How to Teach Your Homeschooler About the Total Solar Eclipse

Get ready to witness a celestial spectacle! The upcoming solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 promises an awe-inspiring experience for sky gazers across the United States. In this guide, we bring you everything you need to incorporate the eclipse into your homeschool science curriculum. 

We will delve into the basics of a solar eclipse, where and when to catch this astronomical event, safety tips for viewing, and an engaging hands-on science activity designed for elementary science education.

Understanding the Solar Eclipse

What Is A Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and Earth, blocking the sunlight and casting a shadow on our planet. This incredible event showcases an awe-inspiring alignment of celestial bodies. 

When Do Solar Eclipses Happen?

The April 2024 eclipse will be visible across several states, creating a unique learning opportunity for homeschooling families interested in science and astronomy.

Total solar eclipses, where the moon completely covers the sun, are relatively rare. The last total solar eclipse visible in the United States occurred on August 21, 2017. The next total solar eclipse visible from the United States after April 8, 2024, will take place on August 23, 2044. This eclipse will be visible primarily from the central and eastern parts of the United States.

Solar vs. Lunar Eclipse

As stated before, a solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between the Sun and Earth, blocking the sunlight and casting a shadow on our planet. This makes the sky go dark for a short time. 

On the other hand, a lunar eclipse occurs when Earth comes between the Sun and the moon, casting its shadow on the moon. During a lunar eclipse, the moon can turn a reddish color, often called a ‘blood moon.’ Lunar eclipses are more common than solar eclipses. So, in simple terms, during a solar eclipse, the moon covers the Sun, and during a lunar eclipse, Earth covers the moon.

Where & When to Watch

The 2024 solar eclipse will be visible along a path stretching from the southwest to the northeast of the United States, passing through states such as Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, and Vermont. Key cities in its trajectory include Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Buffalo. 

Families in these areas can plan a special outing to witness this celestial phenomenon on Monday, April 8. Even if you’re not directly in the path of totality, you’ll still be able to experience a partial eclipse from most areas of the United States. 

The exact times for the beginning and end of the 2024 solar eclipse as it enters and leaves the United States will vary depending on the specific location along the path of totality. However, generally, the eclipse will start as it enters the US around midday (local time) on April 8, 2024, and it will end as it leaves the US in the afternoon. To find the precise details for your location, refer to 2024 Total Eclipse: Where & When – NASA Science.

Safety First

It’s crucial to emphasize the importance of safe viewing practices during a solar eclipse. Directly looking at the sun can cause severe eye damage. Please use certified solar viewing glasses, pinhole projectors, or solar viewing boxes to observe the eclipse safely. 

Emphasize the significance of protecting your eyes while enjoying this extraordinary event. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to discuss safety measures with children, teaching them the importance of safeguarding their vision during such special occasions. Check HERE to see if your solar glasses are safe. 

Hands-On Science Activity: Create Your Own Eclipse

Make the solar eclipse a memorable educational experience with a fun hands-on activity. Here’s a simple experiment that will help your elementary homeschoolers understand the mechanics of an eclipse:


  • Small flashlight (representing the sun)
  • Tennis ball (representing the Earth)
  • Ping pong ball (representing the moon)


  • Position the tennis ball (Earth) on a flat surface.
  • Shine the flashlight (sun) directly on the tennis ball.
  • Hold the ping pong ball (moon) between the tennis ball and the flashlight, creating a shadow on the Earth.

This activity visually demonstrates how a solar eclipse occurs and provides a tangible way for kids to grasp the concept.

Have Fun & Enjoy the Eclipse

As you gear up for the 2024 solar eclipse, let the wonder of the cosmos enrich your homeschooling journey. Engage your children in this celestial event, fostering a love for science and exploration. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to create lasting memories and deepen your understanding of the universe.

Want to learn more about the mysteries of space? Explore the wonders of the Earth, Moon, & Stars with Little Monsters Universe’s space unit – “What Lies Beyond?” Our homeschool science resources are tailored for elementary students, promoting hands-on learning and inquiry-based exploration. Elevate your homeschooling experience with LMU – where science becomes an exciting journey for your little monsters! 

Explore, Create, Learn! 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is a total Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely covers the sun, blocking its light and casting a shadow on Earth. 

2. When is the solar eclipse happening?

The next solar eclipse is happening on April 8, 2024.

3. Where can I see the solar eclipse?

The path of totality, where you can see the total eclipse, will stretch from Texas to Maine, passing through states like Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, and Vermont. It will also pass through parts of Mexico and Canada.


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