STEM Books for Your Homeschool: Electronics and Programming!

My son is getting into some crazy exciting new math and science subjects in our homeschool. To be honest, however, I'm not very good at helping him. I'm not especially interested in these subjects (I'm a language arts girl), and he has progressing at a rate that I couldn't keep up if I tried! Since he loves reading and insists on a self-paced type of learning, I am happy to keep his bookshelf and computer cubby stocked with quality books to spur him on his tech journey. He wants to be a programmer or designer some day, and I'm delighted to feed his appetite for knowledge with top-notch books from No Starch Press!

Two of the books that have gotten the most wear and tear (daily use) are Electronics for Kids and Learn to Program with Small Basic. Both have gotten high marks from my 13-year-old son!

Electronics for Kids contains several amazingly fun projects for even the most novice engineer. The book covers the following topics in easy-to-read format with lots of handy illustrations:

  • Playing with Electricity
  • What Is Electricity?
  • Making Things Move with Electricity and Magnets
  • How to Generate Electricity
  • Building Circuits
  • Creating Light with LEDs
  • Blinking a Light for the First Time 
  • Let's Solder!
  • Controlling Things with Circuits
  • Building a Musical Instrument
  • Digital Electronics
  • How Circuits Understand Ones and Zeros
  • Circuits That Make Choices
  • Circuits That Remember Information 
  • Let's Make a Game!

While a few of the activities may require parental supervision (soldering, for example), I pretty much have turned him lose to read and explore. Safety rules are covered throughout. This is a great way to reinforce physics concepts and would make a handy addition to any basic science curriculum!

His other favorite book gets him on the path to programming. Learning to Program with Small Basic is a book I find his nose in every day.

He bought his first Raspberry Pi this year, so he has enjoyed taking on the basics of all kinds of languages -- including Small Basic!  My son has done a lot of coding tutorials online, but he insists that this book format is among his favorite ways to learn. As you can see from the sample pages below, it's presented in an extremely easy-to-understand format. The projects are just plain fun!

The book teaches you to:
  • Program your computer to greet you by name
  • Make a game of rock-paper-scissors using If/Else statements
  • Create an interactive treasure map using arrays
  • Draw intricate geometric patterns with just a few lines of code
  • Simplify complex programs by breaking them into bite-sized subroutines
  • Command a turtle to draw shapes
  • Create magical moving text
  • Solve math problems quickly
  • Help a knight slay a dragon
Boys and girls (and even adults) with a curiosity about electronics or programming should pick up these books for your home. The quality of No Starch books are above par, and these two are just a sampling of the titles we have enjoyed over the years!

*Samples received to review. Opinions are my own.