CompuScholar Review

With its engaging multimedia learning, structured and standards-aligned curriculum, helpful automated grading and highly relevant and interesting course selection, if you’re looking for an effective self-study coding and computer science program for your Middle or High School student, CompuScholar might be just what you’re looking for.

What We Like

Useful and practical range of coding and computer science courses
Offers AP Exam Prep
Offers engaging, multimedia lessons with video and on-screen interactive exercises
Lots of practice to develop stronger coding skills and fluency
Optional assessments to reinforce learning
Automatic grading of practice can save parents considerable time and effort
Courses have few prerequisites, freeing students to pick what interests them
All courses provide a decent background in coding and computing fundamentals
Courses are browser-based, so they can be done on any device and without downloading a lot of software

But Be Careful…

Program’s more formal course structure might not appeal to every student
Text in lessons can involve a bit of reading, which can be challenging for those with difficulties

What Is CompuScholar?

Founded in 2008 and originally known as Homeschool Programming, CompuScholar is a company that offers a suite of self-study online courses in coding, computer science and digital literacy aimed at homeschooling families and traditional schools. 

Although originally also taught through textbooks and video CDs, CompuScholar is currently online and browser-based and offers a variety of courses from basic computer skills and knowledge to web-design, Python, C#, Java and even video game creation.

What Ages Or Grades Is CompuScholar Intended For?

CompuScholar is intended for students in Grades 6-12, or Middle to High School, with slight differences in suggested age range depending on the relative complexity and scope of the topic or coding language taught in each course.

CourseSuggested Grade Range
Digital Savvy6-12
Web Design6-12
Unity Game Programming9-12

That said, it is important to keep in mind that CompuScholar is a self-study, self-paced course in coding and computer science. 

Younger students who are interested in these subjects can, of course, sign up for and take whatever course suits their interest. 

However, parents should keep in mind that CompuScholar’s courses are a little more formal than some of the other coding for kids courses out there, with students possibly doing around 3-5 hours a week of work (including projects and quizzes) and having a stronger overall focus on written coding languages.

Further, while CompuScholar  does make use of audiovisual teaching methods, they are pretty straightforward and typically geared to older students and don’t really contain the same high energy teaching style, props, animations or other forms of edutainment that other learn to code programs may offer to engage younger kids.  

Finally, the course does make use of quite a bit of reading, with each lesson containing a fair amount of in-depth text and exercises, which can be challenging for younger students.

What Courses Are Offered By CompuScholar For Homeschoolers?

CompuScholar offers a pretty wide range of courses that students and parents can sign up for. 

Computer Skills / Digital Savvy

Digital Savvy serves as a kind of overall introduction to computers, software and the world of coding, and would serve well as a starting point for students with minimal background in computing, computer science or coding.

The course itself contains a good, basic overview of computers and computer science theory, including lessons on computers themselves, their components and history, software, operating systems, networking and the internet, digital communications and social media. 

In addition, the course also imparts a good deal of practical learning, such as using files and file systems, basic computer troubleshooting, using the internet, internet safety, office tools and even essential coding concepts. 

Although we aren’t exactly sure how many Middle and High School students are uncertain as to how to use a computer and its essential components and software these days, the course can actually be pretty interesting and in-depth, touching on basic coding concepts and skills, and introducing basic HTML and helping students develop stronger coding concepts with Scratch and visual basic. 

Interestingly, the course ends with a chapter on coding project management, an important real-life skill,  teaching students about the organized and sequential process of planning, implementation and delivery of a digital project. 

Overall, although perhaps not strictly necessary, Digital Savvy can serve as a good general course in computer science and coding for students new to the subject, taking students from a very rudimentary or near-zero background in computing to a fair degree of knowledge over the period of a year, and even more techie studies may find something to learn (and will do so in a more organized way than a typical YouTube video or Google search can provide). 

Specific Coding Courses

Beyond the basics of computing, CompuScholar also includes a wide range of coding courses to select from, including full year or half year courses in:

  • C#
  • Java
  • Python
  • HTML/CSS (and Web Design principles)
  • Unity (and game design principles) 

As can be seen, CompuScholar goes beyond the typical courses in JavaScript and Python offered by most other learn to code programs out there, and has a strong emphasis on teaching written coding languages and practical skill development. 

