Archive for category Curriculum Reviews

Review: Homeschool Programming, TeenCoder C#


When I received notice that there was an opportunity to review TeenCoder C# Year Pack by Homeschool Programming, Inc, I immediately jumped online to put my name in the hat!  The Astronomer, age 14, has always enjoyed his time on the computer and has the strong logic skills needed to conquer programming, so I was thinking this would be a great opportunity for him to stretch his wings a bit.

Before we get to the actual review, let me give you a brief synopsis about this product from the website:

“The TeenCoder C# Series and TeenCoder Java Series are designed for 9th-12th grade students looking for a more in-depth study of computer programming. These courses can be used for high school computer elective credit, enhancing transcripts, and preparing a college-bound student for a technical degree.”

These “courses are self-study and can be completed on the student’s own computer, at their own pace. You can steer your student in the right direction with no prior programming knowledge. Students only need typical computer usage skills to start; we will teach them programming from the ground up!”

Maybe you’re a little like me in this area; I have a very, very limited knowledge of any computer programming.  Thankfully this course comes with everything your student needs to work independently.   TeenCoder has a textbook, activity starters, instructional documents, and a solution guide for all of it.  There are also tests, answer keys, and even videos if you need them.  If you’re unsure how to grade your student, there is guidance provided for you.  And If you get stuck at any point, there is free technical support available.   So that took away most of my fear and trepidation about attempting something like this at home.

(For more specific information about what is included in TeenCoder C# Series, please visit their website.)

Reviewing TeenCoder was a good opportunity for a couple of reasons…sometimes people, you know, the nay-sayers, ask home schoolers how they can possibly teach high school level classes.  I’ll even admit, that in the area of computer programming, it would be something I would have never even attempted to do at home, thinking like our critics, that the subject is clearly beyond my ability.  If I am being totally honest, at first glace, I thought…oh no, what have I gotten myself into?  When I started glancing through the textbook, I found myself a little overwhelmed. But then I remembered The Astronomer’s natural abilities are very different from my own.  And I handed it over.

I think probably for us, (ok, me) the hardest part was getting started!  Digging into something totally different, left me with more than a little bit of apprehension…

I thought the first chapter was a little dry; he came down after reading it with a big grin on his face telling me how interesting it was!

I started reading the next section, and the words started to blur on me….I was scared!  He sat down, read the chapter with no problem and came to get me, with a big fat grin on his face, to show me how he had just made a “button” using C#.   As he moved on to adding pictures and linking to a website, his excitement for the process grew…  And that was just the start!   (Check out that nice picture he added!)

Evan's Project

As we continue with this course, I am looking forward to the hours he’ll spend learning how to do something he is interested in.  He will be working independently, but thanks to Homeschool Programming, Inc., I don’t need to be an expert in all things.  (And we can tell our nay-sayers, you’re right, sometimes it  does take a village our village just looks a little different than yours.)  

Reviewing TeenCoder was a good exercise in relinquishing control to my very capable student.  For the final project, The Astronomer will create a graphical chess game, using the skills learned throughout this course.  Once we have completed the first semester, Windows Programming, we will continue with the second semester, Game Programming.

Bottom line, if you have a high school student who is interested in learning computer programming, TeenCoder is an excellent place to start.

TeenCoder C# Series by Homeschool Programming - Review on

Product Information

This product can be purchased directly from Homeschool Programming Inc.  (Watch this demo video for a sample.)

Price:  $155.00 course and videos, or $130.00 course only, $30.00 Video only (price as of this writing)

There are also additional products available for younger age groups:


KidCoder: Visual Basic Series (6 – 8th Grade)

WIndows and Game Design

KidCoder: Web Design Series (4 – 12th Grade)

Beginning & Advanced Web Design

TeenCoder: Java Series (9 – 12th Grade)

Java & Android Programming


MosaicReviews125x125_zpsb7d2cb5fOther members of the Mosaic Reviews team were also provided with copies of TeenCoder C# and other products for review purposes.  Click the Mosaic icon to head over and see what other families thought about these products.  Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this product in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation of any kind has been received.

