The TeenCoder: Year Pack series, from Homeschool
Programming, Inc., is an informative and engaging curriculum. The
Year Pack consists of two separate semester programs, TeenCoder:
Windows Programming and TeenCoder: Game Programming. The first
semester, your student will tackle TeenCoder: Windows Programming.
This program teaches the fundamentals of the Windows C# (pronounced
C-sharp) language. Students learn to write and create basic Windows
graphical programs with C#. The course is brilliant for beginning
high-school students, or as college preparatory material.
TeenCoder: Game Programming is the second semester course and must follow
TeenCoder: Windows Programming. Windows Programming is a pre-requisite
to starting the Game Programming course so your student will not want to
jump into Game Programming (no matter how much they might want to) without
understanding the Programming! Game Programming concentrates on game creation
via the use of Microsoft's XNA Game Studio software. The various topics
covered are (directly from the website so as not to leave anything out):
- Introduction to the XNA Game Studio
- Game design, game engines, and timer loops
- Screen coordinates and color concepts
- Drawing, scaling, and rotating images
- Handling keyboard, mouse, and XBox 360 Gamepad controller
- Creating Sprite objects
- Collision detection
- 2D animation techniques
- Playing music and sound effects
- Game physics
- Maze generation and solution algorithms
- Menus, overlays, and deployment models
- Multi-player scrolling games
- Game artificial intelligence (AI)
There is a lot covered here!
My child happens to learn best with visual training, and TeenCoder:
Windows Programming was perfect for her! The reason for this is that
the curriculum teaches different programming concepts with a free
software called Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express. It is an IDE,
which stands for "Integrated Development
Environment." An IDE is basically a way to compile your code and create
your program, visually! You write the source code, and then preview your
The first chapter of Windows Programming begins by explaining the history
of the Windows operating systems, what the Windows structure is founded
on, and how it came about. It then explains the concepts of programming,
different languages, and compiling software. Throughout the book, you
will learn about Data Types, Variables, Math Functions, String, Debugging,
user input and program output, and so much more! At the end of the
course, your child will learn to create your very own Game of Chess.
The lesson structure is simple. Your student reads the lesson, and
then does an activity. Some of the activities are long and more complicated,
others are short and sweet. My child is able to complete a single
lesson in roughly 30 minutes, although activity times may extend this.
The lessons are written in an easy to understand, very comprehensive
manner. A glossary would be immensely helpful and the author might
consider adding this to future print runs.
The curriculum is comprised of the Student Textbook and the TeenCoder
software disk. On the disk are folders for activity solutions, starters,
solution menu, student menu, a "My Projects" folder, and PDF
install instructions. All software used to run the curriculum are very simple, and don't
require a high- powered computer.
The website has several demo videos as well as instructional videos
for the visual student, solutions overviews, sample activity solutions,
updates to the materials, Visual Studio download updates, a very thorough
FAQ, Newsletters and Resources, as well as a community forum. There
is much to be gleaned on the website for you and your student. We were
very pleased by the TeenCoder: Year Pack, and would recommend it to
anyone looking to expand their computer knowledge.