There isn’t much in the way of visual coding with CompuScholar, so parents should be advised that there can be a lot of typing and debugging of code.  

The languages and concepts taught in these courses are all very current and useful in terms of coding and are significant in the wider world of computer science and software development.

In addition to learning and working with specific coding languages and syntax, in each course students are also introduced to important coding concepts such as: 

  • Data types and variables
  • Conditionals, functions and operators 
  • Loops, variables, objects and strings
  • Troubleshooting and debugging concepts and skills
  • Development environments and their use
  • Ethics and computer security
  • And much more

Consequently, and regardless of the specific language they choose, students get a fairly decent education when it comes to important concepts in programming and computing. 

Importantly, and helpfully for homeschooling students on a budget, these courses also assume no prior knowledge of coding beyond essential computer skills, such as finding and opening files and using a web browser, so parents and students don’t have to spend time and money taking introductory courses before getting started and can more or less dive into what interests them. 

screenshot of compuscholar chapters introducing basic concepts in coding and computing for beginners

AP Computer Science Prep Courses

In addition to their regular coding courses, CompuScholar also offers specific, year-long courses aimed at preparing students for AP CS A exams. 

For homeschooling parents, there is an AP prep course in Java Programming. 

This course contains much of the same material as the main Introductory Java Programming course, but is specifically designed to cover the material included in the AP CS A exam, such as Primitive Types, Objects. Boolean Logic, Expressions and If Statements, Iteration, Arrays, Inheritance, Recursion and more, as well as relevant lab work. 

In addition, the course also offers a variety of lessons that go beyond the AP exam, offering enrichment with topics such as Java Development Environments, File access, algorithms, coding efficiency and more. 

Like the other coding courses included in CompuScholar, the course assumes no prior knowledge of coding and teaches the material more or less sequentially and from the ground up, which is helpful and means it can be used as a stand alone course, which is nice. 

Interestingly, CompuScholar also offers a course that can serve as prep for the AP Computer Science Principles exam. 

As with the Java course, it is a 1 year program that covers the required material for the AP CS Principles exam, such as Python coding, networking, data structures and types, strings, algorithm design and applications, as well as some enrichment topics such as web design, operating systems and so on.

Unfortunately, at time of writing, this specific course is only offered to school accounts and not homeschooling accounts.  

Features And Approach To Teaching Computer Science And Coding

Online and Browser-Based Program

Prior to 2018, CompuScholar courses could be taught through a combination of textbooks and CDs, however the company has since shifted to being an online and browser-based learning platform. 

In other words, learning with CompuScholar is a completely digital experience. 

Users create an account and can access the program and its courses through pretty much any internet connected device with an HTML5-compliant web browser. 

This method of instruction does provide parents and students with quite a few benefits. 

For one thing, it means that learning is device agnostic.

In other words, because the courses and materials are hosted on the company website, students can learn from pretty much any device with a modern web browser, and from any location as long as they have a decent internet connection. 

In addition to this flexibility of access, this digital learning also gives parents a variety of helpful tools they can use to better guide and monitor learning.

Being a digital program, students can submit their work online and, due to a built-in algorithm, much of their work can be automatically and instantly corrected.

This can take much of the burden off parents, and is a definite plus for non-techie parents who may be intimidated by the prospect of having to correct and grade questions on computing and code themselves.

Similarly, being a digital program, CompuScholar also provides parents with comprehensive progress tracking, allowing them to keep track of how their students are progressing, of what they’re learning, their responses to quizzes and their lab work.

On the downside, this does mean that the courses can be pretty intensive in terms of screen time, and it does mean students need to be left on an internet-connected device, which some parents may be wary of. 

Self-Study, Self-Paced Learning

CompuScholar is a self-study program. In other words, there are no teachers or live lessons to attend.

Instead, students learn from text and video, picking up and practicing important coding concepts and skills as they do so, complete various projects and have their knowledge periodically assessed by auto-graded quizzes and exams. 

For students, this means that learning can be done anywhere and anytime, allowing them to fit lessons into their schedule more easily and regardless of how busy their day might be, which is always a plus. 

