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Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming ~ Homeschool Crew Review

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Computers are everywhere and part of daily life.  Computer programmers and those possessing at least some experience with coding will be the sought after employees.  How to prepare our children for this – without waiting for college?  Especially if we don’t know how to do much of this ourselves?  Materials and resources like Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) are the answer.  Created by homeschool parents, Jeremy and Christine Moritz, Code for Teens guides your children through, at their pace, without parents or teachers needing to know or do a thing.  Sounds perfect to me.

The first volume, covering JavaScript, has been perfect for our second daughter.  She has been spending 30-60 minutes each time she works on it.  Some activities have been quick and easy while others she has had to work through a bit more carefully (and slowly).  The text is divided into chapters but she does not feel tied to keep a certain pace.  By allowing her to work through as she understands the task, she is truly learning it and not just completing assignments.  Learning “to mastery” is how we try to do most of our learning, and one of the (many) reasons we choose to homeschool.

Because JavaScript does not, on its own display graphics, etc. there hasn’t been much for my daughter to show off what she has been working on.  For this reason, she has been both discouraged and encouraged.  She needs the small incremental lessons to really grasp what she is doing, but she is in a hurry to get the last chapter of making a Hangman game.  All of the code writing is done in the Console in Google Chrome — it is not something saved.  She excitedly shares when she figures something out, working past a stumbling block.  This has been great for her critical thinking and self-esteem – she *is* getting it and doing it on her own.

Just because your child will be working through this on their own it doesn’t mean you can just hand the book over to them.  There are a couple of pages directed to the parents at the beginning.  There are also answers at the back of the book.  My daughter has asked me to check her responses as she works through quizzes, etc.  I have also enjoyed looking through the glossary so that I can better understand her explanations as she shares what she has just done.

Because each child will work at their own pace, it is hard to say how long to expect this text take.  This text, Volume 1, is definitely part of a larger programming course of study.  Your student’s experience and overall time spent on the subject, along with your state’s requirements will determine if this will be a 1/2 or full credit (or in Indiana, 1 or 2 credits, because we like to be different).  There will be future volumes covering other programming languages (HTML & CSS).  We have been so impressed with Code For Teens that I know we will acquire these as they come out.  Once my daughter has finished, we’ll look at the time spent working on the subject to assign credit.

Read about other Crew Families’ experiences by clicking the image below.

 

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