Trying to make kids learn programming without them being interested is about the parent wanting their children to be like them.
> Kids should be taught programming when they express an interest
If we felt this way about other subjects, we would never teach 95% of kids math, or 50% of them how to read.
edit: the best outcome is that they might love it, and if they do will probably end up far better than you at it, and will make a trustworthy business partner once they reach adulthood.
I've tried to encourage my little (he's 21 now) brother to get into programming, but he's just not interested. I'm disappointed, but that's my problem, not his. He's had every opportunity to get into it. He's got his own computer and a big brother willing to teach him. If he wanted to do it he would've done it.
My other brother became a mechanic despite nobody encouraging him to do it, nor providing him with the resources when he was younger. He had to go out and find old lawnmower engines to work on by himself. He was actively discouraged from bringing home junk by our parents, but he did it anyway.
The vast majority of people do not want to become programmers. The best thing you can do for children is to expose them to as many things as you can. Take them to museums. Involve them in your hobbies and your friends' hobbies if possible and if they want to. You'll know when they've found what they want to do.
Also, don't be disappointed if girls just want to be mothers. It's one of the most important and noble jobs there is. Don't discourage it because you don't think it's as important as what you do.
To the GP, if it's OK for girls to "just be mothers", is it then OK to describe a woman as "just a mother"?
I have a daughter. I suspect that if she becomes "just a mother", what that really means is her skills and interests are so foreign to me that I can't come up with a better description than "just a mother". And I hope that I will not be OK with that.
You need to stop treating everyone in the world like a member of your scrum team or something. Understanding people's "skills and interests"? They're just people for crying out loud, speak to them. And no, there's nothing wrong with being "just a person". Stop being so analytical and desperate to have everything conform to your fantasies of what the world should be like.
Like in the original comment this started with "girls just want to be mothers" is contrasted with being a person who has any out of parenting interests at all.
And for all the talk about "noble", no interests at all leaves you with nothing to think about, nothing to talk about, nothing to do, nothing to be happy about when children are not present. Nothing to be proud about once the kids are not toddlers anymore and their achievements are their own.
Speak for yourself. Sounds like projection to me.
Do you have children? Parents can be very proud of their children's accomplishments.
And parent "living exclusively through childrens achievements" is object of criticism. That situation is not good for children, because they end up being pushed into parents dreams. It is unfair to children to expect them to be your source of proudness or whatever.
Also, focus on removing obstacles to learning, rather than pushing them to learn.
The best way to get a kid interest in music is to keep a second hand guitar lying around (tuned, what a coincidence) on the couch. The next best thing is to play yourself from time to time.
Everything else is just noise.
How is that any different then "and show them also some programming"?
The OP isn't taking his daughter through a coding course, just showing her that cool things are capable via coding. What could be wrong with that?
Another thought: when ML starts getting applied to solving programming (see recent GPT-3 demos for many examples), do you think by the time that 5 year old is 20, programming will still be a viable career for humans?
There was a time when you probably could have said the same thing about reading.
I'm not talking about programming as a career. Much like reading and writing, you can have a career focused around it, but it has applications in non-technical careers.
Many jobs have repetitive tasks. I've personally had jobs in my life where lots of aspects could be handled by scripts (although I didn't know how to write them at the time). Additionally, a lot of workplaces rely on Excel for key workflows that would be simpler and faster as programs. Computer literacy, much like writing, opens doors. The vast majority of people who learn how to write are never employed as professional writers.
Additionally, like reading and writing, it can be a great source of pleasure. Much like the author, I make little games for my daughter to play on (https://letter-press.netlify.app/snek/ for example). You can create art with code, or treat it as a puzzle solving exercise, or use it to modify your favorite games.
I think people will always learn math, programming, and natural languages for fun and intellectual growth, but I don't see those being paying jobs in 2 decades, when AI will be vastly superior to us.
For example, think about how many millions bugs are because of the most basic of human errors, time and time again, and the huge costs associated with that.
That's harsh. I'd say it's about introducing their children to something they enjoy/find valuable, in the hope that the kid will enjoy it (or get value from it) too
He's now 13 and is programming every chance he gets - but because he came to it himself, I think he enjoys it more.
The foundational mistake is “teaching programming”. The goal should be to instill (“teach”) critical thinking and analytical problem solving skills, and a “programming environment” just another tool, like pencil and paper, which the student can use when exercising those skills on real-world problems.
Whereas “teaching programming” is teaching language features: what all the buttons are and what they do when you push them. Thus mastery of button-pushing becomes feted as the end-goal of itself, instead of being just some tiresome but necessary tool-practising crapwork (like memorizing the ten-times tables and drawing all the letters from A to Z) that you have to go through on the way to achieving your true goals (which can be anything).
Once again, I point to Papert’s Logo as a good demonstration of just how simple that PE can—and should—be to serve that purpose. Logo’s core concepts can be communicated in just three steps:
1. This is a Word.
2. This is how you Perform words.
3. This is how you Add your own words.
Anything else that the platform provides, such as its dictionary of pre-defined words, can and should be explorable and discoverable; something today’s hardware and software can support and encourage without blinking. Let the students teach that crap to themselves if/as/when they need it, and keep the adults on hand just to observe when students start running themselves down a dead-end and prompt them to other possibilities they had not realized/considered.
Oh, and it really should go without saying that the PE’s error messaging must be the top of their class. Because errors aren’t the “wrong answers” of which a student should feel embarrassed and ashamed, but fresh questions in their own right which spark awareness, exploration, self-correction, and insight.
Most parents introduce kids to things they themselves like or value. Like, sport, reading books, music, video games, nature, shows they themselves like and so on. People do it even with math and grammar (through I was never able to fully understand the grammar thing). The list is pretty long and the more parents you know, the more normal it seems to be to show your kids what you yourself like soon.
I think at 5 years old I played some educational games that my parents had (I can't even remember the names..) and I was lucky that we had a computer because that wasn't common in the early 90's.
I learned a lot about computers from trying to cheat at games though - whether it was hex-editing to get around CD-ROM checks, or memory/packet editing to cheat in the games themselves. I guess mischief and breaking things is attractive to children.
Generally I find a lot of my interests align with my parents, but I always had to discover a passion for them on my own.
We're just trying to meet him where he is at and try to make sure he is being creative, whatever it is.
If I'm right, OP is either ahead of the curve or jumping the gun, depending on your perspective. :)