In this episode, host Pam Barnhill chats with Stephen Souders, Mr. MYTEK from My TEK Labs. Stephen runs an online school where kids can take courses in programming and technology. They discuss the importance of teaching kids to be producers of technology, not just consumers, and debunk some misconceptions parents may have about their children’s relationship with technology.

If you’ve ever wondered how to inspire your kids to use tech creatively and confidently, this conversation is for you. Stay tuned for an insightful and engaging discussion with Steven Souders, aka Mr. MYTEK.


Technology in your Homeschool Key Takeaways

  • The podcast episode discusses the difference between kids being consumers and producers of technology. It highlights the importance of teaching kids to be producers, as many kids may only know how to use technology but not understand how it works behind the scenes.
  • Stephen Souders runs an online school called My TEK Labs, where kids can take programming, technology, and 3D modeling courses. The focus is on teaching kids the fundamentals of various topics in technology.
  • Many parents assume that because their kids are digital natives and constantly using devices, they understand technology. However, there is often a disconnect between their usage and understanding of technology. Souders aims to bridge this gap by teaching kids to problem-solve and use technology confidently.
  • The online platform of My TEK Labs provides an excellent opportunity for homeschooling parents who may not have the technical knowledge to teach their children these subjects. Even parents who work in technology may find teaching their kids specific topics challenging.

Listen to the Podcast

Transcript for Technology in Your Homeschool

Pam Barnhill [00:00:05]:

Got kids who love tech? Well, then this podcast is for you. Hi, everyone. I’m Pam Barnhill, and welcome to episode 77 of the 10 minutes to a Better Home School podcast. I have helped thousands of homeschoolers be burnout, create doable systems, and bring more joy to their homeschool day. With today, we’re chatting with Steven Souders, who is also known as Mr. MYTEK from MYTEK Labs. He runs an online school school where kids can take courses in programming, technology, 3d modeling, all kinds of really great things that some kids might be into these days, but I think you’re gonna love this conversation because in here, Steven talks about the difference between kids being consumers and kids being producers, and some of the misconceptions that parents might have about their kid’s relationship to technology. So it is a really fun conversation. Now before we jump into the interview, I wanted to let you know that we are bringing back one of our all time favorite classes at Pam, and that is the homeschool consistency boot camp. If you have ever struggled with consistency in your homeschool, if you have struggled with maintaining a rhythm and getting things done in the day to day. And if you struggle and you know that some of your kids’ attitude and behavior problems might have something to do with your consistency in your home school. You’re going to want to check this class out. We’re gonna be starting it at the beginning of October, and we’re gonna have all the information about it coming out at the end of this month. So come on over and get on the wait list. That is the best way to be sure that you’re informed about this class when we open it up for everyone to join, and you can find at And now on with that interview.

Steven Souders, Mr. MYTEK, has worked in the field of information technology since he was fifteen years old when he began his career by working and ISP while still in high school. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Florida Gulf Coast University and a master’s degree from Kennesaw State University. Over the years, he has worked specifically in the web development field, managed an IT department, and taught classes at Georgia Highlands College for over 6 years. Mr. MYTEK, welcome to the podcast.

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Stephen Souders [00:02:38]:

Hi, Pam. Thanks so much. It’s great to be here.

Pam Barnhill [00:02:40]:

It is just awesome, to have you with us today. I tell you my boys are taking a couple of your passes this fall. They haven’t started yet as of the date that we’re recording this, but they are so excited about the topic that they are going to get to cover. So you really know how to hit that nerdy teenage boy vibe really well with the the stuff that you cover. So tell us a little bit about what my tech lab is all about.

