Vegan Homeschool

Our adventures as vegan homeschoolers…

12/09/2013
by VeganMama
2 Comments

Ruth Bible Study from Grapevine Studies- Review

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through a link I may receive a small commission. This won’t cost you anything, but it will help support this site. Please see my Disclosure Policy for full details.

I have an awesome review for you today!  Grapevine Studies blessed our family with their Ruth Bible study. We were given this study in exchange for posting this review. There were no promises, or expectations, of a positive review unless one was warranted. I always make it clear to a company that I will share any negatives I may find with my readers. I will not compromise my integrity, or your trust, in exchange for freebies or compensation.

Ruth Bible study from Grapevine Studies

 

Ruth Bible study by Grapevine Studies

 

Ok, let’s talk about how the Grapevine Studies work. Their tagline is “Stick Figuring Through the Bible”. I don’t know about you, but the first time I saw that I immediately thought “Kindergarten”. I was so wrong!

Easy to Prepare – Effective to Teach

Finally, a Bible study curriculum that engages the intellect while stimulating the imagination! Grapevine Studies provides effective, easy-to-teach Bible curriculum to disciple students ages five to adult. Through the use of Bible timelines and easy-to-follow lessons, Grapevine Studies will give your students a panoramic view of the Bible.

That’s how they describe their studies. And it is spot on! All you have to do in way of preparation is: get your Bible, get your white board and markers, student lessons pages, Bible dictionary or have Google up and some colored pencils for the kids. I have all of the things we need sitting together so I just grab them and we’re ready. I didn’t print out the Teacher Pages for this Ruth Bible study, so when I call the boys for our daily lesson, I pull up the PDF and have the internet up to look up our words on Wordsmyth. And we’re good to go! My boys are 9 and 12 so I’m going with Level 2. Here is the “How to Teach” for Level 2. I looked at Level 3 and it’s pretty much the same thing. That’s one of the great thing about Grapevine Studies: they work so well with multiple aged homes! They even have a traceable version!

Now, I will admit, I wasn’t sure how the boys would react to this. Would they find it too “baby”? Would they enjoy it? I just wasn’t sure what they would think. Day one pushed all of my fears right out the door! They absolutely loved it. I did find it better to prepare ahead of time (all of maybe 10 mins) by drawing the timelines on our whiteboard. I handed each of them their own little packet and explained what we were doing and how it works. They thought it was pretty cool that they got to draw out their Bible lesson. There was no stress over the drawings because they’re stick figure drawings. Anyone can do them!

 

Ruth Bible study timeline

Timeline on of the boys did

 

Ruth Bible study from Grapevine Studies - Lesson page

Sorry about the pics. I had to use one of our smaller cameras and it didn’t pick up the yellow so well. I had to up it so you could see it. :)

 

The Ruth Bible study says it is either a 5 week or an 18 day study. The 5 week study would be perfect for a Sunday School class or a coop! We did it as an 18 day study. Each day took about 30 mins from start to finish. If they had a lot of questions or wanted to discuss it more, which happened a lot, then it was about 45 mins to an hour. I was really surprised how this study prompted the boys into discussions about the times, life in general for Ruth, etc. It was a great, unexpected benefit!

Here is a basic breakdown of how a normal day went:

  • I would put the drawings on the whiteboard 
  • We would quickly discuss our previous lesson as the Teacher’s Manual instructed
  • I would present the lesson by reading straight from the Teacher’s Manual
  • The boys would draw while I was reading the Bible verse and the notes from the manual
  • We would look up the recommend words using Wordsmyth online dictionary
  • Work on our memory verse
  • Discussion

There are goals and key points listed for the teacher for each lesson. I found it helpful to know these. Like I said, I chose to read straight from the manual. But you don’t have to! I didn’t want to leave anything out and I like to use things as the publisher intended when I’m doing a review. That way I can pass on any changes that I think would be beneficial. I don’t think anything needs to be changed with the Grapevine Studies. I really like the way you can do a good, solid Bible study with such a simple layout. :)

Families and classes only need to purchase one student book because you are allowed to make copies! They’re not expensive at all, but it’s awesome that you can make copies. I’m all for budget-friendly curriculum. :D Now, if you don’t like printing out your own materials, you can purchase them as hardcopies. Actual books. I prefer to get the pdf’s. I like the fact that I can store my materials on the computer until I’m ready for them and not have them taking up space in our homeschool room!

