This past school year, R expressed a desire to have Technology as one of his courses. After doing some research, I was really drawn to Homeschool Programming. We were both thrilled when given the opportunity to have our family review the KidCoder Visual Basic program (2nd edition.)
Technology for Middle School ~ Homeschool Programming & KidCoder
Homeschool Programming was founded by homeschooling parents with degrees in computer science. It was after hearing other homeschool parents wanted materials for their kids to learn programming that the company was created to meet the burgeoning need. KidCoder and TeenCoder were written to teach professional programming languages in a fun way that students could understand and that non-technical parents could teach.
KidCoder: Windows Programming is the first semester in the KidCoder Visual Basic series. Students learn to write graphical Windows programs using the Visual Basic programming language.
KidCoder: Game Programming is the second semester of the course. Students learn how to create games using the Visual Basic programming language. Game programming techniques learned during the course can then be used on their own to continue the fun of game creation.
The year pack for KidCoder Visual Basic is $120 (books only) or $145 (books and instructional video). Alternatively, you can purchase each semester individually for $70 (books only) or $85 (books and instructional video.)
Technology for Middle School ~ Using KidCoder in Our House
I could see that R was just itching to get started on this material when the year long program arrived late last fall. He really enjoyed the opportunity to not only spend time on the computer, but to learn how to make it ‘do’ things. I think he breezed through the Windows Programming component of the program by the time Christmas rolled around as he preferred to work on that course than complete other work.
Things did stall for a bit post holiday time, though. Part of it was that the ‘mean mom’ made him start spending more time on other subjects. Then, we took our trip south which lasted for over a month and didn’t allow for us to drag the school laptop and the Game Programming book to work on during the trip. However, he has really enjoyed the portion of that semester which he finished and is taking time this summer to complete it.
As a homeschool parent, I really appreciate how the course is written so that the child can easily work through the material with minimal ‘teacher’ involvement. I can’t think of a time when R asked me to help him figure something out which he couldn’t ‘get’ between the textbook and instructional videos.
The one time he did get my help was the beginning with installation of software. Each course comes with a Student and Solution menu system, activity starters, solutions, a Solution Guide, tests and answers, and other supplemental documents on a CD-ROM. I helped him get this component installed as well as the Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 Express software which is a cornerstone of the course work. This software is free, but required an account for more than 30 days of use.
Overall, we’ve been very impressed with Homeschool Programming. My high schooler asked to add technology to his lesson plan for the Spring semester, so we purchased a copy of TeenCoder Java programming.
And, if you check back later this month, we’ll share about the TeenCoder C# Series we’ve been reviewing with the Schoolhouse Review Crew.