Before our son could even talk, I had a feeling he would grow up to be a scientist. I should say before he would talk, not could talk, since I know he could talk long before he actually started. He just didn’t want to. His little scientific brain was always very unique. He would find ingenious ways of communicating with us, other than using his words. He learned sign language. He would attempt to draw pictures. Then he decided that was too boring and he would complicate matters. He would memorize books and then bring us the book and point to the words instead of saying them. For example, if he wanted strawberry milk, he would bring both Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to me. He would open Alexander to page 9 and point to the word strawberry and then open Mouse to page 2 and point to the word milk.
You would think that it would be easier for him to just take me into the kitchen and point to the milk and the strawberry mix, but his brain needed to make things advanced. Then one day, when he was about 3 & 1/2, he just decided to start talking. At bedtime he said a clear, long and complicated sentence, “Tomorrow, let’s go to the store to buy more apple juice.” I fell over.
He has been like this with everything. When he was a baby, he never rolled over, he never crawled, he never pulled himself up on tables. He just sat there. I would even try to entice him to move by placing all his toys a couple feet away. But nope…he would just sit there and look around, taking everything in. Then one day, he just decided to get up and walk. Same with potty training. One day, he just decided, and that was that. I haven’t touched a diaper since that day.
That is just one example of how his mind is just…different. Finally one day, it was the day he decided to ride his bike and jumped on and rode it perfectly, he explained something about his mind to me. He said that he observes the world and everyone else’s actions and he memorizes things. Then he teaches himself how to do something in his brain. When he feels he has mastered it in his mind, he tells his body to just do it.
He fascinates me. Sometimes I even forget he is a child. He is a very unique kid and I am so fortunate that I was chosen to be his mom.
I take my job as his mom very seriously and it is very important to my husband and I that we give him every opportunity to get ahead. That is why this post is called Growing a Scientist. Here is my short list of our favorite resources for growing our scientist. (Keep in mind that my son is 12 so this list is not for little ones, but for middle to high school. Also, the books are books that were used as supplements to his regular homeschool science curriculum – Apologia science by Dr. Jay Wile.)
1. Careers by DK Publishing. It’s never too early for your child to start thinking about a career, and this book is the perfect tool. It covers more than 400 careers, organized into 15 different job categories – from science and research to construction to business management. These categories are then broken down into specific jobs. Each job covers a two-page spread and encompasses preparation, interests, qualifications, lifestyle, realities, industry profile, related career paths, necessary skills, and compensation levels.
Here are some sneak peeks:
2. You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. from Dr. Ben Carson. Never one to let circumstances control him, Dr. Carson wrote this book to encourage our young ones to dream big. In this book, he details eight principles that helped shape his future: Talent, Honesty, Insight, being Nice, Knowledge, Books, In-Depth learning, and God.
3. Basher Science Books by Simon Basher. This collection of REALLY cute books include The Periodic Table, Physics, Biology, Rocks and Minerals, Planet Earth, Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy. These books are very unique and can show you the world of science like you’ve never seen it before.
4. One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! by Eric Yoder. This book and its sister book, part two, contain real world science and math problems that help your kids think outside of the box. They are challenging and stimulating little stories that really draw you in.
1. A Telescope. This is telescope that we have – Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope and we can actually see the layers of Jupiter with it! For a serious amateur astronomer, I highly recommend investing in a quality telescope that comes with an automated finderscope, like this one. Unfortunately, because we live in the suburbs, we are not able to stargaze in our backyard as much as we would like.
2. A microscope and slide set. A perfect first microscope it the Home 1000X Microscope. It comes with a small set of slides and this larger set of slides is a perfect addition: 100 Piece Assorted Specimen Collection Microscope Slides
3. A chemistry set. Thames and Kosmos make both beginner and advanced kits.
4. Catalogs! Yes, catalogs. Visit Home Science Tools, Steve Spangler Science, Edmund Scientifics, and NASCO to request science catalogs. Your kids probably do not even realize that many of these products exist, so hand them several catalogs, along with a Sharpie marker, and ask them to circle items that interest them. If you find that your child circles mostly chemistry sets, you’ll know you have a future chemist on your hands.
1. BrainPop. BrainPop is a group of educational websites with over 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12, together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, mathematics, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music. Hundreds of these videos pertain to science.
2. Wonderopolis. This website has an invaluable feature called the Wonder of the Day. You can sign up for their newsletter to receive a daily email detailing a wonder of the day. Most of the wonders are science related. Each email contains a Did You Know section, a video, vocabulary words, enriching “have you ever wondered” questions, a quiz, and “try it out” activities.
3. SciStarter. This is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through recreational activities and citizen science research projects. There is a massive database of citizen science projects for all ages. You can search by location (home is considered a location too!), age, cost, and more.
4. Science News for Kids. Kind of self-explanatory. You can sign up for an email digest of relevant family-friendly science topics in the news.
Four YouTube Channels
**Be sure to preview all channels and videos before letting your kids have free reign on YouTube.
*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.