So I know what everyone is thinking–Paul is teaching programming, yeah right…
Well I am sort of being a facilitator. The truth is I have a very special student, my 11 year old daughter. The broader story is that she has expressed interest in the stuff that I do for a while. Believing that a programming language might be more interesting to a pre-teen than configuring a router, I thought Python would be a perfect choice. I am the first person to admit that I’m an absolute n00b when it comes to this language. Fortunately it is fairly intuitive. Beyond that, there are some pretty good resources available.
So basically I showed her three things–the Learn Python the Hard Way site, how to use TextWrangler on a Mac, and how to use the terminal to execute the scripts. I then worked through the first couple of examples with her. To my delight, she kept going. I even got a call on my way to work yesterday requesting help troubleshooting an issue. I didn’t give the answer, but nudged her in the right direction. When I returned home, she was watching some related content on The Khan Academy.
The question for me is will she continue. I fully believe she has the ability to continue learning independently of me. It would be awesome to see her skills supersede my own (and with Python, that probably wouldn’t take that much). She says its cool and seems to enjoy it. If nothing else, it is exposing her to new ways of thinking and introducing her to possibilities.
Anyone else out there working with their children on similar projects?