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Customer Reviews for Fourth Day Press Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy

Fourth Day Press Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy

Using the biblical use of astronomy--for signs and seasons--as a foundation, this illustrated book will take a deeper look at the stars and sun we so often view. Filled with notes on historical practices, readers learn about where the terms A.M. and P.M came from, how Passover is linked to astronomical cycles, and the biblical heritage of timekeeping through the sky! 40 pages of field activities are included as well. 225 pages with index and astronomical tables.
Average Customer Rating:
4.733 out of 5
4.7
 out of 
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5 out of 683%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Review 1 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Foundational resource for astronomy

Date:May 18, 2013
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ange
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book can stand alone as an excellent introduction to astronomy. It goes far beyond the simple study of the planets orbiting our sun.
You could use this book as the structure and guide for an astronomy course and use Exploring Creation with Astronomy to add detail to the planetary discussion. We also included D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths to enhance our study of the story lines behind the naming of the constellations.
No science education should be considered complete without the basic understandings of celestial movements and their daily applications found in this text.
By the end of the text, you will be familiar with celestial movements and enough constellations and stars to study the night sky successfully.
+3points
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Review 2 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A God Perspective on the Heavens

Date:July 20, 2012
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Rachael
Location:Virginia
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I wasn't sure when I purchased this curriculum, but I thought I would take a chance. When it arrived, I could not put it down! I have read the book, recommended it to my friends, and added it to our homeschool curriculum. I look forward to sharing this with my family and learning a lost art. Wonderfully written with excerpts from long ago about the wealth of information in the heavens, it is truly a book that shares science in its proper perspective by giving credit where it belongs - with God.
+7points
7of 7voted this as helpful.
Review 3 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent for ALL ages

Date:June 29, 2012
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Jessica
Location:St. Leon, IN
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
While this book is geared more for middle and high schoolers, my elementary son is gaining a LOT from it.
I am a Montessori-trained teacher and prefer to avoid most textbooks for many reasons - low quality; lack of correct information; textbooks are usually beyond tertiary sources while primary sources are most appropriate for children's learning; and more.
But this is one textbook we will use again and again. At 8, my son is reading through it with me to gain an overview of astronomy; we combine it with our own personal studies according to his interests and my requirements as his homeschooling mother. We will likely go through it again at age 10-11; then again in middle school - as review and to cull its depth further, as much of the information is quite deep (a typical elementary children would not have the interest my son has in this textbook - but this is an interest of his).
The "average" elementary child will not be ready for this book - but a homeschooled child who is very interested, or a Montessori student, will be quite ready for it - probably around age 9 or so. Even then, it should be re-visited at an older age, because much of it will not be absorbed the first time through. It is THAT rich!
Montessori elementary children with a deep love of all things astronomy will appreciate having this book as a read-together text, coupled with many hands-on experiences (such as looking for the things described in the book, as well as some of the field activities in the back of the book, and following their own interests).
Montessori elementary children with a limited interest in astronomy will prefer to utilize this book in the upper elementary years (ages 9-12).
Definitely useful for middle schoolers of all ages.
I only WISH the public schools I attended would have provided an astronomy class of ANY sort, let alone THIS book. We had blips of astronomy here and there - nothing like this. I took an astronomy course in college and this text would have been the best foundation for that course. I loved it, but was easily overwhelmed.
There is an optional field guide, separate from the text, to flesh it out for high school credit. Do not let the negative review stating this is not a high school textbook throw you off - this book is indeed excellent for high schoolers, but yes if you want a full credit for it you will NEED to flesh it out for the simple fact it is a textbook. NO textbook should be the be-all-end-all in gaining a credit for school - and this textbook is no exception in that regard.
Those who might say this book is not deep enough for high schoolers should consider the importance of spending TIME with the material, doing the field guide suggestions, working with the field journal - and experiencing the annual cycles of astronomy (and sometimes multi-year), while also exploring it within its historical context and development, in such a way that true DEPTH is reached. Not just racing through, taking a test and being done.
Signs and Seasons IS the exception in that it provides a well-balanced, well-laid-out approach to classical astronomy - astronomy without the use of fancy tools (although telescope and binoculars are pointed out as useful in their proper places) --- something all of us should have experienced in our lifetimes.
Black and white (but wonderfully done!) illustrations keep the price of printing to an affordable range so that this book is accessible to many more people.
+11points
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Review 4 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Concepts everyone should understand, but few do!

Date:June 29, 2012
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LRNw8
Location:Seattle, WA
Age:45-54
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
My high school students and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the sky with Signs & Seasons, and the Field Journal that goes with the text. Many of the projects were quite challenging. The tests were useful in revealing weaknesses in our understanding of concepts, which we then reviewed.
We still enjoy coming across things in books or daily life and having the background knowledge to understand them, such as when we read about the shipwrecked mariner who said he saw the North Star and calculated the latitude of his location. Many of these things are simple to understand IF YOU HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE.
Because we have a lot of cloudy weather, in order to keep up with our observation schedule, we also used a planetarium software (free download) that shows exactly what you see when you look at the stars. BE SURE TO DO THE OBSERVATIONS, A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS and repeated observation is worth much more!
One of my students comments "Signs & Seasons is well written, and in a way that isn't confusing."
We use these materials again as each of our younger children goes through high school.
+5points
5of 5voted this as helpful.
Review 5 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Date:February 17, 2012
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lyncham
Location:Albany, GA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
This would be a good book for middle school and elementary, but not for high school. It's more geared to those age groups - very simplistic for high school.
-5points
1of 7voted this as helpful.
Review 6 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 6, 2010
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Shortstack
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I love this book. Lots of outdoor activities and it is laid out in a simple but engrossing fashion. Best of all, my kids like it.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 7 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:August 31, 2010
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Kathy Sporleder-reitz
The only thing that has disappointed me with this book is everything is black and white. The content is great and easy to understand and is very informative. This will be a book that I will want to keep!!
+2points
2of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 8 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:July 17, 2009
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Amanda Bennett
With all of the attention on space this month, I thought that I would share an exciting curriculum discovery Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy, by Jay Ryan. For those of you with curious children and an interest in space, this book brings a practical and thorough answer to teaching them about astronomy in a way that they will always remember. No telescope required, just eyes and time and a desire to learn.This book presents a Biblical presentation of classical astronomy, using scripture and great illustrations with the lessons to clearly take the reader by the hand and learn about the signs and seasons and clockwork of the heavens. Great for a family project, this book also provides an independent 7-12th grader with an unforgettable course.Well written, Signs & Seasons provides a hands-on understanding of so many terms and ideas used in the study of astronomy. For high school students using this curriculum, Mr. Ryan has also developed Signs & Seasons: Field Journal and Test Manual, a Workbook for Establishing High School Credit. As an engineer, mom, and author, I can honestly say that this is a rare find for families that want to learn more about Gods heavens. I find myself reading through the pages and watching the sky at night more often these days. My thanks go to the author, Jay Ryan, for taking the time and writing this text for the up and coming generation of believers and seekers!
+5points
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Review 9 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 21, 2009
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Wes Callihan
For most of history, until the advent of electric lights, everyone knew the constellations, the names and paths of the stars and planets, and the phases of the moon; and they could roughly tell time by the stars as well as by the sun. Furthermore, throughout western history, astronomy was considered one of the seven liberal arts, a knowledge that was not only interesting but elevating like poetry and music, and intellectually strengthening like mathematics; and because of that, references to the heavens are everywhere in literature and poetry, and so we miss out on a large part of their meaning because we no longer know the heavens. The entire upper half of our vision when we're outdoors at night is terra incognita to us.It doesn't have to be that way. I've been teaching classical astronomy for many years, and Jay Ryan's Signs and Seasons is the best text I know of for those teaching at home who want to participate in this important part of our cultural heritage. Jay's fascinating and systematic presentation of the fundamentals of the heavens, his quotations from authors throughout history, and his clear and illuminating illustrations all serve to create interest as well as understanding. His supplementary materials go even further in helping the home teacher to lead their student through the process of understanding the heavens. Best of all, Jay's method and sequence of introducing the appropriate information reinforces the classical method of learning - that is, the process of studying astronomy through this text reinforces the development of clear understanding of particulars (grammar), a vigorous understanding of the connections between those particulars (logic), and a coherent expression of both (rhetoric). The text encourages reason as well as delight.
+5points
5of 5voted this as helpful.
Review 10 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 20, 2009
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Perla Sarmiento de Adams
Few months after its publication, I got a copy of Sign and Seasons. My intention was to use the book as a unit study in the homeschooling vacation. Being close to that time, I took it from the bookshelves, and oh no, I can not believe I leave this book all these months sleeping in the bookshelves. Signs and Seasons is one of the most well written books I have seen for homeschoolers. It takes you by the hand thru a new area for us twenty-one century citizens. Classical Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences and has been one of the most important subjects in all human history. The Classical Astronomy has been neglected by modern curriculums. This one tome curriculum is recommended for children 13 years and up, but is so well written and has many quotations from the Scriptures and ancient, medieval and modern authors. I am using it to read at loud to my four year old son. The book has also many illustrations, not the type to entertain children, the ones for learning. The book in addition to cover the major topics in classical astronomy has a large glossary of terms, short biographies of the quoted authors, and Field Activities. This is the kind of curriculum that you can study as a family, going all together to observe the night sky, dusting off your ability to observe and just enjoy God wonderful creation.
+4points
4of 4voted this as helpful.
Review 11 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 10, 2009
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Jean in Wisconsin
As soon as my copy of Signs and Seasons arrived, I started out reading rapidly through several chapters, but I soon snapped the book shut--and reopened it at the beginning; there was too much fascinating information in each chapter that I was going to miss if I continued dashing through the book!To be truthful with you, I was puzzled at first by the old script and ornate language Jay had used for the introductory pages. As I read, I found that they were modeled after the style of the old colonial almanacs which were written at a time when the knowledge of basic astronomy was more commonly known. From ancient times to the Colonial era, the average person knew much more about the rising and setting sun, the seasonal changes in the night sky, the phases of the moon, and the dance of the planets. It was not until we had the technology of modern times that people could live day to day without that knowledge. This book offers us a chance to learn and understand what our ancestors knewand more. Jay takes us step-by-step through classical astronomythe traditional and historical study of the cosmos that anyone with access to a clear night sky can learn. No expensive or fancy equipment is neededjust this text and a little time out of doors.Throughout the text, there are numerous illustrations to help us understand the concepts such as the tilt of the earth, the path of the sun, the seasonal changes of the constellations, the zodiac, equinoxes, and solstices. In the back of the book there is a section of field activitiesdozens of hands-on activities and instructions that direct the students to go outside and observe.This book could be used as a one or two semester class depending upon how much time was spent doing the field activities. This is a great introduction to the cosmos that I highly recommend!
+6points
6of 6voted this as helpful.
Review 12 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 12, 2008
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Trudy
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book in preparation for teaching an astronomy course to elementary students. While I did not do the experiments suggested, I was able to increase my understanding of the sky. It has been a great resource and has provided inspiration as to what to teach at the lower level. I would highly recommend it as an introductory book to anybody who wants to start learning astronomy as the ancients understood it.
+2points
2of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 13 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:June 3, 2008
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Kathleen
Signs & Seasons focuses on "Classical Astronomy," which is about getting to know the sky as opposed to the physics of the universe. Designed to be used without a telescope, it teaches how to observe the sky as the ancients once did.

