There are no two ways about it: computer science is the future.
Back in the day, computer class wasn’t much more than learning to type and make presentations. But now teaching computer science to your kids has a whole new meaning.
While it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, many kids love learning to code. It can lead to so many job opportunities later in life, plus what kid doesn’t want to know how to make their own video game or app?
Wrapping your head around coding and programming enough to be able to teach it can be daunting, so here’s everything you need to know about homeschooling kids in computer science…
What is computer science?
To put it very plainly, computer science is the study of computer processes. Things like phone apps, computer software, even the website you’re reading this on, are all created with a string of commands and algorithms created by a programmer.
Computer science topics also include programming, software development, AI, virtual reality, and robotics. Computer scientists tend to work with software rather than hardware — they work in the computer, not on it.
Because it’s such a broad topic, once students learn the basics of computer science they can follow their interests and find a niche that they really enjoy.
Why is it important for kids to know about computer science?
More and more, technology is playing a huge part in our daily lives. All over the world there is a shortage of trained computer science professionals, as more companies expand and need employees who can code and “speak” programming languages.
Even if your child doesn’t want to work in tech, it will soon be essential for all children of a certain age to have a basic understanding of computer science. Many states are mandating computer classes in public schools, or counting programming classes as a foreign language credit!
Learning computer science also teaches skills beyond the keyboard. It’s all about analyzing problems and coming up with effective solutions. Students learn logical reasoning — using a line of thinking to understand problems in a systematic way, based on truths they already know.
Similarly, the algorithmic thinking that is essential for computer programming is a helpful real
world skill: using a structured plan to resolve a problem.
Tips and tricks to teach your child computer science
If you’ve got absolutely zero clue about computer science, let alone how to teach it, don’t worry.
Here’s what you need to know…
Know your languages
There are many different programming languages, serving a range of different purposes. The majority of kids start learning Scratch, a block-based visual programming language developed by MIT as a teaching tool. The good thing is, once you grasp the concepts and processes of one language, it’s a lot easier to pick up a second and third. When your kids get the hang of Scratch, they can progress to other kids languages like Alice, ArduBlock, and Hopscotch.
Start them young
Just like any other foreign language, programming is a lot easier to learn when you’re young. While full-blown coding looks dense and complex, you can start students out with easy processes that are designed for young minds (like Scratch).
Once they’ve got the basics, their minds will be more open and receptive to the complexities of computer programming. If your five-year-old is already showing an interest in computers and technology, Scratch even has a junior program that uses pictures instead of words.
Use the Internet
The best way to learn code is to sit down and do it. Luckily, there are endless sites and apps with games and activities designed to help kids of all ages practice their skills.
Once they’ve got the hang of it, you can show them sites like Code.org and Codecademy. They’ve got full courses for students of all ages, or just short activities and lessons they can do to supplement your at-home curriculum.
…But also get off the computer
It sounds counterintuitive, but there are plenty of ways to have a coding lesson without so much as switching on a screen. The most effective lessons start with the basics, which can be introduced through a textbook or worksheets.
We’ve got some great worksheets — listed below — that’ll help get you started.
Worksheets to teach children computer science
This worksheet bundle and lesson plan will be just as helpful for you as it will be for your students, as it covers everything you need to know before you get started.
There’s a basic history of coding — did you know that the first programmer was a woman in the 1840s? — as well as a rundown of important key concepts.
The worksheets are designed to be suitable for all age ranges, and serve as an excellent introduction to the processes and patterns that come up in coding.
As mentioned above, Scratch is one of the best ways to teach kids how to code. This worksheet bundle is an essential supplementary material for the online work they’ll do, and will also be a good resource for teachers who need some background info.
It takes students through the process of using Scratch, and all of the things they’ll be able to do with their newfound knowledge.
Once your kids are comfortable using Scratch for coding, they’re read to unleash their full potential!
This worksheet bundle takes them through the process of using Scratch to create all different types of animations, and shows them how to channel their creativity into coding.
You don’t need a deep understanding of coding, or even a fancy computer, to be able to teach your child computer science at home. With a mix of worksheets and online programs, you can help them build a strong foundation — and who knows where they’ll take it in the future!
To see more computer science worksheets, check out our Computer Science library!
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Link will appear as How and When Your Homeschool Child Should Start Learning Computer Science (+ 3 Worksheet Bundles To Get You Covered): https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 7, 2020