Teaching How to Code in our Homeschool | Learn How to Code For Free

As I have previously discussed, as of 2017 the kids and I are going to be doing more coding. One of our homeschool goals for 2017 is to learn how to code an Android app. Hopefully, this leads to us creating an app for Dad E. This also has me thinking that we might want to start learning how to code for iOS, but one step at a time. Mikky and I are starting with Android because we have a house full of Android devices so deploying our practice work will be easier.

Coding with an advanced 11-year-old

Before deciding to take the big leap into actual programming Mikky used web-based curriculum like Code.org (ages 4+), Scratch (ages 7+), and Netlogo (ages 10+).  Now that she’s older she wants to learn real programming, and I told her that I back her decision one hundred percent. When compiling curriculum for Mikky I always have to search for resources written for her reading level and not her age. Her reading comprehension skills are between ninth and tenth grade so most of her school work and activities are written for that age group.

At first, I was going to work with Mikky on how to code via JavaScript. That is, until I read that CodeAcademy.com is updating some of their courses and the old courses will be removed from the website in the summer. I don’t want Mikky to feel pressed for time if she wants to take it slow, so I scrolled down my list of bookmarks. Luckily, I found that Google partnered with Udacity to offer an Android Nanodegree program.  All of the courses in the program are free, but if you want a complete learning experience (ie, more one on one instruction, interaction with other students, or a verifiable certificate) paying the monthly fees for the Nanodegree credentials is something to consider.

In our case, I feel fully competent to learn along side and guide Mikky through our journey in Android app creation. Our goal is to build a few apps, and create a web-based portfolio that Mikky builds from scratch. I can’t wait to brainstorm about artwork for the app and different things we should include! Building memories and learning together at the same time makes trying something new worth it.

*Udacity also offers a standalone JavaScript programming degree for people who want to build an understanding of the programming language used to make Android apps before diving into creating any applications.*

**Udacity also offers a Front-End Web Developer program composed of courses that will get you designing and building websites** I consider the skill set obained via this set of courses viable to Mikky’s future as an entrepreneur. The more you know how to do for your own small business, the less work you have to outsource.

Coding with a Preschooler

During #HourofCode week, Monkey and I played around with a lot of coding apps for kids. Each app had minor differences, but they were a great way to introduce him to coding. It also lead me to discover that Monkey really enjoys coding. There is something special about hitting the run button and seeing what you created perform actions that achieve a goal correctly.

Code.org has an excellent computer science course for ages 4-6. It introduces kids to programming via simple drag and drop puzzles. The puzle difficulty increases slowly as the child continues through the course.  Monkey will also be using CodeSparkAcademy to round out his computer programming curriculum. I chose to use both curriculum alongside each other because they are taught differently so I think using them in tandem will work out nicely.

Another cool aspect of each curriculum is that there are unplugged  activities for both. These hands-on activities really enhance the learning taken place by way of digital devices in the classroom. Students use the same logical thinking they were using on-screen but hands-on without a device. Both curriculum are free. In order to get Code Spark Academy free you have to sign up for a teacher account.

I hope the free resources I have mentioned today will help your kids get jumpstarted or reintroduced to coding. If you need more resources check out my Youtube playlist below. See a video that catches your eye? You can click to skip past the others.

 

 

Chelle is a homeschool teaching mother of two, and wife to an author. She loves matching STEAM projects and challenges with books, games, educational apps and other media to make whole brain unit studies. In her downtime, she loves gaming, reading, and listening to music. Chelle is also a techie.

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