Homeschool Programming: FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions


Our Print and Online Comparison page details the difference between the course formats!

Our Getting Started Guides also answer many initial questions!

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Our TeenCoder Series is designed for 9th-12th grade high-school students and can be considered college-prep material and a computer science elective. .

Our KidCoder Series is written for students who want an easier introduction to computer programming or technology. Please see individual course descriptions for recommended grades.

However, you know your student's abilities best! The grade levels are recommendations only. A highly motivated pre-teen could probably complete a TeenCoder course with a little more time or assistance. Or, your teenager may be happier with the lighter courses from the KidCoder Series.

KidCoder and TeenCoder teach different programming languages, so one student may productively work their way through both series. KidCoder is an easier sequence, so begin with those courses if planning to take both levels.

There is some overlap between the series, as each will teach computer programming "from the ground up". So students that have already taken KidCoder will find some aspects of TeenCoder very familiar, and can progress quickly through those sections. However TeenCoder will also treat subjects in more depth and cover a somewhat different mix of topics, including object-oriented programming.

The second-semester TeenCoder courses also branch out into new technologies not taught at the KidCoder level.

Our courses assume the student is already familiar with using a keyboard and mouse to select and run programs, navigate application menu systems, and generally interact with their operating system.

Programming students* should understand how to store and retrieve files on the hard disk and how to use built-in operating system applications (Windows/File Explorer, Mac OS Finder) to navigate a file system and directory structures. It is helpful to also have some familiarity with text editors and using web browsers to find helpful information on the Internet.

We teach students how to program a computer from the ground up, but they should already know the basics about using one!

* Digital Savvy students will be taught these concepts as part of the course material.

Our courses are completed by your student on your own computer. Therefore please make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements for the software that will be installed for the course.

You do not need to purchase any additional 3rd party software; you only pay for our course material!

Minimum Hardware Requirements:

  • An CPU of at least 1.6Ghz
  • At least 1024MB of RAM
  • A display monitor with 1024 x 768 or higher resolution
  • A hard drive with 3GB or more free space
  • A CD-ROM Drive (printed courses only)

Supported Operating Systems:

  • Windows 7 (all versions)
  • Windows 8 (except RT)
  • Windows 10
  • Some courses also support Mac OS version 10.7 and above (on Intel-based CPUs)
    • Digital Savvy
    • Survey of Computer Science
    • KidCoder: Web Design courses
    • TeenCoder: Java/Android courses

3rd party development environments are frequently updated. While they retain the same basic capabilities, the newer versions may have different download and installation instructions, graphical interfaces, and other changes.

If you choose to use a newer version of any recommended software, be aware that screen shots and instructions shown in our lessons and videos may not match what your student is seeing on their computer. For the smoothest possible experience, we highly recommend using the speciic versions of each devleopment enviornment that is documented in our course material.

If your course uses one of the Visual Studio software packages, Microsoft provides these powerful programs at no charge! Microsoft does require that you register the software within a few weeks of initial install, and that registration does require an email address (though you can create a temporary address just for this purchase).

Our course installation instructions contain detailed, step-by-step registration instructions. Please refer to the latest versions of these instructions for details.

If your course uses the open source (free) Eclipse software, the download is free and no registration is rquired!

If your course uses the free Komodo Edit software, the download is free and no registration is rquired!

Our printed textbook courses courses do not involve any online subscriptions or other time limits. Once you receive the course materials, you may complete the course at your own pace.

Our online courses courses do have a 1-year time limit as we cannot maintain student accounts on the servers forever. However, additional time may be purchased for a nominal fee.

For a suggested syllabus and course planner to help map out your school year, please see the individual course description pages.

Please see the "Licensing and Multiple Students" section on our Conditions of Use page for licensing details on multiple siblings, unrelated students, and larger classroom environments!

Yes, Homeschool Programming, Inc. will accept Purchase Orders from public and private school organizations as well as recognized homeschooling groups! Please email us prior to placing your first PO to establish the account.

