Breakout Mentors offers the most hands-on way to learn computer science for late elementary, middle, and high school students. Through consistent challenges, your son or daughter will build independence and grit while having fun.
Once students have established solid coding fundamentals, we introduce more challenging and powerful computer science concepts. They learn by creating projects and games, not textbooks or fill-in-the-blank tutorials. Each student is carefully matched with an exciting mentor who will customize the project-based learning, continuously advancing their understanding of object-oriented programming, basic data structures, recursion, etc.
Our curriculum: example student projects
Our kids in the Computer Science Track learn Python, Java, or C++ based on age, experience, and interests. The programming language isn’t as important as learning to think more abstractly: understanding the power of planning ahead to utilize object-oriented concepts, recursive algorithms, and data structures. The mentor assists with the many skills necessary beyond the individual concepts, like planning ahead and troubleshooting when things go wrong. All while making exciting projects, including:
Gin Rummy or Checkers Artificial Intelligence — step beyond creating the game and make a computer player starting with simple heuristics and algorithms like mini-max
Massive Tower Defense — organize an object-oriented codebase with thousands of lines of code, making it easy to add new levels and features.
Recursive Fractals and Towers of Hanoi — understand through projects how a recursive algorithm can give powerful results with just a few lines of code.
- Parent’s Perspective: 5+ Years Learning to Code with Breakout Mentors
- Advanced Computer Science and STEM in High School
- Solving Sudoku – The Story of How a College CS Student Inspired and Taught 3 Kids to Code
- Kids Coding Student Explains his Python AI for Gin Rummy
Is this right for me?
It’s okay if your son or daughter has no coding experience: we can start right at the beginning, whether the student is eight years old or in high school. These students start with our Coding Fundamentals Track first, advancing at whatever pace they can handle.
Most of our Computer Science Track students are experienced at software engineering and are more advanced than their peers. We excel at challenging at the perfect pace, so we don’t assume too much knowledge, instead letting students show what they are capable of during the early coding exercises.
Through one-on-one mentoring, we are always able to make adjustments. Each student is unique, and the best way to learn isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Please let us know your specific requirements.
Logistics that work for you
The weekly session time and location will fit conveniently into your schedule, taken into account when pairing your son or daughter with the perfect mentor. The majority of sessions are held online, but you can also meet in-person in the San Francisco Bay Area (students travel to the college campus for an empowering learning experience or in-home may be available for an extra-charge).
What parents say…
The mentor focuses on teaching my son to think, not just follow. Software conventions, and reasons behind them, are developed with an understanding of their purpose, not just ‘do it this way because I said so’ mentality. In addition, the mentor encourages my son to check documentation for answers and find solutions that make sense for the project. My son feels proud of the work he completes and is motivated to work on his projects independently between sessions!Mother of an advanced 5th grade boy in San Jose
Our high school son just completed his four week internship at Cisco. He worked as a programmer developing internal tools in Java alongside college level interns. We had no idea what he was capable of doing before the internship so everybody was slightly apprehensive. After first two or three days of his internship, it became obvious that his boss had to find new projects for him. What was originally planned got completed in about a week! He was able to contribute valuable ideas and inventive programming tricks to the older intern programmers. Everybody he worked with had only praise for him. Besides working with Breakout Mentors for the past 2 to 3 years, our son has completed no other formal programming course work!
Mother of 17 year old boy in Saratoga
Breakout Mentors was exactly what I was looking for. We started 2 years ago when my daughter was 11 and now she is an expert Scratch coder which translated easily into learning Python! Her mentors don’t tell her what to do, they help her figure it out. They push her to make her projects better and more complex. They treat her like a peer and do things like white boarding sessions and have passionate discussions about programming logic during her sessions. I get a monthly update on her progress directly from her mentor. Both of her mentors have been women, which has been amazing. Now she wants to be an engineer and attend MIT! It’s ignited her passion about STEM subjects and she is so driven now. This program is truly amazing. I can’t say enough good things about it.Mother of 13 year old girl in Berkeley
My son just received notification that he has been placed in AP Computer Science – Data Structures, the top class at his school. We are thrilled. Thanks to Breakout Mentors for all of their expert mentoring and prep work. It all paid off!
Father of 14 year old boy in Santa Clara
The sessions are going really well, the mentor seems to be a good fit. Our son just progressed to USACO (competition programming USA Computing Olympiad) platinum level yesterday. We are glad that we have found Breakout Mentors!
Mother of 15 year old boy in Los Gatos
The mentor has done a great job, both in teaching my son and building a relationship with him. They are very comfortable with each other, which I think has played a significant role in my son’s enthusiasm towards the weekly session. The move to Unity for 3D gaming has produced a significant leap in his independence and his ability to use the skills taught to him using Python and C++.
Mother of 5th grade boy in Piedmont