And, obviously, it is a big time saver for parents who won’t have to help teach, administer assessments and projects or even do much of the correction, due to the automated grading functions built into each course. 

Parents should be aware, however, that without the personal accountability of a real-time course this self-study, self-paced model requires students to have relatively good study habits and the personal discipline to sit down and study coding and computer science concepts for several hours a week.  

Multimedia Learning

Although it may have started out as a textbook-based course, CompuScholar’s lessons take a decidedly multimedia approach to teaching, featuring both video and interactive text-based lesson components.   


Each lesson in CompuScholar includes an audiovisual learning component in the form of a video. 

These videos are sort of an on-screen demonstration, often looking much like a screencast but sometimes using animations and representations of concepts, as well.

screenshot of compuscholar video lesson

The videos themselves are pretty short and to the point, which is good as it ensures that they aren’t too much of a strain on a student’s attention span. 

They also make CompuScholar are far better fit for students who prefer to learn in a more audiovisual way and who may get bored or frustrated by a course that only allows them to read the material. 

Broadly speaking, they aren’t the most dynamic and exciting videos out there for coding, for example they don’t use the same exciting, YouTube-style high-energy hosts that courses like Codakid offer, but we found that they explain concepts very clearly, visually and in a step-by-step manner, which can be very helpful when dealing with more complex concepts. 

Interactive Text

In addition to the videos, students using CompuScholar also get in-depth explanations of coding concepts through written text. 

Written much like a coding textbook, each lesson’s text component dives a little more deeply into the concept at hand, introducing, explaining and demonstrating its usefulness in a comprehensive and step-by-step manner that can include helpful illustrations. 

screenshot of compuscholar text based learning

From time to time during their reading, particularly in the coding courses, students are given an opportunity to try their hand at some limited coding, allowing them to see how a concept might work in a real life application or as a means of exploring the concept more thoroughly by letting students play around with it. 

Unlike most other coding courses, which use a separate coding window or program for such exercises, these coding exercises are woven right into the reading, with little coding windows integrated into the text. 

screenshot of interactive text and coding exercise in compuscholar course

These built-in coding exercises allow students to get more involved and engaged in their reading, transforming them from passive to active learners, and lets them get “hands-on” with their learning right in the lesson, rather than having to wait until after the lesson or having to switch screens, making practice more timely and relevant.

Although the text-based learning component is very engaging, clear and thorough, parents should be aware that it can be a lot of reading for some students, particularly those with difficulties in reading and processing, as the material can get a little complex and it is written fairly professionally, somewhat like a coding manual or textbook. 

Such students, therefore, might need a little help getting through the material or may need to break the readings up into smaller bits and take a little more time per lesson. 

Hands-on Coding Activities

Much like other coding programs, CompuScholar keeps learning relevant and practical by having students complete various coding exercises throughout each course. 

At the end of each chapter, students are expected to put the skills they’ve learned in the previous lessons to good use by creating some kind of program.

These coding activities are short and kind of interesting, often being linked to useful, real world applications of code. 

For example, depending on the course, students might build a calculator, a chatbot, an ATM function, an ordering system or even a Mars rover. 

Standards Aligned, Structured Learning

CompuScholar is structured and set up much like a traditional class. 

That is, learning is broken down into specific chapters and lessons in a very straightforward and organized manner, and along the way there are readings, projects and even quizzes and exams. 

The content itself is also aligned to national and many (although not all) state’s standards for computer science and coding education and includes courses that can be used as AP CS Exam prep. 

As a result, we feel CompuScholar’s course curricula are a little more thorough and educationally aligned than some of the more hobby-style, get-your-kids-to-code programs out there. 

While perhaps not the most ideal for getting reluctant students into coding (a course that “hides” its learning in games or overarching projects might be more appealing) , we believe CompuScholar can be a great option for homeschools that want a more formalized course in coding and computer science topics, and in particular those who need or want to adhere to state requirements for coding/IT education. 

How It Works

Using CompuScholar is pretty straightforward and similar to any other online subscription-based learning platform. 

Parents create an account for themselves and their student and then purchase and assign courses according to their and their student’s interest and preference. 

As mentioned previously, most courses in CompuScholar assume very little knowledge on the part of the student and provide a solid introduction to critical coding/computer science concepts, so there is no real required progression of courses – parents and students can sign up for more or less whatever interests them or whatever they feel is important, a bit of flexibility that we appreciate when it comes to homeschooling.

Most courses in CompuScholar are yearlong, two-semester courses (the exception being the Introduction to Python course, which is a half year/single semester). 

As such, each course comprises about 65-90 lessons, depending on how many enrichment lessons a parent chooses to include, with each lesson being about 45-60 minutes long. 

CompuScholar recommends students budget about 3-5 hours a week for teaching, which with lessons, quizzes and labs means that it is a pretty full-on course in coding. 

That said, while we found that the course could be comfortably taught at a 3-4 hour a week pace, the pace of learning really depends on the student, their comfort and ability with coding and, of course, the complexity of the topic in question.

Broadly speaking, CompuScholar is arranged more like a traditional class rather than integrating learning into an overarching project (like Tynker or Codakid) or as a gamified learning environment (like CodeCombat). 

That is to say, much like a typical curriculum there is a formal progression of chapters covering general concepts, lessons covering specific topics in that concept, chapter summarizing activities, quizzes, exams and more. 

Although some students may not be huge fans of this type of traditional learning, perhaps preferring a more casual and less directly educational model (such as learning to code while building their own video game), CompuScholar courses tend to be much more structured and organized compared to more hobby-style learn-to-code programs, presenting the information in a step-by-step manner and being able to dive into the material in a fairly rigorous manner.


Each course in CompuScholar is broken down into different chapters covering a course topic, and there are around 25 core chapters or so per course (except for Python, which has 13).

 After these core chapters, each course has a variety of enrichment lessons, i.e. lessons and activities that go beyond what is typically required by state standards for coding and computer science, such as networking fundamentals (Java), graphical user interface creation (C#), file input/output management (Python) and so on.


Lessons in CompuScholar tend to follow a fairly common pattern. 

screenshot of compuscholar lesson outline

Each lesson tends to center around a specific topic within the larger overall chapter concept, for example a lesson on “if statements” would be a part of a chapter on decision making. 

Students start each lesson off watching a short video, which serves to introduce, explain and demonstrate the topic at hand, usually in the form of an on-screen demonstration or screencast with careful voice-over explanations.

Following the video, students progress to an interactive text reading. 

Written much like a traditional coding manual or textbook, students dive more deeply into the topic. 

The texts go a step further than the videos, explaining the overall idea and logic behind the topic, demonstrating it through examples of code, offering step by step instruction and offering hints for its proper use and application. 

As mentioned previously, the texts have built-in windows or consoles where students are expected to try out what they’re reading about right on screen. 

In this way, they can play around a bit with the code or the concept in question, which makes learning far less passive. 

Finally, students can try their hand at longer exercises in a section called Work With Me, where students can follow some instructions to test out the different concepts and skills they’ve learned throughout the lesson. 

screenshot of work with me exercises


CompuScholar offers parents the ability to assign quizzes as part of each lesson. 

These test the general computer science or coding concepts touched on in each lesson and are autograded, so parents don’t need to spend time correcting or grading them, which is nice, particularly for those who themselves aren’t very “techie.”

Homeschooling parents who don’t particularly like including assessments as part of their learning may appreciate the fact that these quizzes are optional. 

Parents can set them to be hidden from their account. 

Chapter Activities

At the end of each chapter, there is a little project that students are asked to complete that summarizes the learning from its constituent lessons.

Students are asked to use the concepts and skills they’ve learned over the period of several lessons to build a fully functioning little program or application.

They are provided with a fairly detailed step by step list of instructions, which provides an outline of the general concept and purpose of the task, things to watch out for and specifies any general requirements or skills the activity is looking for.

screenshots with example of compuscholar activity requirements

For example, when covering a chapter on “Lists and Loops,” students are tasked with an activity called “Burger Castle.”

screenshot of burger castle compuscholar activity

In this activity students are expected to program their own functional fast-food ordering system, making use of things like while/for loops, appends and index functions and so on. 

Like the quizzes, these projects are automatically graded, which is helpful for both parent and student. In other words, students submit their work and CompuScholar will actually go through their code and immediately produce a 0-100 score based on, among other things, whether the program worked and whether the student included all the key skills or concepts they were asked to include. 


