Review of Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1)

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In this age of technology it is becoming more and more important for students to learn some basic programming skills so I was thrilled to be able to review Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens.  Ever since our family joined the Home School Review Crew a litte over a year and a half ago, I have wanted at least one of children to learn to code, if for no other reason than to be able to help with our blog.  Our seventeen-year-old son carries the torch in this area.  He is willing to take the time and energy to learn to code in order to help me.

With software engineering being among the fastest growing career paths around today, I feel like I would be doing our youngest son a disservice if I did not expose him to coding.  The Code for Teens website states, ” This book is written with the goal of teaching young teenagers to code without ANY parent or teacher involvement. Important concepts are introduced gradually with ample review and many drills and small challenges to ensure that the child understands the concept fully before moving on.”  I loved the idea of my son being able to work independently.

The book was written by Jeremy Moritz and illustrated by his wife Christine Moritz.  I have to say I absolutely love the illustrations.  You can read the introduction and first chapter here on the website just above the superhero looking graphic.  Because JavaScript is the most common language for computer programming, students learn about it in this book.  The book is basically designed for anyone who has at least a sixth-grade reading leve- so basically older children and teenagers.

The book contains an introduction, a section for parents, and then starts off slowly and builds through ten chapters that cover a variety of topics and include such chapter titles as “Hello World!”, “Time to Operate”, “Comments on String Section”, “Projects Galore and More”.  The book also includes a conclusion, answers and a glossary.

Each chapter includes reading, activities, a quiz, key concepts, and drills.  The very first chapter required our son to find the average age of our family using coding.  He really enjoyed this.  Starting with chapter 2, the review is cummulative.  In Chapter 2, the learner works on a project which builds on the concepts introduced in the chapter.

So far our son has completed Chapter 2 and is working on Chapter 3.  Because he already has coding experience, he felt like the book started off a little bit slow for him.  However, a child with no coding experience will probably find this book perfect.  I had him glance through the book and he stated chapter 5 begins to reach a level that will hold his interest more.  You can find Code for Teens on Facebook here.

So far our son is really enjoying the book and I am enjoying seeing what he is creating.  Even though we are off to a slow start, I  can not wait to see what else he learns.  Code for Teens is worth checking out for your own family if your family is interested in learning more about computer programming, coding, or JavaScript.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Progeny Press’ Perelandra-eguide

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Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as  Perelandra – eGuide.  When I saw the opportunity come up to review this product, I was thrilled.  I thought my science fiction loving 17-year-old son would possibly love reviewing this product.  When looking for literature curriculum, I want products that include Christian values and beliefs.  I also prefer literature guides that utilize an entire book, rather than ones with a lot of pieces and parts from different literature choices.  I also prefer ones that have lessons plans and involve critical thinking skills. For this review we received the e-guide for Perelandra.  This means we received a downloadable study guide along wth the downloadable answer key.

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Progeny Press is a Christian company that provides literature study guides and e-guides for Kindergarten through twelfth grade. They offer a variety of selections and choices.  The guide we received included activities ranging from vocabulary terms to critical thinking questions to essays and more.  I really loved the study guide included vocabulary, reading comprehension, anaylsis and more.

Because I typically prefer to know what my children are studying and learning about, I decided to work through the Perelandra – eGuide myself before having my son start it.  While I am very familiar with C.S. Lewis, this series was not one I had really heard of , so I was interested in learning more about it.

 

I felt like we were at a slight disadvantage because we had not read the first book in the series.  So I really wish we could have gone through a study guide for the first book in the series before beginning this one.  My recommendation would definitelty be to familiarize yourself with the first book in the series before beginning the guide.  For convenience, we decided to download the actual book for Perelandra by C. S. Lewis on our Kindle app so we could take it wherever we happened to be going. I also downloaded the e-guide and the answer keys on my iPad in iBooks so we could travel with it as well.

 

The guide is meant to be completed in about eight to ten weeks.  Since it is summer here in the United States we went at a slightly slower pace.  We decided to read the chapter(s) in the book before we worked on the questions in the e-guide.  So one day we would read and then we would take the next few days to complete the vocabulary or other questions in the e-guide.  I encouraged our son to take his time with the analysis questions.  If you have a student who finds answering in-depth analysis questions, you many need to provide extra guidance for your learner.

 

You can find Progeny Press on social media at:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/progenypress
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Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/progenypress
YouTube: https://youtube.com/progenypress

All in all, my son and I have been very pleased with this product and are glad we had the opportunity to use it.  You should definitely check it out for yourself.

