June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.961.1 - 26.961.23
Informal Pathways to Engineering: Middle-School Aged Homeschool Students’ Experiences with Engineering (Fundamental) Research shows that self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and personal interest impact thechoices students make regarding academic and career pathways. STEM career pathways forstudents are often dictated by their academic decisions that occur in middle school.In a three-year longitudinal study, 60 middle school students, parents, and their educators in twoU. S. states are being interviewed and surveyed to collect data about decisions to engage inengineering-related activities, opportunities out-of-school, and changes in personal interest. Thisstudy seeks to find the informal, out-of-school opportunities and pathways that middle schoolstudents take to fulfill their interests in engineering or desire to become an engineer. Of the 60students, 10 of them are homeschool students. As the lines between school and out-of-school areless restrictive in the homeschool population, and resources and curricula are decided by parents,the experiences of homeschool students are unique.In this paper, we share the preliminary findings to the following questions: How do informalengineering programs (such as Design Squad) support engineering-related learning over time?What types of children benefit most after exposure to programs like Design Squad? How dohomeschool students experience engineering education? What are the challenges and strategiesfor success? How do homeschool parents’ perceptions regarding preparedness compare toteachers’ perceptions?Preliminary results show that parent educational background (the homeschool educator) impactstheir own self-efficacy as a teacher of STEM, especially engineering. Challenges include findingand implementing appropriate curriculum and becoming involved in extracurricular engineering-related activities normally available to traditionally-schooled children. Success in exposinghomeschool students to engineering can be related to family financial resources, family scheduletime constraints, and geographic proximity to extracurricular activities.This study helps us to remember the homeschool population, which can be overlooked whenconsidering pre-college engineering education. Additionally, it helps us consider ways to supporthomeschooling parents (e.g. by helping them to find quality resources) so that they are able toprovide their children with engineering learning experiences.
Jones, T. R., & Cardella, M. E., & Paulsen, C. A., & Wolsky, M. (2015, June), Informal Pathways to Engineering: Middle-School-Aged Homeschool Students’ Experiences with Engineering (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24298
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015