Finally, each chapter tends to end with an exam.

These are intended to summarize the learning across an entire chapter, covering the key concepts from each lesson, and much like the quizzes these are automatically graded and are optional. 

Progress Tracking

As students work on their coding and computer science skills, parents can make use of CompuScholar’s progress tracking to keep an eye on their student’s learning.

From the progress tracking page, parents can see what their students are learning, how much time they are spending on their learning, check out their quiz and exam results, take a look at their projects, and more. 

Given that CompuScholar is a self-study program and requires that students be on an internet connected device, this progress tracking can be particularly useful in making sure students aren’t getting distracted by other websites and falling behind. 

Pros And Cons Of CompuScholar


Practical and current coding and computer science courses

Aside from providing a solid grounding in coding concepts and computational thinking, CompuScholar offers courses in useful written programs such as Java, Python and C#, all of which are highly relevant languages that are widely used by professional programmers and computer scientists. 

They are languages that are, in fact, quite popular in the fields of AI and Big Data, Web app development, networking and mobile development and so on. 

Includes AP prep courses

In addition to their main coding courses, CompuScholar also offers courses specifically designed and structured to prepare students for the AP computer science exams (specifically for homeschoolers, AP CS A at time of writing).

Multimedia learning 

CompuScholar makes use of both video and interactive text as part of its learning component, making each lesson far more active, impactful and engaging, particularly for audiovisual learners. 

Lots of activities and exercise to practice coding skills.

Aside from the coding exercises included in the interactive text component of a lesson, which help build coding skill and fluency, throughout each course students have the opportunity to put their coding skills and learning to the test by working on real-life applicable and fully functional coding projects.

Optional quizzes and exams reinforce concepts

CompuScholar has included a variety of quizzes and exams that can help test and reinforce student knowledge of coding and computer science concepts.

These quizzes and exams are optional and can be hidden from view using the parent account course settings, which is good news for homeschools who prefer to keep the learning more casual and low stakes.  

Automatic correction and grading saves parents valuable time

Most activities, quizzes and exams in CompuScholar are automatically graded and recorded, providing students with instant feedback and saving parents from having to do this themselves, which is good news for time-poor parents and those who aren’t very sure of their own coding skills or knowledge. 

Courses don’t require much previous knowledge 

Unlike some other courses that may require students to take prerequisite courses before getting to what they want to study, CompuScholar’s courses don’t expect much beyond a basic familiarity with using a computer. 

Each course acts as a standalone course, providing students with a solid background in coding and computer science concepts as well as developing practical coding skills, and can guide students from a point of (more or less) zero knowledge to practical familiarity over the course of a year. 

As a result, students can study what interests them (or what they feel is important or interesting) right away, while parents don’t have to pay as much for prereq courses. 

Browser-based learning and coding

CompuScholar is browser-based, meaning students and parents can access the program and its materials from practically any Mac or PC with an internet connection, so they aren’t tethered to a single device.

More than that, CompuScholar has done a pretty good job at integrating its coding environments into their front end, so that students don’t have to download anything or open a new program to get coding – they can do it right on their screen. 


More formal approach not for every student

CompuScholar is a self-paced, self-study program that feels much like a traditional curriculum in our opinion.

There is a clear progression of learning and its chapters are divided into various lessons, with quizzes, exams and projects that help reinforce learning and skill development.

While this can be a great and effective way to guide students through their learning in a more structured and organized way, some students may do better with a more casual approach, such as with a gamified learning environment or by integrating learning into a single, high-interest project. 

Can involve a lot of reading

Although they do teach coding concepts in a fair amount of depth, are interactive and are pretty straightforward, CompuScholar’s lesson texts can involve a lot of reading which can make them a little tricky for students with reading difficulties. 

Who Is CompuScholar Ideal For?

Parents looking for more standards aligned, formal approach to learning to code

While there are plenty of ways that students can learn computer science and coding on their own, from YouTube videos to Googleable resources, CompuScholar offers students and parents a structured and organized curriculum that they can follow to learn coding and computer science concepts from scratch in a step by step manner.