Stephen Souders [00:03:09]:

MYTEK lab is really about conveying information to students of of all ages, basically from 8, through high school. but it’s all about learning topics, as fundamentally as we can in many different areas and usually things that interest me So I like lots of different topics, and I like to convey that that knowledge and experience that I’ve gained over the years. with those topics. And I I like to I like to work with kids and show them what they can do with technology because I think it’s great. to start with nothing and create something, other than just a blank screen. You you start with a blank screen and next thing, you know, you add some components and you’ve got something, whether it’s a program, it’s a 3 d model or design or a game or whatever it might be. So at my tech lab, we really do focus on students understanding the basics and fundamentals because it is difficult to learn from a a a perspective of of a skill. Right? So it’s kind of like learning math where you have to really understand how it works before you can you can use that knowledge to apply whether it’s solving a math problem, whatever it might be. Technology is kind of like that too. where you have to understand how to write a program before you can actually write a program without just copying that program. So we we we take a, we take that broad sense of many different topics and kinda combine them into you know, learning programming from this angle and this angle and this angle and maybe learning design from a couple of different angles and learning these different topics from different angles. And then, you know, of course, it has to interest kids. I think that’s what it’s all about as well.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:53]:

I love that. And what I love about, what I’m seeing from your course description is you’re teaching kids to be producers, with technology and not just consumers of technology.

Stephen Souders [00:05:07]:

Yes. That is a key point because, there’s this whole concept of kids are digital natives. Right? They’ve grown up with the technology that we didn’t have when we were kids and there’s an assumption by, I think, a lot of parents who think, well, my kid’s always on a device so that they understand how these things work. But in reality, there’s a disconnect, and we see that quite a bit, when we start teaching, you know, kind of behind the scenes of how these baby devices work or how this program works or whatever it might be. kids don’t really understand how they work. They’re only using it or consuming that technology. you know, from an interface that was meant to be somewhat intuitive for them to use. So I’m not surprised by that disconnect, but I think a lot of students, parent are surprised by that disconnect because they’re digital natives. They should understand this stuff. They should just make sense. They know how to do this. They don’t

Pam Barnhill [00:06:01]:

Yeah. And if you if you’ve ever been in the email inbox of a fifteen year old, oh my goodness. You know that they don’t know how to use that stuff.

Stephen Souders [00:06:10]:

And it comes up a lot. It comes up a lot. You know, when they especially when they go off to college, if they go off to college, it’s, you know, I don’t know how to use I don’t feel comfortable with technology. You would be really surprised at how many students don’t feel comfortable with technology. And that’s something we really focus on too is getting a certain level of comfort with technology. because the parents just assume that, oh, my kid’s always on a gaming system or a computer or whatever it might be. So they’re really comp they’re really comfortable with it. But when it comes to solving specific problems utilizing technology or using something even as simple as word or office or something like that, they they they feel uncomfortable and then they shut down and then they don’t wanna do it. So that’s what we we try to, give them that confidence and empower them with technology to say, you know what? I may not know how to do this, but I can probably figure it out.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:01]:

I love that so much. And, you know, it’s interesting. You’re talking about a kid, like, parents assuming that kids know how to do things. And one of the reasons that parents assume that is because they feel like their kid knows more than they do. And so as a homeschooling mom, as I’m looking at the things you offer, I know that this is not something that I could teach my children. You know, I could teach my children some grammar and how to and some long division and things like that, but I cannot teach on any of this technology stuff. So, why, you know, How does that make it good for me to put my kids in a situation like my tech? What’s the class like and why is this kind of online platform good for them to learn other than the fact that I can’t teach them?

Stephen Souders [00:07:49]:

Well, you know what’s really interesting? You say that you can’t teach them, but you know how many students we have who their parents are programmers or work in the field of technology? You would be surprised. And I was when we first started this, this business, I couldn’t believe all the programmer parents who brought their kids in saying, hey. We know, I want them to learn programming, but there’s some things that are really difficult to teach your own kids.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:12]:

That’s true.

Stephen Souders [00:08:13]:

And there’s some subject Right? I think every parent, homeschooling parent, you you kind of experienced that. We’re like, ah, yeah. We’re good at this, but this over here This just doesn’t work. Right? There’s a level of frustration. and that’s where we come in. because we’ve worked with with students for so many years that I know where the struggles are going to be. I know how to put things in a way that, maybe we’ll make a little bit more sense to them. So we’ve really filled that gap for homeschooling parents in that. We’ve been doing this for a long time. I can understand when students are struggling in certain areas and hopefully prevent that because the last thing I want is for them to have any frustrations and give up. if that ever happens, then I have not done my job. That is the last thing I want to happen, and it’s so easy to happen. You know, I know I keep comparing to math but I think math is very similar to what we do. It either makes sense or it doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, within 5 minutes of learning and kids do the same thing with programming, I wanna give up Right. No. No. No. No. We I my job is to nurture them and say, no. This is your it takes some time. you’re going to get there, but you can’t learn it overnight. It’s just one of the things you have to internalize and think about. But once you have those breakthroughs, it’s awesome. So long story short, I think we we could really fill that gap that parents have because we have the experience to to working with students for so many years But we just approach it from very basic simple concepts initially, and we build upon those as well.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:46]:

