An in-depth understanding of math and science equips young students with a host of skills that are needed to successfully engage a bevy of practical and academic pursuits. These include research, handling personal finances, critical thinking, successful entry into various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, and much more. With a rigorous training background in mathematics and the sciences, the future possibilities are nearly endless. What can parents do to help their children succeed in these key subject areas?
Engage a Child’s Teachers
An active relationship with teachers is essential. Whether your child is young or old, feel free to reach out to his or her teacher and ask them about their science and math curricula. What portion of class time is devoted to the subjects? What adjunct educational tools are used? Do they get the chance to learn through laboratory instruction in addition to standard didactic teaching? What are their recommendations for further enhancing a child’s foundation in the subjects? Parents can couple the student’s homework with external resources, such as the incredibly rich website Khan Academy. Students can visit the site to practice problems and watch videos on hundreds of related topics.
Bring the Content to Life
Don’t leave science and mathematics in the pages of textbooks and practice problems. Children can be engaged much more deeply if they see the knowledge play out in front of them, through activities, labs, and experiments. For smaller children, learning about geometry through shapes and basic computation via money management makes things clearer. As they enter the high school years, encourage them to become involved with research, engineering clubs, and so on. An early emphasis on participation in science fairs and math competitions can eventually lead to future success through participation in the Math Olympiads and the Siemens Competition. In particular, the Siemens Competition is a prestigious opportunity that provides winners with thousands of dollars in prize money, an excellent item to list on their resumes when applying to college, and abundant networking opportunities.
Push for Excellence
Basic science and math classes may be a helpful start, but true excellence demands further study. For instance, parents can push their children to sign up for AP (Advanced Placement) classes when they reach the high school level. AP classes are designed to give students a college-level experience while they are still in high school. Moreover, a successful performance on the national exams administered at the end of the courses (AP exams) can push a child ahead when they enter college. Many universities offer credit for a score of four or five (out of five) on the exams. Students can then skip introductory requirements and start their freshman year of college one step ahead and move on to more advanced courses.