I contributed to an article on computer science and programming for Smartbean. Smartbean is a resource for smart parents with even smarter kids. It is aimed at parents that are aiming to augment what their children are learning in school or those that home school their children. I currently work in a school district that has no computer science curriculum; which I find unbelievable given the current adoption of computers.
Bottom line, programming should be used as a means to introduce kids to ways of thinking and problem solving that will be useful to them in many different spheres of human endeavor.
I made sure that the article reflected a difference between open source and free.
In the following sections, we will share with you a list of some good open source and/or free programming environments to introduce kids to the idea of programming.
I also promoted Linux as an ideal environment to learn programming in.
Needless to say, an open source environment such as Linux provides many more opportunities for the serious programmer, so consider providing your child with a Linux machine (even if it just means partitioning an existing Windows or Mac machine), if they wish to go deep.
If you would like to read the rest please go to the full article. My hope is that more schools will introduce computer science and programming as part of their curriculum. It is hard for me to believe that such courses are not required today, but it is reality that many schools do not even have a computer science program and think of computer science in terms of the business department.