Summer Vacation is great for the kids but after a couple of weeks their brain really starts to turn to mush from not thinking as much as they do when school is in session. My daughter has always been a book worm so during the summer she would zip through her summer reading list and then continue on to her Twilight type books. My son Jake on the other hand, who is 13, does not enjoy reading and is more of a math and science guy. I got him to read a little bit by getting him into the math and statistics behind poker and getting him some Poker books but that only lasted a little while before his days were once again filled up with too much XBox and WoW.
Another attempt to engage Jake’s brain this summer was to start teaching him some web development. I was going to go down the Microsoft route and maybe I will at some point but I decided to do Ruby on Rails instead. If I teach him with Microsoft centric technologies it will be more of a Master/Student dynamic. If we go with Ruby on Rails, a technology I am only vaguely familiar with, it will be more of a Student/Student dynamic.
Think back growing up, did you have more fun playing just playing a game of catch with your dad or your dad going over the proper technique to throw a curve ball? I think teaching Jake how to build an MVC3 web application will be a lot like me being the Coach instead of a fellow Student which should be more enjoyable.
To make things even more enjoyable, I found a really great learning resource from Code School, called Rails for Zombies. For those that are familiar with the Head First development books you would like this course a lot. There is just a nice balance between learning, doing and entertainment.