Every parent and especially every homeschooler should incorporate computer programming into their curriculum and into their child’s life. This is a strong statement, but allow me to explain why I am so passionate about this skill. Simply put, coding is in high demand now, and will be at a greater demand in the near future. There is an estimate of almost 3 million jobs in coding now that are unfulfilled in the United States, and that number is expected to climb even more. For more statistics on coding, check out this article. Even since my family and I watched, “Waiting on Superman” documentary, years ago, I wondered how did I get through school without hearing the various fields of employment there are in the STEM field. I didn’t even hear the word STEM until I got to college, and it was still not understood by me. We can couple the reality of many unfulfilled tech jobs with the ever growing reality of job automation, and see the new pressing concerns on the horizon for our children.
With this information in mind, I have been making sure that computer programming was a part of our homeschool curriculum. I started this journey with Joshua by taking him to the free coding classes that are held often at the Apple Store. Apple hosts a free class daily called “Today at Apple” where they feature how to’s on photography, coding, art, and etc. I also enrolled in him for the past 3 summers into Apple Camp. I can’t say enough great things about the programs that Apple hosts, as I found it to be a free way to introduce Joshua to coding, robotics, and movie making. After taking the coding class during Today at Apple, I immediately went home and downloaded the Swift Playground apps, that Apple uses during the class, and made it a requirement for Joshua to practice it. Apple has done a great job at providing mini lessons that are easy to figure out. I was able to follow along too, and helped teach the first few lessons to Joshua. However, very quickly, it was determined that I was in his way, as he didn’t need my help with it at all.
From there, Joshua has taken coding on Khan Academy and FreeCode.org. Currently he is learning both HTML and Java mostly. When he starts 7th grade this coming school year, I will be switching him to Python, as you will learn that each programming language has its benefits and uses. Python is the go to language for most companies such as YouTube, Google, and etc. Joshua’g goal by the end of high school is to know HTML, Java, and Python.
So without further delay, here is a list of coding resources to get you started on introducing this skill to your child.
- EdX: Free online courses by Harvard, Yale, MIT, & more.
- YearUp: A one year program for young people between the ages 18-24, with a high school diploma or GED.
- Scratch: Free interactive coding tutorial from MIT
- Code Academy
- Khan Academy
- Free Code Camp
Click these articles below for more readings on the importance of coding for children: