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Computer Science Pure and Simple Book 1 Review by Anissa DeGrasse

By Phillis Wheeler, Don Sleeth, Virginia Sparks & Laura Breidenbach
Motherboard Books
PO Box 430041
St. Louis, MO 63143

I have to start by saying this is a dream come true for homeschooling parents who want to teach their children computer skills! Homeschoolers need those skills to compete in today's job market. This course was written, used and tested by a co-op of homeschoolers--FOR homeschoolers.

It is suggested that you go through one lesson per week but some skills may take longer to master. The course is designed to take one school year to complete. The book is written in a way that builds on beginning skills previously learned. The user will not learn all about spreadsheets in one lesson and then go onto building websites in the next. Each lesson has some old and new skills each is practiced during the course of the lesson.

The computer program used for this is MicroWorlds, by LCSI and can be purchased with the curriculum. This application is based on the Logo computer language and is used for various reasons. When you complete the course you will know how to: use a word processor, make a simple web page using HTML, use basic programming concepts with MicroWorlds Logo, make graphics using MS Excel and make a table or a newsletter using MS Word.

The book is well designed and easy to use. Each lesson is very detailed and includes graphics--but not so detailed that you get lost. You will get immediate results when you follow the instructions to the letter--but if you have problems the answer key is included. I love that this book teaches you everything from animations to viruses!

We found this program was easy to follow and fun to use. I thought I was computer-literate but this book taught me a thing or two! My children loved watching their work actually WORK when they did what the book instructed. For example, when we were going through lesson #12 on web design the lesson gets you organized, helps you decide on the topic for your page, helps you find graphics and then takes you through creating your file. Lesson #13 builds on what you learned and you begin to code your webpage in HTML codes. While you are coding the book tells you exactly what the codes mean and why you need each code.

I would strongly recommend this curriculum to anyone wanting to learn some basic computer skills that includes adults and students! This will help homeschoolers in the world of technology because computers are all around us. This is a great program because the teachers do not need to have computer skills to teach the course. This is a very valuable resource and a goldmine for those desiring computer skills.

There are now 11 states requiring students to have computer skills before graduation. Those states are: Alabama, Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. This course will fulfill that requirement!

From the Motherboard Books website you can: learn about the authors, see sample pages, see student work, read testimonials and order the program. Keep on the lookout for Book 2 of this series--it is due out sometime after March 2005.

-- Product Review by: Anissa DeGrasse, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine