I don’t know about you, but as my kids get older it becomes more challenging to find a curriculum that stretches them. If you’re anything like me, your kids are not carbon copies of you, and their interests and talents are not the same as you. That’s my challenge with Superman. He wants to be an engineer. While I enjoy the results of engineering in all its forms and have fun with our science lessons. I don’t know how to further his interests. I need an engineering curriculum he can open and go without my help. It’s taken over a year of looking, but I finally found that engineering curriculum in 42 Electronics.
(I received a free copy of 42 Electronics, I actually was going to buy it, but they offered, so score! I’m also an affiliate for them, and there are affiliate links in here)
What is a 42 Electronics Engineering Curriculum kit?
I’ve seen a couple of different electrical engineering kits, and some programming kits previously. All of the ones I’d seen were monthly kits, and you got one project a month to work on. We’re actually subscribed to one of those, and it’s a great program, but for my purposes, I needed a more robust idea. I needed a full curriculum.
We got the Level A kit, Level B is coming out soon. I’ve been getting emails with previews, and it looks pretty cool. Ultimately they plan to have four levels.
This is a full curriculum with almost all of the supplies you’ll need. We’ve completed the first few lessons, but I glanced ahead and the supplies you need to supplement are materials you probably already have in your house (batteries, wired keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc). Things that would greatly increase the cost of the kit, but you probably already have at your house.
This is designed to be used as a junior high or high school level. There are suggestions included for how to use it and get full high school credit for the course, which I’ll be using in a year as we go deeper with this curriculum.
Update a year later:
We have not finished the program, because I was not as aggressive in checking on his work as I should have been, and he slid by for a few weeks here and there not completing his lesson.
That being said, I still LOVE this program. He’s put together a computer, worked on programming, and generally, it’s the nice solid homeschool engineering curriculum I thought it might be.
My suggestions to prep for using 42 Electronics Engineering Curriculum
Print and bind your entire manual. I use this binding machine (I actually wrote a post about my love for my binding machine). This is, of course, going to depend on your kids, but my son prefers a physical paper book to look at.
Get a toolbox. While all of the materials for the kit fit neatly inside the box it comes in with some room to spare. In my house small boxes get lost, I actually had to email them saying, “I lost the instructions for downloading the lesson plans,” and they quite kindly sent me a new link to download it again.
Nice customer service.
Back to that toolbox. First, it looks cool. Second, as your kid gets more into it, they’ll discover they can easily order more LEDs and resistors to play around with (As you explore the 42 Electronics site you’ll find extra parts listed there).
The extra projects linked to in the book have all sorts of possibilities. You want a chance to let them expand their ideas.
How each engineering lesson is set up
Sorry, I got distracted looking at the philosophy behind the class and reading more on extra projects. Back to what I was writing. I kind of sat there reading it for about five minutes. This is the problem with having ADD.
Each lesson starts off with a quick introduction to what you’ll learn, what you need, and what you should review.
Then it teaches you the science behind it all. Including helpful tips and advice. The first few lessons were a review of what Superman had done so far, but it still had helpful information he learned from it.
Of course, what kind of electrical engineering or programming lesson would it be if it didn’t have a hands-on component, this is, of course, Superman’s favorite part. There is step-by-step pictures with electrical diagrams to show you what to do. Superman is used to having a step by step video, but that program was designed for elementary kids, and I honestly like this better because it’s a bigger challenge for him (in all honesty, he figured out pretty quickly how to just read the instructions next to the video, so they were a crutch for him).
Finally, the lessons wrap up with a “quiz.” I put that in quotation marks because it’s just a review, but you get the idea behind it. Depending on your purposes the kid could answer verbally or written down. For the purposes of this review, I just had him answer verbally, but when we use the curriculum seriously this fall Superman is going to be writing complete sentences.
Future Ticia, a year later.
I’m working on his answering in full sentences, that’s just something he doesn’t like to do. He can do it, but he, like his Mom, likes to answer with the minimal of words when writing by hand.
Scheduling Your Engineering lessons
For a high school credit, they suggest completing a minimum of 2-3 lessons a week with additional materials included.
We are going to use this at a more leisurely rate of one lesson a week initially, and will possibly accelerate up to 2 lessons a week. If we were using this in high school I would use the accelerated rate, but this is his first foray into serious programming and electronics so I want to let him work into it slowly, and I’m gearing up a bunch of other areas they’re going to be working at this year.
Future Ticia here, the one lesson a week was a good rate, and I should have worked at being more consistent with it for making serious progress at the engineering curriculum, but otherwise, that was a good plan.
What are the best parts of 42 Electronics Curriculum?
This is completely reusable. Many homeschool families are looking for the best deal for their family, and right on the first page, they say you can reuse every bit of this from kid to kid in your family. That is a huge help.
I know this sounds silly, but I love how hands-off for me it is. My last experience with any sort of engineering was a brief stint in electrical engineering in middle school, and then some physics lessons in high school. Beyond that, I have the fun elementary sort of stuff, not any clue how to seriously teach a high school engineering class.
Jeff knows some of this stuff (the programming aspect), but he’s working full time and cannot regularly work with Superman on this, so the ability to teach himself is a huge deal!
Get your own copy of 42 Electronics Curriculum
Level A Intro to Robotics is $129. I’m sure you’re eyes are popping with sticker shock, but this is an entire curriculum and has 18 full projects included just in the core curriculum and a large amount more they’ve linked to online. With that knowledge, the price comes down to $7 and change per project in the book. I’m comparing that to the monthly subscription kits which are at least $20 a project. It is well worth the price.
Expect to hear me regularly talking about our new engineering curriculum as we work our way through the 42 electronics curriculum this fall. I look forward to the second level where Superman is going to learn how to use sensors and more programming.