Homeschooling Teen

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Manny Mechanix

Manny MechanixBy Angelica Laurio

I would like to introduce my son Manny aka “Manny Mechanix” to Homeschooling Teen magazine. He is 13 years old and just beginning his 8th grade year of homeschool. He loves science and electronics and I thought I would share a few of his projects with you.

Manny started dissecting electronics when he was 10. By taking small household machines apart he would discover how they worked and then tried to make something else out of their parts. This curiosity would drive him to attempt to create a submarine prototype (you can view it here: Manny’s 2nd Submarine Prototype), as well as a small hovercraft, (Manny’s hovercraft project 2nd prototype) and a gadget charger (Manny’s Gadget Charger).

At age 11 he wanted to start a business to make money.  He created a “Kids Kit” and sold it at our local craft fair as a Beginner Circuit Kit for Kids. The entrepreneur in him didn’t stop there, his uncle donated several old computer fans which Manny turned into DIY Fan Kit for Kids.  With the money he saved from the sales he used it to purchase his first Arduino micro-controller.

At 12 he liked to create and invent projects with his Arduino. His most popular project so far is his Baby Hypnotizer made with an Arduino and LEDs. He created it to distract our friend’s baby, and keep her entertained with the flashing lights. He shows the code and how it works. Another project he made recently is what he calls the Upgraded Owl Eye Burglar Alarm. He made this so no one would come near his new computer.

Manny was actually given a MacBook computer by a national, award winning, children’s book author for doing book reviews like these: Rush Revere & The First Patriots, Rush Revere & The American Revolution, Rush Revere & The Star Spangled Banner (you can see him getting better doing them as time went on). What a surprise gift and a great tool for him to learn! He has been able to produce some great videos using the software that comes with this computer like this one Trouble Shoot Motors on Dromida Drone.

As a homeschooled child Manny has had ample opportunity to dive into science and electronics.  He loves to read and create anything he can with his wires and batteries. He has done article reviews on science magazines he enjoys like Popular Science May 2016 issue on a real hoverboard for example. He has also created electronic projects from science books like Cyborg Gadget Glove.

He recently participated in two national contests as he approached his 13th birthday. The first was the Rubber Ruler which was an idea for new invention using a rubber band. He was a runner up which won him $350 and was in the top 8 in the nation for his age group. You can see his name on the front page of their website: Rubber Band Contest. He also participated in a national challenge to come up with an idea for an invention to help children (or anyone) escape from a home fire. This project included a song he made, the invention prototype with a sketch, an interview with our local fire marshal, and putting it all together in a video. The name of the challenge is called The Paradigm Challenge. He has become a potential finalist with his entry The Dalmation Mask, placing in the top 100 in the nation. The voting is still ongoing and even if he didn’t win a prize the knowledge he gained from the research, the interview he performed, and the people he met at the fire department made a difference in his life. He was also really moved with compassion for the local family whose children fell victim to a home fire in our hometown and won’t soon forget them.

Also, I tried very hard to teach my son a way to “give” towards the end of last school year. He is the youngest of our family and very blessed. He doesn’t even realize how blessed he is. So I tried my hardest to make a way for him to give back to someone somehow using his Kid’s Kits. That didn’t work but this DID work out. Here is the result of our efforts: Rush Limbaugh’s Book Donation to Children’s Hospital with Manny.

We are extremely proud of him and love to share his projects with anyone who will listen. He believes if he shows his friends how cool his “school” is then other kids would be interested in science and reading the way he is. Thank you for taking the time to read all about him.

Angelica Laurio

Manny’s mom

Editor’s Note: Manny has launched a new video column for Homeschooling Teen readers! See it here: Manny Mechanix

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