What struck me right away was how beautifully it is written. The author discusses how human existence, until recently, has been connected to the changing rhythms and cycles of the sky. I was filled with a yearning to recover that intimacy.

Much of the text is devoted to vocabulary and the etymology of the terms used, referencing Greek, Latin and even Old English roots.

Several hundred illustrations make the concepts easy to comprehend. The field activities are interesting and clearly explained.

The end of the book contains a glossary, tables to help locate the constellations at different times of the year, a bibliography and an index.

This course, designed to be used with high schoolers, needs to be logged and documented because it does not fit easily into a "read a chapter, take the test" kind of schedule. Keep track of the hours spent studying and doing the field activities and then translate those hours into a high school credit. I am doing the course with my 9yo and 11yo, which requires a bit of tweaking, but so far it has not been a problem.

The overwhelming message of the book is that man has lost the familiarity he once had with God's heavenly creation. This was a natural consequence of inventing mechanical time keepers. Since we no longer *need* the sky to live our lives in a practical way, we no longer take notice of it. This course creates and satisfies a desire to know about the sky and its inhabitants. Acquiring this knowledge is necessary to consider oneself truly educated.
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.
Review 14 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:September 16, 2007
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Cindy Downes
My first impression when I picked up this curriculum was - how do I read this? The author uses fonts and text that emulate the style of Colonial Almanacks. Those of you who use a Classical method of homeschooling will feel quite at home; however, for those of us who do not, it presents a bit of a challenge. Once you get past the preface, however, a majority of the text is in a modern style. The text offers a complete study in astronomy as well as suggestions for further reading, astronomical tables, brief biographies of quoted authors "with an emphasis on their relevance to classical astronomy," a glossary, and field activities. The section on field activities presents ideas on creating a field journal, as well as many hands-on activities that will make the unit much more meaningful. For instance, in Chapter 1, you will create a backyard compass which will be used throughout the year for observing the skies. There are also instructions on how to sketch the earth's rotation, and the sun's daily motion. A globe activity helps students understand the geocentric and heliocentric theory. Directions for creating a volvelle to illustrate the daily motion of the sun are included as well as a journal entry suggestion for a classical astronomy time line. Also included is a pair of Eclipse Shades for safe solar viewing. I heartily recommend this book to those who enjoy the Classical method of homeschooling as well as those who desire to give their children an in-depth look at astronomy from a Biblical perspective.
+4points
4of 4voted this as helpful.
Review 15 for Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:August 12, 2007
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Paula
Jay Ryan does and outstanding job of explaining astronomy in terms simple enough for anyone to understand!! I am very impressed with this easy-to-understand, God honoring book. Jay Ryan has a passion for astronomy and for giving God the glory He deserves. There are plenty of hands on field activities to reinforce the info in each chapter. The field activities can also be counted towards high school credits if you home school. This is the BEST astronomy book I've seen!
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.