To wrap it all up, we really enjoyed this Ruth Bible study. The boys were able to follow it with no problem, they enjoyed themselves and, most importantly, they retained the information! The final quiz was just right. Not too many questions, but it covered all they had learned. I can honestly recommend this study.

 

I am giving Grapvine Studies: Ruth Bible study a HUGE thumb’s up!

Now, go grab some free samples of the Grapevine Studies! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss the rest of the reviews I have coming up this week. 

 

 

12/06/2013
by VeganMama
0 comments

Free Kindle books and apps

Each Friday I will be listing some free Kindle books and Android apps. PLEASE make sure you check the prices BEFORE downloading because Amazon can change the price at any time. Even in the same day! I removed a book from the list because the price had already changed. That’s how fast it can happen. LOL! Now, some of the cookbooks will need to be veganized. Let me know if you need help with that. Just use the Contact Me tab on the right to shoot me an email. I’m always here to help. :)

 

I also wanted to let you know that next week is a Week of Reviews. Each day I will be reviewing a product that we’ve used recently. I know I always use some of my Christmas money to buy homeschool supplies, so hopefully these reviews will help someone who’s sitting on the fence about a product. :D

Have a great weekend!!!

Free Kindle Ebooks

Fiction

Free Falling

Take a Chance on Me

Taking Flight

Mistletoe Magic

Unexpected Gifts

Rushed

Non Fiction

Helping Your Kids Be Creative and Change Their World

Christmas Ideas

Time For Me: From Stressed-Out Mom to Joy Magnet in 3 Simple Steps

Natural Homemade Cleaners: Over 50 Green and Eco Friendly Solutions For Natural Homemade Cleaners

Crochet Dynamite: Gifts For Your Besties

25 Winter Craft Ideas: Easy Indoor Crafts for Kids

25 Christmas Traditions Your Family Can Start This Year!

52 Easy Steps to a Frugal New You: Building a More Frugal Life One Week at a Time

Cookbooks

Christmas Dessert Recipes

Syrup :The Ultimate Guide – Over 30 Homemade & Best Selling Recipes

A Love Affair With Hummus: Classic and Delicious Hummus Recipes

SOUP’S ON! (Made from Scratch)

Gluten-Free Holiday Delights

Kids Books

The Adventures of Starlight and Sunny

Carolee Sings in the Christmas Choir

Children’s eBook: Mia’s Quest for Courage

The Crazy Christmas Angel Mystery

Bugs!

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You don’t have to have a Kindle to read these books. You can go here to download a Free Reading App so you can read any Kindle book on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Amazon has a selection of Kindles here (prices start at just $69)

Please note: Amazon pricing, promotions, and availability are subject to change at ANY time without notice. Please confirm the price before completing your purchase

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Free Android Apps

 

Flick Golf Extreme

Treasure Diving

Hair Salon – Kids Games

Solitaire 2014

Guess Who? Movie Star Edition

Cowboy Pie

10/07/2013
by VeganMama
2 Comments

Cowboy Pie

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through a link I may receive a small commission. This won’t cost you anything, but it will help support this site. Please see my Disclosure Policy for full details.

Happy Monday morning!! It is CHILLY here this morning! I’m already thinking about some soup or stew for supper tonight. Or maybe some Cowboy Pie. Cowboy Pie is like having cornbread and chili with cheese all in one baking dish. I’m thinking that it just might be perfect for a coldy, windy day like today is promising to be. We have a wood stove in our living room and I’m picturing a bowl of nice hot Cowboy Pie in my hands while I sit on the couch and warm up by the fire. We don’t like to eat in the living room because that’s where the TV is, but I think we may make an exception tonight. ;)

This recipe is another one that is just right for making with the kids. Even the littlest ones can help to open packages of cornbread and cans of beans! Let them stir the ingredients together, too. Let them see how they can transform a bag or box of powder into a batter. Or, if you’re making your own cornbread, help them measure out the ingredients and let them go to town getting it all mixed together! Whatever you think they can do, they can more than likely do a lot more. You just have to give them the opportunity to try. :)

The PPK has a great tried and true cornbread recipe for making your own. It’s not too sweet for our recipe and it turns out every time. You can find it here. If you want to just use a cornbread mix, look for Martha White, Bob’s Red Mill, Trader Joe’s, or Gluten-Free Pantry brands. There are others I’m sure. Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. 

