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A programming course for kids

24 April 2011 2 Comments

In the last year or so, I’ve become quite obsessed with teaching my 5 year old son. He is one of those kids who has a great attention span and who loves learning, which makes it very easy to work with him. I started when he was about 4.5 years old with a great phonics book that propelled him from nothing to a second-grade reading level in a matter of about 4 months.

He was comfortable and excited to have me teach him, so my wife and I started looking into other courses that we could start him on. We looked into math, science, reading, spelling, history, and other subject areas. After looking around, it seemed that the best and easiest courses for us were geared towards homeschool students. The reason I say this is because they have a comprehensive curriculum, but are scripted so that most parents can pick up the course and hit the floor running. The scripts are written to make it very easy on the parents. They tell you to do or perform some action in one color or formatting style (depending on the book), then they tell you what to tell your child verbatim in another color or style.

This ability to start teaching my son immediately, without having to do a bunch of research and become an expert in each subject area made a lot of sense to me. The idea quickly jumped into my head to find a computer science or programming curriculum like this, but after looking around a bit, I didn’t find anything that impressed me. Of course, there may be something out there, but there was nothing that seemed to be mainstream besides some various online tutorials, and several books that were targeting kids who were a little older. I was looking for a complete and scripted curriculum that I could use to start a 5-8 year old child on.

After starting on a few of these courses and getting a better feel for the methodology and the format, I started visualizing what a programming course of this nature might look like. So, I started outlining the course. Then, I started writing a few sections to see how it would go. Once I got some momentum, I couldn’t stop.

I only have time to work on this project on the weekends, but I’m making good progress. I’ve written about 10 lessons so far, and I’m starting to formalize everything into an e-book structure. I’m planning on an initial set of 15-20 lessons, which will hopefully be available in the next 2-3 months. I will be beta testing the content with my (non-technical) wife and my 5 year old son before releasing it to the world. I also have a group of other people lined up who want to test it out with their kids.

I’m going to sell the e-book for a reasonable price on http://softwaredevelopmentschool.com, which is currently just a landing page where you can sign up for future announcements. I’ll be dropping a new site in place soon, which will host the e-book.

I’ll post more details about the course in the coming months and keep you updated on the status. Just to give you a little teaser, The course will focus on two programming languages: Scratch & Python. You will teach your child through a series of conceptual games and lessons in addition to programming exercises done at the end of each lesson.

Stay tuned on this site and on http://softwaredevelopmentschool.com.


  • N Nicholas said:

    I also have been working on a programming curriculum for young children and am just starting to teach the basic concepts of programming to my eldest child (6). Specifically, I have been working out a curriculum based on the classical education paradigm. (I posted an essay highlighting some of the concepts at http://www.neoclassicalthinktank.org/2011/05/guest-article-novoclassical-education.html)

    I have been looking for colleagues/collaborators to make what I have been working on useful for a larger audience.

    I thought I’d drop you a line to see if perhaps there was mutual synergy in what we have been independently working on and if there was interest to perhaps collaborate in crafting a decent programming education for children.

    Best Regards,

  • javidjamae.com » Blog Archive » My Kid Can Code - Branding and Progress said:

    […] month, in my post entitled A Programming Course For Kids, I wrote about how I started writing a computer programming course for young kids. Since then, […]