How My Mom Taught Me to Program

If you don’t know me, my name is Ethan. I am Velda’s son, and I love to program. Really, my mom didn’t teach me how to program… she just helped me get interested, find tools, and figure out how to figure things out. Maybe these tips and tools will help you.

They say if you teach a kid more than one language when they’re little, it will always be easier for them to learn other languages. Same goes with programming: don’t let your kid settle into just Java, for example. Mix it up with some PHP, or even HTML and CSS. Mom even had us use different operating systems. Who runs Windows, OSX, and a few flavors of Linux all under one roof? We do.


  1. Maile

    Great post. Ethan! Thanks for the resources. My kids are enjoying an iPad game called Kodable. Benji, who is almost five years old, really, REALLY likes it. He thinks hard about the levels and seems to have an analytically-inclined side to him. As he gets older, I’ll definitely be looking for ways to help him learn about programming.


  2. Dustin Davis (@DustinDavis)

    Thanks for all the tips Ethan. How old are you if you don’t mind me asking? I’m a professional software devloper and I’ve been wanting to get my kids off of minecraft and get them learn programming. I think they will really enjoy it. These pointers will help me point them in the right direction and get them started.


    1. emc01

      Hi Dustin. I am turning twelve soon. For your kids, I would suggest lead them to making a game. That way, they could play that instead of Minecraft! Though you’re going to have some difficulty getting them OFF Minecraft in the first place… I’m addicted to it too.


  3. Alex

    Thanks, I am practicing currently on Codeacademy, but putting together all the available resources I can. I am also curious about programming books, have you read any? I am looking to learn Web Development first, so anything on JavaScript/PHP would be great.


    1. Velda

      Hey Alex, Ethan’s out so I hope you don’t mind me answering this. He hasn’t read very many programming books really, as he likes learning hands-on, but he does tend to skim manuals and refer back to them.

      Have you thought about getting in touch with your local PHP & JavaScript communities?


      1. Alex

        Thanks, that’s what I thought as well. I guess I am being indecisive because I am still in the early stage, but really looking forward to the journey.

        Truth to be told, there aren’t that many communities around. (I live in a fairly low populated town) I know of one, it’s a few miles out of town and as far as I know they are focusing more on Pascal/C/C++. I am looking to develop a few sites for myself, the reason I want to learn WebDev languages. But thanks for the input, I have gathered quite a lot resources online.

        Just one more question, I know Envato has got video tutorials on several languages, and I have watched a few of them. Would you agree it is easier to learn by reading online tutorials and using sites like Codeacademy? Watching those videos was fairly painful to be honest.

        I love Automattic and the way you guys handle everything.


      2. Velda

        We’re pretty lucky around here to have a good PHP users group and generally great support for open source communities πŸ™‚ If you don’t have that, maybe you can start something, or check in online with another group.

        I’d recommend jumping right into things rather than watching videos / reading books. So if you want to learn web development, start by setting up a local PHP/MySQL/Apache installation. You can get one for your operating system, or you can use a virtual machine. Google / youtube will have tons of how-tos for that. Then just start trying things. How would you learn to cook? Not so much by reading cookbooks or watching videos but by actually trying it. And failing sometimes. And trying again anyway. Give it a go πŸ˜€

        Also consider jumping on an open source project project, looking for things that need to be solved, and solving them or watching how other solve them.


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