Cowboy Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cornbread mixes (either box, bag or homemade)
  • 1 package vegan hamburger (I’ve really been digging the Kroger brand!)
  • 1-2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can or package frozen corn
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 package Daiya cheeze (or 1/2 bag cheddar and 1/2 bag mozzarella)
  • Tofutti Sour Cream
  • chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder or minced onion, salt and pepper – all to taste, really

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°
  • Spray a 9×13 pan 
  • Brown fake meat (I season it with garlic, salt and pepper)
  • Put half of your cornbread (mixed, of course) in the baking dish
  • Put the browned “meat” on top
  • Sprinkle half of the cheeze
  • Mix the beans, corn and Rotel in a bowl. Season to taste and add on top of “meat” and cheeze
  • Top with remaining cornbread
  • Bake for about 20 mins
  • Add other half of the cheeze to the top and continue baking until Daiya is melted and casserole is heated through (roughly 30-35 mins total)
  • Serve in a bowl and top with a dollop of Tofutti Sour Cream

Comfort food, peeps! That’s how it’s done!! I added some Louisiana hot sauce to mine. Perfect!!! The boys really liked it. Especially SWB. He LOVES chili! I think it could also benefit from a little more moisture. Maybe by way of some tomato. My kids would NEVER let me get away with adding some stewed tomatoes to anything, but I think it would be awesome in this. I barely got away with the Rotel! :D

If you try this recipe with your family, let me know how it turned out! Did you make any changes? Did they love/hate it? I’m always interested to hear how my recipes turned out for other families.

Don’t forget to find me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!! Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss the weekly vegan recipes. I think next Monday will be the pumpkin flavored marble cake we had this weekend. :D

09/24/2013
by VeganMama
3 Comments

Crazy full apple tree

apple tree

Have you ever seen so many apples on a tree in your life?! Look at all of the bunches! We spent a few hours at the local U-Pick place and came home with a TON of apples. We have like six varieties. So far I’ve made a pie and some vegan crêpes with spiced apple slices. Still on the list: apple jam or butter, apple sauce (tomorrow), dehydrate some and bake a few more pies for the freezer. You can’t even see one of the counters in my kitchen! LOL!!!

09/23/2013
by VeganMama
8 Comments

Vegan Crêpes with Spiced Apple Slices

Today I’m sharing a recipe that is just perfect for the first day of Fall! Vegan crêpes with warm spiced apple slices. Talk about comfort food! In last week’s recipe post I listed our Top 10 Favorite Fall Foods. A reader asked for this recipe, so here it is!

Recently we went to the orchard for a family outing. We picked all different kinds of apples. I like to use a variety of apples when I make desserts. When I make spiced apples like these, I use more tart apples than sweet, but I do put a few sweet ones in there. When we made these this weekend I used Granny Smith, Jonagold, Fuji, Northern Spies and an Ida Red. It made for a great mix of flavors!

The recipe for the vegan crêpes is one that I got from Vegan Yum Yum. I’ll post the ingredients here and you can follow the link to the directions over there! If you’ve never been to Vegan Yum Yum, take a few minutes to look around. Talk about awesome vegan recipes! The hollandaise sauce in the crêpes post I’m linking to is amazing. Rich and creamy, just like the non-vegan version.

Vegan Crêpes

  • 1/2 C soy milk
  • 2/3 C water
  • 1/4 C melted Earth Balance
  • 1 C flour (I used 1/2 C whole wheat pastry & 1/2 C white wheat bread flour)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS sugar (if they’re sweet crêpes like we’re making)
  • 2 tsp vanilla (again, if they’re sweet)
  • up to 2 TBS water to thin, if needed

 

Head over to Vegan Yum Yum for the directions. They’re wicked simple. Don’t skip the refrigeration step!! And whisk between each crêpe. Once you put the batter in the fridge, start on your spiced apple slices for the filling.

