Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mosaic Review - Homeschool Programming INC - Teen Coder: Windows Programming and Teen Coder: Game Programming

Since all three boys love video gaming and I rely on Oldest to help with anything computer/tech related I asked to be on the team to review two products from Homeschool Programming Inc.

We signed up for:

and Game Programming (2nd Semester). Course only - $75.00,   Course and Video - $90, Video only $20.

The complete package for the year - both programs - is priced at $130- Course only, $155 - Courses and Videos, Videos only - $30.

The Windows Programming program is a pre-requisite to the Game Programming because it builds on skills learned in the first course. The above links will take you to directly to the order pages.

Our materials came in the form of a download and we could access the videos solely for the review. It was quite a trick to juggle the PDF of the book, the video and the actual program. I could not print the manual out to use (printer issues) and that would have made things infinitely easier.  The other mistake I made was trying to install it on Windows 8. I consider myself fairly computer savvy but Windows 8 is beyond my capacity for patience on a regular basis. Once I installed the program on our Windows & laptop things got MUCH easier.  Based on the issues I encountered I would highly advise purchasing the full package and spring for the videos. They are worth it. 

I also watched the videos and followed the instructions step by step. This made downloading and installing the required (and free) Windows Express 2010 and Microsoft's XNA Game Studio a breeze. 

From there we got to work. I had a steep learning curve with Windows Express. I think I have been using a MAC too long and have lost the knack of Windows software. The boys were too intimidated by Windows Express to get past the first couple of lessons - which surprised me. They were further disappointed to learn that until we completed the Windows Programming we would not be starting the Game Programming due to lack of skills. So we all did the work together. 

The materials are clearly written and easy to follow. The only difficulty was switching back and forth from the window to reading and the window of doing. I solved this by opening the PDF on one computer and the program on another and the video on yet another. 

Oldest really liked the first three chapters which deal with the history of Windows and Windows Programming and Languages.  We then moved to working with C# programming. 

Hello World:

Hello World 2:

Data Types:

We worked farther along in the Windows Programming guide and I do apologize for the not so sharp pictures but I wanted to give you some idea of what some of the exercises looked like. This course was easy to navigate once I got it installed properly. Any issues were the result of user error - not the curriculum itself. 

All in all we enjoyed this product after the Windows 8 disaster. I'm hoping to print out the user manuals because I think it would make this much easier. The videos are a necessity in my opinion - especially for visual learners like mine. This is going to make a nice elective for  Older and Middle and I plan on having them work through it individually before moving to the Game Programming segment. Since we have an Xbox 360 I'm sure it will be a great motivator!

I am pondering their materials for Youngest - they have the Kid Coder for Visual Basic and Game Programming and also for Web Design - he is a little more tecnically minded than the other two boys. For a complete list of available courses check here

Check out what other Mosaic Reviewers had to say about this and other products from this vendor by clicking here.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I was given use of this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.

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