Homeschooling & Coding Question!

Hey everyone! I have a question and was wondering if any fellow homeschooling parents and programming inclined parents had any ideas: what do you recommend for teaching programming to your elementary age child?  And what languages do you recommend?

So a quick intro to us. We have three kiddos: ages 7, 4, and 7 months. We home school. I (dad) am the one who teaches the computers stuff. I’ve started our 7 year old out on some Khan Academy stuff, mostly Javascript because she can write code to draw shapes and the lessons are well done. Plus she loves being able to earn badges. So KA has been a win for us. But I am wanting to find other resources if available, plus branch out into some other languages other than Javascript. I myself have coded a lot in the past in Python and Matlab, now more in Dax in Excel and some SQL and R.

Any ideas or thoughts?

Thanks in advance and hope you have a wonderful day!

Joel

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36 thoughts on “Homeschooling & Coding Question!

  1. Our 3rd grader uses Hopscotch on our I-pad. She used Scratch, Jr. a little on the I-Pad, but she prefers Hopscotch because you can do more. Scratch, Jr. was a good starting point for a basic introduction to her. On her laptop (an old, old laptop that my husband changed the operating system to Ubuntu), she uses Scratch. Last summer, our (then) 6-year-old liked Hopscotch a lot, but he needed an adult to work with him on the program. It sounds like you all are doing some advanced programming with your children. I will check out Kahn Academy for programming for kids and see what they offer. Thanks!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. This is SO cool!! I have never heard of either Hopscotch or Scratch Jr. I love these!! I’m definitely going to introduce these to my daughter. So cool. I used Ubuntu a lot in grad school, but it’s been awhile since I used Linux. Yes, definitely check out Khan, it’s really great. Has several good intros in programming. My gal really loved the Cryptograph section and the Cryptography challenge…she said it made her feel like a spy! Thank you so much!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My husband put Ubuntu on our old laptop. It was partly because it was “fun” and also to have an option to give different users and control who can use what program, websites, etc. for our family. I’ll look into the cryptography section; I think my kids would like that. Thank you.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Our children started off with Hour of Code, then Code.org, then yet another site, and ended up at Scratch; where they have stayed.

      In terms of language, the goal is for them to learn C++. This has been suggested by several of our college grads who are taking engineering.

      Great question!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you! I’ve never used either Hour of Code or Code.org, I need to check out both those! C++ is definitely a good language to learn. I did my undergrad in meteorology and C++ was important as one of the base languages to get your feet wet and into some of the more mteorologically applicable languages like Python for our research. And some sciences use it really regularly too. C as well. Good stuff. Thank you so much!!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Sarah, good question. So from a spiritual standpoint, I would argue that the environment in many American schools do a significant amount of spiritual damage to children. American culture and values are not something that I want my children to have, for the most part. The core foundation beliefs of America are great. Our nation is built on ideas such as inalienable human rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It was originally built by mostly men of God. It was desired to become a city on hill, as John Winthrop said, one of the founders of Massachusetts Bay. Today it’s an environment that is really intended to suppress and enslave people spiritually and children are at the highest risk of this in the school environment because their minds are not fully developed and they don’t have complete critical thinking skills. So we chose to keep our kids home for school in order to give them the best success spiritually. Also, my 7 year old daughter, a first grader, is far beyond 1st grade material. She is reading at a 5th grade level. She can do 2nd and 3rd grade math and history. She’s far past what the public school system offers.So she’s getting a better education at home as well. Also, we are concerned about the risk of violence in the school system. School shootings have become much more common in America, violence is much more common in schools. And there’s just no reason to risk our children’s safety. So those are some of the reasons we choose to homeschool.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Those are good reasons, and I tend to agree with you about american values and culture, I mean, Americans can be surprisingly flexible. That’s definitely good parenting, yeah and the gun violence is so extreme there, with the trigger happy police and the gun culture. Those are definitely good reasons.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It can get kinda crazy over here Sarah. Today they had riots in Washington DC because of the presidential innauguration. It’s getting really crazy here, worse by the year it seems. Didn’t used to be like this, but sin has increased greatly here and so has the disintegration of society it seems. What country do you live in again? You don’t have a lot of homeschool where you are?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yeah, I have seen the womens march and the riots, In my opinion, Americans are so emotional or touchy, if it’s not about race, it’s gender, or religion or this or that. You also take stupid leaders seriously. Here, we are like,” He’s stupid, move on.” That’s true, I read somewhere that if God doesn’t punish America, he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. America’s cup of sin is not full yet. Plus you people have it all easy, I mean God forbid the lift doesn’t work and you have to take the stairs lol. The whole lot of you should be taken to Africa and Somalia or Sierra Leone( no offence to somalis or Sierra leone), or Afghanistan just so you can appreciate how easy you have it and maybe that’s your problem. But anyways I don’t know much. I am from Kenya, East Africa.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Amen to everything you just said!! I literally could nor agree more! You are so right. You know more than most Americans do about themselves.

