As I discussed in my post, “Dream Giver,” as a homeschool mom, I’m always introducing my kids to things that I think will perk some of their interest. Sometimes I have signed them up or "volun-told" them for things and it was a complete flop. Other times they have thrived and gained new interests.
For my boys, in particular, nothing has really excited them except for playing video games (which I currently limit to the weekend). To be honest this does cause some concern but as a mother, I am trying to use their interest in gaming to guide me.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we have decided that they wouldn’t play sports this year. In our county, teams are still competing but we don’t want to take the risk of acquiring the virus.
So that has left us to virtual after-school activities. I signed them up for a video-game development class with Code-Crew. The classes are structured great and they are extremely affordable--I’m talking $10/class.
You might think for the inexpensive price, it would be light and fluffy instruction but Code-Crew is known for its thorough instruction. As a result, my boys are enjoying this semester building video game apps, using the software “Thunkable.”
In addition to the Code-Crew class, I signed them up with CyberPatriots.
CyberPatriots, according to their website, “is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future.”
I have no idea if my boys will like it, but they will be joining a middle school team and compete from October 2020-January 2021.
I’m hoping they will come out with increased knowledge and interest in computer science and cybersecurity, as well as exposure to new career paths. In addition, I hope seeds of leadership development, teamwork skills, and value for a strong work ethic will be planted.
We’ll see how it goes!
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will see that I often post things related to technology. I really became interested in social media, specifically internet marketing in 2009. I was running an online business and I was completely amazed at the power of the internet.
Once my kids started getting older, my responsibilities as a homeschool educator increased and I found it increasingly difficult to maintain my business life while continuing home management and education. As a result, I took a step back from the industry.
However, I have had a rebirth of interest in this field as my eldest daughter expressed interest in building a video game when she was 10 years old. As the curriculum director of our homeschool I had no clue on what to do. Sooo I started researching gaming software and technology.
Like Alice in Wonderland, I totally fell into the world of technology.
And what an exciting world it is! Due to the gender and ethnic gaps in hiring, there is a new push for companies to hire women and minorities in technical fields especially with the rapid increase of tech job openings.
After learning about the high need I knew that all of my kids needed to learn computer programming as a required course for our homeschool.
Now I am committed to taking my kids to hackathons, computer clubs, and classes--anything that will help push their interest in this field.
If you are interested in getting your kids into Computer Science/Technology make sure to check out my resource page for helpful tips.
Now that Jayda is totally into computer programming and wants to learn how to build video games and apps, it is my job as mother, teacher, after-school coordinator and guidance counselor to get her plugged in with other like-minded people!
One of the ways that I have done this is by researching hackathons in our area. Now before you get all worked up over the word hackathon--let me first explain what a hackathon is. Google has the following definition:
So no, this is not a gathering of kids learning how to break into other people's computers--although I have met people there who know how to do that! There are usually hackathons for professionals and separate ones for middle and high school students. If your child is in middle school you can usually get permission for them to attend a hackathon for older people but make sure they are mature enough to handle the environment and plan on chaperoning.
Recently Jayda and I attended Hip Hop Hacks (http://hiphophacks.org ) held at Spotify. The format was different from other hackathons in that it included speakers from the music industry and attracted a variety of people from the music and tech world. I loved how we were challenged to connect our love for music and tech together, in order to create something useful for the world.
There were great workshops to attend and lots of cool people to meet. I would encourage anyone interested in getting exposed to the tech world to attend a hackathon--they are happening everywhere!
Here are a few sites to get you started:
Check out the Hip Hop Hackathon photo album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskxKoih5
Our kids are totally into computer programming. After getting introduced to Scratch which is a programming language developed by MIT, my kids were hooked. Scratch in particular is a great way to introduce kids to the concepts of programming with their easy to use block coding method.
“With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.” Scratch Website
Here are some of the things my kids have developed:
Scratch is so easy and yet schools like Harvard are using it as an introduction to their Computer Science program. If Harvard is using it--you definitely want to consider adding it to your homeschool or after school activity for your kids!
It’s free and easy to get started, just visit: https://scratch.mit.edu/
Murray Homeschool Academy
I have been a homeschool educator since 2008. Here I blog about our educational experience and hope you can learn something from our journey.