Best Home-School Computer Science Courses

Home-schooling a child is an option that many parents consider. It is clear that many parents are opting to do so, with over 75,000 children in the UK and over 3 million children in the US being home-schooled. The decision to home-school a child rests upon many complex factors, but ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum is one challenge that every family will face. One aspect of the curriculum that is a particular challenge–and usually mandated–is computer science. There are very few parents who are able to adequately teach computer science, giving rise to a need for additional support. From coding and programming to AI, continue reading to find out what computer science is, which courses and resources are available to parents, and plenty of recommendations to help your child (and you) master computer science. What’s more, our recommendations are not just for children who are home-schooled – anyone who wants to enhance their child’s computer science knowledge can benefit from our suggestions.

What is computer science?

Computer science* is used every day, throughout the day, forming the basis of many of the technologies found around us. From the Internet to smartphones and devices, to AI – all have their foundation in computer science. So what exactly is the definition of ‘computer science’? According to Britannica, the definition of computer science is “the study of computers and computing, as well as their theoretical and practical applications. Computer science applies the principles of mathematics, engineering, and logic to a plethora of functions, including algorithm formulation, software and hardware development, and artificial intelligence”. Wow – there is a LOT to unpack in that definition! This detailed definition can be summarised as the study of how physical computers are assembled and how the software is subsequently programmed.

*Note: the term ‘computer science’ is often used interchangeably with ‘coding’, ‘programming’, ‘ICT’, ‘IT’, or ‘computing’.

Why should my child learn computer science?

These days, most children can pick up a device and within mere minutes figure out how to use it – sometimes (embarrassingly) more effectively and faster than us adults! While such an ability is a tremendously useful skill, a child’s fundamental understanding of how devices are assembled and how they actually function is limited. While computer science is generally considered a subject that people specialize in during post-secondary education, children who are home-schooled will likely have computer science as part of their curriculum; in fact, the UK is the first country to mandate teaching code to primary and secondary school children.

Computing technologies fundamentally underpin today’s digital economy. In other words, the world is essentially run on technology so it’s vital that children become technologically literate – and not just to fulfill curriculum requirements. Our blog post about the other benefits of studying computer science skills details how children will improve their problem-solving skills, enhance creativity, boost confidence, and nurture collaboration, whilst developing persistence and resilience.  

What’s more, the outlook for a future career involving computer science is staggering. According to the US Bureau of Statistics, software developer roles are expected to grow by 26% over the next ten years and, by 2031, computer and information technology roles are expected to increase by 15%– both far above the average for other occupations (5%). Moreover, in the UK, the government is actively seeking to ensure a ‘high-skilled STEM workforce’ to deliver its ‘science superpower ambitions’. Some of the many professions that computer science specialists can pursue are software/web developer, AI engineer, app developer, and many, many more. These professions often come with a healthy salary too. Just look at the success stories of Katherine Johnson, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk – all involved with computer sciences!

What are the different types of computer science courses available?

As mentioned above, computer science encompasses a vast field of study. For children who are homeschooled, there are four core elements that will likely fulfill your child’s computer science curriculum. Even if your child’s curriculum doesn’t include basic computer science principles, it’s an invaluable skill so be sure to include it anyway! Since each state’s curriculum will vary within the US, curriculum guidelines should be readily available online from most government websites dedicated to education. The UK’s computing curriculum for both primary and secondary education is readily available. For other countries, a quick web search for your child’s curriculum should provide the necessary information. Having your child’s computing curriculum will allow you to select which elements to include in your child’s home-school learning; you may find a mix of different elements will be most suitable. 


Coding – composing the language of computers to provide directions – is the most common form of computer science and will make up the bulk of courses available for children who are home-schooled. Most parents/tutors are not going to be equipped to teach computer science unless they already work in that field or possess a keen interest. Fear not! There are plenty of options for your child. Check out some of the well-researched recommendations for online coding classes here. Many of these online classes have free trials so you can try out a variety and choose which one(s) suits your child’s curriculum, their learning styles, and their interests.  


While robotics might seem a bit out there, it is an engaging way to encompass both the hardware and software components of computers. Many robotics kits feature an assembly element, which comprises engineering techniques, as well as programming, which will provide the instructions the machine will need to operate. Children will delight in the completion of building a robot from the ground up, as well as coding the robot to complete simple tasks. Here are some great robotics sets for beginners, with varying costs, that you might want to start out with.