 

Spiced Apple Slices

  • 1/2 C Earth Balance
  • 8 large apples; peeled, sliced and cored (go for a variety)
  • 1 1/2 C demerara sugar (you can cut back on this a bit but don’t go under 1 cup)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Peel, slice and core your apples. This is where an apple slicer is your friend! I slice the really big ones in half. Melt the EB in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and toss them to coat them in the EB. Add the sugar and stir. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Give it a good stir and let the apple slices simmer. (You can start making your crêpes now if the 30 mins has gone by.) It will take anywhere from 15-25 mins to get the apples softened. This is really going to depend on their thickness and how soft you want them.

Once the crêpes are done, add the apple filling and some of the sauce from the pan. Just drizzle a bit over the top. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and serve it up! 

Our boys love these will all kinds of fillings. I think their favorite is peanut butter and banana with a few vegan chocolate chips thrown in. I like to add the filling right after I’ve flipped the crêpe so that it can get all melty schmelty. Mmmmm….

Here’s you a little slideshow:

Melting the Earth Balance

Sliced Apples

Ingredients

Cooking Apples

Crêpe

 

Vegan Crêpe with Spiced Apple Slices

Guess which pic was taken with my cell phone because I forgot to snap a shot of the finished thing? Betcha can’t guess! :P

And there you have it! Vegan Crêpes with Spiced Apple Slices! Give it a try!!! 

Jobs for the kids:

  • slice the apples using an apple slicer
  • peeling the apples if they’re good enough to use a paring knife
  • adding the ingredients to the pan
  • stirring the apples
  • mixing the crêpe batter

Please remember to get those kiddoes involved in the kitchen! They’ll love it and you will to. Link up your pics of your Vegan Crêpes in the comments or post a link to your post about them!!!

 

09/23/2013
by VeganMama
0 comments

Filled crepe

a href=”http://veganhomeschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/wpid-IMAG0547.jpg”img title=”IMAG0547.jpg” class=”alignnone size-full” alt=”image” src=”http://veganhomeschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/wpid-IMAG0547.jpg” //a

09/22/2013
by VeganMama
3 Comments

Code Academy Review

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through a link I may receive a small commission. This won’t cost you anything, but it will help support this site. Please see my Disclosure Policy for full details.

 

Last week I reviewed the KidCoder Series from Homeschool Programming Inc. You can read that review here. This week I wanted to compare it to Code Academy. The reason for this comparison is that we’ve tried using both and these seem to be the two most popular resources for teaching kids computer programming. This is really a tough comparison to make because they teach different computer languages. I had hoped that Code Academy would add a Visual Basic section to their options back when SWB started learning it using KidCoder. So far, no luck. Code Academy does teach HTML and CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby. All of these are GREAT! But, I like starting kids with Visual Basic because it’s like starting them at the beginning in my mind. :)

I’ve used Code Academy myself. I didn’t retain most of what I learned. Not that it has bad courses, it’s just not right for my learning style. We tried using it for SWB, but it didn’t go so well. It certainly wasn’t something he could do on his own like KidCoder. I think that once SWB has mastered the KidCoder and TeenCoder courses, he will be able to handle Code Academy much better. Once he has a bit more of a background in the languages taught at Code Academy it won’t be so hard!

The way Code Academy works is you choose the language you want to learn and you can immediately start the lessons. The courses are written by different people. For me, some write much better lessons than others. Leng Lee has AWESOME lessons in HTML (there are more as well). The definitions and steps are really clearly written and simple enough to follow. I didn’t have a whole lot of trouble with that one. In fact, I learned quite a bit! Plus, if you make an account, you can track your progress and score. That one is HUGE for us homeschoolers. You can login once a week and check up on your kid’s progress and see if they really should go back and retry a section. Or that they may need some outside source to help them learn more about their problem area/s. 

Java was another story entirely. Not enough practice or instruction. For me. I’m a complete novice when it comes to Java. I do have a little HTML background, but even if I didn’t, I think I would have been able to follow the course with little trouble. Once SWB is a bit older, I do want him to take the HTML course at Code Academy.

Code Academy has a really awesome Mission Statement on their site. Basically, they want to completely reinvent education. They believe that the US school system is totally outdated and flawed. They are absolutely correct! And some pretty big names agree. Code Academy is free, and ad-free, because of their benefactors. Richard Branson or Founder Collective ring any bells? Like I said, big names. ;) Check out their About page to read their full Mission Statement and to see a list of benefactors. It’s pretty impressive!

