If you’re new to homeschooling, The Winkle, or you just want to know more about what STEM means – you’ve come to the right place. Let’s start right from the basics.
What is STEM, and what does STEM stand for?
STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM education is the study of those subjects. You might have seen another acronym, STEAM, which includes art. So should you use STEM or STEAM? Most people just use STEM, but either is acceptable and recognizable.
What are the benefits of STEM education?
STEM is all about problem solving. The subjects of STEM are based in experimentation, trial and error. Learning STEM – in early years, especially – lays the foundation for critical thinking, problem solving, and inventing. In addition to developing critical thinking skills, STEM is important because the learning benefits also include boosting a child’s confidence and increasing their desire to learn. Solving problems and completing projects is satisfying for them, especially if they are able to do so independently.
This works best when STEM is taught through project-based learning, where children are given the opportunity to work through experiments hands-on. Unfortunately, with many schools focused on standardized testing and letter grades, this experience-based learning is often rushed or cut out entirely.
How can you encourage your kids to learn STEM at home?
The good news is that STEM is everywhere, and there are endless STEM learning resources available. You don’t have to become a homeschool expert overnight, and learning STEM doesn’t even have to feel like school at all. Try simple STEM activities, like making a DIY sundial or a DIY pan flute using straws. Or, make it even more simple by building a tower using buttons or straws, or a zipline with supplies you have at home. Getting kids to practice STEM at home doesn’t have to be hard. Most of the time, it’ll feel more like play!
If you’re still overwhelmed, that’s okay. The world of STEM can be a lot to take in. And if you’re anything like me, at this point you’re thinking “Who has the time?” That’s where The Winkle comes in. I design four DIY-style STEM projects for kids each month, with video tutorials to accompany each project so adults can be hands-off while the kids are hands-on and work with minimal (or no!) supervision. You can see all the projects on my website or YouTube channel.
To make your life even easier, I created The Winkle Crate. The Winkle Crate is my STEM subscription box for kids. I gather all the supplies needed for all four projects and send them right to your door every month. Choose which project you want to do first, hit play on the video instructions, and that’s it. No trips to the store for supplies, no need to explain gravity or potential energy or Newton’s laws of physics to your kids – it’s all done for you. Subscribe and see how easy (and fun!) learning STEM can be.
I hope you got some clarification and inspiration about the importance of STEM and what you can do to help your child benefit from STEM education. For more STEM resources and information, head to thewinkle.com.