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Review: Smart Start Beginning Coding

I have been wanting to try out a coding book for awhile now but never got around to it until now. We got this Evan-Moor curriculum called Smart Start Beginning Coding from Timberdoodle. It has a handy little two page booklet in the back that explains all the things they learn in the curriculum. Well I call it a booklet but it is two pages that I tore out, they are perforated, and then stapled together. The book is in color which is a plus for us because the black and white ones do not seem to be as fun for our daughter. This curriculum goes over algorithms, sequence, decomposition, pattern, debugging, loops and conditionals. I used the two page info sheet in the back to go over what each thing was before we started on any of the work. Sometimes I have to ask our daughter if she knows what something is but if she finds it to be interesting then she will ask me before I even get a chance to explain things. This was one of those times. She was so interested and by the time we were done with the book she asked if we could code something.

Each of the sections has lots of work to day and they all have a cute and paste activity to go with them. Love books that have an interactive part to them. It makes it more engaging especially for younger kids. The algorithm section goes over doing simple problems so things like small task and the order in which they need to be done. This was super easy for our daughter to do all be herself. The next section was decomposition and that shows how to break down harder problems into more manageable smaller problems that ultimately solve the bigger problems. For this I asked if she knew what that meant before we tried the work. She definitely knew what I was talking about. She gave the example of when her room is a huge messy and it is too much to clean then I give her certain things to clean up one at time until her room is clean again. Sequencing goes over the other in which things happen. She already has an amazing understanding of this so it was a breeze.

Patterns was also another section that she did not need any assistance with. It just went over patterns and what would come next if you follow the pattern. Debugging was something she had never hear of before. So, before we started I showed her an example of this with my blog. I showed her what a jump link is supposed to do, then how I code for them. I purposely missed up so that she could see that they would not work. Then we went over that you go looking through the steps you took and see if there are any mistakes and if so you fix them. Finally, she saw that with the correct code the jump links will work. The book does an excellent job of explaining what a bug is and how to fix it but she wanted to see it. An amazing curriculum when the child is wanting to know more. Loops was another easy section since it is just something that happens on repeat. Conditionals was the last section. She understood these better once I asked her what happens if your hungry, what happens if we do not take dog outside. 

I would recommend this if you want to start teaching about coding. The book says it is for 1st grade but I would honestly say this could have been used when our daughter was 4-5 doing kindergarten. So, if you have a bit of an advanced kindergartener then they should be able to complete this curriculum easily. I will be getting more coding stuff since our daughter enjoyed this booklet so much. As I mentioned we got it from Timberdoodle. It also comes with this years 1st grade kit. With school season just around the corner I suggest y'all check them out for all your homeschool needs and supplemental work for public school. If you have any cool coding items let us know in the comments below. We would love to check them out, too.


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