Right. So it really is when they enter a It’s a whole curriculum where you’re starting at the beginning. And so you’re not just coming in and randomly approaching, like, word this week or programming next week or something like that, you’re really building throughout the entire spectrum of whatever kind of class they’re taking.

Stephen Souders [00:10:04]:

Yes. And we will we will jump through different modules. So we’ll stay on a certain module for maybe 3 or 4 weeks, maybe upwards of 5 or 6 weeks depending on what it is. but I will lead them through everything. And we do kind of build in complexity through each level. So we start out simple topic maybe like level 1 or information technology 1, we would start out with Pixel Arts, something graphical, something getting using the mouse, having fun, and then we kind of progress through, maybe some design and then we get into programming. And then we come back to programming in a different angle and just things that I’ve seen that work over the years because it’s difficult. This is difficult. Programming is difficult. Right? Anyone who says that that it’s not difficult, I I don’t know what to tell them. It it is this is tricky, tricky material, and it especially is for kids of all ages. because you’re either copying programs and you’re not really understanding it or or it’s making sense, but all we can do is say here’s a project we’re gonna work through it. Here’s some problems to solve around that, and I’m here to help.

And that’s I think that’s the biggest thing that we that we offer too is we we have help classes that are outside of the scheduled time, and we’re always available. We have many different ways that students can contact us and, responding a lot, but they really need that helping hand to say, okay. Here’s what’s going on. You were this close because usually they are. And that’s what’s so tricky is they have a program. It’s not running. They’re getting frustrated. It’s like, look. You were you were this close to having it working. And, you know, then once they see that, then they’re not as frustrated to themselves because you had it 90% of the way or more. Don’t be hard on yourself. you you were that, you know, and and sometimes it’s I don’t know what to do, and I’m lost. And I’m like, I don’t know. I can’t do this, and that’s normal too. So I I’m there to tell them that’s normal. Whatever you’re feeling, it’s normal. Programming’s hard.

Pam Barnhill [00:11:59]:

Yeah. I keep going back to that math example. And, you know, when you’re working that math problem and your teacher’s grading the problem and they see, like, you just put the one negative sign in the wrong place, they can give you partial credit for that. But when you’re programming the computer never gives you partial credit for the, like, the one comma that you got in the wrong place or the one semicolon. And so you’re able to find that and help them fix just the one little thing. and then everything works.

Stephen Souders [00:12:25]:

Yes. No. Generally speaking, yes. And, and that’s really fulfilling, to see those breakthroughs from my perspective to see students who have struggled. And sometimes students forget how far they’ve come in the course of a year or since we’ve had who are coming into 4 years with us, 5 years with us, Sometimes they forget. I have to remind them. Say, you know, I remember when you started because we we do work, very individually with students. that’s another thing that I think sets us apart is we really try to get to know each student and work with them as individually as we can, but it’s just funny because they’re, you know, some students are hard on themselves like I am and a lot of people, I think, you know, when somebody doesn’t go the way we want it to go and, but it’s it’s it’s nice to show them, you know, I remember back when you started, you couldn’t really do much. And now you’re getting frustrated because we’re at this level now, which is much higher level, and you’re getting frustrated, but you forget that you’ve learned a lot a lot in that process. You know? And I think that helps too. And I recently have been telling some students that because they’ve been getting frustrated with some of the material as from last year, and it’s it’s normal. Right? But then when I put it in perspective, it’s like, you know what? You’re kinda right. I, I have come a long way, and I think that helps too.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:40]:

I love that so much. Okay. So let’s kinda get down to the nitty gritty. If if I have kids who are interested in technology, what kinds of classes can my kids take at my tech? through this online platform?

