As you make your list for next year's homeschool curriculum, consider Computer Programming for an elective.
Here's our total journey using the Teen Coder Series from Homeschool Programming. Last year, my son earned 1 credit utilizing this program!
Several years ago I came across Homeschool Programming at the FPEA convention. I was immediately impressed with their Kid Coder Program.
Unfortunately, it was one of those things that got put on the back burner. One day, my oldest son came to me with a burning desire to learn computer programming - NOW!
We checked out our local virtual school and discovered that he had to be in at least 10th grade plus complete Geometry before taking their class. Still, he would not be deterred! Searching out other options, we came across Homeschool Programming once again. We were both overjoyed to learn that he could begin the Teen Coder for Windows Programming immediately!
"TeenCoder: Windows Programming is our first semester course in the TeenCoder C# series. This course introduces 9th-12th grade students to the C# programming language, Microsoft's cutting edge technology! Students will learn to create graphical Windows applications using object-oriented design concepts."
He is almost 1/2 way through the first semester. It has been a welcomed challenge for a gifted math-science oriented student. He's made great progress through this course pausing just a few times when a new concept "tripped him up".
So far, he's learned the Fundamentals of C#, programming concepts, data types and variables, basic flow, inputs, math functions and working with strings.
Each lesson consists of 3-4 reading assignments, a chapter review, programming activities and a test.
Admittedly, I'm no Einstein. I'm grateful to have the answer keys to the tests and to know that if an activity doesn't work it means that something isn't right and my son has to keep working on it. Another great aspect of this course is if your student is stuck, you can email the company and they WILL get back to you with a helping hand!!
Originally I had hoped to move through the course at a chapter every 5 days. I now see that even though my son has an analytical bent, he needs time for these concepts to sink in. So, we spread the chapter out over the whole week allowing him to do the Programming Activities and review previous concepts during the weekend when he doesn't have other school work.
Using Teen Coder has been a great experience for my 9th grader. It's an opportunity to learn more about something he loves while having the freedom to move at his own pace. He's also looking forward to moving on to the second semester Game Programming course.
My 14 year old 9th grader has successfully completed Game Programming from Homeschool Programming earning another 1/2 credit in Computer Science!
This is the second part of the TeenCoder series - and - it is PURE ENJOYMENT!
From the Homeschool Programming website:
"TeenCoder: Game Programming is our second semester course in the TeenCoder C# Series. This course pairs the 'C#' programming language with Microsoft's XNA Game Studio to provide a modern, easy to use game-creation framework. Students will be thrilled to learn how to write their own Windows games from scratch!"
During these weeks, my son has learned how to program more multi-player and AI driven games such as Tic Tac Toe, Maze Generator and Bumper Cars.
My son's Tic Tac Toe Video can be found HERE
His Maze Generator Video (very cool!) can be found HERE
The Final Project was constructing part of a Bumper Cars Video Game. The assignment was broken down into 7 steps. First, a reading of information and then a programming activity for each step. This also required my son to move previously made files into their correct position.
And his final project, Bumper Cars Video can be found HERE
What a great year!
I loved that my son could set his own pace in moving through this material AND that I didn't have to be a computer genius in order for him to learn programming at home. He loved the abundance of hands-on programming activities throughout the book. This REALLY cemented concepts into his brain and gave him a desire to try self-motivated programming projects beyond the book.
Check out sample pages and demo videos!