Does anybody know of a self-paced computer programming course for my 15 year old? I know I'm being picky, but I would prefer self-paced and Java, though I would tolerate Python if it met my other criteria. AOPS has one but it's Python and not self-paced, and moderately expensive. CTY has one but the cost is exorbitant. Khan has some really interesting stuff but it doesn't look like you do any actual programming. Has anyone used it? Aleks doesn't appear to have anything at all.
I am happy to pay for it so there is a sense of obligation and motivation to complete the course, but $200 seems reasonable to me for self-paced, not $800!! I just really want a traditional one semester intro to programming course, that a kid like my son with some limited background knowledge (Scratch and FLL) and a Davidson scholar, could complete with maybe 30 hours effort if left to do it at his pace. I'm having trouble locating one. Maybe one of the online homeschool companies has one?
30 hours is not realistic to develop any serious skill in programming and by "serious skill" I mean, anything that would be worthy of the time and effort of an accelerated high schooler. If you are going for Java, C# or C++, I don't think it would be worthwhile to pay for a 30 hour course. That would be like, three chapters if you're serious about programming and not looking to learn mere parlor tricks. (Note: I'm not a programmer, I only program for stats and analysis, so if even I think it's a lowball... it's pretty lowball.)
One CC course would be minimum 10 weeks, and that would be considered the absolute minimum you'd need to wrap your head around what it means to code. If your son is an accelerated learner and 15, and has an interest in computer science or advanced analytics, I would suggest forking over the money for a CC course or a real online course such as the AOPS Python course.
Frankly, as someone who works in information science and data management, and who also works with people who are pretty junior, when they ask what to learn, our #1 recommendation is Python.
That said, perhaps your son is ready for the AP Computer Science course? THere are several offerings online:
This might work, at $150 with no feedback: https://www.edsurge....-reviews/codehs
I think you might be hitting a wall in terms of what an accelerated learner can do for free (without great public schools). Where I live, accelerated 15-year-olds are almost all working at college level, and that is paid for by the state at CC. I honestly wonder if that might be where your son is ready for next, because computer science is highly marketable and so it's not cheap.
Codeacademy is free and provides the basic mechanics for fooling around with many different languages. My daughter used it, but she's much younger and not accelerated per se. It's definitely more advanced than scratch, though.