Programming for Homeschoolers

My toes are barely in the water, and I can already tell this is going to be FUN.

I should tell you – I’m a software developer. You can read about that part of my life here.

Recently I started working with a friend’s teenage son who wants to learn to program. Ty is a tall, quiet guy who doesn’t say much… did I mention he keeps his thoughts to himself? And he is being homeschooled.

Anyway, Ty came over one day a couple of weeks ago and we spent maybe 45 minutes in front of a PC fiddling with¬†Livecode. As we went along, I gave him just enough information so he could make sense of his experience. We created a new “stack” (a window) and just started plopping some controls onto it – a progress bar, a few check box buttons and some fields to be exact. Then an idea came. I enclosed the check boxes in a “group” control and wrote a few lines of code on a piece of paper, which Ty faithfully transcribed into the group script. The code made the progress bar grow or shrink with the number of ¬†boxes checked.

The end result: with less than an hour of programming experience, Ty had created a working “thing”. When he first realized the progress bar was moving in response to his clicking the check boxes, Ty – Mr. Fortress of Solitude – stared at the screen for a moment and then positively gushed, “That is so cool!” He couldn’t believe his eyes. He had just done his first programming!

It made my day.

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