Saturday, July 20, 2013

Homeschool Programming- TOS Review

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Homeschool Programming offers computer programming courses for kids and teens. Written by homeschooling parents with degrees and professional experience in computer science and electrical engineering, this series offers a great product at a reasonable price to the home school market. We had the privilege of using the TeenCoder Java Year Pack which includes both the  TeenCoder Java Series and Android Programing courses.

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The lessons come as a PDF down-load. In addition, we were sent the instructional videos.

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The meat of the program is in the student manual. The videos, while not imperative to the success of the program, are well done and a good introduction to each lesson. The first lesson introduces the languages and then the lessons take off from there. Each chapter requires the student to do a hands on programming project with each lesson gaining in complexity, building on previous skills the student has acquired. The Java course is something that any teen can get started on. The Android Programming Course, however,  builds on what your student has learned in the Java Programming Course; they must first "become familiar with the Eclipse development environmnet taught in the Java course, as well as be familiar with how to write, run, build and de-bug Java applications." Both courses are formatted similarly with each chapter including text, great visuals, and a hands on project. I love that; because the kids don't have to spend time learning the formatting of the course, but can get right down to business learning how to program!

One of the the things I appreciated most about this program was the step-by-step instruction AND great visuals provided in the manual. Each lesson is clearly explained so that the student knows what to expect and what his programming should actually LOOK like.  This was especially helpful to me and one of my sons, who are both visual and big picture learners. Tell us what it should look like when it's done right and we'll learn faster! The pictures show what your screen will look like, where to click, and what to expect. To which I respond, "pshew!" For those who don't need such step-by-step visuals, it's easy to just read and program.

My boys (ages 18 and 13) were thrilled to have the opportunity to build on the basic programming they already knew. They found this course easy to understand and implement.This is the kind of computer programming course that we've been waiting for: affordable, comprehensive and accessible, even for non-techno geeks like our selves! Computers are foundational to modern life and you'll want your kids to have a basic understanding of how they work and how to make them work for them. The TeenCoder Series allows you to do that. It's been a really busy summer with work, painting the house, etc. but this has been a curriculum that hasn't been a drag on the system. The kids are eager to get to it because it is challenging and rewarding.

Because I'm the furthest thing from a techno-geek, I'm going to let you see what's included in these programs for yourself! Take a minute and check out these links:

TeenCoder: Java Programming

Table of Contents
Sample Student Lesson
Solutions Overview
Sample Activity Solution

TeenCoder: Android ProgrammingTable of Contents
Sample Student Lesson
Solutions Overview
Sample Activity Solution
Java Coder is 16 chapters of solid programming goodness and the Android Programming 15,  making each a semester credit (1 carnegie unit). Put them together and you have a full high school credit, prepping your student for the AP exam.

Each course is $75 for the course or $90 for the course and the video. Buy the TeenCoder Java Year Pack (both the Java Programming and the Android Programming) for $130 for both course or $155 for both courses with the videos.

This is another exceptional product, making a complex subject accessible and readily successful for anyone. If you don't have computer science on your schedule for the coming year, make room, and add in KidCoder or TeenCoder!

For even more information check out Homeschool Programming Newsletters, Programming Resources and Sample Pages.
And be sure and read what the rest of the Crew thinks about this great company!