Does anyone know of clubs or the like for STEM opportunities for my 6 and 8 year olds? (homeschooled)
I have found a robotics 4H club, but you have to be in high school to compete. I think they would let my 8 yo hang out, but I'm not sure I want her with high schoolers yet. She likes to hang with her 12-15 yo cousins, and it goes well, but their topics of conversation aren't always the best for her.
I also found an engineering class at a local Christian school. Apparently, it's pretty intense, and you have to be a t least 12, but I'm going to call around and see what I can do.
Look for local Junior/First Lego League teams. They start at Kindergarten level. http://www.usfirst.org
Check the "locations" section of Engineering for Kids to see if they're near you. They start age 4: http://www.engineeringforkids.net/location
Not sure if you're "for" or "against" Scouting but the Cub Scouts actually have some new and pretty good STEM awards (Nova, SuperNova, CyberChip). We homeschool and my son has been in scouts at the local school since he was 1st grade level with no problem. It's the kids in the neighborhood and we've found it's a good way for him to get to know the kids around the 'hood.
I also replied on your other thread for programming and math resources. But also, check the local zoos, aquariums, planetariums, arboretums, kids museums, etc. You'd be surprised what you'll turn up there. Ask about education programs and then ask about whether they allow 1-2 homeschooled kids to come in when they do school programs. Sometimes you can go to museum websites for museums elsewhere and they have good education resources that don't require a visit to THAT location, but are great.
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I discovered 8 lego groups in our area! No contact info, though, so I'm going to call the libraries and see if I can turn up something.
We live about 2 hours from any museum or the like, excepting a TINY natural history one inside one of our libraries. BUT, my inlaws are moving to a big city about 4.5 hours from us. We are planning to visit them often...and use their house as a jumping off point for engineering kids (yeah, they have one!), and many museums and the like.
Thanks for the help! I'm excited to help my kids bridge the gap between learning and application!
May or may not be helpful -- I was going to suggest 4-H but it looks like you've BTDT.
Several local schools are offering programming classes in the Scratch language for elementary ages in our area. I was able to find them by googling for "Scratch" and local cities. (The local ones are all hideously expensive and I've had mediocre experience with those after-school classes taught by private vendors, though, so DD is just using online tutorials. I just wish she had a community to interact with, but I don't think I want to loose her on the official forums, which I'd then have to monitor.)
Around here there are lots of opportunities, but many of them require parents to step up. There are all sorts of 4H experiences and you can start your own. There's a science fair through 4H. Destination Imagination or Odyssey of the Mind - sometimes these are run through schools, but in our area DI is not affiliated with schools. We also have local gifted programs that start in 3rd grade and homeschoolers are definitely invited.