Design a computer science homeschool curriculum

Design a computer science homeschool curriculum

March 22, 2024

computer science curriculum
computer science curriculum
computer science curriculum

Computer science has become a fundamental skill for success in the 21st century. As a homeschooling parent, you have the unique opportunity to shape your child's educational journey and prepare them for a future filled with technological marvels.

Crafting a comprehensive computer science curriculum can seem daunting, but with the right guidance and resources, you can create an engaging and enriching learning experience for your child. In this detailed guide, we'll explore how to design a curriculum that covers essential concepts, hands-on activities, and advanced exploration in computer science for children aged 8 to 12.

Step 1: Build Basic Knowledge

Learn how to use a computer

It's essential for your child to feel comfortable navigating a computer or a laptop. Your child might been familiar with using touchscreen devices such as a smartphone or a tablet, but understanding how to use a laptop is definitely a step up. Introduce them to the following concepts:

  • Understand the concept of username and password for logging in

  • A mouse, trackpad or touchpad

  • Navigating the operating system

  • Learn to type using the keyboard

  • Learn how to connect to internet/wifi

Learning to type and spell correctly for a young child requires a lot of patience, as they are introduced to all the intricacies of the keyboard, such as the location of each of the alphabet and the use of space, enter tab, shift and special characters.

Using a web browser

It's really important for your child to understand how to navigate the internet safely and responsibly. You can teach them how to perform online searches, navigate a website and the basics of using a modern day browser such as Google Chrome.

Step 2: Explore Computer Concepts

Understand computer systems

Introduce your child to the basic components of a computer. A conceptual understanding of how a computer works is important before we dive into coding and more advanced concepts.

  • The idea of a CPU (central processing unit)

  • Computer memory

  • Displays and monitors

  • Storage

  • Different types of computers - PCs, laptops and tablets

A great place to start understanding this topic as a parent can be found here.

Step 3: Embracing the Language of Computers: Coding

Block-based coding

Start your child's coding journey with block-based programming languages like Scratch or Blockly. These visual languages use drag-and-drop code blocks to create animations, games, and interactive stories. Encourage creativity and experimentation as your child explores different coding concepts and creates their own projects.

Block-based coding teaches the underlying logical thinking required for creating computer programs. They are designed to be simple for your child to start learning and experimenting. A tool like Scratch is a block-coding editor, meaning there is no structured tutorials. To start using Scratch, we recommend that you give your child high quality tutorials from YouTube such as this channel.

Image: Scratch's block-based coding editor

Text-based coding

Once your child has gained confidence with block-based coding, you can move them into text-based coding. This is where they are introduced to real world programming languages.

The 2 most popular languages in the world right now are JavaScript and Python. It doesn't matter which language you choose, they both provide a wonderful starting point into the world of coding. By learning a real programming language, your child gains a deeper understanding into concepts such as syntax, variables, data types, conditional logic, functions, loops and more.

Text-based coding requires strict adherence to syntax. This means that your child must be able to spell correctly, use punctuation and special characters accurately, and follow the specific rules and conventions of the programming language they are working with. For younger students, this can be particularly challenging as they might find it frustrating to remember and apply these detailed instructions. However, mastering text-based coding not only sharpens their attention to detail but also fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

As your child delves deeper into the intricacies of text-based coding, they will experience moments of triumph as they successfully troubleshoot errors, debug their code, and see their programs come to life. These victories, no matter how small, instil a sense of accomplishment and pride that fuels their passion for the subject. The most rewarding part is they are learning how real world software is designed and made!

In the next section we will make some recommendations so you can provide a gentle and fun introduction to the world of text-based coding!

Step 4: Unleashing Creativity with Games

By far the best way to get started with text-based coding is via game-based learning. Text-based learning can be very difficult for your child, so it is important to provide them with a fun and visual experience that keeps them engaged and motivated. is a place where you can discover a wide range of interactive coding activities and tutorials designed to make learning to code enjoyable and accessible for children of all ages.

