Friday, April 5, 2013

TOS Review: Computer Science For Kids!

I will admit to having a few Computer Geeks in the family. My Computer Geekness is entirely by accident. I enjoy using my computer to do a variety of tasks, but I have never really been interested in Computer Programming. My best friend from High School made that her career. I am in awe. My talents tend to run just a tad bit little fluffier.

Despite my own fanciful notion that a little fella by the name of Norbert lives in my computer, pushing buttons and lighting things up with his magic powers,  I realize that I need to expose Josiah to Computer Science. He, like most kids his age, is into gadgets. He knew what a computer mouse was before he had ever seen an actually mouse. Me telling him that Norbert has indeed updated his favorite game is just not cutting it anymore.

The beauty of this program is that it is designed for teachers, homeschool parents and kiddos that have just minimal or no experience. It is a tutorial that is simple with step-by-step instructions. It basically teaches us how to use the Microsoft Small Basic Program. The goal is that at the end of the course the student should be able to develop computer games on his or her own.


Computer BibleGames for Microsoft Small Basic is intended for ages 10+.  It contains 13 lessons with the expectation that the student covers one per week. It is recommended that the student will need 3-6 hours of time to complete each lesson.

Here are a list of some of the games that we can expect to be programming towards the end of the program.

Noah’s Ark

Daniel and the Lions

Elijah and the Ravens and more…

You can see the Table of Contents here or a sample chapter here.

The Minimum Software Requirement for this Tutorial is Microsoft Small Basic v0.9+ (a download is provided for you).

What I appreciated about this particular tutorial is that it is written in easy to understand language. However, because Josiah is dyslexic I felt that the reading material to be a bit beyond him. That is where I come in. Instead of a self-study (which it can certainly be) we used it as a Mom/Son elective. We both learned and are continuing to learn.

I found that it helped tremendously if I went through the material ahead of time and played with the program myself. I was then able to demonstrate to Josiah and allow him to work through it himself.

I have to say that I enjoyed this class far more than I did the Computer Science course I took in college. I certainly found out I know more than I thought I knew. Some basic computer knowledge is needed. So if your computer basics are not so basic you might need have someone around who will show you how to do things like download, copy and paste, etc. Just give yourself some time, mama. You can do it!
It's amazing how many things a kid can do with his iPod in his ears...and his favorite orange tank top.

Please remember that all of us have different experiences and expectations. My laptop also crashed in the midst of our study (Yay!) and I had to download everything again. The program had nothing to do with my computer crash. But I was thrilled that I didn’t have any issues starting over. It just took a bit more time.  The recommended lesson plan times are just that. Recommended. The beauty of homeschooling is that we don’t have to push or rush. Or we can push or rush when necessary.

The lessons are downloaded in Word (97). My new computer has Office13. The downloaded files were different in the new Office and I found it far easier to use. I have no idea why that is...I’m just coming to terms with the fact that Norbert really doesn’t live in my computer.

I found the program to be very well organized. I loved the fact that we were taught in small steps. That was helpful for me as well as Josiah.  I do have a recommendation. If your child is not an advanced reader, younger or not as familiar with a computer you do really need to work through it with them. I think it will lessen the frustration level for everyone.

Josiah is not all the way through it as of yet. But, I have a confession. I did skip to one of the tutorials at the end. I copied and pasted (love that auto fill feature!) one of the games in so he could see what he was going to be creating. That helped him to be able to keep a visual in his head of what was coming.

We are going to use it again this summer.  He is excited to be able to show his cousins and friends what he has created!

I highly recommend this product. It’s just plain fun!

Computer Bible Games for Microsoft Small Basic is available at Computer Science for Kids. The paperback edition (plus E-Tutorial Digital Download) is $59.95. The digital e-download is on sale right now for only $34.95(thru July 4, 2013). That is a terrific deal.
You can check out more Reviews here.


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