Traditional education techniques have students study multiple subjects independently of one another. A student may read Macbeth in English class, go to science and learn about chemical reactions, attend history class to discuss ancient civilizations, and math to learn about angles and circumferences, then head off to the computer lab to learn basic programming skills.
While some students find it easy to switch gears throughout the day, the best method for the most students is to find ways to bridge learning across multiple subjects so they can make connections and retain information more intuitively.
STEM education combines Science, Technology, Engineering and Math concepts in an environment that encourages students to work together and use practical skills to learn complex subject matter. When a student puts the math and physics she just learned to practical use in Lego® robotics or in building and evaluating, for example, a bridge or a catapult, she gains deeper, more confident knowledge.
Because of the current STEM emphasis, it is easier than ever for motivated parents to do more than follow a traditional six-to-eight subject schedule. Many homeschool-oriented STEM curricula, ranging from guidelines to complete boxed solutions, are available for students from elementary grades through high school. And hybrid programs abound in many areas, providing experienced teachers as well as the all-important collaborative aspect of STEM.
One of the most exciting aspects of student-centered STEM education is that it allows students to follow their natural curiosity and interests, a key reason for homeschooling in the first place.