The Littlest Intern

21 March 2012

This summer marks the end of my son's elementary school career. In this neck of the woods, sixth grade is the beginning of middle school, and the start of his world getting a little bigger.

Hannah, with red eyes and sharp, angry teeth, sneaks up on her brother.

Normally, his summers are a series of days in which he wrangles as much video game time as he can out of his grandmother, fights with his sister, and avoids going outside into the sweaty bumhole that is DC from June to September. We've done camps, with mixed results, and one bout of summer school, with tragic results.

What can I do with him for three months that keeps his brain from turning to mush?

The idea hit me when I was playing with Code Year. How cool would this be for him to dive into? There's no set-up, and the examples are incredibly clear. Unfortunately, school and homework leave him pretty drained. A tired kid is not a kid that's going to learn much.

So what about the summer? He has a laptop. I could send him to grandma's with it on his back and he could do it there. No, I realized, that wasn't likely to happen. He'd just turn on YouTube and watch NHL recaps and Let's Plays. It's not his grandmother's job to pester him to do a lesson, and she might not be able to help him if he got stuck. I'm sure he'd go with the intention of doing a lesson, but summer days have a way of getting away from you.

Then it hit me. He could be my intern.

I work from home, so I wouldn't have to annoy my office mates. And there are some little tasks around my home office that he could help with. He's shown interest in my work, but we really haven't had the time to sit down and go over what I do besides "Make computers go." Joining me in the office, one day a week, should give him the chance to learn what I do, help me with some of the more tedious things that must be done, and gain a skill or two.

And you know what? I'll even pay him and cover his lunch. I'm now 9000% better than most internships out there.

Scan in notes and sketches that have piled up. Everyone should know how to use office equipment. There is nothing sadder than five people with advanced degrees panicking around a printer.
Perform office maintenence. It took me a long time to learn that desks are not cleaned by the magic cleaning fairy. There is also no fairy to restock the printer paper.
Test websites I am shocked at how many people who make websites can't test websites. Seriously? You didn't notice the header was gone?
Work through Code Year and Hello World Part of internships is learning, and these are two great resources for doing just that.
Update his own site It's been up forever, and he's been interested in adding to it. Now, he'll have dedicated time.

My mother suggested filing. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I haven't had to file anything in six years.


Related tags: personal python


1 TIJ says...

This sounds like a great job! How do I apply!?

Posted at 1:31 p.m. on March 21, 2012

2 Steve a says...

Very cool idea. I may do something similar with my 4th grader.

Posted at 2:16 a.m. on March 22, 2012

3 Doug Hellmann says...

I look forward to reading his blog of the experience (hint, hint).

Posted at 3:20 a.m. on March 22, 2012

4 fran says...

Fantastic idea! And all of the tasks seem very meaningful and useful!

Posted at 2:40 a.m. on March 23, 2012

5 Hasan says...

Hahaha, wonderful. I'll start doing that with my daughter.

Posted at 3:09 p.m. on March 23, 2012

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