Computer Kits

For those children who master robotics kits or demonstrate an innate ability with computers, you may want to consider introducing them to building their own computers! For most people, let alone parents, building a computer might seem like an impossible task – but it can be done! Better yet, there are kits that provide step-by-step guidance for the assembly. Your child will learn valuable skills that relate to their curriculum, as well as the understanding that many people lack – how computers are constructed and how they function. 


AI – Artificial Intelligence – is the ability of a computer to perform tasks that would more likely be associated with a human, such as problem-solving and learning.  Recently, AI has become more accessible, gaining mainstream application, with the advent of platforms such as ChatGPT and Bard (among many others). Films like iRobot, Wall-E, The Matrix, etc., portray AI as very futuristic. However, AI has actually been in development since 1956! In short, AI is one of the fastest-growing sectors of computer science; it is likely to be a rich field of study for careers in the future. While some people are hesitant to embrace AI, it can be a fabulous resource for both children and adults. However, we do emphasize that it is a tool to support and should not replace good, old-fashioned hard work! Here are some engaging courses for your child – most suitable for 10+ years – about AI.  

The Internet

While it might seem that the Internet has now become a fundamental part of our everyday life, it is one way for children to explore computer science by ‘surfing the web’ and finding out how it works. There are many websites and courses available for children to use to learn on the Internet.  Why not have your child complete a project on the Internet’s history? Check out some of these resources that will engage and enlighten you. A subscription-based resource with varying price plans offers a ‘Technology for Kids’ course, comprising of 60 short lessons (average lesson length is 8 minutes). This course covers computer and Internet safety, the history of computers, how the Internet works, and everything in between. These lessons are self-paced with mini quizzes at the end.

Open University: Offers a number of free courses, suitable for older children, including an Introduction to Cyber Security: Stay Safe Online and an Introduction to Computers and Computer Systems. Both courses, delivered in conjunction with The Children’s University, require a lot of independent reading, with Cyber Security being supported by videos. They also feature end-of-lesson quizzes and are between 16 and 24 hours worth of learning. These courses are best suited to children who are highly self-motivated and interested in computer science.

BBC Bitesize: If you’re just looking for a quick overview of how the Internet works to gauge your child’s interest, Bitesize provides just that. Suitable for those 8+ years, this short lesson has a mix of videos, interactive diagrams, text, and a short quiz. Bitesize also has a variety of other short lessons about computer science in general, for children aged 5-7 and those aged 9+. 

computer science homeschool

What are some challenges of teaching computer science and are there any resources to help?

The most common challenge with teaching computer science as part of a home-school curriculum is the expertise of the teacher (usually a parent). Most parents are not experts in the field of computer science. While they are quite capable of using devices and technology, the fundamental understanding is not there. This lack of understanding then presents difficulties when teaching computer science as a subject. Don’t panic! There are many ways to overcome this challenge. First of all, you don’t have to teach the subject without resources or input from experts. As covered above, there are plenty of available computer science courses with different levels of support accessible. If you’re a complete novice, use the courses that feature live tuition, and you can learn right alongside your child. If you’re a bit more confident, the self-paced lessons with teacher’s notes will be right for you. If you are one of those rare experts in the field, you will be able to pick up a robotics or computer-building kit and set your child to work, all the while fielding any questions your child may have!

Still unsure? There are ample books about computer science available from your local library or for purchase. These books can help to form lesson plans, assist with learning, help parents gain a better understanding of computer science, or be something you and your child choose to read out of interest. If you’re looking for blog posts, we’ve got you covered! Read about how you can help your child with computer science and find even more resources/classes available. You could also reach out to computer science experts through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., for quick questions. Most people would be pleased to help a child by sharing their knowledge and expertise. You could even have your child write a letter/email to an expert – practicing multiple skills at once!

What if we don’t have the latest technology or devices at home?

Another factor when teaching computer science is that some families will not have the appropriate technology/devices. Keeping up to date with all of the latest technology and programs is no easy feat and is sometimes (financially) out of reach for families, especially with the rising cost of living. If that’s the case, check out more information about coding clubs (LINK TBD) and how to find one that you can enroll your child in; some clubs will even provide hardware and/or software. You may also want to try a general web search for computer or robotics clubs in your area. Just ensure you are satisfied with the location and that instructors will provide a safe and engaging learning environment for your child. For a home-schooled child, a computer science course in person might be a worthwhile atmosphere to interact with children who share the same interests.

Whether you decide to focus on coding, assembling the hardware of computers, learning about AI, or a combination of everything, the above courses offer an extensive range of lessons and activities to fulfill your child’s home-school computer science curriculum. No matter what you choose, you will be providing a well-balanced curriculum that includes the essentials of computer science and you just might learn something too!

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