First Non-Scratch Computer Program

My son has been asking about learning more computer programming lately. He wanted something with code that would be different from the “Scratch” and “Little Big Planet” approaches. I settled on a course called Visual C # Express for Kids. I was a little worried that the spelling and writing part of the code might make things difficult, but decided to try anyway. I am so glad I did! Computer programming in a language like this is nothing like the BASIC or Pascal programs I had to write in school; It is mostly drag and drop mixed with editing code and good naming practices. Logic skills and good algorithms are still key, but spelling needn’t have worried me. So far, he has completed the first 3 chapters (out of 10). Yesterday, he wrote his first program for a Windows application!
I am enjoying learning right alongside him. I looked at the code my husband was writing for work last night and actually understood many parts of it. We will see how this all works out moving forward.

IPhone Apps

I am now the owner of an iPhone. Anyone who knows me, knows I have been waiting for the right time to get one. Learning about a few new apps pushed me over the finish line.

The other night a friend showed me a geocaching app that should make geocaching so much easier! It has all of the geocaching.com site stuff merged with maps to make it obvious where to park, where water or other large obstacles are located, and more. It also constantly gives your own position which is great if you want to place a cache.

I also learned about an app called “Tales to Go”. It is a huge streaming database of audiobooks. I checked out the free 30 day trial after seeing it listed for an upcoming deal on the homeschool buyers co-op. I love it! The kids and I have been listening to fantastic storytellers like Odds Bodkin with “Little Proto”, and Jim Weiss with some of his short stories. We have heard Greek Myths and the “Catwings” books. I am looking forward to hearing so many more.
I recommend the free trial… If you like it, a group buy is starting on June 4th.

Those apps, along with the camera that has a flash and better resolution than the kids’ iPods, sold me at last.

I have to admit, I am enjoying the phone immensely. My son played games with me on it last night before bed.

Yokugami was up first. We have played this before and it remains a good one. We played until one of us found a solution to add to 30.

After that we played “24” by the app name of “Combine 4”. You are given 4 cards which you must combine using +,/,*,- to make a final answer of 24. I first heard of this game being played in schools a few years ago. Recently I saw it in a card game book. (You can use the cards from 1-10 for easy level or all the cards for more difficulty). My son and I did pretty well coming up with the solutions though we were stumped by 2 of the puzzles so far.

The game keeps track of your moves and allows you to undo your work. Here 28-4=24.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I have a phone again. I will be passing on my new, cool number to friends soon.