If you would like to read more reviews by the Home School Review Crew of this or other products by Progeny Press, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials

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If you need to brush up on your Math skills, I recommend checking out Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials.  Math is one of those skills that you either use or you are bound to lose the skills you have learned.  As the mother of four and with two teenagers we are still homeschooling currently, I know I need to keep up with my math skills.  So when the opportunity to participate in this review came up, I was thrilled for the opportunity.

This is the second product we have reviewed for Math Essentials, and I expected to be impressed.  The company designs products to be used for home or school.  This is a perfect book for adults who want to brush up on their math skills, prepare for any type of test involving math skills, or anyone else who needs a refresher.  For example, college bound students or those going back to school after an absence may find this book useful.

This book works for those with a math phobia, those who have forgotten the math they have learned, those who want to help their children with homework, those re-entering the work-force, those needing to take placement tests (such as for entering college after an absence from school), those needing to improve their math skills and others with similar goals, objectives and needs.

The book includes whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, geometry, integers, charts and graphs, word problems, along with pre-algebra algebra topics such as expnents, square roots, order of operations, properties of numbers, scientific notation, ratios and proportions, number lines, the coordinate plane, graphing equations and more.  Here is some pictures of the table of contents:

 

The wonderful thing about Math Refresher for Adults is that the learner can use it any way necssary.  For example, I started at the beginning and am working my way straight through the lessons.  On the other hand, if a student just needs to brush up on certain skills, it allows him or her to just work on those particular subjects.

While this is not meant to be used as a consumable workbook, I did much of the work in directly in the book for the first part of the problems.  For the bottom section of the book, I used notebook paper to do the work.  Having been a math teacher many years ago, I always required my students to show their work.  I can not and will not expect less from myself.  Here are some of the pages I did.

 

All-in-all, I have to say I really enjoyed this product.  I felt it did an excellent job of reviewing the necessary math skills an adult should know.  I was very pleased with the order of the topics and the amount of problems in each assignment.  I like that I can jump around if needed rather than having to work straight through the book.  My husband plans on using the book to brush up on his math skills as well.

In August of 2017, our family reviewed another product by Math Essentials called No-Nonsense Algebra, you can check out our review by clicking here.  I hope you will check out Math Essentials and the products they offer for yourself.  You can find Math Essentials on social media on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/math.essentials/

If you would like to read more reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Persuasive Writing and Classic Rhetoric: Practicing Habits of Great Writers from Silverdale Press LLC

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Making sure that my high school students learn to write well requires me to choose curriculum that teaches students how to write well and Silverdale Press LLC does that with their Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers program.  I felt this program would be a good fit for our 17-year-old son.  The program is designed for students ages 14-18 years old.  We received the downloadable program, which inlcuded:

  • Lesson Book (235 pages)
  • Workbook (consumable, 202 pages)
  • Reader (111 pages)
  • Answer Key (68 pages)

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Silverdale Press LLC is based in Winchester, Virginia.  The company was founded by Joshua and Jill Hummer who parent four young children and are advocates for homeschooling.  Their goal is to help homeschooling parents educate their children with excellence as well as confidence.

As the parent of two sons who hae already graduated along with our 17-year old son, we also have a 15-year-old daughter.  However, we decided to just use this program with our son at this time.  I know at some point in the future I will use this program with our daughter.

The program is designed to be completed in four days a week for 36-weeks.  So it is a full-year program.  Our son does not particularly care for writing so I was not sure how he was going to feel about doing this program.  But he seemed to do alright with the assignments.

The course begins by discussing what persuasive writing and rhetoric along with providing a profile of rhetoric for Patrick Henry.  Each weekly lesson includes reading material found in the Lesson Plan book and the reader along with pages in the workbook.  The course also covers habits of great writers, invention, subject, sources, taking notes through statements of facts, an introduction to style, punctuation and even what real writers do and more.  Pictured below are the table of contents.

I loved the fact that our son could basically work independently.  Every assignment is clearly laid out in the Lesson Plan book, so it did not require a lot of preparation or time on my part.  With the answer key, our son was able to check most of the work by himself.  However, I did try to discuss what he was reading and working on with him. Here are some pictures of the lesson plan book.  The parent can play as much or as little of a role in this course as they want.  However, I feel it is important for parents to at least monitor their student’s progress.  At the beginning of each lesson learning objectives are laid out along with important terms and a schedule.  I like how each week includes a writing assignment.

 

The reader includes readings on people such as Patrick Henry, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchhill, Sarah Josepha Hale, Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevel and more.  Each weekly lesson focuses on one of these important people.  The length of the reading assignments varies.  I will say so far our son seemed to think the reading assignments were appropriate in length.