To obtain pricing details for your order, simply place all products into your shopping cart and complete the checkout screens until you obtain the final cost (including shipping). You may want to print this screen with all order details to include in your PO. Alternatively, please contact us in advance to request a quote on your desired products and quantities that includes shippping!

Homeschool Programming, Inc. does not charge or collect sales tax outside the state of Georgia. Orders within Georgia are subject to a 7% sales tax.

You can fax or mail the PO to us at:

(866) 332-8005 (fax)


Homeschool Programming, Inc.
980 Birmingham Rd, Suite 501-128
Alpharetta, GA 30004

All online courses require a persistent high-speed Internet connection.

The following guidance applies to printed textbook courses only:

A permanent Internet connection is not required to complete printed courses unless specified in the individual product description. However, be aware that you will need to download one or more free, large software packages at the beginning of each course to establish your student's development environment.

Secondarily, it is most convenient (though not required) to access online help libraries for each language and environment rather than performing additional large "help" package downloads. In most cases, once you complete the initial software download, then the student's computer may be disconnected from the Internet unless you would like to use the online help on an ongoing basis.

You may refer to our Installation pages for the latest version of the download and installation instructions for each course. You are welcome to walk through our documented download and installation procedures prior to purchasing the course if there are any questions about your ability to complete the download and install the software on your computer!

All online courses require a persistent high-speed Internet connection.

The following guidance applies to printed textbook courses only:

Most of the coursework is done offline, on the student's own computer, so dial-up Internet connections are not a long-term problem. However, please carefully read the previous FAQ entry regarding the initial download and install requirements for the student's development environment.

At the beginning of the course a one-time substantial download procedure must be completed to install free software on the student's computer. If you have any doubts regarding your dial-up connection's capability to perform these tasks, please read and complete the installation instructions for your course's development software from our Installation pages prior to purchase!

We do not recommend attempting the TeenCoder: Android Programming course with dial-up due to the more intensive Internet connectivity requirements for projects completed in that course.

Your course will will contain a number of files ending in the .PDF extension. These course documents are in a common, portable format established by Adobe. You can view and print the documents using the Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download here. Once you install the Acrobat Reader your computer system will launch the reader whenever you try to open a PDF document.

You will also receive other directories and files containing programming projects. These projects contain sample code, activity starters and activity solutions. The files will typically end with extensions like *.sln, .vbproj, *.vb, *.csproj, *.cs, *.java, *.html, etc. depending on the course. You can use a programming environment such as Microsoft Visual Studio, Eclipse, or Komodo Edit to load, view, and edit these files.

However, all source code with extensions like *.cs, *.vb, *.java, *.html, etc are really just text files, so you can always load and view them in your favorite text editor!

Detailed instructions for installing your student's programming environment and managing the project files are contained in an early course chapter. If you wish to view the source code files in advance, they are actually text files that you can load into any text editor (e.g. Notepad).

Please refer to the "Pre-Requisites" listed on each course description page. This will tell you if the course can be run on Windows and Mac OS, or only on Windows. The following course will only work on Windows-based computers:

  • KidCoder: Windows Programming (printed)
  • KidCoder: Game Programming (printed)
  • KidCoder: Game Programming with Visual Basic (online)
  • TeenCoder: Windows Programming (printed)
  • TeenCoder: Game Programming (printed)
  • TeenCoder: Game Programming with C# (online)

The following products will work on Windows or Mac OS-based computers:

  • Digital Savvy (online)
  • Survey of Computer Science (online)
  • KidCoder: Beginning Web Design (printed)
  • KidCoder: Advanced Web Design (printed)
  • KidCoder: Web Design (online)
  • TeenCoder: Java Programming (printed)
  • TeenCoder: Java Programming (online)
  • TeenCoder: Android Programming (printed)
  • TeenCoder: Android Programming (online)

How will my student learn to write computer programs?