        Kenya! That’s cool! What do you think about living there? Do you like it?

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Thanks, I love it here, good food, great friends,good music, great culture. Though I do have to say that Kenyans can be a bit individualistic, but aren’t we all? I like to think that Kenyans are the ‘chosen jews’ in Africa.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. You should teach yourself! They’re not extremely difficult. Get Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek if you do Greek. If you ever want a tutor, my Greek tutor has a couple extra spots. He’s $70 for 2 one hour classes a month and does Skype lessons. Or $140 a month for weekly classes. He’s good, really good. For Hebrew, I like Cook and Holmstedt’s Beginning Biblical Hebrew, especially if you have no background in it. Then work your way up to Waltke’s Biblical Hebrew Syntax, it’s a very dense read, buy fantastic.

        Liked by 5 people

  2. if you want to try a new educational language (2 years old) you can have a look at mine. it was recently featured on distrowatch: http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20170102#fig

    its probably best for a mac or gnu/linux machine though; it does run in windows but installing the color text support is kind of a pain. this is a language that bridges basic with python, in a logo-like way. designed around all the fundamentals of coding.

    its probably good for someone that finds python a little too complex to start out with (sounds like your young ones are doing just fine with python, but i thought id answer your question anyway.)

    i think its great that youre teaching your kids the essence of computing– digital literacy is vital for the world we continue to build, and coding is the fastest route to it. i think many languages can assist in this goal. good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is cool! I have not heard of fig before. What’s the best place to find the documentation for fig? Also is forth the same thing as fig? Yes, I love Python so fig sounds like it might be a good language to move into, especially for my kiddos. I used to do a lot in Python, it’s a great language. I’ve moved out of the hard sciences, where I used Python more often, and into the business world. So I work a lot more with handling large data sets and data evaluation instead. I’m more into SQL and R these days because it is what our company utilizes. But those are kinda boring languages for a 7 year old haha!!

      I couldn’t agree more with your comment on the necessity of digital literacy. I’m 29 and I remember my parents signing me up for a tutor to do basic game design when I was 5. Just having the exposure when you are young is important.

      Great to meet you! Thanks again!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sweet thank you!! So as far as getting my feet on the ground with running it, since Fig is a source to source compiler written in Python, what do I need to start coding in Fig? Is there a place I download that?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. you can download the script here: https://archive.org/download/fig29/fig29.py

        if youre using a mac or gnu/linux, you will have to chmod +x fig29.py

        (only) if youre using windows, you will need to install colorama: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/colorama

        this is the python 2 version, which i think is better (the version of fig, not just the version of python.) however if you dont have (or are against) python 2, ive made an almost-as-good version for that eventuality. my hope is that when the python foundation drops support, someone will fork python 2.

        the documentation is in the pdf and the previous links– but let me know if you have any trouble installing. getting it to work in windows was an adventure and an early goal. knowing your platform will help slightly.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Perfect!! Thank you! I’ll get this going at home. I’m on Windows. I used to do Linux but alas, no longer. So it sounds like I might have a little more trouble. I’ll definitely hit you up if I run into roadblocks. Could be in a ~week with other commitments filling up the schedule, so I’ll try to work it in if I get the time, otherwise I’ll get back with you in about a week.

