STEM Learning: lego building classes, homemade experiments, and pre-made kits.
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As soon as I mention that we homeschool/funschool/unschool our kids we get a mixed reaction. Some people are immediately curious and pick your brain for ideas and thoughts. Others are skeptical and exclaim, “how do you do it?” Honestly, I ask myself that question daily. There are so many ups and downs. And finding the information and how to convey it can be so difficult at times. Fortunately in our modern day homeschool world we have a ton of “helps” that make homeschool learning easy and fun. Because learning should be just that!
Recently, there has been a huge push to teach kids, especially girls, to participate in STEM activities and learning. STEM is an acronym that stands for: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Frankly these are all things that are difficult for me to teach without my kids totally checking out. Not to mention coming up with age appropriate and materials that will inspire a fascination of these subjects is difficult. But because girls specifically are under represented in these fields I want to encourage mine to engage in STEM specific activities. But I need help to get it right. Here are some things that have really inspired learning and made my job a lot easier.
Lego Building Classes
When we were kids my siblings and I could spend hours creating and building with Legos. We didn’t know back then how educational this activity was. And we didn’t know that my brother would grow up to be a mechanical engineer and designer. Or that it would inspire me to take CAD classes and design timber homes with our Dad. Certainly I didn’t foresee using lego building classes as a way to teach my daughters about STEM.
Yet here we are with a foundational knowledge thanks to building with Lego. It got us so excited as kids about the things we could create and learning just followed suit. Previously I explained how there are programs to increase the learning factor. One new company is really increasing awareness of lego building classes and how they are effective learning for our kids. Snapology is a young franchise opportunity and business that teaches lego building classes to youth. Not only are they constantly creating new materials they have a panel of experts behind them making the learning really work. It is programs like this that really aid in teaching our kids at home and in general. Making it an investment into your child’s education and part of their curriculum. Plus, I get to sit back and learn from professionals and incorporate these techniques at home. As a huge supporter of “playing is learning,” I believe it really should be fun and engaging.
My kiddos are at an age where sensory activities are king. They want to be hands on and going for it all the time. Because of this I am constantly utilizing opportunities to create science experiments. Our exploration has covered the 5 senses, food science, magnetics, electricity, and others. Experimentation is messy and you can do a lot of activities with things at home. My kids are young enough that just showing them a basic experiment gets them asking questions. One thing I have found while teaching is that lecturing and giving lots of material doesn’t work. Student led questions and curiosity stick and if you can get their minds thinking they will connect the dots. Never underestimate the power of a cool experiment at home. Something you might think is basic, like vinegar and baking soda might open a whole new world for your kid. And if you don’t know the science behind the experiment look it up together. Being a homeschool Mom I am constantly learning new things! Learn together, it’s a family affair.
One of my friends and I were talking about homeschooling and she told me I made it look all put together. Honestly, that is so far from reality. We are flying by the seat of our pants most days. What makes it “look” like I have things working and makes those days that I just can’t get it all done happen are pre-made kits. My big piece of advice to so many people starting homeschooling is don’t try to do it all yourself. It’s so easy to get burnt out and want to sit down in a ball and cry. Real life folks.
A favorite kit of ours is the Tinker Crate it comes monthly to your doorstep and includes activities that increase creativity and exploration. It has been awesome to see my kids start to connect the dots and problem solve with the kit. Plus, I don’t have to put it together. Sometimes I put it away for a rainy day so I can pull it out like a boss Mom when I really need it. And POOF we are learning again. Serious lifesaver to have back up learning kits at your fingertips. The company offers a range of different levels of boxes as well from early childhood to teen. Definitely put all the cards in your favor and you will “look” like you are the parent of the year. In reality you just know how to utilize the tools that are waiting for you to run with them. (LINK BELOW)
GIVEAWAY:LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot Sebastian Gator
Now that I have given away all my secrets. I am excited to announce our GIVEAWAY of a LEGO® Sebastian Gator! Let’s get you started on the path to learning about STEM with your kiddos. What better way than to get you some tools to let their imagination bloom? Please remember that if you are selected as our winner you must reply within 24 hours or we will have to choose another recipient.
ENTER BELOW WITH THE RAFFLECOPTER! I hope YOU win!
Note: recommended age is 6+ for this prize.