Parents and students looking for self-study, self-paced courses

With its recorded video, detailed texts, and automatically graded quizzes, projects and exams, CompuScholar can guide students through its courses without a lot of parental involvement, freeing parents to concentrate on other important tasks that may need attending to.

Those looking for AP exam prep in Java 

Parents who have a student interested in taking an AP CS exam will be happy to know that CompuScholar offers a specific Java course that covers all the required learning (and significantly more) for the AP CS A exam, something that isn’t too common in home coding and computer science courses.

There is also a course in Python for AP CS Principles, although at time of writing it is only offered to schools.

Parents who aren’t very tech savvy but want their students to become so

CompuScholar offers a lot of automated correction, grading and reporting features, which make it a very capable self-study program that makes few demands on parents in terms of time or personal knowledge in computer science.  

As a result, it can be a great option for parents who themselves are not very technology oriented but want their children to be.

Students with little to no background in coding or computer science

Courses in CompuScholar don’t require much in the way of prerequisite knowledge or skill in coding or coding concepts on the part of students.

As a result, as long as they have a basic ability to use a computer, students can more or less take whatever interests them without having to take less interesting and potentially expensive intro or prerequisite courses first.

Homeschools who want or need to follow state standards for coding/computer science

Because CompuScholar courses align to many state standards in IT skills and computer science, it can be a good option for homeschools that either want to or have to follow state requirements.

Who Is It Not Ideal For?

Students who prefer a more casual, entertaining approach to learning coding

Some homeschool students don’t mind and even benefit from a structured, formal approach to learning with specific lessons, assignments and tests.

Others may become stressed or anxious by this approach, and may benefit from being introduced to coding through gamification, a more casual or entertaining learning environment, project-based learning or one of the many other ways that coding and computer science skills can be taught to students these days.

Students with significant reading or comprehension difficulties

Although it does offer a fair amount of multimedia and interactive learning, there is also quite a bit of text-based learning involved in CompuScholar, and so it can be a bit more challenging for those who have difficulties in reading. 


Note: All prices are correct as of writing. All prices in USD. 

CompuScholar is a subscription-based educational service. 

Parents sign up and can purchase individual courses on a month to month or yearly basis. 

As with similar programs, prices for CompuScholar are per course and per student, and it’s important to note that monthly subscriptions automatically renew, so parents must actively cancel the course when they are done or they will be billed again. 

Digital Savvy$25$120
Web Design$15$120
Unity Game Development$25$120

Parents with more than one child should be aware that, when purchasing an annual account, they can add an additional student to the same course for $40, otherwise (such as for a monthly subscription or if a student is interested in another course) they must pay full price for a separate account. 

As always, it’s important that parents check for current course prices, as well as any discounts or deals that may apply.


Is It Worth The Price?

At $100-200 for a full year’s curriculum, CompuScholar can be a lot more affordable than many other coding and computer science courses aimed at Middle and High School students, which tend to cost several hundred dollars (or more) per semester. 

Yet despite its relatively affordable price, we believe that CompuScholar can provide a great deal of value for homeschooling families. 

In general, CompuScholar offers a variety of highly relevant, useful courses that not only help students develop practical skills but also provide them with a thorough background in coding and computer science concepts.

The learning in CompuScholar is rigorous, thorough and standards-aligned.

Rather than just being a way to get kids interested in code, the courses dive deeply and more formally into the theory and concepts, offering students structured lessons and tons of practice on a variety of real world applicable projects. 

The information is presented through multimedia lessons, combining straightforward and clear video instructions with richly detailed and interactive text-based learning, as well as practical and relevant labs and activities to practice their skills. 

Finally, as most of the quizzes, exams and activities included in CompuScholar are automatically graded, the program can save homeschooling parents a good deal of time and effort in terms of administering the course, and can be far less intimidating to those uncertain about their own technology and coding skills.

Bottom Line

With its engaging multimedia learning, structured and standards-aligned curriculum, helpful automated grading and highly relevant and interesting course selection, if you’re looking for an effective self-study coding and computer science program for your Middle or High School student, CompuScholar might be just what you’re looking for. 

Picture of our tech author David

About the Author

David Belenky is a freelance writer, former science and math tutor and a tech enthusiast. When he’s not writing about educational tech, he likes to chill out with his family and dog at home.