Curiosity Is the Beginning of Science

Children are natural scientists, always discovering new things, absorbing information, making mental notes. Parents can help their children to make better sense of what they see in the world around them.

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Science is trying to understand what you see. Parental involvement in anything, whether it's sports, school or some hobby is the real key to success for a child. When mom and dad are involved a child will set off in new directions with a level of intrepid confidence that can't be engendered any other way.

You Don't Need to Be a Scientist

Parents often fall prey to some common misunderstandings when it comes to science. Maybe the biggest is the false notion that you need to be a science expert yourself, or have answers to all of your child's questions. The fact is, it's actually more constructive to search out the answer with your child than it is to simply give it to him. Science is all about experimentation and discovery. Not knowing the answer but being willing to set off in search of it will show your child that it's okay to not know. It will also demonstrate the value of learning new things.

It's too Hard

Another common misconception about science is that it's difficult. True, science can get pretty complex at higher levels, but it doesn't have to be a chore. The bottom line, even for the greatest scientists in history, is discovering what you don't already know. Learning how to find out answers to fascinating questions is what science is all about. It can be as simple as boiling an egg.

Don't I need a laboratory?

The idea of science often conjures up images of beakers, test tubes and Bunsen burners. You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to do science with your child. You don't even need a chemistry set. Science is everywhere. In fact the most useful tool for beginning science is your voice. A inquisitive conversation about a topic of interest can be every bit as much an act of science as developing the Hubble telescope.

Never too early or too late

And it's essential to dispel the myth that science should wait until math or reading skills are more fully developed. If presented properly, science can be like a reward for keeping up with other subjects. Focused curiosity about something in nature or technology (like rocket ships or steam engines) can even provide a child with the impetus to read and pursue education on his own terms.

Get involved with your child's education. You don't need to force books on her or sit him down for regimented study periods. Just get involved with him where he already is - immersed in the study of the strange new world he's found himself in. You might even rediscover a few wonderful things for yourself.

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