Sun 22 May 2016
In early April, the school sent home a registration form for a six-week science camp. I didn’t think that Abby would be interested, so I tossed it into the recycling bin without talking to her about it. A few days later – the day after our recycling was picked up – she asked if I had signed her up yet because she really wanted to go and knew that the form was due soon. Worst. Mother. Ever. I quickly wrote a note to Abby’s teacher to see if I could get an extra form and I registered her just in time.
As a woman with a math degree, you would think that I’d encourage our daughters to try any and all STEM-related activities that come up. And I do. But, I also recognize that our kids’ interests lie primarily in the arts right now, so I choose to support them as they explore and expand those interests rather than worry about whether they will develop an interest in STEM. I’m less concerned about how our kids are using their brains as long as they are using them, but it’s a tough call to make sometimes. I see the value in arts – STEAM vs STEM – but I also see how females are discouraged sometimes from pursuing STEM-related activities and I don’t want to inadvertently do that. But, there’s only so much nudging toward STEM that I can do before it becomes pushing. And I won’t push. Just because I think that math and science are interesting doesn’t mean that our kids have to follow in my footsteps. And an interest in arts now does not preclude an interest in STEM later.
I didn’t completely dismiss the idea of encouraging Abby to go the science camp, but I had dismissed it for this year until she brought it up. I dismissed it for the simple reason that she was at the bottom end of the age range for the camp so I was concerned that the material would be geared to the older kids and that she might be overwhelmed and end up not liking it; I would rather wait and have her love it than push it too early and have her hate it. But, I was wrong about her not being ready for it. She’s doing fine in the camp. And I’m excited by the things that she brings home! But, it seems that I’m the only one who is excited; although she really enjoyed the first few weeks, her interest has waned over the last few. Still, I’m proud of her that she tried it.
And, I will admit that the mathie in me was really pleased that almost half the kids in the science camp are girls and it’s run by a woman!