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AWANA Homeschool

A couple of months ago, I received a request to review Awana Homeschool.  I knew what Awana was from way back in the day, when the kids were young.  The church we were attending at the time did an excellent job with Awana programs on Wednesday nights.  I’m sure somewhere in the house, probably in a box full of memories, is my son’s little tiny blue vest from when he attended over 10 years ago!  What I didn’t know then, was that they had programs for older kids as well.  Now they’ve taken things a step further and entered the Home Education market with Bible curriculum for all ages, based on the original Awana programs!

If you are not familiar with Awana and its 60+ year history, please take a moment to review the history of Awana.  They truly have endured the test of time.

While there are kits available for every age group, we were asked to review the Journey Home School Kit for teens. The kit includes an entrance booklet, student handbook, and a down-loadable parent’s guide to help facilitate discussion between the parent and student.  All of this is nicely packaged in a reusable drawstring backpack.  For the 2013-2014 school year, the Journey Homeschool Kit includes two 12-lesson student handbooks: God-colored Glasses and Revelation.


Since there were two booklets in the packs, and we have two teens, I let them choose which they would start with and they both chose to study the book of Revelation!

There are 12 lessons in each workbook, with removable verse cards at the end to assist in memorization. (See picture below.) In the beginning of each workbook is a 4-year Bible reading plan that takes your student through the entire Bible during their high school career.

Each lesson contains the main lesson segment along with the following areas:

Fill It Up: Scripture memory verse for each lesson, Map It Out:  Vocabulary, Fast Facts: Snippets of interesting, thought provoking info that go along with the lesson topic, Buckle It In: Think deeper about the subject, sometimes with other verses to read, On the Street:  Application of the lesson, and finally Review:  a one page quiz on the lesson.

Since we wanted to accomplish one lesson per week, we proceeded through each lesson using the following schedule:

Monday: Read Scripture reference for lesson, remove memory verse card for the lesson and begin working on memorization

Tuesday: Work on memory verse. Begin reading lesson, Fill It Up, and Map It Out

Wednesday:  Work on memory verse. Read balance of lesson, including Fast Fact and On The Street.  In some cases these sections have read and respond questions.

Thursday: Work on memory verse. Complete Buckle It In section.  Again, in some cases this section has read and respond questions.

Friday: Work on/Recite memory verse. Complete Review It.

So after several weeks of working through the Revelation study and reviewing God-Colored Glasses, here’s what we thought about this product:


The biggest “pro” of any Bible study curriculum is that your students are studying the Word of God daily. Intentionally. These excellent studies are simple enough for students to complete independently during their devotional time.  They encourage scripture memorization.  They are clear and concise, yet thought provoking. Lastly, you can’t beat the price!  They are currently priced at just $24.99 for two, 12-lesson workbooks…and of course the re-usable backback.


In my opinion, there are just a couple “cons” and they may not even be an issue for you!  The first is the lack of flexibility. By that, I mean that I would prefer to choose which workbooks I use, instead of purchasing a kit with two pre-determined workbooks.  (There are many other studies available to church groups on the Awana website.  I would love to be able to choose any study that fits our school year.)   The second “con” for me is depth.  The Journey Workbooks are great for a daily devotional, but not quite enough to count as a full credit for Bible by itself, unless you could complete more than two during the school year. However, you could easily add some additional assignments to the workbook, such as further research on the author and context of Revelation (or other book), writing assignments, and service projects to justify awarding one full credit hour.

Bottom Line:  This is a excellent product for adding a devotional segment to your homeschool program.  However, if you are looking for curriculum to fulfill a full credit course, you may wish to consider other options.

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Product Information

Student Booklets are available for every age: Puggles, Cubbies, Sparks, T&T, Trek, and Journey

Available in the following Bible translations:  KJV, NKJV, NIV84, some ages ESV

Current price for Journey Kit: $24.99

Click here to set up your free Awana Homeschool Account

If you have more questions regarding this product, you can find a discussion group for Awana Homeschool on facebook at:

Disclaimer:  I received two Journey Homeschool kits from AWANA Homeschool for review purposes.  No other compensation of any kind has been received.

To make sure their doctrine aligns with your own, please be sure to read through What we Believe on the AWANA website.

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