The Importance of STEM

 
The Importance of STEM
 
 
Have you heard of STEM?  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – and based on reading other homeschooling blogs, and talking to other homeschoolers – subjects that are not taught, or taught very basically.  As homeschoolers we are in the perfect position to teach these subjects peacefully ad respectfully through fun and exploration – rather than out of obligation.  Through interest, our kids can really shine and stand up and out in this area.  Unfortunately, we (as a whole) don’t, and we need to.

 
 

Want some sad news?  Okay, I got it for you.

According to the National Science and Math Initiative, 69% of American High School graduates are not ready for college level science.  In fact in 2013 only 44% of high school graduates are ready for college level math, and only 39% are ready for college level science.  Why is this important?  The decline in the elementary and secondary stages, causes a decrease in graduation in higher education.  If these kids get to college, less are graduating with college degrees in the STEM fields.

Why is that important?  The STEM disciplines drive our economy.  The United States is losing to places like China and Japan – not because of cheating, not because of stealing, but because of the failure of our educational and support systems.  Our students are not prepared and they are not encouraged – and maybe they are not even given the option.

Let’s look at some hard numbers.
 

  • In 2008 4% of BA degrees were awarded in Engineering compared to 31% in China.
  • In 2008 31% of BA degrees were awarded in the fields of Science and Technology compared to 61% in Japan and 51% in China.

 
We gotta step it up.
 
 

What Do We Have to Do?

 
I can see the comments now.  You can’t make your kids do science or math.  No, you can’t.  But you can encourage your children by…
 

  • Not telling them/reinforcing that negative thinking that they are terrible in Math.  Hello?
  • Teaching higher level math.  Maybe they are good artists, but who knows, they may like calculus.  You never know.  The only thing it’s going to do is open up the possibilities for them.
  • If you have math fear or phobia, find alternative programs or homeschool Mom to teach your child.
  • Teach your children biology.  Teach them chemistry.  Teach them physics.  It’s gotta be more than the experiments.  They need to learn the principles.
  • Attend STEM summer programs.
  • Summer internships (consider those that are unpaid) will give your child the opportunity to experience life as a scientist.
  • Here is a great free STEM expo in DC in April.  All kinds and types of well know scientists and mathematicians will be present.  Wanna get on a bus and come to DC?  This is the time to do it.  This is worth it.  It’s for your child’s future.  There will be a wealth of information and excitement for the kids, including information about summer programs, and before and after school programs.

 

We can’t make our kids do things they don’t want to do.  I know first hand.  I grew up in science, I was educated in science, I did science through graduate school and by the time I got to graduate school – didn’t enjoy it.  But I had learned ad grown so much through the experience.  I did some really great things along the way, discovered things and opened doors for myself that wouldn’t have opened otherwise. When I decided I wanted to go a different way, I went different way.    I am me and my kids are different people.  I see no problem with encouraging and exploring the options.  That includes everything.  I hate art, but it doesn’t mean they are not exposed.  They take classes, we do it here (even thought I despise it and don’t know how to draw or paint myself).   They can then decide what they want to do.   They have their own minds and hearts.  It’s about exposure.

 
 
 
 
 

I am really excited about the STEM expo.  Even if  I have to bring the kids by myself on a Saturday, I’m going to do it – because it’s worth it.  What do you think?

 

Lisa
<muscle-up-meals
About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

Comments

  1. Although I don’t homeschool, I live in a very good school district that uses the STEAM program, which adds art to the mix. I agree that our children really need to focus on these areas of learning so that the US can stay competitive and our children can become whatever they would like to be. Having a first year middle schooler, I’ve been impressed with what he is learning. Luckily, he also really likes math and is beginning to like science much more from his STEAM classes. In our grade school they also emphasize reading, math and science and I’ve also been impressed with that school. The younger they are exposed, the better. Good luck with your homeschooling STEM program!
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    • you are absolutely right. The developmental age is important. When you are five, you shouldn’t be learning about how a signal is taken from the cell surface to the nucleus. You want to keep them interested – and wanting to learn more. That’s the trick! I am very interested to go to the symposium so that I can find cool summer programs for the kids. Even if it’s a week.

      Art and music is a must have. I think that’s where the schools fail the students. Art and music are musts. Math is a must. Reading is a must. With all the time kids spend with sports after school, I don’t think PE is a must. They need it, but they don’t need it every semester of every year. Let’s look at the priorities. If someone is in band, they don’t need a music class. Art is necessary. Must have art every semester of every year preschool-highschool. It’s a must!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!
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  2. We just this morning went for an interesting computer STEM bird-walk. I got an email from Discovery education with this link in it: navystemfortheclassroom dot com We ended up watching all sorts of Navy videos. My son Eli *loved* the aircraft carrier stuff. In fact, I explained what STEM meant and why it was important to learn in those areas. The site talks about all the up & coming STEM jobs by 2020… right about the time our kids will be employable.

    Thanks for the tips. I *hated* math, and I often say, “Ask Dad/brother/sister” when it comes to helping with math. I needed the check in my own attitude. Something to work on!
    Shecki recently posted…Hands on homeschooling with a cement mixerMy Profile

    • Wow, it sounds like an in interesting day. I would love those links. I think the kids would enjoy all of those sites.

      We can’t force anything – but with exposure, you don’t know what the kids will love. I really feel that homeschool kids are really suited for these areas (if they like them). They are hard working, self motivated, eager to learn and to grow. They have great critical thinking skills – naturally. They are perfect.

      Math is one of those things. I think you either hate it or you love it. For me, I was neither here nor there. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t want to concentrate on it either. I was good at it, but not great. I could understand some of the abstract concepts but not all. There is no harm in asking for help – you know? That’s what I do for art. I’m like – hey, can let’s do a split. You do art with my kids, and I will teach math all day long :).

      Thanks so much for stopping by – and keeping STEMMING!
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  3. Yes, yes, yes, yes. There are so many great resources out there. As a former software developer (who by the way, never did well at math), STEM is so important. Sharing, of course. 🙂 Have a super duper week!
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