You can also introduce your child to Pico, a game-based coding platform designed specifically for young learners. Pico offers a playful and intuitive interface where children can explore coding concepts through interactive puzzles, challenges, and games. Best of all, the tutorials are organized into levels that gradually increase in difficulty, allowing your child to progress at their own pace and build a strong foundation in coding.

Image: Pico's game-based coding platform for young learners

Understanding game mechanics

Part of what makes game-based learning magical is that it encourages the exploration of game mechanics. By immersing themselves in game worlds and tackling challenges, they learn to analyze problems, devise strategies, and test solutions—a process that mirrors the problem-solving approach used in coding. Moreover, game-based learning fosters a growth mindset by encouraging experimentation and embracing failure as a natural part of the learning process

Games also serve as a creative outlet for your child, allowing them to express their imagination and ingenuity through coding. By embracing coding as a creative experience, your child can develop essential skills in storytelling and design while having fun and expressing themselves in a meaningful way.

Step 5: Hands-on Exploration with Robotics


Next, engage your child in hands-on robotics activities to explore concepts of engineering, electronics, and programming. Invest in robotics kits that allow them to build and program their own robots. One of the best robotic kits is the Sphero robots. They have robots of different shapes and sizes, including a fun little rover that is programmable (with both block and text-based coding) alongside a companion app.

Image: Sphero programmable rover

Programming robots

Coding and robotics can be combined to give your child a hands-on experience that brings coding concepts to life in a tangible way. By programming robots to perform specific tasks and challenges, your child can see the direct impact of their code and gain a deeper understanding of how programming works in the real world. Robotics kits often come with sensors, motors, and other components that allow children to design and build their own robots from scratch, providing endless opportunities for creativity and exploration. Whether they're navigating obstacles, completing missions, or competing in robot competitions, coding and robotics offer a dynamic and engaging way for children to apply their coding skills.

Step 6: Advanced Explorations

If your child is showing deep interest or ability in this topic, here are some advanced topics that you can explore with them.

Building websites

Introduce your child to web development technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Guide them in designing and coding their own websites, incorporating interactive elements and multimedia content. Discuss the importance of user experience and accessibility in web design. A great place to get started freecodecamp, a platform that offers free, comprehensive tutorials and projects for web development. Through hands-on practice and guided lessons, your child can learn the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript while building real-world projects.

Building mobile apps

Explore app development with your child using platforms like MIT App Inventor or Swift Playgrounds. These tools provide a simplified interface that allows children to design and code their own mobile apps without needing prior programming experience. Guide your child through the process of brainstorming app ideas that cater to their interests or solve real-world problems. Whether it's a game, utility tool, educational resource, or social networking app, encourage them to think about the unique functionalities and features their app will offer. Discuss the different types of mobile apps, from productivity apps to entertainment apps, and explore examples of popular apps to inspire their creativity.

Exploring AI and data

Introduce basic concepts of artificial intelligence and data analysis to your child, laying the groundwork for understanding the data-driven world around them. Begin by unraveling the mysteries of artificial intelligence, showcasing how machines can mimic human-like intelligence to perform tasks such as speech recognition and image classification. Then, delve into the fascinating world of data analysis, illustrating how vast amounts of information can be collected, organized, and interpreted to reveal valuable insights and trends. offers bite-sized and interactive courses designed to demystify complex concepts in artificial intelligence and data analysis, making learning engaging and accessible for learners of all ages.

Fostering a Lifelong Love for Computer Science

In nurturing your child's journey through computer science, you're not just teaching them technical skills; you're cultivating a passion for innovation, creativity, and problem-solving that will last a lifetime. By providing a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses basic computer knowledge, coding, robotics, and advanced exploration, you're empowering them to thrive in a digital world.

Embrace the joys of learning together, celebrate their achievements, and encourage their curiosity every step of the way. With the right guidance and resources, you're not only preparing them for future success but also igniting a lifelong love for computer science that will inspire them to continue exploring, creating, and innovating for years to come.

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