What I want my children to practice through computer programming

My seven year old is back to computer programming, this time using Scratch, an easy programming language developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is a free easy program to use, and children can share the programs they make with it on the Scratch community website. So again I’m asking myself, what do I want him┬áto learn from this?Understanding Coordinates. I like that programming requires him to think in terms of y being the verticle axis and x being the horizontal axis. When we eventually get to doing math using graphs and coordinates he’s going Continue reading

Homeschooling and Computers

When my oldest was starting to take an interest in computer games, I was skeptical. Sure, I love computer games. Sure, I remember learning to spell to play computer games when I was a child, but somehow I still bought into the idea that too much screen time is not good for children. I’ve worried that using computers distracts children from exploring the real world. They don’t get outside enough. They don’t get the ability to manipulate physical objects or gain the social play they should. I’ve been skeptical about using computers for educational purposes because I’ve assumed it is Continue reading

Learning Lisp (with Children)

My son M, who is 7 years old, has decided he wants to learn to do computer programming, so my husband bought us a book called Land of Lisp. I went through and read the first few chapters and programmed in the first game that the book suggests. The game is called “guess my number” and the computer guesses the number the person is thinking of based on clues of “smaller” or “bigger.” It is pretty simple but the point is to learn how to program. Of course nothing is ever simple in our house. The program works by telling Continue reading