Thursday, May 15, 2014

Star Chronicles: A Bible Based Study of the Stars {A Review}

Star Chronicles: A Bible-Based Study of the Stars by Dawnita Fogleman is a unit study on the constellations and Bible prophecy. She did this study with her own children to get to the truth of the stars. They scrap-booked their way through the stars as she researched, focusing on the Biblical instead of the mythological.  
When I was debating joining in on this launch team the following information helped me decide this sounded like a great study:

"What this book is NOT:  It is NOT a book of zodiac, astrology, or horoscopes.  You will find NOTHING of the kind in these page.  There are references to myths and legends and they are clearly stated as such for historical purposes only."

God is the creator of the stars, but as Christians we don't want to get focused on anything mystical regarding them. God placed them in the sky to serve as signs, but warned his people not to be led to worship them, but because of the majesty of His creation we are properly led to a true awe and worship of his wonderful power. So, the question I had to ask is, "Is it right to be studying the stars as a Christian." God himself knows them by name and has placed them in the heavens as signs, so it appears that he would want us to be familiar with them. Obviously, as I am writing this review, you know how I answered my question.

The book begins with the text of Psalm 8, reminding us of God's majesty and our minute-ness, our insignificance as compared to the greatness of the universe. Yet, even though we are small in the grand scheme of things, God loves us and has given us dominion over his creation. We had the opportunity to go to the Creation Museum while we were studying this book and we made sure to make time for the planetarium. While viewing the vastness of the universe in this amazing program I could definitely feel how the psalmist did. While we were watching we tried to find the constellations we were studying, it was a wonderful opportunity for the children to see the relevance of what we were learning. 

The author has organized the book so that each constellation she focuses on also has "partners"  which are similar to what she found in the book "The Witness of the Stars" by Dr. E.W. Bullinger. These are the main constellations focused on in the book:

  • Virgo (Virgin and Bride)
  • Libra (Justice and Balance)
  • Scorpio (Sting of Death)
  • Sagittarius (Archer)
  • Capricorn (Goat)
  • Aquarius (Water Bearer)
  • Pisces (Fish)
  • Aries (the Lamb)
  • Taurus (the Bull)
  • Gemini (Twins) 
  • Cancer (Resurrection)
  • Leo (Lion)
Each constellation has its own chapter, in which you will also study the "partner" constellations and how they relate to each other. I found this quite fascinating, though at times there seemed like there was a bit of a jump.

The book includes information about each constellation and related Bible verses. The author describes the constellation and what each part represents, sometimes focusing on a specific star in the constellation, other times just the constellation as a whole. Each part has at least one verse to go with it, describing how it is related to Biblical prophecy.  Then there are star charts to show what the constellation looks like, plus an illustration. In addition, you will find extras in the back of the book so you can tailor your study as you would like to. 

There are:
Notebooking Pages:

Lapbooking pages (with images of the star charts in a size that will work better on lapbooks):


Coloring pages (full page images of the illustrations):

I was a bit overwhelmed when I started reading the book. There are no clear instructions on how to put a study together beyond suggesting putting together a scrapbook. It is left to the parent to decide how much or how little of the information to share with your children. I mean, the instructions do give different ideas for different age groups, "Elementary and Special Needs," "Tweens," and "Youth." However, once I got into reading each chapter it is just a matter of reading the information and coloring pictures and having the children write some of the information down to go with each constellation. 

At first I wasn't quite sure how much information I wanted the children to focus on. At the end of each section there is a picture of the star chart and the drawing representation of the constellation grouping. I had the older girls color the drawing and cut them both out. Then they glued them to construction paper rectangles and arranged them on a piece of cardstock with the name of the constellation.

I then focused on the different Bible verses that are included. I read them along with any information about how they related to the constellation or specific star. I then found an image on Google images to go with each verse, for them to color.  I typed out the verse, leaving out some of the words for them to fill in. 

They arranged the pictures and the verses on facing pages which I then taped together.

I then added an extension strip that I hole-punched so that I could place it in the folder and have it open flat.

While the older girls were putting together their Star Chronicles Folder Scrapbook, the younger children were coloring the coloring sheets.

There is also a list of references and suggestions for continued study in the back of the book.

While I was enjoying this study, I am afraid it was over the girls' heads. I think this study would be better for families that have older children and would like their younger children to tag along using the coloring sheets or doing a lapbook. That would help keep the younger children involved while the older students could dig deeper. I am actually putting this study aside to do with the children when they get a bit older. I do have some reservations regarding the way the author seemed to stretch to reach the connection between Biblical prophecy and the constellations. However, it is a great jumping off point to start studying and trying to get to the bottom of the stars.

You can purchase Star Chronicles: A Bible Based Study of the Stars in PDF version or a physical copy.
Paperback is available at CreateSpace for $25
PDF version is available from Fogleman Forerunner for $12

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