Stephen Souders [00:13:54]:

Well, we have, we have a course called computer technology for younger students generally 8 to 12. And then we have, we we kind of renamed our courses this year to be more, representative of the topics that we teach. So we kinda, you know, when you think younger kids, they’re working with computer technology, more graphical applications, fun projects, things like that. And then once we get to, let’s say, 13 and up, we have an Information Technology 1 class which is really kinda where we we begin. Most students start there. But like I said, younger siblings or other, learners who want to begin can begin with computer technology, but most most started Information Technology 1

Pam Barnhill [00:14:38]:

Okay. So there are some options for those really young little I’m so into this kids who just wanna jump in there and then move it into IT 1. And then do you you said 4 years, you’ve been working with some students. So you have something beyond that?

Stephen Souders [00:14:53]:

Yes. We have Information Technology 2, which is really a continuation. So in Information Technology 1, we only work with block coding. they don’t have to have to actually type any code, in Information Technology 1. And the reason being is it’s frustrating. It’s super frustrating. Fighting syntax and having something not work, all because of a semicolon. I don’t want that. We don’t want that in a 1st year course for students last thing we wanna do as I mentioned is have students become frustrated. That’s that’s not what we want at all. So keep itself a block coating. I want them to understand the basic and the fundamental concepts of especially programming. So everything’s block based. They drag blocks into place. We talk about those concepts. We work on lots of projects. information technology too, we only work with code. So after they’ve spent working with, you know, a year working with blocks, then we only work with code from that point on. But it’s kind of a crossover between, IT or Information Technology 1 and 2 because we work on very similar projects similar applications, but they see it from a code perspective now. So it is it is different. It’s much different. There’s different topics, but there’s also enough there to kinda segue between levels 1 and 2.

And then from there, we go into computer science 1 and we get more into the nitty gritty of computer science, which gets a little a little trickier. we’re working with things that don’t come naturally. I would say programming doesn’t come naturally. to most students, but these topics are more complex. programming topics don’t come naturally to many people either. but then we continue on to to computer science too, and we just keep working with different technologies. as much as I like to put you know, those fundamental concepts in, I also like to throw in things that I like to geek out on myself. I like to have fun with it, and I like to have fun working with students, and there’s a lot of back and forth. There’s a lot of, questions and answers, and it’s very interactive in the course, in the live course that we have. and I like to keep it upbeat because I want students to have fun. I want it to be a place where they can really learn and say, this is cool. and I want to do something in this field. And I think something that, a lot of people don’t realize either is programming and robotic is often thought of as those are those are the big technology fields, right, programming robotics. You learn programming or you join a robotics club. Those two fields are awesome. And we focus on both of those, but there’s so many areas between those and some areas that use both of those or programming specifically, but we’re talking digital art and 3 d modeling and design, and maybe slightly different electronic design from things like just robotics. and there’s just so many in even database design and networking and all these cool things that I like to geek out and show students. You can get started with this stuff, and here’s how you do it, and I’m here to help. And I cannot tell you how much feedback we get every year from students who say, I never thought I could do this, or I never knew this stuff existed. That’s what I love because they don’t even know. They just think pro programming robotics programming robot. That’s it. That’s all technology is. No. I’m gonna show you all kinds of things that you didn’t even know existed.

Pam Barnhill [00:18:13]:

I love it so much because it just opens up a whole new world, a whole new world to kids. Well, you can find mister Mytek over at So do go over and check out, the courses over there. Thanks so much for joining us, Steven.

Stephen Souders [00:18:31]:

Thanks, Pam. I appreciate the opportunity.

Pam Barnhill [00:18:37]:

And there you have it. Now if you would like to connect with Mr. MYTEK or just find his website in those classes. You can do so by going to the show notes for this episode of the podcast. That’s at And you can find all the links and everything you need over there. including a link to get on the wait list for our homeschool consistency boot camp that will be opening the doors to later on this month. in September. Speaking of consistency, that is what the next episode of the podcast is all about. So if this is an area you have struggled with, just know that you are not alone. This was an area I struggled with for a long time in my home school and making the changes that I made and being more consistent really made all the difference in the world. We’re gonna be talking about it on the next episode. So come back for that one. And until then, keep on homeschooling.

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