Having completed Code Academy’s Learn SASS course last night (see previous blog post), Simon independently downloaded SASS on his new laptop this morning and built a website in his text editor following the steps from the Code Academy course. This involved a lot of debugging and he even gave it up once, but came back to it later during the day and resolved the error. SASS is part of CSS, its “syntactic sugar”, and stands for syntactically awesome stylesheets.
Here are some screen shots of Simon’s coding practice over the past couple of days.
Khan Academy > Computer programming > HTML/JS: Making webpages interactive (he got stuck after completing 26 percent); Khan Academy > Computer programming > Intro to HTML/CSS: Making webpages (70 percent complete):
This is where he got stuck in the HTML/JS course:
From Code Academy’s HTML course:
More Khan Academy:
And these are a few of his projects on the w3schools.com platform:
Simon suddenly picked up his old Code Hour app tonight and was done with all the exercises within something like 40 minutes. I had tried introducing him to this app before, one or two years ago when he was 5 or 6 (okay, I didn’t see the 12+ age indication, ha-ha), but that didn’t work – it was too difficult then and I had to translate everything from English into Dutch/ Russian. He never came back to the app since then until tonight, and it was funny to see how much has changed: this time, he cracked the English questions on variables, operators, flow control and markup like peanuts and he didn’t need me anymore.
On Thursday and Friday Simon started a new course on Code Academy, this time in Java Script! The first tasks have been quite interesting. I especially likes the one about moon phases: Simon was asked to calculate what the moon phase would be exactly in one year from now by using a modulo (modulus).
And the next challenges were about a werewolf and his hairy legs and involved a lot of mathematical logic:
Over the past week Simon has made some more progress in his Python courses. By now he has completed 5 courses. The level of the last few lessons is quite high and sometimes we only manage to debug one exercise per day.
Today we had a much busier day as we had to bike for two hours to get Simon to his Scratch programming class. That said, Code Academy still largely ruled the day. Simon has completed four and a half courses by now and the tasks are getting tougher. Sometimes he finishes a tasks without errors, but mostly not and then he asks me to help debug his code. We sit down together and go through it again and brainstorm and try different variants. Yet it hit me that most of the time it’s not I who finds the final solution but Simon.
And he even squeezed some Raspberry Pi Photon Red Board programming in, too:
Tuesday morning I briefly showed Code Academy’s website to Simon: “Look, you can learn to code in Python right here. And here’s a list of other coding languages”, – I surfed back to the homepage. Then I went back to the kitchen to make tea. We have an open kitchen so I can watch Simon from where I’m making tea. The next second I saw him flip back to the Python course and start. He only took pauses when I insisted he eat something and come along to the immigration office to pick up our Belgian ID’s. No other pleas to take a break and relax worked. The rest of the time he went on studying, for seven or eight hours. He successfully finished a whopping 60 exercises that day, most of them without any help on my behalf.
A badge earned for every completed course: