Online resources for learning computer programming

(Bruce Holt) #1

Can anyone here recommend some free, online resources for learning beginning computer programming? I’ve been interested in getting my son started on this, and though I’d love to teach him myself, realistically I don’t have time to do more than once-a-week-or-so review. Over a decade ago, when I was a high school computer science teacher, I used to start each year teaching Karel the Robot, the mention of which I expect will elicit fond memories from some of the programmers on here. There’s probably an online tutorial and simulator for Karel, but I haven’t dug around for it, and I know there are several programmers on this forum that would likely have a host of resources to point me to.

I believe there was some discussion of programming on the homeschool forum a year or so ago (I recall some tool with a name like “turtle” and something about beneficent grandparents), but I can’t track down that thread right now.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

(James McKay) #2

Codecademy is the starting point for just about everyone learning programming these days:

(Christy Hemphill) #3

My husband and son have both used CodeAcademy. My husband liked it but my son got bored.

My kids (and most of their friends) LOVE Scratch because it has a social media element to it. You can follow your friends and comment on projects and collaborate in various ways. It is moderated by adults and they have highlighted projects each week done by teachers. It’s really impressive. But Scratch is more of a computer programming playground than a course. There are various books on the market that would let you use Scratch like a class though if you were interested.

(Bruce Holt) #4

Thank you, James and Christy! I’ll look into both of those suggestions.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #5

I’m just starting a small programming class … Python being my favored language of the last couple years.

But independently of the platform you choose, is a great way to tap into easy … then incrementally harder challenges that are designed to be solved by programming (in nearly any language of choice). It doesn’t provide any programming instruction, only the challenges. The first one is to find the sum of all positive integers less than 1000 that are multiples of either 3 or 5. That sounds simple, but has a couple “gotchas” in it that typically trip up beginning programmers. I turn my class loose onto those challenges and then they learn along the way.


We use and both of my kids really love it!


Here are links to some of my favorite resources. These 2 resources are enough to get started. The only thing is keep practicing. If you get stuck - Google/stackoverflow are your friends in this journey.