Our oldest child, Jayme, enjoys computers and coding. She’s used plenty of free resources in the past, and has created a few games, draft websites, and click to color materials. Since coding is something she enjoys, I was thrilled when I had the chance to review Java Programming from CompuScholar, Inc.
You see, I’m not a coder. I mean I created a basic game or two for my TI-89 graphing calculator back in high school, and I know some basic HTML to make my blog posts have headings and bold or italicized letters. But, my coding skills are definitely outdated. It’s a subject I don’t feel confident teaching.
That’s why quality materials, that don’t require parent instruction, are so important. Jayme has really enjoyed this Java course, and is learning a lot. Without me.
I love that I don’t have to take time to learn Java myself for her to learn! She’s learning to code AND continuing to learn how to learn independently.
The Java Programming course twenty-five chapters, each with multiple lessons. Each lesson has an exam, so you really have to master one concept before moving on. It also includes a Case Study, and Supplemental materials to really help your child learn the material and apply the new knowledge in a real-world scenario.
The program is entirely online, and each lesson includes a video and text to help students understand the concepts. We have access for a full-year, which allows Jayme to work through the course at a pace of one chapter a week.
By the end of the course, she would be ready to take the AP Computer Science A course. I’m not sure if we’ll go that route or not, but the scope of the material definitely earns her a computer science credit for her transcript.
This course covers many topics related to Java, including:
- The Java Platform
- Building and Running from the Command Line
- Validating User Input
- Objects in Java
- The Binary Number System
Several hands-on projects are included, as labs. Jayme has enjoyed the game creation most! Other labs include:
- Creating a pizza ordering screen
- Creating a race car object to race
- Using a debugger
- A Mad-Libs style activity that creates a story from user input
- Creating a randomized sky with clouds
Java Programming Requires Some Prior Knowledge
This Java Programming course is written for a high school level, and requires students to have some prior knowledge. I felt comfortable enrolling Jayme because of her past coding classes through Khan Academy and her work on Scratch. She also had the math skills needed to understand the math side of coding.
If your child isn’t ready for Java, but is interested in taking a computer science course, give Digital Savvy a try. I’ll be having my younger kids take this course as they reach middle school.
How We Used Java Programming
My favorite part about this computer course was that it was hands-off for me. Jayme was able to read the material, watch the video, and complete the projects. Then she took the quiz.
If we ever run into a problem we can’t figure out, CompuScholar, Inc. offers great customer service. It’s really easy to contact them through a link in the side-bar.
What Did My Freshman Think?
Jayme is really enjoying this material, and will continue working through it. When I asked her what she liked about the program, here’s what she said:
- You have to watch the video and read the lesson. You can’t pass the test without doing both. So you actually learn.
- If you don’t pass a test the first time you get another chance. So you can go back and restudy the material and try again.
- The chapters stay on topic and it’s really organized.
I also asked her if there was anything she didn’t like. She thought for a minute, and then added that some of the quiz questions could have been written more clearly. She said that there were a couple that she had to read a couple times to figure out what was actually being asked. But, otherwise she liked it.
Jayme added that she’d recommend this course to others who want to learn to code. She said it’s more in-depth than any of the free materials we’ve tried, and provides the “why” behind the lessons.
What I Thought
I appreciated that I had my own log-in for Jayme’s course. Once logged in, I could see how she did on any of the lessons. I could also go in and read the material and view the lessons. Here’s a screen shot from my end of the course. I could click on any of the lessons and go through them.
It’s a very user-friendly website.
Having access to everything meant I could be as involved as I wanted to be. I could totally dive in and learn the concepts. Or I could do what I did, and just keep tabs that she was actually completing the material.
I really liked the emphasis on hands-on projects. These labs made the course enjoyable, and applicable to the real world. Jayme could see how to use her new skills in many different settings.
Computer skills are essential, so I’m thankful I have a company to turn to when I need classes for my kids. I’ll be using other courses from this company in the future!
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Photo credit: Chris Adamus via Unsplash