Friday, July 26, 2013

Homeschool Programing- A Review


 Homeschool Programing is a company founded by two homeschooling parents who have a B.S and an M.S in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.   They were contacted by a family member asking which program would be the best.  They searched high and low and couldn’t find one that met their high standards.  Out of that, Teen Coder and Kid Coder were born!

I happen to love their Standards of Excellence:

    • Written by homeschool parents who are also experienced software engineers!
    • Engaging, age-appropriate lessons with fun, hands-on programming activities!
    • Self-study curriculum requires no teacher expertise!
    • All courses come with activity solutions, test and answers, and a Solution Guide!
    • Optional Instructional Videos with animated coverage of all lesson topics!
    • Fast, free technical support for the lifetime of your course!
    • All printed versions include a perfect-bound, 8.5" x 11" textbook and course CD!
    • Professional setup program installs course material on your computer!
    • Graphical student menus allow easy access to all course components!
    • We teach industry-standard languages widely used by schools and businesses!
    • Online Getting Started guides, FAQ, user reviews, and document updates!
    • No extra software to purchase! We use only free development tools.


I have highlighted some of my favorite parts of those.  Another thing that was key for me was that other than basic computer knowledge, no prior computer programming experience is necessary.  

We tried out the Teen Coder Java series for 9th – 12th grades.  This is a self-study computer course.  Perfect for that age.  Also perfect for this mom who is semi computer savvy, but no where near able to teach anything in depth about them.


Teen Coder Java Series is divided into two semesters, Java Programing and Android Programing.

Java is seriously used in so much today.  I pulled this from the Website.

What is Java technology and why do I need it?

Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. There are lots of applications and websites that will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day. Java is fast, secure, and reliable. From laptops to datacenters, game consoles to scientific supercomputers, cell phones to the Internet, Java is everywhere!

So as you can see Java is widely used.  I felt it a great starting point for my son, who’s ultimate goal is to create an app. 

Here are some topics your student will learn:

  • Introduction to the Java programming language
  • Creating graphical applications
  • Using dialog controls
  • Java data types and variables
  • User input and flow control
  • Math functions and string operations
  • Java debugging and exception handling
  • Object-oriented programming concepts
  • Classes, inheritance, and polymorphism
  • Collections, sorting, and recursion

TeenCoder, seriously teaches Java from the basics up, however file navigation know how is needed before you begin.  Which I did end up giving a quick refresher course in for Tommy. 

All installation instructions are included in the lessons. Some of the installation proved to be a bit of a challenge and while searching the website for help. I found this command prompt form that really helped both of us to understand it better.

There are optional videos that are great for visual learners and we did need to refer to them multiple times.  Tommy took his time working through the lessons he enjoyed it.  By completing the suggested one lesson per week this would be a one semester course.

The second semester course would be Android Programming.  Which is recommended to be done after Java Programing, since you need to know Java to write an app.  I have taken a look over it and the format of the teaching remains the same, which is good, because you already know the style of teaching.  While I really know nothing about coding, this semester does look more difficult. 

The things you will learn in this course are:

  • Introduction to the Android Development Tools
  • Understanding and editing XML files
  • Creating and switching between screens
  • Managing Android screen layouts
  • Using graphical Android UI widgets
  • Saving data to internal storage and SD cards
  • Debugging using the emulator
  • Displaying images and loading image resources
  • Progress, date/time, and alert dialogs
  • Menus and notifications
  • SMS messaging and networking concepts
  • Creating home app widets
  • Using Location (GPS) services
  • Publishing to the Android Market



My son has had some very basic previous coding experience.  TeenCoder is extremely thorough and there are many details to learn.  Each step had to be done exactly or it just wouldn’t work.  This proved to be challenging for my son.  Which may be a good thing, as I have been trying to get him to pay better attention to details and he is seeing why it is so important with this program.   He has a dream to create an app.  We are excited for him to finish out this program and live his dream.  As frustrated as he has got at times while working with this, he has kept his goal in mind and I am sure that has helped him to press on.  My son is also about a year under the recommended age range.  He will be starting 9th grade this year.   I could see how a more detail oriented child would have much less frustration.

TeenCoder Java Series which includes both Java Programing and Android Programing with the videos (which I would splurge for) sales for $155  without the videos sales for $130.  Each semester is available for separate purchase as well.

Crew Blog Post Permalink

To see what others think of this as well as TeenCoder C# and 2 KidCoder programs, check out this post.

To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


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