For each day of every lesson, the student will be using the student workbook to answer questions, define terms or complete writing assignments.  I love this daily interaction with what the student is learning.  Obviously the length of time needed to complete the workbook pages varies.  Defining terms or answering questions takes less time than actually writing.  We also appreciated the variety of tasks each day.  Here is a sample of a completed workbook page.

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I have to say our family has enjoyed using  Silverdale Press LLC ‘s Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers program.  So check it out for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews from other members of the Home School Review Crew for this program or their White House Holidays Unit Studies, designed for ages 5-18, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Memoria Press’ Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set

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When I think of Classical Christian Education I think of Memoria Press so I choose the Classical Composition I: Fable Set  and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set to review with my daughter. For many years our family has strived for a Christian Classical Education for our children and finding the right Christian Classical Curriculum for our family has been essential to us.  That is why I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review these two products.  Our 15-year-old daughter expressed excitement upon receiving these products.  These courses are recommended for grades 4-12, and I think these recommendations are perfect. Of course, the older the student, the more in-depth they will go and the higher the expectations will be.

The one thing I love about Memoria Press is the variety and quality of products they offer.  This company has been a favorite of our family since we began homeschooling.  So it seemed a natural progression to try their Classical Composition courses.  Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set and we have enjoyed them so far.  The sets we received included both Teachers guides, both student workbooks, both sets of DVDs and a lesson plan booklet that covers both courses in a 34-week layout.

I love how the lesson plan booklet lays out everything in detail for each day, plus includes a checkbox for each day so I could mark off things as we completed them.  The lesson plan book also means if something happened and I was not around, our daughter could grab the lesson books and know exactly what to do.

We were so excited upon receiving these materials we just jumped right without utilizing the DVDs.  With the assistance of the teacher guide, we were able to figure out exactly what needed to be done, especially with the help of the Lesson Plan booklet.  We started off by reading the Teaching Guidelines at the beginning of both the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Workbook.  These clearly lay out the requirements, expectations, and layout of the assignments.  From the fables themselves to variations, outlines, narrations, paraphrases and even writing a final draft is described in detail.

The Teacher’s Guide also includes an advanced rubric for grading the student’s work.  There are even optional grammar requirements.  I found this extremely useful since we could utilize those requirements to help cover grammar instead of needing additional material.  There is also an introduction to the Fable Stage that describes imitation and suggestions for starting the writing journey.

As we began the actual lessons, our daughter expressed some distaste for reading out loud, but she is my introverted child.   So I really was not surprised by this.  As we moved through the exercises together, she really seemed to enjoy the lessons.  From writing down synonyms to writing outlines, variations, and paraphrases, she enjoyed all the activities.  She even enjoyed writing the final drafts.

The lessons on the DVDs are very well done and enjoyable to watch.  The information is presented in a way that is easy to follow along with what is being taught.  When the videos should be paused for the students to complete assignments, they are told to do so. Brent Vaden, the instructor on the DVDs, has the perfect voice for these DVDs.  He speaks clearly and is easy to understand.  Although I decided to watch the DVDs with our daughter and participate with her in the lessons, I feel she definitely could have completed the assignments on her own – especially with the help of the DVDs.

The lessons in both sets are designed to be spread out over 5 days a week for a two-week period.  This ensures there is time for doing variations (where the student changes the words from the original fable),  does an outline,  does a narration, and writes a final draft using paraphrases which genuinely fit the original story.

In Classical Composition II: Narrative, the layout of the materials reflects similarities to the Fables course.  The student watches the DVDs, does a reading, variations, paraphrases, outlines, additional variations and then writes a final draft.  Again the final draft is created on a separate sheet of paper. Brett Vaden provides the instruction for the DVDs, and he does an excellent job of teaching. the

All the work is done by the student in the consumable workbooks except for writing the final drafts, so this is a grab-and-go curriculum other than having the ability to watch the DVDs.  My daughter and I both are glad we decided to review these products.  If you would like to read additional reviews of Classical Composition I: Fable Set and Classical Composition II: Narrative Set or of other products from Memoria Press, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of The Critical Thinking Co.’s Critical Thinking Detective Book 1

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As the mother of three sons ages almost 22, 19, and 17 along with a daughter who is 15, I recognize the importance of critical thinking skills.  We have always loved The Critical Thinking Co.™ so I jumped at the opportunity to review Critical Thinking Detective Book 1  for our daughter.  As the youngest of four children, logical thinking is a must for our daughter.  In order to counter anything her brothers might send her way, I knew this book would be very helpful for developing her reasoning abilities.