If I had to put a general age range on the courses at Code Academy, I’d say it’s more high school and beyond. Definitely not for kids. I was hopeful about the Code Academy After School program. But it’s really just setting up a club for kids to join. You use the Code Academy courses, it’s just in a group setting. Maybe if it worked better with our way of learning, but it doesn’t. So I can’t really comment on the effectiveness. There are some teachers on there that really like it! And they can’t all be wrong, so it has to work really well for a lot of people.

When I took a course there I had some problems and went to the forums for help. It wasn’t much help with some of my issues. I was able to find the answers I needed for a few things, though! But, for the most part, I didn’t get many answers. That’s one of the flaws of Code Academy for me. There needs to be a better way to get assistance. With it being free, I’m not sure how they would be able to go about that without having staff that is solely for monitoring the forums. And I don’t expect them to do that with something that’s free! I think free things should be appreciated for what they are. That’s why I’m willing to pay for a program. Especially when it’s something I KNOW I’m going to need a lot of help and guidance to do.

To wrap it all up, I think Code Academy is GREAT. For older students. Especially if their learning style jives well with it. I don’t know if we need more visual aspects or what. I’m still going to recommend KidCoder and TeenCoder because they’re just awesome programs. For us, they give us that visual and audio we need. Most importantly, there is help if you need it. I wish it was possible for Code Academy to do that, but I in no way expect that from a free program. And I don’t think anyone SHOULD expect that from them. 

Bottom line: give Code Academy a try! If it works for you, AWESOMESAUCE!! If not, well you’re only out your time. 

Have you used Code Academy? Did it work for you? I would absolutely LOVE to hear your success story in the comments. Feel free to link to your review if you have one! I’d also like to know if it didn’t work out for you. What do you think it was that was lacking?

09/16/2013
by VeganMama
4 Comments

Vegan Fall Breakfasts – Our Top 10 Favorites

In honor of the cooler weather we’re having right now, I thought I would share some of our favorite vegan fall breakfasts.

It’s definitely feeling like fall! We went to the apple orchard yesterday with LegoLad’s Cub Scout pack. It was fantastic! I was able to wear a real shoe (the whole broken foot fiasco) and do a bit of walking. There were hay rides, a corn maze and fresh apple cider. When you walked into the store part of the orchard you were immediately hit with all of these fantastic aromas. It was heavenly! Spicy apple cider, fresh donuts, pumpkin yummies, caramel apples and so many things I couldn’t even identify. It so got me in the mood for fall.

There were little tables set up all around the shop with different things to taste. Our favorite table had apple butter, grape jam and pumpkin butter. Holy.Cow. I loved all three! SWB was really only a fan of the pumpkin butter, but said the apple butter was OK. He wasn’t a fan of the grape jam at all. Weird, I know. LL liked all three and Daddy liked the two butters. Needless to say, we bought the apple butter and pumpkin butter. We only got a small jar of apple butter because we’re going to be making our own this week or next. We’re planning a trip back to the orchard, hopefully tomorrow, to pick apples. There will be apple pie, jam/jelly, apple butter and dried apples in the near future. I’ll be sure to keep track of the recipes we use. :)

You know what? Let’s do a Top 10. 

 

Top 10 Favorite Vegan Fall Breakfasts

  1. Toast or bagel with Pumpkin Butter!!!
  2. Pumpkin Pie Muffins (chocolate muffin with pumpkin puree in the batter)
  3. Apple Spice Muffins
  4. Carrot Spice Muffins
  5. Oatmeal with Apples and Raisins
  6. Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
  7. Toast or bagel with Apple Butter
  8. Pumpkin Pancakes with Banana Slices
  9. Apple Waffles with Sliced Apples on top
  10. Crepes filled with warm Spiced Apple Slices

 

And now I’m starving. Even though I did just have a bagel with pumpkin butter to go with my morning cup of tea. :D

Now, if you want some amazing apple or pumpkin butter, you have to get Cooper’s Old Time Apple Butter or Pumpkin Butter. Seriously. The only thing better is when you make it yourself!

Most of these are self-explanatory, but if you want any of the recipes just let me know in the comments and I will make sure to post them soon! You’ll want to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss your recipe being posted. You can do that over on the right side of the page. Just enter your email address and you’re good to go! 

Do you have any vegan fall breakfast recipes that your family just loves? Leave a link in the comments to your recipe on your site or just tell us what your favorite vegan fall breakfast is if you don’t have a post to link to. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and ideas.

09/12/2013
by VeganMama
7 Comments

Homeschool Programming Inc Computer Programming for Kids – Review

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through a link I may receive a small commission. Please see my Disclosure Policy for full details. This was given to my family in exchange for an HONEST review. No promise was made to make it a positive review if I felt it wasn’t warranted. Nor was it expected by the company. These are the true opinions of my family.

 

I know we’ve discussed programming software for kids before, but this time I’m bringing you a complete review of Homeschool Programming KidCoder VB. We were given this series months ago for the purposes of reviewing it. I wanted our 11-year-old son (SWB) to completely finish the program, on his own, before writing this review. I also wanted to give him “time to forget”. Basically, he finished both programs in this series and I gave him the summer break to forget everything he learned just to test the program. Harsh? Yep! But that was the only way to know if he really grasped and understood the information or if he was able to just progress without mastery. We learn to mastery in our homeschool and I don’t think that computer programming for kids should be any different! I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. ;) SWB completed both courses and helped me in writing this review. (When I am looking at reviews for homeschool curriculum, I want reviews that give the opinion of the child using it as well as the parent’s take on it.)

mouse_pointingup

The KidCoder VB Series is actually two computer programming courses bundled together. You get KidCoder Windows Programming and KidCoder Game Programming. This is called the Homeschool Programming VB Year Pack on their site. SWB would have preferred to jump right into the Game Programming (what kid wouldn’t?!), but that’s now how it works. :D

Windows Programming is the first semester and Game Programming is the second semester. That’s exactly how we did it. SWB was so into it that he was constantly asking me to work ahead! “Mom, just one more lesson!” You have no idea how often I heard that phrase from my kid. Seriously. A lot. I rarely gave in to this though. There’s a reason why the course is billed as a semester. If you let your kids rush through just because they’re enjoying it, they’re going to forget it. You wouldn’t let them rush through Latin just because they were having a good time, right? I did let him do two lessons a day for the first few introductory lessons because I thought it wouldn’t hurt anything. This was only a few lessons, though! The couple behind these awesome programs really know their stuff! (Read their “Our Story” to learn all about how they developed their computer programming for kids series and their professional backgrounds. While you’re there, check out “Our Advantages” to see WHY Homeschool Programming, Inc is the way to go.) I completely trust them and I was determined to use the program exactly as they intended. 

 

KidCoder Windows Programming

The KidCoder Windows Programming unit teaches kids Visual Basic. It blows my mind that they were able to break this down to a level that my 11-year-old son could understand and master with EASE. Not only that, he thoroughly ENJOYED it! I am blown away.

 

  • Here is the demo video for KidCoder Windows Programming: VIDEO
  • Here is the demo video for the KidCoder Windows Programming Instructional Videos: VIDEO

 

I’ve taken this list straight from the Homeschool Programming site because I didn’t want to leave out any of it! :)

 

Topics Covered in this Course

  • Introduction to computer hardware, software and programming history (this is where I allowed two lessons a day)
  • Using the Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 Express development environment
  • Managing numeric and text data
  • Making decisions about program flow
  • Obtaining and validating user input
  • Working with numbers and math operations
  • Working with strings (text)
  • Learning how to debug (find errors in) your code
  • Learning how to write loops to execute sections of code many times
  • Working with arrays (sets of data)
  • Publishing your programs to other computers
  • Putting it all together – write a simple graphical game!

 

Your head is probably spinning at this point. I know mine was. My first thought: How in the world are they going to make this appropriate for an 11-year-old?! I don’t know HOW they did it, but they DID. My kid knows all of this! He understands all of this! He can talk to you about ‘if-then’, arrays, strings, and a bunch of other geek statements. ;) The only time he needed my help was when he couldn’t see the mistake he had made during a debugging session. I think he had just looked at it too long because it was a simple typographical error. That’s it! That’s the only time I played a role in this whole thing.

 

SWB’s thoughts on the KidCoder Windows Programming unit:

It’s awesome! I wanted to learn to program computers for ever. Mom said she wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted to learn Java for Minecraft. Mom said that I had to start at the beginning. I learned Visual Basic. Some stuff I knew in the beginning. The computer parts and stuff. The rest was new. It really made sense when I read the book and watched the video. I got to make a pong game! It really worked too. I liked this program a lot.

 

Before you ask, yes I am going to let him learn Java. Yes, it’s mostly for a game they play called Minecraft. However, Java is a wildly popular programming language! Just because he wants to learn it to customize a video game doesn’t mean he won’t be able to use it for other things. :) Hopefully I will be able to bring you a review of that program later. ;D

 

KidCoder Game Programming

This is where it gets serious! For the kids, at least. ;)  KidCoder Game Programming takes all the stuff they learned in KidCoder Windows Programming and adds it to making video games. (Insert kids fainting all across America) There are some math concepts that SWB wasn’t quite familiar with enough to be able to do this alone. Which actually turned out to be a huge PLUS! It made him want to work hard to master these math issues so that he wouldn’t need Mom there with him to explain it. SCORE!!

 

  • Here is the demo video for KidCoder Game Programming: VIDEO
  • Here is the demo video for KidCoder Game Programming Instructional Videos: VIDEO

 

Again, I’m taking this directly from the Homeschool Programming site so that I don’t leave anything out.

 

Topics Covered in This Course:

  • Game design concepts
  • Drawing shapes on the screen
  • Responding to keyboard clicks and mouse movements
  • Displaying and animating images
  • Object position, movement and acceleration
  • Collision detection
  • Playing music and creating sound effects
  • Artificial “game” intelligence
  • Saving and loading games
  • Game physics
  • Printing screens to the printer

 

They must complete the KidCoder Windows Programming unit first! There’s not getting around this. KidCoder Game Programming won’t make a bit of sense to them if they haven’t done the Visual Basic course first. Look at it as a HUGE reward for them. :)

Again, BLOWS.ME.AWAY! I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but these programs are the absolute best way for kids to learn computer programming. Hands down.

 

SWB’s thoughts on KidCoder Game Programming:

This rocks! I got to learn how to really makes games. I can put cool sounds in a game I made. And I get how physics work in games. This one is way cool. I learned a lot in the first class, but this one is my favorite. Mom let me learn how to make video games for school!!!! So cool.

 

I’m cool! WOOT! :) Can you tell he really liked this part? I’m not sure he stated that clearly enough.

Ok, the nitty-gritty.

 

Pricing

Seriously not as expensive as I thought it would be. Especially for what you’re getting: your children are learning to program computers without you having any knowledge of how to program!

 

  • KidCoder Windows Programming: $70
  • KidCoder Windows Programming course WITH videos: $85
  • KidCoder Game Programming: $70
  • KidCoder Game Programming course WITH videos: $85
  • KidCoder Visual Basic Year Pack (both courses): $120
  • KidCoder Visual Basic Year Pack WITH videos: $145

 

Now, if you choose to only purchase the course/s and find that you do want the videos, you can purchase them after the fact.

 

  • KidCoder Windows Programming videos: $20
  • KidCoder Game Programming videos: $20
  • KidCoder Visual Basic Year Pack videos: $30

 

So you can see the savings for yourself. I urge you to get the videos. It makes a world of difference! Also, if you know your kid is going to continue with programming (I think all kids should learn programming because it’s such a valuable tool to have today and I think it’s going to become necessary in the not-so-distant future), just go ahead and save some cash by getting the year pack with videos. You’re going to save at least $25 this way. That’s a lot of savings when it comes to our homeschool budgets!

I’m sure you can guess by now what my recommendation is going to be regarding the KidCoder Visual Basic series. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT! It gets 5 thumbs up from our family. My husband, an Electrical Engineer, agrees. He said it’s definitely 5 thumbs up. He is very impressed by how in-depth it goes. According to him, it’s not just fluff and filler. :D

Footnote: this can be done by 4th/5th graders, but they may need some help, 6th-12th graders should be perfectly fine on their own. SWB was a 5th grader when he did these programs.

 Make sure you subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss the post next week when I compare KidCoder to Code Academy!

Homeschool Programming Inc.’s KidCoder Visual Basic Year Pack (Windows Programming and Game Programming) gets an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 thumbs up from the Vegan Homeschool!

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