Monday, January 14, 2019
Our Homeschool Electronics Class
One of the careers that Nicholas is interested in is Electrical Engineering. He has always had a pretty strong knack for engineering. He is always tinkering, creating, and building things. It just seems to come naturally for him. He enjoys working with electrical circuits and understands some basics about electricity but we wanted him to go a little deeper and learn more so he can really see if this is a field he would want to go into. The beauty of homeschooling is that we have more flexibility in our schedule to let our children really explore their passions. It also helps that our children are not allowed to have "screen time" during the school week so that allows for more free time for sparking their imaginations and interests.
One day when we were at Tanner's Electronics store just playing around with electrical components, we asked the owner if he happened to know of local classes or even curriculum to teach electronics to kids. I'm so glad that we talked to him because we learned that they homeschool their children as well! He gave us a great resource for a book which can be found for free on MIT's website. It is called MAKE Electronics by Charles Platt. It isn't a curriculum, per se, but it has lessons that build upon each other. We even found kits that come with all of the supplies needed for the electronics lab exercises. We even found a homeschool friend that wanted to do the course too so Stuart works through the book and the projects with Nicholas and his friend every Thursday night. The two boys love this class and they get excited about the projects they do each week.
Nicholas gets so excited about tinkering with electronics that when our coffee maker broke, he wouldn't let me throw it out. Instead the boys took it apart as part of their class work and learned about how it worked.
And, when this microwave was seen at the curb in front of a neighbor's house, I was asked to pick it up so the deconstruction and investigation of it could become another extension of Electronics Class! Note: microwaves can be dangerous to take apart so you must do some research before you try to tackle this project.
We also have a big trunk under the school table that Nicholas is using to collect other dead or broken things that I would like to throw away like an old PC, a monitor, an electric pencil sharpener, a kid's version of a tablet, and much more. The trunk is so full that we can no longer fully close the lid on it. I think he has enough electronic projects now to last him an entire year! But do you want to know something cool? Nicholas doesn't just dive into taking everything apart. Stuart has a great understanding of electronics so Nicholas always wants to wait until Stuart is available to do it with him so he can teach him about the components and what they do.
I love listening in on Stuart and the boys during Electronics class. I smile as I hear the excitement in the boys' voices as they learn cool new things or they successfully make their electronic projects work correctly. Stuart, thank you for pouring your time and energy into making this class so great for them, especially when you do it after a long day at work.