The Critical Thinking Co. offers a variety of products from mathematics, logic, test prep and more for toddlers through high school.  So there are plenty of options to choose from no matter what your need is.  The Critical Thinking Co. has been serving students and their families since 1958.  On their “About Us” on their website they state their mission statement is: “The Critical Thinking Co.™ is committed to developing students’ critical thinking     skills for better grades, higher test scores, and success in life. We do not teach through drill and memorization or teach to the tests—we empower the mind!”

Through the years, our family has used a variety of products from this company.  We have always found the materials to meet our family’s needs.  We have talked to representatives from the company at several different Home School Conventions.  So I truly was thrilled for our daughter to review “The Critical Thinking Detective Book 1” which is meant for grades 4-12.  I feel this grade spread is a good representative of the ages who would be capable of doing this work.  You can get the book as either a printed book (which is what our family received) or as an e-book.  Personally for something that involves critical thinking skills and figuring things out, I prefer a physical copy.  But I can also see the benefits of having it as an ebook.


Our daughter is an artist by nature and talents, but I knew she would benefit from this book.  I also knew she has the ability to reason and deduce things courtesy of her older brothers.   I knew I wanted our daughter and I to work on this book together.  So we began by reading the section that tells about the book and then the section that tells how to solve these cases along with the hints.  Then we moved into the first case which dealt with a car thief.  I knew it would be helpful for our daughter to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to brainstorm with while trying to solve the cases.

I love how the sentences are numbered which made it easy to demonstrate what sentence proved the innocence or guilt of each suspect.  For example, in this first case, our daughter was able to see who was wearing dark pants and which suspects were not over 6 feet tall.  Basically, we determined who was innocent by their statements in order to finally determine who was guilty.  I found it helpful that the book reminded us that the the stories and the statements made by the suspects all were true.  This helped eliminate any confusion when trying to determine guilt or innocence.  I know if our daughter had done this book when she was in the 4th grade, that would have been very helpful.

The Critical Thinking Co. has provided the following special offers for you to utilize:

A $75 Value! Delivered weekly to your inbox. Choose PreK – Grade 8. Sign Up Now!
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You can find The Critical Thinking Co. on socail media at:

 

I have to say we really enjoyed working through this book.  I am sure we will do more in the future.  So check out The Critical Thinking Co.™  and Critical Thinking Detective Book 1  for yourself.

If you want to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew including reviews of Critical Thinking Detective Book 1, Understanding Pre-Algebra, or Vocabulary Riddles Book 1, click here or on the grahic below.

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Check out this amazing opportunity

From the very first year we began homeschooling, we have tried to attend at least one homeschool convention a year.  Sometimes, we have actually been blessed by attending several in a year.  However, 2 years ago, we moved to Texas, and it just does not seem to work out for our family to get to any conventions.  That is why I was thrilled to see an amazing opportunity come up for an online Homeschool Convention.  Many of my online blogging and homeschooling friends are speaking at this conference.

I was thrilled to see the opportunity arise today that you can enter to win a free ticket to this convention.  Click here to learn more about this opportunity.  I know I will be getting a ticket, and if I win the giveaway, I will get the money refunded.  So check it out for yourself and let me know if you decide to attend.

Review of PandaParents’ MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS

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With their MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS, PandaParents provides fun preschool learning opportunities. When we first began homeschooling many years ago, we had our oldest who was in fifth grade down to our daughter who at the time was in preschool.  I loved having things to keep her entertained while I did schoool with her brother.  The following year, we brought her two brothers who were in first and third grade respectively to homeschool as well.  I always was on the hunt for products that could keep our daughter entertained and provide educational material while I worked with her brothers.  I feel MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS would have fit this need perfectly.  It is a montly subscription  curriculum that engages all the sight, hearing, and physical movement – when completing the workbook activities.

For this review we received digital downloads of the products.  Although we do not have any children in the age range for this produt. I took it upon myself to review this personally.  Initally, I had hoped to have one of my friend’s children work with me on this review, but end of the year activities for those friends prevented that from happening.  So instead, I asked our 17-year-old son to channel his inner preschool self to watch the videos with me and look over the materials.

The suggested order to complete this program would be to read the story together with your child, then watch the video and then do the workbook activities.  It is designed for children ages 3-6, so if you have multiple children in this age range, they could do the program together. It includes reading and stem activities, arts and crafts, hands-on learning, imagination skills, science activities, math activities, problem solving and more.  It is designed to be 30-45 minutes 3 times a week. This is a montly curriculum, so each story and accompanying workbook is designed to be completed in a month.

