September 3, 2013

{Review} Homeschool Programming: KidCoder Web Series

 As a part of the Mosaic Reviews team, I received a copy of the KidCoder Web Series from Homeschool Programming.  It came at a great time, as I was looking for an interesting elective for Lael. She is in seventh grade and is ready for a little more variety in her school day.

Homeschool Programming was founded by fellow homeschooling parents that are also computer whizzes. They realized, after being asked to help find a computer programming course for a family member, that there was nothing on the market.  Their goal was to create a program that would be easy for kids as well as their non-technical parents. And they did!

Homeschool Programming has four different courses available, for students starting in 4th grade and going straight through high school. The courses run from $70 for one semester of the course only to $145-155 for a full year with the entire course including their instructional videos.



For our review of KidCoder, we received a PDF version of the textbook as well as downloads of the activities and videos. When you purchase the set, you receive a textbook and a disk with all the necessary downloads.


KidCoder starts out with a thorough introduction to the history of the Internet.  We found this to be so interesting! After being harassed by my daughter for how old I am - since when I was 12, we didn't have the Internet - she moved on to start doing the lessons on her own.

The first semester of Beginning Web Design takes students through chapters on File Names & Extensions, Starting a New Web Site, HTML, Adding Tags, Hyperlinks, CSS, Positioning and Understanding Layers, Adding Images and Tables, as well as much more. 

We chose to read the textbook on the computer, rather than printing it out. As I said, when you purchase a Homeschool Programming package, you receive a printed student text book so your experience will look a bit different than ours.




 Each chapter consists of clear, easy to understand lessons full of excellent instructions and information for both Windows and Mac computers. Another thing that I love about Homeschool Programming is that there are no additional programs to buy. All the student's work is done on programs that come with your computer like Notepad, TextEdit, Paint and Adobe Acrobat.  





 After reading each lesson, there are chapter activities. They range from simple things like finding the source code for a web site to eventually creating a site all about Raptors, with all the necessary elements included in the activities.




Our favorite element of this program is the instructional videos. Lael really wants to learn how to make a web site. She didn't want to learn about the history of the internet.  But the videos really help convey the message that the textbook is sending and they definitely help make it more interesting for any student that think the text is boring.


Another thing that I really like about the program is the depth of instruction. If your student already knows how to create a new file or change extension names, you can move through that quickly. But for us, that was really helpful. I appreciate that the creators really understand that if parents really don't know how to do anything besides check their email or if the student wants to work independently, this program leaves no gaps in their instruction. They cover everything!

We are working through the first semester of Kid Coder now, but I am very much looking forward to the second semester and seeing what Lael will learn.  If you want to read more about what other reviewers thought of their Homeschool Programming products, head over to Mosaic Reviews!

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