Gone are the days when girls were encouraged to aspire to work as secretaries, nurses, or other traditionally feminine roles. Instead, our daughters are now encouraged to reach for their dreams – whatever they may be. And in today’s modern, high-tech world, more and more girls are embracing their love of science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as the STEM subjects.
Even if you don’t know much – or anything at all – about the subjects that fall under the STEM umbrella, there are still plenty of ways you can support and encourage your daughter’s interest in these areas. Here are just a few ways you can make it happen.
Supporting STEM Interests
Encourage her. One of the greatest things you can do for your daughter who shows interest in STEM subjects is to encourage that interest. Don’t try to divert her attention toward more traditional subjects. Instead, remind her that she’s more than capable of conquering anything she sets out to master, and hold her to high standards in her work. Even if you don’t have a specific interest in STEM subjects, you can still be supportive and do what you can to help her overcome her challenges.
Find her a mentor. If you don’t feel qualified to support your daughter’s interest in the STEM subject of her choice, see if you can find a trusted family friend or person in your community to act as a mentor. A woman who has made a career in engineering, medicine, or a math-related subject can be a wonderful source of inspiration. She can help your daughter overcome her struggles through her first-hand experience with these topics.
If you can’t find a personal mentor, look for famous women who have made their mark in a STEM field and read about them. The movie Hidden Figures is a fantastic, inspiring, and true story about pioneering women in STEM. Hidden Figures gives an opportunity to see behind the scenes of some of the most important events in NASA history and in the acceptance of women and minorities into STEM fields. After you watch the movie, read the book and then check out this Hidden Figures Unit Study.
Consider camps. Sending your daughter to a STEM camp can be a great way to allow her to pursue her interests, develop her skills, and befriend other girls who love these historically male-dominated subjects. Girls who love science, math and other traditionally male-dominated topics can sometimes struggle to relate to their peers. Surrounding themselves with other girls who share their interests can be an impacting experience.
You can find sleep-away camps during the summer months that offer intensive, immersive experiences, like Space Camp, but there are often plenty of options in your local area that may be more easily accessible and affordable.
Look for local events. You might be surprised to see just how many STEM-oriented events you can find in your area. Look for interesting exhibits at a nearby museum, free nights at local observatories, tech companies that offer factory tours, or open houses at nearby maker spaces. Not only can these events offer a fun way to get out of the house and support STEM in your community, but it’s a great way for you and your daughter to meet others with similar interests.
Try STEM activities at home. Let your daughter know she is free to explore her stem interests at home. There are so many STEM resources to draw from to find activities she can do at home to further develop her passion. Think coding apps, electronics kits, science experiments, and reverse engineering.
Over the years, we have explored STEM in many ways here at The Homeschool Scientist. Here are a few activities and resources to check out with your daughter.
Supporting your daughter’s interests in STEM subjects can be crucial in helping her develop a lifelong passion for science, technology, engineering, or math. These are only a few of the ways you can help encourage her passion and expand her knowledge. If you have a daughter with a passion for STEM, what steps have you taken to support her interests? Leave a commment and let me know!