It's time for a guest blogger!

Today's guest blogger is Michele (and her 11-year-old son) from Family, Faith, and Fridays.

 

 

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I will admit it- I have a love hate relationship with my computer.  Well, not just mine, but any.  I am just not a high tec kind of girl it seems.  Luckily for my children, I DO want them to be high tech kind of kids.  Enter Computer Science For Kids, a company devoted to teaching kids basic computer programming.  We recently were able to use the Beginning Microsoft Small Basic program (recommended ages 10 plus) for our 11 year old son with great success.  Luckily for me, my husband took on the role as teacher and walked him through the lessons each week.  Not that I could not have done it, but, hey, they probably had more fun together than my son would have had with me. 

So out of the mouth of my husband...

Downloading the Microsoft Small Basic program is pretty simple and so is the curriculum.  I really liked how the 11 chapters were broken up and could be saved and viewed as Word documents or Adobe PDFs.  I was able to review the lesson beforehand and then bring it up with my son on the computer screen as we went through the material.  Another plus was the format.  Each lesson started off with some basic programming information and then moved to a simple program designed to show the student how to use what was learned earlier in the lesson.  I really like this hands-on approach as it speaks to my learning style and I think my son was able to grasp the material without having too much further instruction.

In addition to the chapters/notes for each lesson, the curriculum included over 20 example Small Basic programs for us to study and modify as needed.  I even had my son create his own program based on my 6 year old's favorite question.  "When I am 10 years old how old will my brother/sister be?"  Our program now allows him to type in an age and it will show him how old each member of the family will be.  This was not part of the curriculum and is a pretty simple program but it did show my son how he could "see the need" and create a program for the computer to do the work (math in public) for him.

I will say that I have had some basic programming instruction and so has my son so we were able to move fairly quickly through each lesson.  It was also helpful to have the lesson and Small Basic both up on the screen where it was easier to copy and paste some code instead of waiting for the 11 year old who doesn't type find his way around the keyboard. 

All in all we enjoyed using Computer Science For Kids and discovering what Microsoft Small Basic could do.  I would recommend using this program to get your youngster started as a computer programmer or at least give them the exposure and knowledge that there's more to that pretty little icon that sits on your desktop. :-)

Reviewing a lesson
Our age program

A note from the momma-
I know that not everyone has the luxury of dad being able to teach a school subject, but occasionally we are blessed with that luxury.  It was fun to see these two work together to solve a problem and even more fun when they would call the rest of our family in to show us the latest program they had created.  I am eager to see what they will program next as they continue these lessons together.

Fine details-
The course requires XP-SP2, Vista, or Windows 7, ability to view and print  documents saved in Microsoft Word format, and the Microsoft Small Basic  development environment (Version 0.9 or higher).

  

 
  
Thanks to Philip Conrod and to Michele from Family, Faith, and Fridays!
 
   - Ninja Ed