This post is sponsored by YoungWonks.
Computer programming, or coding as it is also known, is a much sought-after skill today. While professionals are learning it to upskill, kids as young as 8 years old are learning it too. Homeschooled children should also consider learning coding from an early age.
Why Should Homeschoolers Learn Coding?
Shared below are the key reasons why coding should be a part of one’s homeschool curriculum.
- Increasing demand for computer programming professionals: It is being said that millions of computer programming positions in the United States alone remain unfilled since there aren’t enough qualified people to meet the increasing demand.
- STEM jobs continue to be dominated by coding-related roles: Indeed, over 60% of projected new jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are said to be related to computer science/programming.
- Lucrative pay: High demand and low supply have made computing occupations rather lucrative career choices. Today, they are among the highest-paying jobs.
- Increasing tech dependence: With technology permeating into all aspects of our lives, coding has become more relevant than ever before. You could choose to pursue a living in any field today – be it medicine, business management, law, teaching, political science, or even farming – and you’d still need computers and technology to operate today. Without a doubt, coding helps one grow vocational skills that are of great value in today’s job market.
- Coding helps with critical thinking: Coding is widely considered to be a great tool to teach critical thinking thanks to its authentic, real-world approach. It helps one develop a problem-solving approach; it promotes thinking differently by looking at a problem from different angles and coming up with as many possible solutions as possible.
When is the Right Age to Get Started with Homeschool Coding?
While each kid is unique and comes with his /her own capabilities, as a rule, coding can be taught to homeschool students as early as age 5. Kids that age needn’t start learning text-based programming; they can instead learn block-based programming where they just have to drag and drop to carry out tasks.
However, kids aged 8 and above can typically start learning text-based coding. Languages such as Python with a simple syntax are ideal starting points.
Best Coding Languages for Kids
This brings us to the next section about the ideal programming languages for kids to learn. Homeschool parents interested in text-based programming classes can consider these languages.
- Scratch – A visual programming language and online community targeted mainly at children, Scratch teaches kids coding with ‘blocks’ in the editor. Skills picked up with Scratch can be used while learning other basic programming languages such as Python and Java. Plus, learning Scratch helps kids think like programmers and get a better understanding of key coding concepts. It also has an active online community where kids can share the animations, interactive stories, art, or music they made using sequencing, input, output, branching, looping, and variables.
- Python – The most popular coding language in the world, Python is said to be the most well-rounded. It is a general-purpose, high-level programming language, whose code is the closest to English. This makes it very readable, easy to learn, and more compatible with many applications. Used by leading companies and startups around the world, this multi-purpose language is popular in areas such Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Full Stack Web development, Internet of Things (IoT), and more. It also enjoys good library support. This is why Python is a favorite among professionals and hobbyists.
- Dart – Developed by Google, Dart is an object-oriented, class-defined programming language that is used to build web, server, desktop, and mobile applications. It is easy to learn since it has features that are familiar to users of both static and dynamic languages. Dart also helps one make smooth animations and transitions that run at 60fps (frames per second). If you wish to read more about leading coding languages for kids, read this YoungWonks blog.
Coding Resources Available to Homeschoolers
There are many free resources available online to learn coding. For instance, code.org is a website offering free coding lessons. It is a good starting point for kids and beginners as it breaks down concepts into easy-to-understand modules.
Tynker is another educational programming platform aimed at teaching children coding. Instead of typing the source code, one has to visually drag blocks of code and snap them together. Like Scratch, it covers game design, animation, and even robotics.
In addition to the above, one can also consider having their kids join a coding program so as to learn it under the guidance of an instructor. At the California-based YoungWonks, kids get individual attention with a 1:1 student-teacher ratio, and their self-paced and project-based learning method factors in each child’s learning abilities. One of the most experienced STEM programs for kids in the US, YoungWonks is also one of the very few that has won accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Students here get a world-class introduction to electronics and computer science, as they are encouraged to unleash their creativity and work on developing solutions of the future. It has a comprehensive tech curriculum for kids and teens who get 24/7 access to the app and portal-based online concept reinforcement material that includes videos, animations, quizzes, and students also get to take part in live online technology events such as coding fairs and hackathons.
Not surprisingly, its students have achieved great success over the years; they have won national and international level competitions and bagged prestigious tech internships in the country such as the Johns Hopkins internship, the Intel labs internship, the NASA internship, and more.
Tips for Homeschoolers Learning Coding
- Have fun: Like with any subject, it’s important to have fun as you learn.
Coding can be truly enjoyable for kids, especially since they can put their skills to use to make apps, websites, games, and robots.
- Join an online class: While one can learn coding for free, joining a class that offers 1:1 tutoring with quality faculty comes with a host of advantages. You can see for yourself by checking out this free trial class from YoungWonks.
- Join a homeschool coding community: A sense of community can go a long way; so look out for like-minded homeschoolers that you can learn coding with by working on team projects.
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