stem basics-homeschool classroom

by Megan Bittner

With the increasing application of computers and technology in many career fields, teaching computer science–basics and beyond–has become more important than ever. But it can be a daunting idea, especially if this is not your area of expertise. How can you teach something that you are not familiar with yourself? In this week’s homeschool classroom, you’ll find tips for incorporating computer application into many different subjects, as well as resources for teaching–and learning–computer basics, history, and even coding and programming. Browse these resources for finding STEM-related scholarships and career fields.


Computer Basics & History

Explain That Stuff offers a condensed look at the history of computers from the abacus to the iPhone.

Dig deeper with this computer history timeline. You can explore categories like AI and robotics, memory and storage, networking and the web, and software and languages; or browse the entire timeline by year.

Back to basics! Explore the nuts and bolts of your computer and its components with Explain That Stuff.

This video from Fun Kids Learn uses visual demonstrations to explain how a computer processor works.

Spreadsheets are a great way to process, report, and graphically display data. Use these free tutorials to learn how to enter formulas in Excel and make the task easy and enjoyable.

This post from Design Your Homeschool discusses the importance of teaching responsible computer usage and includes tips for ways to incorporate computer usage into many different subjects.


STEM & Coding

This article in Parents explains why it’s important for children to learn coding.

Webucator offers self-paced courses in web development and online software–essential skills in the computer age–FREE for homeschoolers. Visit Webucator and select a course. A range of topics are offered, including Microsoft office, mobile app development, HTML, Photoshop, Javascript, and MANY others. Use HOMESCHOOL as the coupon code to order. To find out why they made this generous decision, read the blog post here.

 Even the youngest students can learn computer science with the lessons at Lessons are broken down into grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12 (including an advanced placement course). Using videos and kid-friendly graphics your students will be coding in no time.

Learn “not-so-easy” engineering concepts with these free interactive online lessons. You can also access the lessons for hands-on project kits to teach robotics, electronics, and coding. (You must sign up for a free account to access the lessons.)

 Code academy offers interactive lessons for learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. (You must sign up for a free account to access the lessons.)

Explore this list of course offerings from Udacity with topics including autonomous cars and virtual reality. (Not all courses are offered free of charge, but many are.)

Learn how to code HTML and CSS with these interactive tutorials from Shay Howe.

Students can learn computer science while playing through a real game with CodeCombat.

Learn web development with rails with this well-organized and extension tutorial from Michael Hartl.

Code Monster is a particularly helpful program for children to use in learning coding. The interactive features and prompts allow them to play with the code and learn what each command does.

Scratch is an easy-to-use programming language designed by MIT students for children ages 8 to 16. Explore the online community or check out this workbook by DK Workbooks.

Want to teach your kids code on the go? Try coding apps like Daisy the Dinosaur, Hopscotch, and Kodable–all free for iPad.

Browse this database of free and open access online textbooks for free computer science books, textbooks, and lecture notes.

Computer Careers

Browse IT Career Finder’s list of top computer jobs for the future for inspiration and information on some of the fastest-growing jobs in the technology field.

The Engineer Girl website was fashioned with middle school girls in mind, to encourage girls to consider pursuing careers in engineering. With categories like “Engineers,” “What They Do,” and “How to Get There,” your daughter’s questions are sure to be answered. If not, have her research and submit a question of her own in the “Ask an Engineer” section of the website.

Use this handy scholarship finder to discover a multitude of scholarship opportunities available to students interested in computer science fields.

STEM basics - computers - coding - application - homeschool classroom
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