Homeschool STEM doesn’t have to be hard to implement. Here are some easy ways to make it work in your lessons.
STEM education has become a necessity in recent years, and with great reason. While our society is becoming more and more advanced in technology, careers are more focused on skills in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields.
While it is great to be aware of the need for these skills in the job market as traditional school places high regard, keep in mind that they are spending countless dollars on computers, iPads, tablets, smartboards, and other STEM programs. The high regard for STEM and the measures taken to make sure kids are learning it in the classroom may leave many homeschoolers feeling overwhelmed and like we can not keep up with all the advances.
There are numerous simple ways that we can add STEM education into our homeschool. Not only is STEM education important for possible future careers, but it is fun and helps breathe life back into your homeschool when it is feeling a bit mundane.
Homeschool STEM Instruction
STEM education provides a foundation in critical thinking and problem-solving. Therefore even if your child doesn’t plan to pursue a career centered in STEM, they will still reap benefits from STEM education.
STEM can seem intimidating, both in terms of the subjects and resources, but there are numerous ways to incorporate STEM into your homeschool. Take a deep breath and jump in, grab a paper and pen to make lists, and start planning ways to integrate STEM into your homeschool. You will not regret it.
Teaching STEM through Books
One of the simplest ways to begin adding STEM learning to your homeschool is through BOOKS! Yes, STEM-themed books are a great way to get started. You can read STEM-themed books with babies and toddlers. As well as older children. It is a great way to introduce STEM to you and your children.
You can set this up as a book club part of a homeschool co-op or simple through read-aloud or independent reading. You can find STEM-themed literature at various reading levels, and even at your local library. They don’t need to be non-fiction literature to get STEM ideas flowing.
We recently read The Vanderbeeker’s of 141st Street, and it inspired STEM learning when reading about the lemon electricity experiment.
Teaching STEM through Hands-on Experiences
Another great way to get your children excited about homeschool STEM learning is through hands-on experiences. One way to do this is to throw yourself into hands-on experiments and play.
Hands-on experiences can also include hands-on children’s or science museums in your area. Purchasing or being gifted a membership to a museum that is STEM-based can be an invaluable addition to your homeschool. Many of these facilities have exhibits in which students and parents can explore monthly or weekly, including unique offerings such as classes, clubs, demonstrations, and even summer camps.
You can also check out your local tech stores, such as Microsoft and Apple, which provide courses and summer camps that help teach STEM-based skills.
Teaching STEM through Kits
STEM-based kits are another great way to spark your child’s interest in STEM learning. If you feel like you need more support in teaching STEM in your homeschool, these STEM-based kits supply the materials as well as detailed instructions and explanations to fun and exciting projects. STEM-based kits make hands-on STEM learning easy to navigate, especially with more complex endeavors.
Teaching STEM through Tinkering and Makerspace
Play provides an excellent outlet for imagination. It is also a great way to encourage STEM thought processes and help kids see how fun and engaging STEM can be.
Try encouraging children to build with LEGO bricks, bake and cook in the kitchen, encourage taking things apart (within reason), make something from spare parts, and let their creativity run wild.
Allowing your children to create, tinker, and explore ideas in their environment is a great way to provide STEM learning. Creating a Makerspace in your home or finding one at your local museum or university is another great alternative to playing with STEM.
Some places provide tinkering workshops, but it is possible to do this on your own, allowing and making tinkering time a priority. If your child has ideas of what to build, let them do it. If they are having trouble or if you are looking for a little structure to begin to try Makerspace task cards.
Teaching Homeschool STEM through Solving Real-Life Problems
Using STEM to solve real-life problems is another great way to embrace homeschool STEM learning.
Numerous organizations and competitions bring pupils together to solve the problems of the world. Maybe your child has a passion for solving or contributing to solving a real-world problem like environmental protection.
Researching problems and solutions while trying to come up with your own is a great option to spark your child’s interest in STEM learning.
STEM education does not mean that you provide all the answers; it does mean that you and your child can brainstorm and experiment with different potential solutions. Project-based learning is another excellent way to find meaningful problems for your child to explore everyday problems can be solved with a little STEM-inspired thinking.
Teaching STEM through Career Development
Finding ways to explore careers based in STEM is another great way to inspire homeschool STEM learning. Showing how STEM can be applied to the real world and displaying how useful these skills are is eye-opening for children.
Since homeschoolers drum to their own beat, our children are not restricted to traditional school hours. Therefore, they can make time for volunteer work, shadowing someone in a STEM-based career, or even participating in an internship. This opportunity can really spark a love for STEM and be an amazing learning opportunity.
You Can Teach Homeschool STEM
STEM sounds overwhelming and insurmountable to incorporate into your homeschool, but you can do it simply but slowly by adopting some of the ideas presented in this article. Start slowly and keep it fun and engaging. I am sure you and your children will be falling head over heels in love with STEM learning and all that it provides.