is on Catapults and Trebuchets.  Very cool.

And Pssst!… Castle Heights Press has an article on page 34, with a coupon code at the top for 15% off your purchase!

Pair this with the One Week Off unit study sale on right now, and you have quite a deal!

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Studying Your Pet: Internet and Print Resources

Internet Resources to Study Your Pet

A really good site containing lots of veterinary resources about lots of different animal pets.

The American Veterinary Medicine Association: Care For Animals
There are many topics: pet stories, kid’s corner, animal safety, resources, pet health, and buying a pet. Under the health section you will find topics like: caring for your horse, keep your cat healthy, watching out for your dog, dental care, population control of pets, vaccinations, and animal illness & diseases. This is a great site with lots of real information that you can use.

American Animal Hospital Association
Information on locating animal hospitals, a pet newsletter online, a kids coloring page and a pet library. The library has the full contents of six books published by the AAHA: Behavior, Common Health Problems, Human Animal Bond, Nutrition, Pet Care Tips, and Preventative Care.

Fleabusters: a product for killing fleas
This site has many parts some not really about fleas and killing them. They have veterinarians who write about topics of concern to pet owners. This link is to the Fun and Games section.

AKC Best Friends
Learn about American Kennel Club. Elementary school teachers can get a free Best Friends Teaching Kit with a video, reproducible activity sheets, a wall poster, a teacher’s guide. Kits helps teach responsibility through responsible pet ownership. The kit can be used as a unit or spread throughout the curriculum. Also check out the Kids’ Corner and Lesson Plans sections for activities to do in your homeschool.

Print Resources

You and Your Cat by David Taylor A beautiful little handbook which lots of good cat pictures of many breeds. Other topics include a discussion of territorial boundaries, housing, kitten care, feeding, health care, first aid, and cat psychology.

James Herriot’s Cat Stories Many stories of cats from James Herriot’s wonderful journals of his veterinary career.

The Complete Book of Cat Care by Leon Whitney DVM This author has written a number of good pet care books. This one, on cats, has many photos showing aspects of cat care. One shows exactly how cat should be held, for example. The book has lots of information on cat diseases and on drugs and home remedies for cats. (out of print, but you may be able to buy it used)

The Complete Dog Book: 20th Edition This book is a great book covering most aspects of dog care. This large book also has lots of information on dog breeds. Republished every year, the American Kennel Club keeps you up to date on dogs.

The Complete Dog Care Manual (ASPCA) This book has much information on the care and training of dogs.

Eyewitness Handbook of Horses by Elwyn Hartley Edwards An excellent resource on breeds worldwide with actual photographs.

The Horse A truly wonderful comprehensive resource on horses, nutrition, selection, genetics, breeding, stable management, health, and structure.

One Week Off unit study Series by Castle Height Press; Take a week off from homeschool to study your pet!  Unit studies on Dogs & Puppies, Cats & Kittens, Horses, and even a My First Unit Study on Horses for pre-readers.  E-books available and all are on sale 30% right now!

Hope these resources are of great use to you as you study your pet- leave a comment and let us know if you plan to do such a study, or if you have ever used the One Week Off series to take a week off of homeschooling!