Our courses will teach a student through lesson text, optional instructional videos, and hands-on activites. Courses are self-study; students may pace themselves as desired. Complete solution materials (tests, answer keys, solution guides, fully coded solutions, etc) are provided with every course for teacher reference.

Students will read the lessons in each chapter and then demonstrate the concepts by writing programs on their computer. Students are encouraged to explore and be creative while completing the activity requirements.

If a teacher is supervising the course for credit, each course contains assessments (quizzes and/or tests) along with a full answer key.

Each course is roughly one semester or one year in duration. Please refer to the detailed syllabus and planner documents provided on each course description page.

Students should generally plan to work 3-5 hours per week in order to finish a course on the timeline specified by the syllabus. Individual students may choose to move faster of slower for a variety of reasons.

Students building credit-based transcripts should receive credit for each course appropriate for a technical elective with hands-on lab. Specific credit assignment is best determined by the teacher in consideration of the local school environment.

Our KidCoder: Beginning / Advanced Web Design courses are taught with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These fundamental standards form the backbone of the modern World Wide Web!

Our KidCoder: Windows / Game Programming courses are taught using the Visual Basic language. This is a frequently used industry-standard language that is very easy to learn. We know that the younger students want to see their programs on the screen quickly, and Visual Basic allows them to create real Windows programs very easily!

Our TeenCoder: Windows / Game Programming courses will be taught using the C# language. This language is Microsoft's most modern object-oriented language widely used in academia and the IT industry. When paired with the XNA Game Studio, your C# students gain built-in support for game programming, including the ability to easily create your own XBox games!

Our TeenCoder: Java / Android Programming courses will be taught using the Java language. This language is compatible with both Mac OS and Windows computers and is the language used on the "AP Computer Science A" Exam. You can also use Java to write Android applications!

If you do not already have a background in programming or computers, you may be wondering how to evaluate your student’s progress. But don’t worry! Our courses are designed for homeschoolers and their teachers.

The teacher's material included with each course has easy-to-understand solution notes, fully coded activity solutions, tests, and answer keys. We give grading guidelines for evaluating student activities that non-programming teachers can follow.

Our Support area has a wealth of information including a Getting Started Guide, this FAQ, a Getting Help submission form, and Course Errata pages.

We provide free technical support for the lifetime of your course! The quickest and easiest way to receive technical support and get answers to pre-sales questions is through our online submission form which comes directly to us, or by sending an email. You are also welcome to call our office.

Please check out our Help with Videos page for a description of video formats and usage.

Videos are delivered in Flash (printed textbook) or MP4 (online streaming) depending on your course format. Both formats will play directly in your web browser (not on a TV) and will therefore work worldwide without any North American/other encoding issues.

We are hard at work creating new courses for you and your student! If there is a particular topic of interest you would like to see, please email our sales department.

Please see the Shipping Info page for information about your shipping options.

This policy is updated and effective as of October 1st, 2015.

We strongly encourage you to "Look Inside" each textbook or take a video tour of each online course, review the sample lessons, read the course syllabus and planner, and carefully read the course pre-requisites prior to your purchase. We want to ensure that the curriculum you choose is a good fit for your student.

For printed textbooks and physical CDs we offer a satisfaction guarantee and full refund within 30 days of your purchase (excluding shipping costs). You must contact us in advance for return instructions. The customer is responsible for initial shipping costs and return postage.

If you have obtained an "Electronic Edition" of a printed textbook course, we are unable to offer refunds on any downloaded "Electronic Edition".

For online courses we offer a satisfaction guarantee and full refund within 30 days of your purchase. Please contact us in order to end your online access.

Homeschool Programming, Inc. is a Georgia corporation. As such, we are required by Georgia law to charge Georgia residents sales tax on merchandise delivered within the state. Customers outside Georgia are responsible for complying with their own state laws, if any, regarding Internet purchases.

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