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Homeschool family enrolling their kids in college before age 12...opinions?

Posted by on May. 31, 2014 at 8:56 AM
  • 15 Replies


The Today Show

Kip and Mona Lisa Harding are the parents of 10 children but that's not the craziest fact about them.  Of their 10 kids, the seven oldest all enrolled in college by the age of 12, KSL.com reports

It all began when Kip and Mona Lisa decided to pull Hannah, their oldest, out of school in third grade. 

"We saw that maybe we could do better," Kip Harding told KSL.com. "There was a lot of homework in the evenings, and we just decided to pull her out. It was a scary time at first, but we started and it was working out great and we just never looked back." 

They enrolled Hannah in junior college courses, and as she continued to excel and express interest in a full-time college course load, her parents finally enrolled her in college full-time.

The Harding's philosophy on homeschooling is simple: "One teacher has 30 students on average. We can do better than that. Kids get left behind in a classroom ... This is where homeschooling really teakes off because these kids are getting extra attention," Kip Harding told KSL.com. 

More than ten years later, the Hardings continue to homeschool their children, and the results have been nothing short of astounding. The parents recently wrote a book, entitled "The Brainy Bunch." It documents the family's story and offers advice for parents looking for an alternative schooling method.

Although the Harding parents insist they never pushed their children to enter college early, 93% of voters in a recent Today Show Facebook poll still said they would not raise their children like the Hardings.

Learn more about the "Brainy Bunch" children below (via The Today Show): 

Hannah (26):

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hannah

The Today Show

Started online college courses at age 12, earned a degree from Auburn University at Montgomery at age 17. She now has two masters degrees and is set to begin her doctorate in engineering this fall.

Roseannah (24):

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The Today Showroseannah


At 18, became the youngest member of the American Institute of Architects and is now an architect in New York City.

Serennah (23):

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serennah

The Today Show


Possibly the youngest doctor in U.S. history, now at Walter Reed hospital for her internship in internal medicine. 

Heath (18):

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heath

The Today Show


Called himself the family "slacker" — earned a Bachelor's degree in English at age 15 and a masters in computer science at 17, but took time off between his two degrees.

Keith (15):

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keith

The Today Show


Just graduated from Faulkner University with a degree in music and is an aspiring composer.

Seth (13):

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seth

The Today Show


Currently a sophomore at Hunnington College studying history, and plans to be an archaeologist.

Katrinnah (11):

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katrinnah

The Today Show

A first-year student at Faulkner University, majoring in legal studies and minoring in theater. 

The Hardings have three more children, all of whom are homeschooled but too young for college, even by the family's standards. Mariannah (8) and Lorennah (6) both say they want to be pediatricians, while Thunder (4) already has his sites set on lifeguarding.

by on May. 31, 2014 at 8:56 AM
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Replies (1-10):
debramommyof4
by Silver Member on May. 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM
1 mom liked this
If they are not pushed and are happy it's great. The kids all seemed happy and healthy. Our goal is for my kids to start online college courses by 16. But my oldest may out do that or not. She is 8 and reading 3 grade levels higher and doing math 1 grade level higher only because I am afraid she will miss a step.
TidewaterClan
by on May. 31, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Interesting, but not for us.  I want to make sure the girls have the basics, mid-level, etc., learning down before they trot off to college.  Plus I don't see a need to rush things.  College and the workforce will all come soon enough. :)

AmyG1976
by Member on May. 31, 2014 at 11:07 AM

 i think its pushy and trying to show off or prove how homeschool better and I hope this dont end up hurting the kids in the long run and or the short run. NO its not for us. I am not having my kids pick a career to solely focus on at age 8 minds change ppl change :)

kmath
by Silver Member on May. 31, 2014 at 11:12 AM
1 mom liked this

Sorry, but I want D to have a chance to be a kid.  He won't get that if he is taking college classes at 12.  I think that is just too much.  If he goes at 16 ok, no problem, but figuring out what you want to be for the rest of your life at 8 years old seems crazy to me.  D is 8 and still wants to be superman.

craftyzenmom
by Member on May. 31, 2014 at 11:37 AM

I think this is amazing and scary all at once... My boys have both just finished their first online college courses and did really well (they're 14). The interest and desire came from within them, they heard about the courses on NPR (mooc.org), they went out and found what they wanted to take and they did the work. Now they are poised to start high school in the fall. I've been thinking a lot about the decision to send them to a "regular" high school for their freshman year. This past week I've come to the conclusion that perhaps I don't need to worry about the "academics" but get them used to going to school on a regular basis. Wearing pants instead of pj's to algebra, having to function within the constraints of a classroom- no bowl of apples on hand for starving teens, not being able to just stand up and walk outside to ponder a big question before tackling the answer....Even though we homeschooled with tons of enrichment courses etc... I was still the one getting them from point a to point b- they need to learn how to do that themsleves. I think their sophomore year will be when the challenging work will arrive-they transfer to a charter STEM program that is research based in partnership with our local UC. If all of this falls apart I am still open to options however :)

jen2150
by Silver Member on May. 31, 2014 at 4:12 PM
I think it is great if they aren't pushed. Kids are ready at different ages. I think 14-16 is a more reasonable age range. I know in times past most kids started apprenticeship around age 12. I could see kids taking certain classes that young. I am purposely taking a slower approach. I am concerned about their emotional maturity. Our EQ and our IQ developed at different rates.
Silverkitty
by Bronze Member on May. 31, 2014 at 5:31 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm curious what they would do if they had a child NOT ready for college at 12 or 13.  I could only imagine with a family so proud and bent on showing the world what they have accomplished.

Bleacheddecay
by Bronze Member on May. 31, 2014 at 7:34 PM

I'm kind of disgusted by this. I too want my kids to be kids when they are in fact, kids. I do not believe accelerating them that way is good for them. I think there will be long term issues because of it.

mrs.hartman12
by Member on May. 31, 2014 at 7:42 PM
I homeschool so my kids can go as far as they want and stretch their wings. I would probably make them wait to at least 14 to go to college classes, but only time will tell.

As a side note I think we get judged enough from non homeschooling people, there is no need to tear down others in our community.
TidewaterClan
by on Jun. 2, 2014 at 9:57 AM

I agree.  They should enjoy being young while they can.  E wants to be Black Widow, a dentist, and a meteorological scientist all at once right now. :)

Quoting kmath:

Sorry, but I want D to have a chance to be a kid.  He won't get that if he is taking college classes at 12.  I think that is just too much.  If he goes at 16 ok, no problem, but figuring out what you want to be for the rest of your life at 8 years old seems crazy to me.  D is 8 and still wants to be superman.


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