The first and most important thing I have to say is if you get this as a digital download, make sure to read the enclosed PDF entitled About PandadParents first.  It goes over all of the important information such as where to find the videos and the passwords necessary to watch them.  Personally, because of the colorful nature of the books and workbooks, I think it would be worthwhile to invest in the physical copies of the materials.  I think printing these out yourself could see the costs add up quickly.

The materials includes preschool stories and preschool workbooks that will entertain and delight your children.  The videos are engaging and include a variety of activities, including listening to stories, learning about letters and the sounds they make along with how to form them and more.  I found them to be extrememly engaging and entertaining. The characters are enjoyable to listen to and watch.  The videos can last anywhere from around 10 minutes to around 30 minutes or so.

The workbooks include activities in mathematics, tracing, writing, drawing, reading and more.  Here are some pictures of the workbook pages:  Because of the variety of activities and the brilliant colors, my son and I both feel these materials will keep your child’s interest.

You can find PandaParents on Social Media at::

 

So check PandaParentsMESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTENRES yourself.  If you want to read more reviews from other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Monday Musings for May 7, 2018l

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So last week was an interesting week, to say the least.  During the week our air conditioner for our house twice.  The first time, the company came out and replaced a capacitor and it seemed to fix the problem on Monday.  By about 3:00 pm on Tuesday afternoon, the unit stopped working in the exact same way again.  So the company had to come back out on Wednesday to fix it again.  This time they replaced the motor in the outside unit.

Because we live in southeastern Texas, not having an air conditioner is a major issue.  It is not something we want to have any time in the near future.  Fortunately, since they came out the second time, it seems to be working fine.

This past weekend was also the weekend my husband had to take his annual physical fitness test for the army reserves.  He passed with no problems, I am glad to report.

It was also the week we received our books from Memoria Press.  We planned on starting them the day after we received the books, but life happened with the air conditioner.  When it is hot and humid, schoolwork tends to be a lower priority than staying cool.  So this week we will be diving into the course full-force.

We also received from Silverdale Press a course that our 17-year-old son and I will be doing together for another review for the Home School Review Crew.

So how are things where you are? I would love to hear from you.

if you would like to check out what other members of the Home School Review Crew are writing about this week click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of CodeWizardsHQ

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Finding electives for our children that they enjoy and that can provide useful information causes me to stretch my mind and opinons sometimes.  Other times, I find things for our children to study that could ultimately help our family or each of them as they move through life.  I am so excited to share with you about a coding class for kids from CodeWizardsHQ that we just finished.  They also offer homeschool computer programs as well as coding classes for all students.

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CodeWizardsHQ is a company that provides coding classes in a live online environment where six to eight students come together with an instructor to complete assignments, work on coding projects and interact in a real-time environment.  On their website, the company states, “We teach programming, not just programming concepts. Your child learns how to code using real-world languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, etc. These are languages used today to build all the software around us.”  Here is a link to an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Why Coding is your child’s key to unlocking the future”.

The courses are designed for children in 5th through 12th grade.  While the courses are set up on a 12 week schedule, it is set up on a monthly subscription plan.  The company offers incredible customer service and opportunities for learning.  They even offer the opportunity for scholarships.

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Our son had the opportunity to participate in a one-day special class.  During the hour he spent with the instructor and other members of the class, he created his own comic book.  Every time I walked into his room to check on his progress and to take some photographs, our son was actively engaged in the course.  He frequently laughed or made comments.  On several occasions I heard him ask questions.  Because he was using a headset, I could only hear our son’s comments.  When the hour long class was nearly over, apparently the instructor made some comment regarding the impending end of the class and our son was surprised at how fast time had gone by.

 

 

I think one thing that made our son happy was that he was also able to see what his classmates had created.  Although, he seemed disappointed that he missed seeing one because he was finishing his own creation.  Here is a video from the company.  Click here for the link.  And here is a photograph I took myself.

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Here is what our 17-year-old son wants to say about this program in his own words:

I enjoyed it a lot. It was informative but at the same time relaxed, so I was more inclined to listen (as opposed to it just throwing information at you where I would probably zone out). I’ve never taken a class in a webinar style before,but even though it pushed me out of my comfort zone a little, it was fun and I would do it again. 10/10 – would recommend

As my son and I were talking immediately following the webinar, I asked him if he felt his previous coding experience helped or not. He felt this class would be good for any student regardless of their level of experience.

Click here if you would like to see our son’s project that the company sent to us after Nathan completed the course..  Also here is video our son made discussing his project.

 

 

You can find CodeWizardsHQ on social media at:

CodeWizardHQ offers an incredible opportunity for students to learn coding.  So check out the company for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other families from the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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