America’s public schools are struggling to teach STEM subjects. About 1 in 1,000 students have the privilege of attending a STEM-focused public high school. Homeschoolers, however, have the opportunity to provide a STEM-focused education from day one of their child’s education.
1. Use high-quality products produced by companies around the world.
Homeschoolers have the freedom to choose from hundreds of different curriculum from a variety of sources. We don’t have to limit ourselves to the big companies that produce curriculum for public schools but get to choose from a variety of curriculum providers and tailor our child’s education towards their interests. As a homeschooler you can get all kinds of great curriculum online. YouTube has a number of great educational channels that cover STEM subjects. Your children get entertained and learn something at the same time! Of course, there are also wonderful apps you can find to enhance your homeschooling experience.
2. Don’t teach, demonstrate!
I can tell you from personal experience that my children learn more when they’re getting their hands dirty than if they read a book or have to listen to my wife or me “teach” a lesson. Many of the principles of STEM subjects are best observed rather than memorized. For example, the other day I was watching a NASCAR race and my son asked how many laps were in the race. I told him they were racing on a 1½-mile oval and we worked out the math to figure out how many laps a driver needed to take in order to complete the race (333 laps). Bam! Homeschooling math with NASCAR!
3. Re-think the science fair.
The only science fair I remember entering was when I was in elementary school. I did something with sandwiches. I can’t even remember what I was trying to demonstrate. Needless to say, no blue ribbon was awarded for my stale sandwich display. Most science fairs are boring! Instead, homeschoolers should look for ways to demonstrate creativity and innovation in their fairs. Get together with other homeschooling families, pick a theme, and direct your children to meet specific goals. Leave the baking soda volcanoes and rockets for the hands-on exercises and get creative!
Homeschoolers have a unique opportunity to provide innovative and creative ways to teach STEM subjects. What are some ways you’re breaking the mold and teaching STEM subjects to your children?
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects are widely considered the most important subjects in schools today. With manufacturing jobs moving overseas, our children need skills that will help them compete in a job market that demands highly-skilled individuals.
STEM-focused education can give our children a leg up on their competition in college and as homeschoolers if we see they have an interest in a certain STEM subject we can tailor their education to those interests.
Here are some interesting stats you’ll find in the interactive infographic linked below:
- Boys are more interested in all STEM subjects than girls
- Engineering has the largest gap with 33.6% more boys saying they’re interested in the subject
- 17.9% more boys say they’re good at science
Explore the graphic below and see if your homeschooled boys and girls compare to those in public school.
Do you focus on STEM subjects in your homeschool?
Astronomy is a fun and challenging hobby. Learning about the night sky puts us in touch with the motions of the universe. Time, seasons, and more are all associated with the night sky and learning about our planet’s position in the solar system and universe will help you and your children to understand how the great explorers could navigate the world centuries ago.
Getting started with astronomy used to be difficult. You’d have to get your hands on star charts or at least a Farmer’s Almanac to familiarize yourself with the night sky. Now, there are tools available in the palm of your hand that can help you learn about our vast universe.
REDMOND, Wash. — March 19, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of the Imagine Cup Kodu Challenge, a new Microsoft Imagine Cup competition that offers aspiring game developers, ages 9 to 18, the opportunity to learn coding by developing a video game with Kodu, an easy-to-learn, game-creation toolkit and programming language available for free download on Windows-based PCs. Microsoft has drawn on the expertise of Mercy Corps and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop to launch this new challenge as part of Imagine Cup, Microsoft’s student technology skills development program and competition.
“Microsoft developed Kodu to transform programming from a skill perceived as overly difficult to grasp to one that is fun and kid-friendly,” said Scott Fintel, producer for Kodu at Microsoft. “By getting students interested in game design at an early age through Imagine Cup, it’s our hope they will acquire new skills that will translate into a lifelong passion for computer programming and computer science and will encourage them to explore STEM-related careers in the future.”
The Kodu Challenge runs from March 19 through May 17, 2013, and invites students in two age brackets (9–12 and 13–18) to design games on the Kodu platform. For this challenge, participants will explore the relationships between water and people through the medium of Kodu video games. Although the only limits for these kids are their imaginations, the partnership with Mercy Corps offers the chance to learn and explore water-related issues, including disaster relief, clean-water engineering projects and much more, through a video series on the Kodu Challenge website. While acquiring valuable skills such as critical thinking, storytelling and programming, students in both age brackets will compete for first-place prizes of US$3,000, second-place prizes of US$2,000 and third-place prizes of US$1,000.