Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Teaching my daughter Java

We homeschool our four children.  We have many reasons for doing so, and one is to teach to our children's strengths.   My oldest daughter is very interested in computers and seems to understand concepts quickly.

It occurred to me a few months ago that she is now old enough to start learning some marketable skills.   She just turned 12, but I think she is ready to be stretched and learn about what Dad does for a living.  Do I expect her to be a programmer, well maybe if she decides she likes it, but I think the skills I am teaching her translate very well into other areas.

The first thing I did before starting was to show her some salaries on dice.com for Java programmers.   This helped her realize that she should take this seriously.    I also showed her a search of Lotus Notes Domino programmers and how many fewer jobs there were out there.    I did this to help her understand why her Dad is also spending so much time learning new things.

A side benefit, is that it helps me contribute to of her education, something my wife has done entirely up to this point.   It also gives me a chance to spend time with her as she is going through the awkward stage of growing into a young woman.

To teach her Java, I am using a combination of resources.   I am mixing up book, audio, and video resources.   The majority of this is provided by the site:  http://howtoprogramwithjava.com/  My daughter seems to like the author Trevor Page.   He is younger and has a comfortable speaking style.

These are all the resources we are using:

  • Book:   http://javapdf.org/   This is a Trevor's book of the same name as his site:  How to Program With Java.   We bought the kindle version on Amazon.     
  • Book:   Murach's Java - This was my old textbook when I studied Java at a college in Dallas.   I really like this book, and I am having my daughter read selected pages on subjects we are covering.  
  • Book:   Head First Java  This the book I am reading to stay current. Later, I will use the many exercises in it to teach my daughter.  It is geared for readers with prior experience.

  • Audio:  Trevor has free podcasts on iTunes that match well with chapters from his book.

  • Video:  Trevor has a video teaching series on his website that we intend to subscribe to.   Right now, we are still watching the free videos he has included.
  • Video:  Lynda.com - As we get further into Java, I intend to supplement using videos from Lynda.com's Java  courses.   

1 comment:

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