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a year of computer science..HELP!

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I am working on planning 8th grade next year and I've decided to drop all traditional science for computer science next year. Cross posting on high school forum. We've been heavy on the traditional sciences in the past and my daughter will be attending a college prep high school 9-12th grade. Ironically, they do not offer any computer science courses until senior year so I want to spend the next year getting my girl engaged and excited about computer science. It should be noted that I don't know a thing about it. I plan to learn right along side of her so I'm not thrilled by the idea of only on-line like Khan Academy. I would love to have recommendations for a sequential learning plan. I feel like there is so much "experiential" learning out there that we can't actually get down to the business of doing anything.  My hope is after this year, so can have a solid foundation and start to self educate on this topic. We can do dual enrollment at a community college but I don't want it to be too hard and scare her off. We can start in the summer as well. Does anyone have any ideas? We can dedicate lots of time to it. On-line? Local? Tutor? Programming languages? What's first? Any and all help/advise would so very appreciated!


Julie in Monterey

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With all the MOOCs and emphasis on computing, there is a you out there. Code.org has a 20 hour computer science course she can take and then venture out- codacademy, khan all offer some depending on what she likes whether programming or not.

I am not sure there is a set way you have to go about it like with math. She can just explore and see what she likes that is out there.

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Stanford Online has a great free intro MOOC, online, self paced:  https://lagunita.stanford.edu/courses/Engineering/CS101/Summer2014/about


I went thru this same question myself - I grew up techie in the '80s, learning about computers as they evolved, but strangely that's made it harder I think to introduce my kids.  I tried various approaches, and have settled on this, at least for now:


general computer science intro - the stanford online class CS101 (free)

web development - using CodeAcademy.com (free)

programming - python - using learnpythonthehardway.org's online book (free)


These 3 things can be done in 1 year, and combine to make a good solid intro to computer science, including the basics, some decent web development, and some decent programming.  I've tried including an intro to databases as well but that seems to be too much.


Hope that helps!

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Thank you!  I just registered for the Stanford online class CS101free. It is self paced so I will start this right away and take it before my daughter so I can help her with it next year if needed.


We've worked through HTML on CodeAcademy.com and are about 15% through Python. My concern is that there are so many choices, where to begin.


I will check out learnpythonthehardway.org's book. Anyone take a course at a local community college?


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Just so you know computer science doesn't count as science for most schools, but I know that you've got high school covered.


I'd look into code.org or Khan to start. Some of the MOOCs are pretty advanced, so I start basic.

 Yes agreed. We've been so very thorough on the sciences up until now and I feel if we don't address computer science before high school, it just won't happen. Her sister is a sophomore at the same high school and homework is so heavy, there seems to be no extra time for computer science study.


I've talked to several administrators at local schools about this massive gap in digital literacy for our kids. The answer I keep seeming to get is once the UC (University of California) schools accept a computer science class in place of a math class, that will trickle down to high schools to allow them to offer more computer science classes.  Ugh!


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I know you didn't want to learn online, but computer science has some of the best MOOCs out there. I recommend starting with How to Code: Systematic Program Design, Parts 1, 2, and 3 on EdX.org.

Advantage: Teaches the fundamental skills that can be applied to any programming project and any language over the long term.

Disadvantage: There are a lot of MOOCs that offer much more immediate gratification to build a game or a website right away. This is a foundation she won't necessarily appreciate immediately.

Edited by JanetC
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