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Do you have a kid who likes to take things apart like vacuum cleaners, kitchen appliances, toys, bicycles and then put them back together? Do you have a kid who builds complex LEGO® models without using the enclosed plans? Do you have a kid who likes to try things just to see what happens? Do you have a kid who can solve a word problem in an instant, like how much is 20% off this item? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might have a blossoming engineer, chemist, biologist, physicist, or mathematician. These types of students will naturally be drawn to these subjects and flavoring your homeschool curriculum with S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) might be something to consider.
Did you recently realize the school you might have had your child in wasn’t really addressing basic academic needs? That’s what happened to me and it was one of the reasons I decided to homeschool. Math and Science are so weak in American schools these days, more and more foreign students are filling S.T.E.M. careers, taking innovation and technology out of our hands to other countries. Is this a good thing for the future of our children? I didn’t think so.
You also may have found that the school you had your student in is more invested in teaching what to think rather than how to think. Teaching your student how to think is a primary goal in curriculum flavored with S.T.E.M. subjects.
S.T.E.M topics are subjects that homeschooling parents often find intimidating. I know this because it was how I felt when my student started middle school years. I had a student who knew in the fourth grade (and probably earlier) he wanted to go into engineering. Physics, chemistry, alchemy, robotics, biology, mathematics, are subjects many of us struggled with as students, so how can we imagine teaching these at home to our children?
You start with a traditional education. I used a traditional education format in my homeschool that was heavily influenced with S.T.E.M. Traditional education is the basics like the three “R’s”, Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. With a traditional education, things build upon each other, giving context to all subjects. You flavor the basics with the S.T.E.M. subjects your student is interested in.
Middle school is the perfect time to introduce S.T.E.M. subjects. Middle school is that age where the magic of childhood is present but adjusting to the adult side of life. The middle school years are the years when a student discovers the things they are really good at and what they really like to do.
Some subjects to consider are physics, basic chemistry, alchemy, basic biology, astronomy, robotics, and computer programming. I included all of these in the curriculum I developed for my student. My student went into Aerospace engineering and works in that industry today. Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering behind the design, construction, and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is a specialty field in Mechanical engineering.
About The Author:
Amy Cortez is the author of Developing a Traditional S.T.E.M. Education: Middle School. She is a homeschool veteran who educated her student at home from elementary school to middle school through high school to a top ten engineering university. Her recently published book Developing a Traditional S.T.E.M. Education: Middle School shares how she accomplished the middle school years. Complete with the curriculum and all of the resources she used, and examples of the necessary documents she generated.
Additional S.T.E.M. Resources: