When Boys Want to Be Scientists…

When Boys Want to be ScientistsMost boys at some time or another think they want a career in science or technology. Sometimes that’s what God’s calling them to, but other times, it’s what they think that kind of career would bring. That’s the way we were. Hal majored in engineering and Melanie in the hard sciences, though it’s become clear over the years that our real gifts and calling are in writing and speaking. So, the first thing you need to figure out is why your student is being drawn into the sciences.

Ask a lot of good questions. Why does he want to be a scientist? What does he think a scientist does on a typical day? Often, our students are imagining the adventurous life shown in the movies rather than a professor’s quiet lab work and research. They see themselves as Tony Stark or Bruce Banner. Melanie imagined studying robotics would lead to the exciting kind of life portrayed in science fiction, instead she’s found great adventure being engaged in the war for souls in our family life and ministry. Help your child find their real gifts, science or otherwise.

Create real world exposure. Find someone employed in the sciences, a professor or research chemist perhaps, and suggest your child ask if they can shadow them for a few days. If he’s still interested after that, see if you can arrange for a longer term internship.

And, if he’s still thinking science, what then?

Math. One of the things that derails a lot of science and engineering aspirations is math – namely, calculus. You don’t necessarily have to do calculus in high school, but they need a solid foundation in math, extending at least to precalculus, so that they can move into calculus confidently.

Science. Taking an Advanced Placement (AP) course or dual enrollment course or two in the sciences can help prepare them to jump ahead at the college level – or even just be better prepared. Be aware, though: AP classes, as well as college classes, assume a student has already had a year of the high school level of that science before they start the advanced course. That means that it’s helpful to start high school science a year early if you have a science-oriented student, so that they have time to complete advanced courses without doubling up.

We’re hopeful that the next generation of scientists will have a lot of homeschool graduates. The things we are so good at teaching as homeschoolers – Biblical worldview, diligence, critical thinking, integrity – will be real assets in the scientific community.

Hal & Melanie SugarLoaf WebHal & Melanie Young

For more information, see our workshops, “Homeschooling High School & Transcripts” and “Aiming For College.” Link:

This article first appeared in The Homeschool Minute by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine