Why Should Homeschoolers Learn How to Code?
Many teachers and administrators in schools across the country are debating how and when to add coding to their curriculums. Parents of homeschoolers are asking themselves the very same questions. Parents often find that teaching code can spark a long-lasting interest, prepares kids for a wide variety of career choices, and hones important skills.
Coding teaches valuable skills
First of all, what is coding, exactly? There’s a lot of acronyms and esoteric terms in the world of coding: HTML, CSS, Java, Ruby, etc. It can be overwhelming. On the most basic level, coding is how we communicate with computers, and what we use to build and run websites, apps, video games, and more. Learning to code is like learning how to speak and write in this language.
Steve Jobs once said, “Everyone should learn how to code, because it teaches you how to think.” When kids learn how to code, they learn how to break large problems down into smaller parts. Coding teaches kids logical thinking, problem solving, and clear communication—highly transferrable skills that apply to math, science, reading, and many other areas.
Coding can also open up a virtually unlimited creative outlet. Your child already spends a lot of time with phones, tablets, and computers, consuming technology and digital media. Learning how to code introduces a whole new element of creativity into this experience. They can take their love of Minecraft to the next level and begin building their own mods, or they can build their own video game or app. It’s highly rewarding for kids to create their own projects and show them off to friends and family.
Prepare for the economy and job market of the future
Creating apps and video games is fun. But there are plenty of practical reason to learn how to code, too. Lots of high-paying new jobs are being created by new technologies, and the supply of candidates doesn’t meet the demand. By 2020, there will be an estimated 1.4 million computer specialist job openings, and U.S. universities are on track to produce enough candidates to fill 29% of them. These jobs aren’t only projected in the technology sector, but also in healthcare, education, defense, and many other areas.
Your child may not be interested in coding, but they’ll never know until they try. And as with learning a new language, it’s often easier for younger people to learn coding principles. If they do enjoy coding, they’ll sharpen essential problem solving and creative skills, and they’ll have a head start in preparing for the high tech job market of the future. There are many options available that make coding simple and fun, like Tynker for younger kids, Hour of Code, or Tech Rocket.
James Knutila is Editorial Lead at Tech Rocket, a great online destination for kids and teens to learn coding, game design, and graphic design.