        If I get some free time in a bit at the office, I might try it out here this afternoon.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. cool. obviously if youre on windows i recommend you install the latest version of python 2.x (its a python script after all.)

        other than the usual pitfalls of using python in windows, the only thing is that installing colorama (for someone with no coding experience and no experience with the command line– n/a here) is a little tedious. it works for me every time, but let me know. the reason for colorama? fig uses ansi escapes for color and changing cursor location. this works in cmd.exe if colorama is installed (if youre really oldschool and can get ansi.sys working, that could be a viable alternative– but not necessary.)

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I’ve used both 2.x and 3.x. I’ll make sure to use 2.x That’s interesting about Colorama. I think I might try it out after lunch if I get a few mins and see if it works for me here. Haha, I’m old school, but not that old school. At least not that old school anymore!!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. wow, I feel so inadequate, HA! I am NOT a computer person. like at ALL! My 10 year old who is very bright often fixes my computer issues for me. He taught me how to use iMovie to put together an adoption video…I still don’t understand it! We found some really great coding books for him at Usborne books. One was “Lift the flap Computers and Coding” which a computer friend told me was surprisingly accurate and a good read, and the other was something like “Learning to Code with Scratch” which he really enjoyed and was able to begin teaching himself to code using scratch, because his mother is clueless and he needs to teach himself these things, ha ha ha! He has showed me what he coded and the little games he has made and it all seems very magical to me! lol! Reading the comments here about coding I am so lost! 😉 Sounds like your seven year old is leaps and bounds ahead of me! Bravo, Dad! All the best!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Haha oh that’s funny Christina!!! I remember the first time I really studied programming in college and it did seem to have that magical quality to it. So I hear ya. I’m totally the opposite though now, I’m a BIG nerd haha!! Like I spent part of the morning at the office today doing database queries (I know, fasten your seat belt type of thrilling work right?! Lol!) Scratch is so cool, so is Hopscotch. We just got back from vacay, so I need to still show it to my gal. Hopefully this week.

      My wife is not a computer girl. She has left all of that to me. So I’ve been doing Khan Academy with my 7 yo. Have you all used Khan at all? It’s so cool! They have some really good computer science classes on there.

      That’s so neat that you made an adoption video!! Have you shared it on WP? We use windows, used to have a Mac and I loved iMovie. I remember making a movie with my nephew and niece once on it when we were teenagers. It was fun to mess around with all the cool programs Mac has on there, or at least used to 10 years ago. And I used to run Linux too on an old laptop, it was cool and nerdy and right up my alley haha!!

      Sounds like your son is getting it though! with all the info and documentation for different programming languages on the web, it’s much easier to self teach oneself a new language these days then a decade ago. Thats super awesome your son is doing that! Good job to you too, Mom! Cheers!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. You’ve lost me on all the techie stuff! ha ha! The video of our journey is at my post, https://crazyloveparents.com/2016/12/09/whatever-you-do-just-dont-lose-heart/
        Although, honestly I should have just let the 10 year old do it, as I’m sure he could have done better! 😂 It’s basically just photos set to music. I have some plans for them to use some more technical stuff and computers in the future, but honestly, we limit it a lot over here because it messes with their behaviors…🤣🤣 I’ve heard great things about Khan!!! My son also just started using some stop-action app to create different stop-action Lego movies…they’re pretty cool! I’m thinking up a Lego post for my blog someday! 🤓🤓 We’re Lego nerds over here! 🤓🤓

        Liked by 4 people

      2. oh that’s so cool! Love it! Understood on the behavioral part. We limit screen time as well. Mostly we limit video and app time on their Fire tablets, but let them have unlimited reading. Khan is great! We actually used some of their stuff when I was in grad school as supplemental, tangential information. The computer science courses are solid. Cryptography has to be my favorite, just because it’s set to a spy theme and my daughter loves it. But they have a lot of other great subjects on there too.

        That’s cool about Lego movies! Haha, I was a total Lego nerd when I was a kid. One of my favorite Christmas presents ever was a Lego pirates schooner. I looooved it! Legos are fun!!

        Liked by 4 people

  4. One was “Lift the flap Computers and Coding” which a computer friend told me was surprisingly accurate and a good read, and the other was something like “Learning to Code with Scratch” which he really enjoyed and was able to begin teaching himself to code using scratch, because his mother is clueless and he needs to teach himself these things, ha ha ha! ha ha!

    Like

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