5 Resources to Get Your Kids to Start Coding

Opportunities to learn how to code have exploded! They are everywhere. From bootcamps to online resources, as an adult, if you want to learn how to code, and you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can learn how to code. If you are interested, here are several links to some online resources.

I read an article recently on Scientific America’s website about an individual who saw a lack of diversity the people who worked at Silicon Valley corporations. She set out to increase that diversity by building an organization that educates k-12 students about coding. It looks like the organization is continuing to grow and succeed.

This got me thinking about the resources that are available for my kids. I know that my son isn’t even two yet, but I want to make sure that as he grows up and goes out on his own that he is fully equipped to be successful. I don’t need him to be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (although I wouldn’t complain if that’s what happened), but I do want to make sure that he has the knowledge and skills to be competitive and productive. I don’t want him to miss out on any opportunities.

If your school doesn’t provide coding classes, check out these paid and free resources. Some of them I have used. Others just looked interesting.

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Free:
Robot School: This is an iOS app intended for kids age 7 and up. This is a game that teaches kids about coding. Specifically, kids will learn procedures, loops, and conditional instructions.
Codecademy.com: If your kids can tackle a project without much prodding, then this is the resource for them. Codecademy teaches people how to code through lessons. It is a step-by-step method that builds on itself as you progress through the lessons. The lessons are simple and should be easy enough for older children. Learn everything from HTML to Python to PHP and Ruby.
Code.org: Code.org bills itself as an education non-profit striving to help more students code. They have courses geared towards younger, middle-aged, and older students. Lessons focus on everything from building games to experimenting with JavaScript. If you’re a teacher, they even have lesson plans.
Paid:
Lynda.com: This is a video-based learning platform. They have lessons available on a wide variety of topics, including coding. If you or your kids are more visual learners, this resource is for you. While they do charge a monthly fee to use the site, check out to see if your local library provides free access.
Udemy.com: Unlike Lynda.com, Udemy charges for each class you use. They frequently have discounts. This resource is probably more suitable for older kids who can sit through a class and understand lessons taught.
Do your kids code? What resources do they use?

5 Things to Think About When You’ve Decided to go to College

So you’ve decided to go to college. Before you pack your suitcase and decorate your dorm, there are several things to think about.

  1. Now that you’ve decided to go to college. You need to decide where you’re going to go. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics, as of 2012, there are 7,234 post-high school education institutions. That breaks down to 4,706 degree-granting institutions, 1,738 2-year colleges, and 2,968 4-year colleges. Which one is right for you?
    1. 2-year or 4-year colleges. There are benefits to both. If you choose a local 2-year college, you can live at home with your parents. This will hopefully let you save money on at least rent and food.
  2. What major are you going to choose? Do you know what a major is? A major is an area of study that you want to focus on. It can be anything from business management to piano performance to statistics to microbiology. You don’t have to choose one right now, but start identifying what you want to study.
  3. What classes are you going to take? You don’t have to take classes just for your major. You can take any class you want. Note: Some classes require you to take certain classes (pre-requisite classes) before you can take them.
  4. Where are you going to live? Most colleges have on- and off-campus options. A lot of freshman choose to live in the dorms and then move off campus in later years.
  5. How are you going to pay for college? This is a question that deserves a post all of its own. Here are some questions to get you started:
    1. How are you going to get scholarships?
    2. Will you work part-time or will you work full-time and study on the side?
    3. Where will you find a loan?

Sunday Inspiration: D-Day

June 6 is day that will forever be remembered as D-Day. It marks the invasion of France by the Allies in World War II. These were ordinary men. They were teachers, farmers, neighbors, fathers, brothers. All sacrificed. Some sacrificed everything so that people could live in freedom. General Eisenhower, the commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, sent this message to the soldiers, sailors and airmen who would be storming the beaches of Normandy the next day.

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces:

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944. Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory.

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory.

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

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Where have you found inspiration this week?

I just got my Graze snack box, and here is what I think.

I’ve been looking to switch up my snacks. I guess it’s not healthy to eat candy all the time, and granola bars have been starting to get old. I knew I couldn’t eat fruits and vegetables all the time. Sorry. I’m not perfect.

That’s when I remembered that I’d been seeing advertisements for a new  snack company for which I’d been seeing advertisements. The advertisements were for a company called Graze and promised a free snack pack. You could get four free snacks by signing up for their service. Of course, when you sign up for the free package, you’re automatically signed up for recurring orders.

When you sign up, you are presented with a bunch (over 100) of possible snack options. Your mission is to work through the list of snacks and select the ones that look the most appetizing. They have sweet snacks and savory snacks, healthy snacks and some less-healthy snacks. I decided I liked about 2/3 of the snacks on the list. I didn’t want anything with raisins. They’re gross.

Graze compiled a box from my preferences and slapped it in the mail. I got the box about 1 and 1/2 weeks after I completed my order.

It came in simple packaging. The cardboard box that you see above was wrapped in two plastic strips to keep it sealed. Once cut, I was able to open the box. Inside, I was greeted by a delicious looking picture of a blackberry and my four snacks: a salted fudge and peanut cookie mix, a hickory smoked BBQ mix, a booster seeds mix, and a summer berry compote and whole grain shortbread combination.

I tried the salted fudge and peanut cookie mix first. The peanuts were a little stale, but the cookie pieces were good. They were chocolate flavored and had  nice, salty flavor to them. The mix was rounded out with small pieces of vanilla fudge. All in all, a rather inauspicious start.

Next, I tried the hickory smoked BBQ mix. The BBQ flavor was even-keeled–just the right amount of smoky. This mix included BBQ flavored peas, cashews, and corn nuts. If you like crunchy, this is the mix for you.

The booster seed mix was an unsalted mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. While a little bland, I did enjoy the healthy mix and liked the protein it provided.

Finally, I tried the compote and cookies. The shortbread was tasty. The compote was most like raspberry jam. Both were good enough that I wished I had more than 3 pieces of shortbread to dip in the compote.

I decided to cancel my subscription because I did not want to pay for each box, but I couldn’t complete the cancellation. As I was working through the cancellation process, I was offered a second box for 1/2 price. I decided to try another box. For now, to be continued…

Independence 101: Garden #2

Below, you’ll find a harvest count as of today’s date as well as some of the thoughts I jotted down on weeks 2 and 3.

Garden Harvest Count as of 26 Jul:

Cucumbers: 4

Cherry Tomatoes: 4

Salads: Too many to count and still producing

Our balcony faces west, so our apartment building blocks a good portion of the sun for a lot of the day. We’ve had to do a little bit of moving with the planter, but for the most part, it has stayed in this position for the whole week. I’m hoping that we’ll get a little bit more sun as the days lengthen so that our planned pepper and tomato plants do well.

Week 2

     I checked on the planter yesterday and was excited to see that some of our salad plants were poking through and one little pea plant was starting to emerge. I went back out this morning and took these pictures. All of our pea plants have emerged and our salad plants have grown noticeably! I think we may have to thin some of the salad plants, but I will let them grow a little bit more to see which ones turn out to be the healthiest. We’re supposed to have some cold weather this week, not freezing weather, but the temperatures will be getting down into the thirties. We’re debating on whether or not we should move the planter into the shed on those nights so that the plants don’t get damaged by the cold. It’s neat to see the differences in the plants, even from the very beginning. Everything from the shapes of the leaves to the color and width of the stock are so different.
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Week 3

As you can see below, I didn’t need to worry about the low temperatures. The garden is coming in without any problem.

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