One of my greatest pleasures as an unschooling parent is watching my kids, of their own accord, work on activities that fall under a STEM category. Just because I know how highly valued they are in the education world, and are something that drives parents to feel they need to put their children in school—because who would do math if they weren’t forced to?
I’ll tell you who: everyone. This probably sounds so disparaging when I say it, but I need you to understand that my children are not prodigies. Like I am amazed every day by them, but I am also aware that you can be amazed by your children in exactly the same way. My ten year old coded a choose your own adventure word game, and it’s advanced enough that when he had an issue I had to call my university educated coder brother to help him. My six year old took vinegar and baking soda outside to watch it fizz, then started adding new substances (like cinnamon) to see if they would react too.
And here’s something my eight year old did (see feature photo). He wanted to make a flip toy, so he grabbed some Meccano and got to work. At first he only had one leg, and it was even on both sides. I suggested making it uneven, and we realized that the short end had to be shorter than the length of the leg. That worked but it was hard to balance. So he made two legs, realizing that now it wouldn’t need to be uneven if he followed the “shorter than the leg” principle. Later he came back to me with a design improvement: he’d put rubber feet on it so that it would be better able to land upright (which then would be the goal of play).
Are you thinking about unschooling and worried about STEM? Yeah, don’t be.