Friday, October 19, 2007

MIT Splash Is Coming Up - Enrollment Starts October 31

My kids have all participated in the MIT Splash weekend program in Boston. It always happens the weekend before Thanksgiving. For a pre-registration fee of $30, this weekend long program is packed with lectures, workshops and seminars, with offerings that included subjects in math, science, languages, history, philosophy and much more!

The weekend is offered to kids of high school age and some kids younger than that. Since Splash doesn't provide for housing on campus, some kids travel to Boston with their families and stay in local hotels. There's tons to do in Boston for those in the family not attending Splash. One year, my son went up to Boston alone by bus and stayed with his brother in a Boston University dorm.

Splash is run by MIT students, alumni and other local college students and professionals who wish to share their interests and passions for their specialties with kids approaching college age. The Splash teachers are all volunteers. The Splash program is a project of the MIT Educational Studies Program which was started in 1957 and has been supporting experiments in education ever since. Splash was created in 1988 to bring students and teachers together for less structured and very exciting learning experiences.

The Splash program always runs the first weekend before Thanksgiving, and goes from 9am to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Now that you know a little bit about this program and why it was set up, I want to tell you why it is important to allow your child to experience this kind of program. It is a great opportunity for your child to get a feel for college - the campus - the classes and the overall environment as well as physically imagining where they may be in four years or less. The classes they take at Splash are very non-threatening, as there are no grades or pressures or papers to do - but just to attend and listen and learn and have fun. Another great reason is because the courses are so wonderful. Your child can take a course in a subject they always wanted to learn about - or do a more in depth study of something they are already interested in.

My kids have attended the weekend and they all had a blast. They enjoyed the classes on gaming theory and Boom (understanding the science of explosions) along with a classes on magic tricks, time travel, dissecting things and well... the list goes on! The course offerings were amazingly diverse and plentiful. Some are really very esoteric and others are just incredible fun (Like making clothing with Duct Tape).

I believe there are other colleges that do this type of programming - and I know some colleges that offer a one-week program for your child to see the kinds of classes that are offered. These experiences are so helpful when your child is trying to figure out what they want to study, and what school they ultimately want to end up in.

Speaking of homeschoolers and socialization, these kinds of college programs also allow kids to meet new people and instructors, and to see the social aspect of college life. Finding your way around a college campus is also an interesting experience in navigation and learning how to get around on your own.

Aside from the educational aspect of Splash, for my kids, it was a great adventure in independence and self-management. IMO, as long as they have a cell phone and a map they are "good to go" around campus.

Information about Splash can be found here and you can also
Email them
Their phone number is 617-253-4882. The MIT Educational Studies program is located at 84 Massachusetts Avenue,Room W20-467, Cambridge, MA 02139

Check the web for similar programs at other colleges as well.