Parenting and Coding 101

Finding time to study with children can be down right challenging. I’ve been blessed with two children of my own(Alaiya-4 and Chrishelle-8) who I devote my full attention to on a day-to-day basis. As a family on a budget summer vacations can be especially hectic because of the massive amount of time your children now have on their hands. And filling in that time is no easy task. Not only do you have to dedicate focused attention to studying, you must also find the time to give your children the same. Honestly, it’s quite impossible but as a parent you’ll know what I mean when I say we make the impossible possible everyday. But for those of you who are just starting out in your coding journey you may find yourself in need of advice to help you along the way. In this article you will learn ways to keep your kids occupied and help them understand the importance of studying. In this article we will discuss topics such as how to start your day, where to study with children, how to study with children, taking breaks and how to structure them, and practicing mindfulness.

Ready Set GO!

When starting the day during summer vacation I like to make sure that the first two hours are dedicated to their learning and continued education.  This is the most important aspect of the day as research shows it is during summer vacation that the knowledge gap between wealthy children and less fortunate children widens. For my girls, I like to have the eldest, Chrishelle, read out loud while her sister and I listen attentively. I also help them work through carefully thought problem sets appropriate for they’re age range. The internet has tons of worksheets that you can print out and have your child work on to stimulate their young minds. But my favorite time of the day is when I teach them the art of programming. I found an amazing book while stumbling through Powell’s city of books in downtown Portland, called “Help your kids with Computer Coding“. Teaching them about coding gives them a proper understanding of what their father is studying all day long and it also creates in them an interest of computer programming. The book teaches kids how to program using the visual language “Scratch” and transitions to python as the child becomes more competent at coding. Now I must admit at their young age it’s a little over their heads but they love the quality time spent making things together. You can start teaching your kids scratch here.

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How to study with kids.

Now that you’ve taken care of your kids education it’s time to focus on yours. This is where you have to get crafty. Coding requires focus and attention. If you have little ones running around you might tend to get distracted. I find the best way to keep focused on the task at hand is starting a Pomodoro and working on a 25 minute study / 5 minute break cycle. I find that 25 minutes is about the longest they will go without needing my input or assistance. After about 4 Pomodoros it’s time to make snacks because the little ones will be hungry. Now for those of you saying that there is no way to keep your kids occupied at home. Yes, you are 100% right. How to study is only 10% of the problem. Where to study is the other 90% of the problem. So let’s keep this section short and jump right in.

Where to Study with kids.

Now as I stated earlier as a parent on a budget we have to be resourceful. So when I tell you I’ve categorized every park in and around Portland, I’m not kidding.

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This is my secret weapon when figuring out the ideal place to study depending on the conditions of the day. For example when they want to run through water all day, West Linn has a ton of great water play areas. If they want to climb and play in sand, Sellwood has the best nature park in Oregon. Preparation is everything when planning a good day in the park. Be sure to pack a lunch bag full of snacks and sandwiches. Another thing is knowing how far away from home you are and planning where to take them during bathroom emergencies. Now if you are as paranoid as me finding the right bathroom for your children is important. There’s no way we’re using the public restroom at the park, not even in an emergency. So I always know where a library is. Library bathrooms are the ultimate kid friendly alternative when out and about with your children. Now there are a few cons about a day out in the park, one of them being that depending on how hot it is you’re going to roast. Even when I go to the parks with a good amount of shade it’s still no protection against the heat. So that leads me to destination number 2.

Indoor Play Areas!

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When the budget allows for it an indoor play area can be the ultimate destination for the studying parent. At $8/kid this place is probably one of the greatest alternatives you will find in Portland. The majority of this articles was written at the Monkey King Play House. MKPH has an incredibly huge play area with tons of other children to keep them occupied for hours. Now by far the greatest benefits this place has to offer is free wi-fi and charging stations for your devices. Another huge benefit this place has to offer is air conditioning, recently Portland experienced a heat wave that brought temperatures in the 100 degree range, during this time the MKPH was our home away from home.

Mindful Studying.

To conclude this article I want to talk about being mindful of the things you learn. As I’ve stated earlier kids demand a ton of attention, which will ultimately lend itself to mindless hours of studying without any real gains. I’ve talked in-depth about learning how to learn here. The most important take away is doing things in more than one way so that you engage as many of your senses as possible. At least 2 to 3 times in the week I like to forego a laptop in order to focus on the knowledge I’ve gathered throughout the week. This time is also best spent filling in the gaps in your knowledge. As you learn to practice recall you’ll be able to easily identify where your short comings are. Learning to program doesn’t just involve sitting in front of a computer all day. You should take the time to write hand written notes while watching your tutorials or reading through books. Knowing that you can slow down because Rome wasn’t built-in a day will ultimately be your greatest weapon. Now go forth and learn knowing that time is your greatest asset as long as you use it wisely.

If you’ve found these tips useful leave a comment below. Also let me know your favorite destinations or study tips so they can be shared with others. Good luck on your coding journey Everyone…

 

 

 

 

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