Have you tried explaining to your kids how the internet works? Have you tried to tell them the sound it used to make while it was dialing? What about how you used to use floppy disks to store your data?
I first learned to use computers in the dark ages. You know, before Windows. I typed command prompts in DOS. I learned word processing on Word Perfect, and spreadsheets on Lotus 123. When I graduated from college with this new-found information, I realized I was already behind, because my first job had a Windows system, and I had to learn all over again. And it cost thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. Ugh.
I also walked 5 miles to school in the snow, uphill, both ways.
Okay, not really, but that’s how my computer education sounds. So it’s like I’m speaking a foreign language to my kids when I tell them this stuff.
Since I’m not a computer scientist, I have done a bare-bones job of explaining some of these things. We even started our school year off with a recap of the invention of the internet and what life used to be like without it. (Which NONE of my kids can even comprehend!) But the ins and outs of computers, internet, software, and apps? No. That’s not my area of expertise.
So when we got the chance to use and review the Digital Savvy curriculum from CompuScholar, Inc., I jumped on board. Digital Savvy is a basic computer science course, perfect for students in upper elementary to high school. It’s just one of the many offerings of CompuScholar, Inc.
CompuScholar, Inc is the new name of the company that has been widely known in the past as Homeschool Programming. They offer many great courses, including Java Programming, Web Design, and Game Programming, to name a few. You can find them CompuScholar, Inc. at both their old and new names on these social media sites:
So, What Is It Exactly?
Digital Savvy is a complete online course in computer science. And it’s a lot more exciting than I just made it sound. Ha! With video lessons, follow-up text, and short quizzes at the end of each chapter, students spend 10-15 minutes per day learning about hardware, software, internet, apps, and even coding.
What Does it Cost?
The pricing is flexible, based on your needs. There is a yearly subscription for the self-study program for $120. The course is designed to be completed in 2 semesters. But I like the monthly option: it’s only $15/month for the self-study program, and you pay only as long as you use the program. At the pace my children are going through Digital Savvy, this would be the more cost-effective option. My son is loving it, and sometimes does two lessons per day. And the bonus for homeschooling families:
If you choose a monthly subscription, then additional siblings can be added under the same teacher at the same monthly subscription rates. (Source)
That’s a great deal for anyone with more than one student.
How We Use It
This program is perfect for a wide age-span, so my 11-year-old and my 16-year-old are both using it. For the 11-year-old, who has very little experience with computers or internet, I’m requiring him to go through the entire course. He’s learning about hardware, software, internet, applications, and all that basic stuff.
It’s very easy for my son to use on his own. So, he just clicks on the chapter he’s in, and works through the lessons.
He watches the Lesson Video first. It’s usually 10 minutes or less in length.
Next, he reads through the Lesson Text. This is also short and sweet. Perfect for the short attention span! Here’s an example:
See? I forgot all about the WAN and LAN stuff.
And finally, he takes the quiz. So far, each quiz is just 5 questions.
In all, it takes roughly 20 minutes to complete a lesson. Like I said, sometimes he does two lessons in a day. At this rate, he can easily do a whole chapter per week, and sometimes a little more.
Upcoming lessons will include search engines, internet security, and all the basic software like word processors and spreadsheets. Then, a mid-term project is assigned. I really like this part. The program lays out the requirements for putting the software knowledge into practice by presenting a report or presentation, and backing up data with a spreadsheet or database. The instructions are thorough, and suggest working with a group of 2-4 people. Even in a homeschool family, this is a great idea. Having graduated one daughter, with another graduate on the way, I can definitely see the value in learning all of these programs and using the info to make a presentation. We’ve already seen this need in co-op settings and college classes. So, not only do the students learn how to use the software, they learn why.
After this project, the second term is spent learning all things internet: social media, digital images, web design, and coding. This is also followed up by an end-term project. We haven’t gotten to this point yet, but I’m excited about it!
My 16-year-old has a lot more experience with computers and internet, so I have made a list of the lessons I do want her to cover. She has her own laptop, is on social media, has opened an Etsy shop, etc., so I wanted to just fill in the gaps. She is benefitting from some of the basics, especially the software usage, like word processors and spreadsheets.
My son has a lot of interest in computer apps and smartphone apps, and there’s a possibility that he will want to pursue programming later on. I’m excited about the other courses offered by CompuScholar, Inc. for the future! Computers and internet are definitely a staple in our society, and the more all of my kids know about how to navigate them, the easier their life will be.
I’ll admit: with a lot of subjects in our homeschool, I wing it. I get a stack of great books and read aloud and dream up projects that will be fun. I love history and reading and language arts, and it shows in our homeschool. But there are a few things that just really require a great curriculum, and computer science is one of them. I highly recommend the Digital Savvy program from CompuScholar, Inc. for a painless way to introduce the world of computers to your homeschool.
Our family wasn’t the only one to use and review this product! Click the image below to read all of the other Review Crew posts!
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Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. Nicki is a member of the Texas Home Educators Advisory Board and The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.