Yes, the curriculum is written directly to the student and assumes no background in electronics, programming, or robotics. How successful a child will be at self-teaching will depend on the age, maturity level, and motivation of the child. In the event you have a younger or less mature child, we suggest learning alongside your child.
With the heavy emphasis on STEM education, many children have received basic exposure to these topics. Keep in mind though that most exposure is very patchy. With our curriculum kits, we do start at the beginning and it is possible that a child may move a bit more quickly through the first few lessons. But we are confident that they will still learn a great deal about how to use specific components, designing circuits, reading schematics, and much more.
For example, while a child may have built a circuit with a kit previously, do they understand how each component works? How to design a circuit or change the design and still ensure a working circuit? How to troubleshoot when the circuit fails to work? How to write a computer program to control how the circuit operates? They will after working through our course!
If you as the adult have experience in these areas, it can be tempting to just teach your child yourself. While that's a great option, using our curriculum kits will give you structure and ensure you don't miss anything important. We've carefully developed each lesson and you can use our experience to make for a better experience for you and your child.
Yes. While not specifically designed as a full credit high school curriculum, our course can provide the foundation. For example, for a half-credit high school elective, we'd recommend completing 2 levels of this course and then requiring several independent electronics and programming projects to be completed along with a research assignment (such as researching a scientist in the electronics or computer programming areas). We anticipate releasing Levels C and D in 2019 allowing a full credit high school course to be constructed.
How long are the lessons?
Each lesson generally takes 45-60 minutes for Level A and 60-90 minutes for Level B. This will depend a bit upon the lesson and how intuitively the student learns the new skills. We encourage all students to take their time and work methodically through each lesson. We'd also recommend additional time be available, especially as the student progresses, for experimenting with their new skills.
How often should we do lessons?
Each level contains 18 lessons and we recommend 1-3 lessons a week depending on how motivated the student is. Level A and Level B are available now and we anticipate Levels C and D will be available in Spring and Fall 2019. For a middle school student, completing 1-2 lessons a week over 1-2 years would be appropriate. For a high school student, we'd recommend 2-3 lessons a week to complete two levels in one semester or four levels in a school year.
Are the kit and curriculum reusable for other children?
Yes! The contents of the kit and the curriculum are fully reusable for multiple children in the same household. The curriculum may not be resold or given away to another family.
Is the kit resuable for other curriculum levels?
Yes! The components of each kit will be reused in future levels of the course.
Are the kit components reusable for other projects?
Yes! The contents of the kit are reusable for other levels of the course as well as for projects found on the internet. One of our goals is to ensure that each student completing our course has a collection of components to tackle projects they may dream up.
What else do we need?
Yes, besides the curriculum and kit, there are a few things you will need but you likely already have these items on hand:
AA Batteries x2
Computer Monitor (or television provided it has HDMI inputs)
HDMI cable (likely currently attached to your computer monitor)
Keyboard and Mouse (use a wired keyboard and mouse if possible)
Internet access, wired or wireless (optional)
Please note, none of the equipment needs to be exclusive to the Raspberry Pi. The student can easily hook up the family computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, and internet access each time they do a lesson if resources need to be shared.
We need replacement parts. Where do we purchase those?
Replacement parts can be found here
Why is the curriculum a PDF file? Can I buy a printed copy?
Each level of our curriculum is 300-600 pages. It gets very costly to ship a book that heavy and we prefer to keep the cost of the curriculum down. If you prefer a printed copy, we recommend The Homeschool Printing Company
. They do an amazing job and it's very affordable to get this curriculum (or any others) printed and bound. We happily use them for our own family's curriculum printing needs.
Please note, the curriculum does not have to be printed to be used! We've designed it to be used on a computer or tablet screen.
Why can’t I buy the curriculum separately from the electronic equipment?
We are fully committed to helping you troubleshoot any bumps you may have while using this course. Doing that effectively becomes a great deal more difficult if you are using a different breadboard configuration, different resistor values, etc. Offering all the items in a kit ensures the very best educational experience. We know exactly what parts you are working with and can skip straight to helping you figure out your challenge. Keep in mind too that the components are reusable so while the kit is an initial investment, with proper care, you can continue to use the components long after the lessons are completed.
Can I sell or give away the curriculum?
No. The curriculum can only be used within the family. Each PDF file is marked with the purchaser's email address for use by their household.
When will new levels be available?
Release Schedule for Future Levels:
Level C: Spring 2019
Level D: Fall 2019
Are videos available? Live courses?
At this time we do not have a video or live course component. On one hand, we've written the curriculum to not require videos. With easy-to-follow instructions and pictures, we are confident you will be successful with each lesson. However, we realize that videos are particularly useful for certain learning styles and therefore videos are likely to be available at some point in the future. Likely late 2019 or early 2020.
How would I use this kit with an unschooled child?
We've received a number of questions from families who unschool and want to support their child's desire to learn these skills, but are uncomfortable using a "curriculum". Please let us reassure you that while we use the words lessons, curriculum, etc. it is really more of a step by step guide, conveniently broken up into manageable chunks (lessons). The guide is written to the student and is ideal for an older child working independently or for learning alongside an adult or older teen. Parts of the guide, such as the questions for understanding at the end of each lesson, are optional (although even if your child just reads through them, it can be helpful to ensure understanding before moving on). Click here
to view a sample electronics lesson. Click here
to view a sample programming lesson.
How would I use this kit for afterschooling my child?
With many parents placing a priority on STEM education and many schools meanwhile cutting back on extracurricular activities, it's become necessary for parents to work with their children after school, on weekends, holidays, etc. Please be reassured that this curriculum is written to be usable by a parent or older child who has no background in electronics, programming, or robotics. Even if you've never sat down and tried to teach your child anything formally, we are confident this will work for you.
Would robotics be considered a handicraft under the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy?
Yes! The term handicraft essentially refers to useful hands on activities and skills. STEM based skills such as electronics, computer programming, and robotics are all a lovely fit for the handicraft time. Our curriculum and kit is adaptable to multiple children learning together and the lessons can be broken up into 30-45 minute lesson blocks in keeping with the CM scheduling preferences in the higher forms (grades). Of course this program can also be used as an open-ended afternoon occupation as well.