I'll admit . . . when I was given a Coding for Kids Annual Membership to Simply Coding to review, I was very skeptical. My children, though they have heard of coding, have never shown the slightest interest in it. Having some background in coding myself, I knew the level of focus required, as well as the frustration that often accompanies trying to learn this very detailed skill!
I started the review process intending to work through one or two of the classes myself, but then my daughter (age 13) saw what I was doing and asked if she could try. Three hours later, she had made a ball bounce on screen and was ecstatic over what she had accomplished. There are few things that will hold her attention that long, and I never imagined that coding would be on that list! She loves it and has asked to work on it every day since.
What is Simply Coding?
With a name like Simply Coding, you'd think that they only offer coding classes. However, that's not the case! There are several different types of courses available in four separate categories.
Simply Coding Category
Simply Media Category
The simply media category includes courses on digital photography, videography, and even Adobe suite programs.
Simply Tech Essentials Category
The Simply Tech category includes courses for Microsoft programs, Google applications, and even a course on how to build your own computer!
Simply Tech4Kids Category
I love that this category is specialized for younger kids. They can learn beginner programming, how to create a blog or YouTube channel, and even take a course on Internet Safety. There are many great options in this category. My daughter ended up in the Intro to Programming course after she realized that Java programming was rather intense!
Coding for Kids Annual Subscription
The annual membership has two levels
- Single membership for one student - $149 per year
- Family membership for up to three students - $229 per year
NOTE: As of this posting, the annual memberships are discounted! The company seems to run several discount promotions throughout the year.
You can also try out the program with their free 10-day trial.
Membership gives you access to all of the courses currently available, plus any that are published while your membership is active. The courses can be accessed 24/7 via a PC or Mac. We used a Chromebook and had no issues, though there are some courses that say they won't work with a Chromebook. The courses are also not compatible with tablets or iPads.
Users also have access to free live chat support during their business hours (Monday through Friday from 9 til 6 pm CST), and email support during evenings and weekends.
Benefits of Simply Coding
The thing that I found most beneficial about Simply Coding was how easy it is for kids to use it independently. The self-paced courses are well organized and utilize a convenient step-by-step approach to teaching. There are a variety of courses available to suit all skill levels from beginner to advanced.
I love that the coding courses teach actual real coding in a way that helps kids understand what they're learning. They don't copy and paste code, they actually learn what the code is, how it works, and how to use it in a variety of ways. Integrated quizzes and projects check understanding as they progress through the course.
Each lesson has the option to either read the lesson or watch a video which is great for different learning styles.
In addition to all of the course offerings, they have coding challenges, game design competitions, and even live teacher help sessions.
If you have a high schooler that you'd like to count course credits for, you'll find lots of information to help you determine how many credits to assign each course. They also provide a printable course syllabus for most courses that you can keep with your records.
Possible Drawbacks of Simply Coding
We didn't find very many drawbacks to Simply Coding, in fact, we only found one, and it's not necessarily a bad thing . . . just challenging for us.
They offer so many courses that my daughter had a lot of difficulty choosing which ones to do. She spent the first few days jumping from one course to another without really committing to any of them. She gets overwhelmed quite easily, and this site was definitely overwhelming for her.
Other than that, we didn't find any drawbacks.