Years ago, when we were looking into alternative ways to educate our son, we ran across mention of the Saturday Scientist program.
Aside from the catchy title, the idea is to focus on science on a day everyone usually has off. Experiments can be run, mentos dropped into coke bottles, magnesium strips burned in campfires, and so on. In other words, a science activity performed – with the whole family participating – in a relaxed atmosphere.
Needless to say, we loved it.
Besides being a wonderful way to enrich an education, as well as present science in a no pressure, non-academic atmosphere, it’s also proven to be a great bonding experience.
In particular, a great father-son time (for us).
My son hangs on his father’s words. He longs to be just like him when he grows up. On the other side, my husband loves to share his knowledge (his very extensive knowledge) of science with, well, anyone.
When I see this dynamic kicking in, I try to quietly slip away.
After all, they deserve some time together. My son’s busy soaking up science like a little sponge, and my husband gets to share one of his best-beloved topics of conversation. And they’re interacting with each other at the same time!
Yes, I want to learn, too. It’s fun stuff.
But, sometimes, it can be difficult for dads to find a way to interact with their children. Many find it hard to communicate and find common ground with their teen/pre-teen sons (or daughters), much as they may love them.
When you add something like Asperger’s Syndrome to the mix (in our case, on both sides), it can be even more difficult.
For us, the Saturday Scientist has been the door, the bridge, the way to overcome those little personality differences and satisfy their longing to spend meaningful time together (without driving one or the other of them crazy).
Note: There are lots of science experiments for kids available out there that are both fun and easy for parents to perform (just go to Google and type in “science experiment”). So if science isn’t your thing, don’t despair, help is available!
Also, nothing says Saturdays (or Sundays) have to be about science. If your specialized area of knowledge – that you wish to share – happens to be in another field, embrace the challenge and give it a try. Our kids love to learn, and often learn best in a one-to-one situation (less noise, activity, and distractions!). So good luck and have fun!