Archive for July, 2013

Jul
26

Homeschool Programming ~ A TOS Review

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The fact is that I really want my children to be more techie than I am.  I think it’s important in this time, and will be even more so, in their future.  It seems to take me forever and a day to learn something new when it comes to the computer, so I know I’m not equipped to teach them Computer Science.  As a homeschool parent/teacher, I learned long ago that don’t have to know everything.  I just have to know how to find the resource and make it available to my child.

 

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Homeschool Programming, Inc. is my resource.  They had me with their home page Welcome! and this description: “Our computer programming courses for kids and teens teach students to write programs, games, and Android applications!  No teacher expertise required! All of our award-winning computer science courses for Visual Basic, C#, and Java are self-study,” and they’ll keep me because I think their TeenCoder C# Series lays an excellent Computer Science foundation for my high school student.

 

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I had the opportunity to use TeenCoder C# Series with my son, a high school junior.  It’s designed for 9th – 12th graders, so I expected it to be a good fit for him.  I wasn’t disappointed.  He’s had no previous programming experience, but he’s familiar with navigating Windows on our PC.  That’s really the only requirement.

TeenCoder C# Series is divided into two stand alone courses, each a full semester of work.  One semester is spent on C# programming skills – Windows Programmingand another semester covers writing graphical computer games – Game Programming.  Together, they fill the need for high school Computer Science credit.

 

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Included with each course is a Student Textbook e-book, and a Teacher’s Edition, that mainly gives me a synopsis of what my student is working on.  There are also chapter tests/answers in PDF format.  The Student Text is written to the student.  My son says it is “interesting and easy to follow.”  I’ve stood over his shoulder a couple of times, out of pure personal interest; but thankfully not because he needed my help with anything.  We’ve found there’s truly no teacher experience or prep needed.  It’s not that he understands everything the first time he reads it, but he can read it again and follow the clear instructions.  Everything necessary to his success is included in the teaching.

The first chapter begins with the most basic step and builds a step at a time through the final chapter.

The Windows course covers:

Introduction and Installation of C#

C# Syntax

Data Types

Debugging

Recursion

Reading & Writing Files

Polymorphism

and more.

Thorough, detailed instructions are given with each lesson, and for audio-visual learners, additional Instructional Videos are available, to be used in conjunction with the Student Text.

 

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They work well for reinforcement and clarification, but they are not as complete as the written instructions.  We did find them helpful on occasion, but unnecessary for every lesson.  Once he read a lesson, I let my son decide if he wanted to watch the video that accompanied it, or not.  A hands-on project or Activity is assigned at the end of each chapter, with a final project due at the end of the book.  These are the best part of the course, as far as my student is concerned.  They challenge him, but then affirm that he’s learning the language and learning to program.  He hasn’t reached his final project, yet — designing a graphical chess game — because he’s in Canada with our church’s mission team; but he’s excited to complete it and see what his dad and sister think of it.  They play against each other at least 3 or 4 times a week, so they’ll be good judges of his design.

The Game course builds on Windows Programming.  It’s the next logical step, and Windows is actually a pre-requisite.

The Game course chapters cover:

An Intro and Review of What the Student Already Knows

Programming

Design

Graphics

Sprites & Swarm

Animation & Sound Effects

Multiplayer Games, Scrolling Games

and

Artificial Intelligence!

It is set up the same way as Windows, with lessons, followed by activities.  We haven’t even started Game Programming, but the cool thing is that an interest is already sparked in my son’s mind.  Whether or not he pursues Computer Science beyond high school, I think this course will benefit him.  At the moment, he just thinks it’s fun and it takes up a space on his transcript.  My view — I’m from the “knowledge is power” generation, so who knows where this might take him.

If you’re interested in a few other view points, you can click the banner below and follow the link to read reviews from my Crew mates on this, TeenCoder C# Series, and other products from Homeschool Programming, Inc.

 

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Windows Programming and Game Programming can be purchased separately, for $75. each; or as a Year Pack for $130. for both courses. The Instructional Videos are $20. each and are not a required purchase.  I am more than satisfied with this product and plan to use it with my other children.  I’ll have a new freshman next year, so I’ll write an update on how she navigates the program.

Blessings,

pk_siggy-purple2

 

Disclaimer*   I received the TeenCoder C# Series, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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Jul
22

25 Truths: Life Principles. . . A TOS Review

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25 Truths: Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Usby Ed Douglasfrom Ed Douglas Publicationshas the potential to be a powerful tool in anyone’s life, when it is read and consistently applied.

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It is a small, paperback book, just 5″X7″ and 150 pages.  It contains more than ideas, theories or mere possibilities, though. Written on these pages are proven life experiences, and principles of successful living.

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Each chapter title is a truth, life principle; followed by a famous, relative quote or scripture reference.  Mr. Douglas then shares a story of life experience, from his own life, the life of someone he’s known; or an historical account, to expound on and reinforce the importance of each of the 25 Truths.  There is a brief Summary and Workshop of discussion questions included at the end of every chapter. The chapters are a clear and concise 3 – 5 pages max, teaching on character & values, interaction with others, faith, family, health & happiness; and more.

Basically written for 6th – 12th graders, I chose to use it with my children and grandchildren, ages 8 – 14. When I knew my grandchildren were going to be spending their summer vacation camping with us, I decided I would use 25 Truths:  Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us, as our daily devotional.  I read it to them in the morning, at lunchtime, or winding down before bed.  I would read one of the Truths and the discussion questions that accompany it, to myself, ahead of time.  That took a whole 3 – 4 minutes!  Then, we’d gather around the camp fire, start with prayer; and I’d read aloud.  I used the discussion questions to help guide me and ensure I covered all the key points, but I chose to stop reading at different places throughout the text, and ask questions that would prompt sharing; instead of using them exclusively at the end of the chapter.  We “chased a few rabbits,” as they say, and “got off on a tangent or two,” because of this decision, but the book definitely facilitated a good, open discussion between us.  After we wrapped up our lesson, we’d close in prayer, asking God to bring the Truth to mind and help us live it out.  It was a focused 15 – 20 minutes, once a day, using it this way.  I think we all enjoyed the time and I expect it will have long lasting rewards.  More than once during our days together, one or another would reference one of the Truths we had studied, as a way of accountability, in casual conversation, when they thought of another personal story that connected to something they remembered; or with pop quizzes to see who could name the most Truths. It was apparent they were thinking about the 25 Truths, even when we weren’t studying them.

I’m going to assign this little gem of a book to my high school age children this coming year.  Because it’s based on a sound, Christian world view, I believe it will make a great study of character values.  They can read it themselves, and answer the discussion questions in writing.

I think the positive reinforcements and benefits of Ed Douglas’ 25 Truths is worth more than $12.50, but I appreciate the price, because it’s affordable to purchase as a gift, also.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Ed Douglas Publications

2109 Oaklawn

Chillicothe, MO  64601

In addition, several of my Crew mates have written reviews of 25 Truths: Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us, and you can find them when you click the banner below and follow the link.

 

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“It is my belief,” writes Ed Douglas, “that understanding and practicing these truths can help put the “man” together one person at a time so that, together, we can help the world fall into place.”  I’m willing to do my part. . .

Blessings,

pk_siggy-red1

 

Disclaimer*   I received the book, 25 Truths, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

 

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