Friday, December 27, 2013

Science and My Daughter

In an effort to curb our Christmas down this year I suggested that rather than buy family gifts for each person in the family we exchange names, and since I'm the self appointed boss of this family they all agreed.  Gigi and Capt E were excited because I gave them money to spend at the Santa shop at school.  A few days before Christmas Dr. J had a post call day when he'd gotten a little sleep the night before and wanted to go to Toys R Us to shop for his person Gigi.  He dragged me along and we looked at everything in that entire store.  We were on the science aisle for awhile where we looked at a mineral collection and a bug collection that we thought Captain E would probably like at another time, argued with Peach that she could not have a worm farm because I'm certain tiny T would find a way to dump it all over the floor, and I complained that they no longer carry full chemistry kits but instead have broken them down into kits that only do one or two experiments.  Then we moved on.  We looked at pink legos, and dolls, we looked at animal stuff, and finally ended up on a craft aisle where I showed Dr. J five or six things she'd like and he picked one.  Then we started walking back down the science aisle and a light bulb moment happened for me.  "J, why when we were on this aisle did I not think Gigi would like anything here?"  "I don't know," he said.  "I brought us here because I thought she might."

I can't really explain how disappointed I was with myself.  I read articles on how we need to spend time encouraging more kids into science and math, especially girls since in school we tend to encourage them away from those fields.  In our home, I'm actually the one who has the BS degree, while even though Dr. J is the doctor, he actually did a BA in Middle Eastern Studies.  Even though I'm a stay at home mom, I still think about science a lot.  This year I actually started keeping a record of when we are sick so I'd have a control year of data so that I could test the effectiveness of different things in trying to curb our illnesses.  I'm always wondering about why things are the way they are, then thinking up a hypothesis and a study to test it, and then having to remind myself I stopped at my BS and I'm going to be staying at home for the next 16 years.  With the kids I have a big book of experiments that we will pull out occasionally and for years now I've been nurturing Captain E's interest in science.  In fact this year one of his presents was a circuit board, but my big present for Gigi was an American Girl Doll.  I loved that doll and don't think is a bad gift, but it just bothered me that I've never really singled her out to encourage her in the same way I do Captain E.  This is what I was thinking about in the aisle when I realized I'd looked at everything there with just Captain E in mind, but hadn't even thought of how the girls would feel about it.  So we searched the aisle and found a crystal making kit we thought she would like and then I realized we should probably buy Peach that worm kit as well.  I don't know what the future holds for my children, but I do think that while it is my responsibilty to encourage their interest I also need to try to expose them to the most things possible so that they will have a nice broad base of experiences from which to decide what they really want to do with their lives in the future.  So here is to trying to do better, more science for ALL the kids. Now who wants to help me with the math part, because besides statistics, math has never really been my friend?

1 comment:

  1. Andrew would tell you that women are as capable at math as men; they simply suffer from a fixed mindset (more than men). When presented with a difficulty (such as math, which is usually presented to girls/women as a difficult, masculine task) women tend to think, "Wow. This was hard. I must not be good at it." Men are more prone to think, "Wow. This was hard. I should probably get better at it."

    Something like that. The issue isn't with learning math better (because girls really are equally capable at math as boys); the issue is teaching girls a growth mindset (which I think you're doing a great job of by encouraging your littles to do science).

    Anyway, my point is that math might not have been your friend in the past but that doesn't mean math doesn't want to get friendly now. Also, Andrew keeps trying to convince me to take statistics. I've never taken statistics and the thought terrifies me because...I also have a fixed mindset with math. But I think I'll take it one of these summers (when he's not preparing for his comprehensive exam (as he'll be doing this summer)).

    Good luck with that! I'm trying to get Rachel more math-minded as well (which is hard but we're going to try out some mathy games to see if that helps. I'll let you know how it goes!



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