Dipping our big toe in-Coding

Monday and Tuesday of this week, Joey and several of his home ed mates, took part in the HackManchester Jr  and HiveManchester coding competition.  The blurb said that beginners were welcome and  I thought it would be a great way to dip our toes in the water and see if we might want to swim.

I am not going to lie, we haven’t done much coding. Joey has messed around with Scratch a bit and had a tiny go at CodeAcademy, but we were totally out of our depth when he did decide to wade in.

But that is ok, because it was that kind of environment.  The mentors were fabulous and I didn’t feel that we were frowned upon for being such noobs!  In fact, I felt it was very much a ‘have-a-go’ atmosphere.

When I said yes to the event, that little secret insecure inner part of me that constantly second guesses myself questioned the logic of  why I was sending him to something that he wasn’t overly interested in. angel

But then I heard another tiny  little voice. She is the one that reminds me of who I am and what I am doing. She reminded me of all the things that I have discovered in life that have been serendipitous in nature. A new hobby, making a new friend, discovering a love for a drink (gin) I hadn’t tried before, or becoming curious about a place that I had never visited.

 I never expected to find a new love or passion and yet unexpectedly, I did.

Because of these experiences, I have a personal philosophy when it comes to parenting, and home education. Sometimes situations pop up that provide a unique experience that maybe we can’t always emulate at home. I will always encourage the kids towards having a go.  To stick at something just a little while to see if it takes.  But if after a while, it doesn’t then I honour that.

I was so proud of Joey and his mates.  It is really tough to go into an environment, where you are on the beginner rung. But the fab thing was, that those who were in charge, never made them feel like that. And that is such a fabulous prerequisite for learning. If a child already thinks that they can, because it’s not communicated too them, that they can’t, then they are already streets ahead.


On the second day, he ventured out of Scratch and into the world of html, css, Linux and Ubuntu. Totally unfamiliar waters too us.  He did lots of Googling how to do things, and then tried his hand at making his website work.  It was a learning curve of the truest kind.

You can watch Joey and his friend Matei here- skip to 3:37:31.

“To learn something new, you need to try new things and not be afraid to be wrong.”

― Roy T. Bennett

He will definitely have another  go next year, and we will spend sometime in between events, learning  and honing skills.  We even have a concept we would love to develop that arose out of our time there if the challenges are similar.

On a last but wonderful note, he was thrilled when his mate’s team (who are more experienced than us) took out the Co-Op prize for their project on Loneliness. What a buzz to see your friends win something.

What an inspiration.

Have you discovered something you love, where you never expected to find it?



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