Online Coding Classes for Kids (perfect for homeschoolers)
I might be a little biased (I’m a software engineer) but I believe that every child should learn to code. In my opinion, coding in the future will be as necessary as English. Communication with computers will be as essential as communicating with other humans. Kids who do not have coding skills will be handicapped by their lack.
(I was compensated for my time, but all of the opinions contained within are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosures for more information.)
What Is Coding?
Coding is simply the way in which a human communicates with a computer. A program is a set of instructions the programmer gives the computer for completing a task.
Think of it like giving a toddler instructions for making a pb&j sandwich. First, you gather the supplies: bread, peanut butter, jelly and a knife. Next, remove two slices of bread and remove the lids from the peanut butter and jelly jars… and so on.
Computers are not intelligent. They only do what we tell them, and they do exactly what we tell them and not what we meant to tell them. Programs have to be clear, concise and explicit. And they use different languages to accomplish different things.
How Do I Help My Kids Learn To Code?
How do you teach your child to code, especially if you don’t know how to code yourself? Several years ago, I decided to teach my kids Spanish, even though I didn’t speak it myself. I bought some textbooks and we dove in.
My husband walked in on our homeschool and laughed at my pronunciation. I realized we needed more than textbooks (Duo Lingo did not yet exist). My kids and I were able to learn vocabulary and grammar, but no communication would ever have taken place in Spanish because we had fundamental pronunciation wrong.
Learning coding is the same as with any subject. You can learn a whole lot by reading about it and even more by practicing it, but you will also occasionally need an actual person, knowledgeable about the subject material, with whom to discuss ideas and correct misconceptions — a tutor or teacher.
Your kiddos can get started and learn a whole lot independently with free sites like Scratch and offline games like Turing Tumble. However, if you don’t code and your children are serious about learning to code, they will need some expert guidance and instruction along the way.
My kids have taken a variety of coding classes to learn various skills, but their favorites are the classes they are taking right now at CodaKid.
CodaKid Coding Classes For Kids
CodaKid coding classes are brilliant because they capitalize on kids’ interest by structuring skill-building around their favorite games, like Minecraft and Roblox. I haven’t actually played either of those games, but I’ve endured so much incessant chatter about them I feel like I know them inside out.
Apparently, players can create things within the games (mods, weapons, useful items, mini-games to play) for the other players. My kids actually spend their own money on these things and used to wish they could create them themselves.
Now they are learning how to do just that, thanks to CodaKid. The classes are fun, but they are using real programming languages, like Lua, Python and Java, and they use an IDE that looks very much like Visual Studio.
CodaKid offers full courses, plus smaller tutorials and challenges to keep students engaged and coming back for more. They offer dozens of online coding classes and your kids can take as many or few as they want, working at their own pace.
The very best part is that students have access to friendly mentors through messaging and screen share. So when they get stuck on any concept, help is available! CodaKid also offers private, individual tutoring, which we haven’t used yet.
Here are a few more CodaKid benefits:
- CodaKid offers friendly, timely support for students all around the world.
- Self-study is great for students that enjoy problem solving independently and learn well from video.
- Private CodaKid tutoring is the fastest way to learn for students who need more structure and accountability.
- 35%+ of CodaKid customers are homeschool families.
- CodaKid accepts ESA, as well as other state tuition tax credit awards/ funding.
How To Add Coding Classes To Your Homeschool
Believe me, I know how it feels to have to add one more thing to your already overloaded plate. That’s why I don’t add it to my plate, I add it to my children’s plates and make sure it is sufficiently enticing so that I won’t have to nag or cajole.
Do you have to nag your kids to play Minecraft or Roblox? Me either. I have to monitor the time they spend gaming and enforce limits.
In the games your child will wish he had this mod or that mod, or could earn points for building games or whatever. What better incentive to get your kiddos working voluntarily toward some hard skills they’ll use throughout their lives, whatever their occupations?
Now if only CodaKid would offer a service where Minecraft players could call in and someone would listen to a play-by-play account of every intimate detail of that child’s online endeavors for the day. That would save me a whole lot of pain!
5 Benefits of Learning to Code
From problem-solving skills to job opportunities there are innumerable reasons to learn programming. Let’s talk about a few of the reasons kids should learn to code:
- Coding improves problem-solving skills. Programmers, mathematicians and scientists all follow the same method. You encounter the problem. You read it through and think, “What?” But then you remember that you know how to do this, so you draw yourself a picture. You label all of your knowns, determine what you are trying to figure out (your unkown) and determine a path (the instructions) for getting there. That same method is extremely applicable to life and imbues kids with a “can do” attitude about everything.
- Coding helps kids develop resilience. When children learn to code, they develop the ability to bounce back after failure. They learn that failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in fact, it can often be something positive because it serves as a learning opportunity. This is one of the most important reasons why kids should code, as they will learn quickly that ‘debugging’ your code is half the fun. When you fail and try again you can learn from your mistakes. Coding gives children the ability to try and try again until they succeed and produce the result they are looking for.
- Coding helps kids learn to think logically and sequentially. in order to code effectively, a programmer needs to be able to break large problems down into smaller pieces (this is called decomposition and is also used in many other disciplines), and solve them one at a time in the correct sequence. Ironically, this type of thinking also helps develop creativity.
- Coding is the future. Most of my kiddos have been happy to learn coding, but one daughter was particularly resistant. She insisted she was a creative type, and she does excel at music, writing and the arts. She plays multiple instruments well, is part of an elite youth orchestra, and had said for years that she was going to become a film score composer like Hans Zimmer. For her birthday I bought her a midi keyboard and some software, so she could start learning. It didn’t take her very long to learn that the entire music industry has been revolutionized by computers and that she would be working with them daily in her career! She has since realized that not knowing how to code will be detrimental to her future and is taking coding classes.
- Coding is fun and creative. If you don’t believe me, go create a Scratch account and look through the other users accounts. I’m a creative person and I consider myself a graphic artist as well as a software engineer.
Pin these ideas for kids coding classes for later!