STEM Fields Resources for Parents/Guardians

Help your children to become outstanding students (“Stars”) so that they will be positioned to go on to become leaders in STEM fields of endeavor (“Docs”).

Why should parents and guardians encourage STEM learning?

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Preparing your child or children for STEM leadership careers is a good idea. Strong academic preparation in STEM is one of the best assets a child can carry into adulthood to secure opportunities for important, rewarding, highly regarded, and well-compensated employment in the twenty-first-century economy. Physicians (medical doctors), dentists, engineers (mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, structural, etc.), professors, mathematicians, statisticians, architects, and other professionals work in STEM subjects. A solid foundation in middle and high school math, science, and English is required for successful entry into those fields.

Suggestions for parents/guardians of Preschool children

There is no better time than before first grade to cultivate a child’s interest in STEM. Reading to preschool children can spark their interest in learning to read and help them expand their attention span. Regular (e.g. weekly) library visits to get age-appropriate books to read to your child or children are a good habit. Most librarians will gladly assist you in finding age-appropriate children’s books on science, math, engineering, medicine, and other STEM disciplines.

Although it is easy to occupy preschool children with screens (TV, computer, or phone, etc.), excessive screen time may impair a child’s capacity to learn in classroom settings. To engage children’s attention, screen entertainment for young children often includes brilliant colors, catchy tunes, and lighting effects. Excessive screen use may cause youngsters to be less patient and less attentive in school. Khan Academy Kids is one of the few free screen-based programs designed actually to teach preschool children meaningful and valuable information. (www.khanacademykids.org).

Here are two articles explaining easy ways to encourage STEM learning in young children:

Engaging Preschoolers in STEM: It’s Easier Than You Think!

How to Get Your Children Interested in STEM

Suggestions for parents/guardians of Elementary and Middle school students

From first grade through high school, children should improve their math, science, and English skills in order to understand increasingly complicated and abstract ideas and information. Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org), a free online education service, is an excellent free resource for elementary and middle school children (and their parents/guardians). Khan Academy assists students in developing a solid understanding of math and science subjects. Salmon Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, has stated that far too often, after finishing a topic, children have “Swiss cheese knowledge” of the subject (i.e., holes in their knowledge). The objective of Khan Academy (for kids in preschool through high school) is to assist pupils in building solid MASTERY of subjects.

Every mathematics subject from first grade through first-year college is taught on the free Khan Academy website (www.khanacademy.org/math). Full courses in arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, calculus, statistics and probability, and advanced calculus are all available at Khan Academy. Each subject is presented in a series of relatively short (three to ten-minute) videos, with each video explaining a specific concept. Khan Academy also offers a “challenge quiz” at the end of each math class to assess students’ mastery of the information taught in the class. Parents/guardians and students can utilize the challenge quizzes to assess their children’s mathematical understanding. Here (for example) is a challenging quiz for first-year Algebra: https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra/test/subject-challenge?modal=1.

Parents who want to take advantage of Khan Academy’s FREE, world-class resources for learners can start here: https://support.khanacademy.org/hc/en-us/articles/360040168512-Parent-Quick-Start-Guide

Reading (particularly reading to learn) becomes an increasingly important skill as children advance through elementary, middle, high school, and college. Young children should be encouraged to read a variety of books suited for their age. There are numerous online lists of outstanding books for children in elementary, middle, and high school. Here are links to two of such lists :

https://k-12readinglist.com/reading-lists-for-elementary-school-children/

https://www.education.com/magazine/article/esme_reading_list/

Children should understand that their parents/guardians respect and value their academic achievements. Celebrations and congratulations following great report cards, and adult acknowledgment for academic excellence can motivate children to strive hard to attain academic success. Children who learn early that they can excel in their school studies, typically develop a positive self-image and believe that they can continue to excel academically. Students can become academic “stars” at school if they have confidence and work hard.

Most children require some form of discipline from their parents or guardians. Discipline that is unhealthy can hurt a child in a variety of ways. Healthy and effective discipline enables children to grow into happy and successful adults. High Five Discipline, a book by Candice Jones, M.D., FAAP, is an excellent resource for parents and guardians. Dr. Jones is a pediatrician and an African American mother.

Suggestions for parents/guardians of High School students

In high school, numerous distractions can interfere with academics focus. Children who want to be STEM leaders should think of high school as their preparation for college. The short book Heads Up 8th Grader-Here Comes College by Jim Frank Mullen, M.Ed., is a good book for reminding kids that their work in high school can open doors to a great future. Using humor and logic, the book teaches students how to take control of their education and position themselves to gain admission to top institutions and scholarships to outstanding colleges.

Students in high school who have formed strong academic habits and learning skills are more capable of coping with the distractions of adolescence and continuing to achieve academically. High School students who want to become doctors or leaders in other STEM-related fields should choose rigorous (harder) scientific and mathematics classes to best prepare for college STEM studies.

Praise for academic accomplishment can motivate students to continue to excel. Parents and guardians should remind “star” students that academic performance is a solid basis for future adult success.

What are the financial benefits of a four-year college?

Can my family afford college?

The good news is that financial aid is available at some of the best colleges. Scholarships, grants, and other financial aid are available at those colleges for students who need financial assistance. Many colleges have committed to meeting their students’ needs so that they do not need to take out ANY college loans. Here is a list of colleges that do not require loans.

These colleges promise no student debt: ‘Loans are not part of the deal’

Where can I find a fun way to learn all of high school biology?

View short videos about STEM-related careers.