If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

College by 12?

How the Harding Family Sent Six Kids to University by the Age of 12

This has been a topic of huge contention on a couple of homeschooling forums lately, so I thought I'd go ahead and share my opinion here - I welcome yours too!

Personally, NO. I don't think it is a good plan. Why? A myriad of reasons...

1. How many twelve year olds really know what they want to do when they grow up? Granted, there are some that do--there are people who, from an early age, have a path in life that they want to follow. But I think this is more rare than not. And, once they have these degrees, if they change their mind later in life, and have to go back to school, it will cost them a lot more to get another degree--there simply isn't as much financial aid available for second, third, however many degrees, as there is for the first.

2. How many kids, at twelve, are socially prepared to be in college with older teens, young adults, and so forth? The Boy is twelve now, and I have to say that while he gets along quite well with kids of varying ages, I am not sure how comfortable he'd be in a classroom full of young adults every day. Besides the maturity levels needed to deal with the other students, what about the maturity to deal with the subject matter, and the [potential] depth of the classes?

3. In reading the article, this stood out to me: "Mr Harding shares his wife's philosophy, stressing that 'the expectation is that you're going to have a fun day, not that you're going to score A's.' " If this is the expectation, why pay for the classes to begin with? They're limiting the possibilities of scholarships down the line if their grades are on the lower end of the spectrum. A couple of other things concern me too, one being that this was the parents idea, NOT a request by any of their children. Why is this so important to these parents? Is it the sales of their new e-book? Or the $10,000 they are charging per speaking engagement? Bragging rights? And the other concern is that one of their younger children won't want to do this, but won't say anything, because the others managed to get through.

4. Adult life is long enough already. I don't want to further shorten my kids' childhoods by shoving them through college at a young age, by making them choose a career path at 11 or 12. Childhood is for exploration, for learning about who you are, having the freedom to try new things, and to change your mind.

5. How in-depth is their education if they're hurrying through it so quickly? If they are completing high school level work around the age of 11, it seems to be they must be just skimming the surface. I could be wrong, but I just don't see how else you could accomplish this.

6. I homeschool in part so that my kids' can follow their passions. I don't need to send them to college for that... yet. For me, efficiency isn't getting them into college by 12, it's finding a way of homeschooling that gives them a solid grounding in necessary skills, while allowing time for rabbit trails. I homeschool in part because I want to be with my kids, not shuttle them off to another school. I homeschool so we can have time for good books, and even better discussions, and time to both approach subjects in ways that work for them, and have time to follow rabbit trails, not so I can accelerate them through life. Yes, I do streamline some subjects, but that is so we have plenty of time to spend on what interests them, here, homeschooling. And no, that's not to say we won't use the local cc in another few years - I could easily see The Boy taking some science and math classes in another few years, when he is maybe 15 and more socially ready for attending school with older students. In the meantime, I am not in a huge hurry to graduate them, and get them out of the house into the adult world.

For an opinion on the family's e-book, you can read this blog post.

What are your thoughts on this?


  1. I'm with you! I totally don't understand college at 12. What's the point? I want my kids to have a long and lovely childhood.


  2. College at 12 would leave hardly any time at all for Minecraft! ;)

  3. Totally agree. It's my opinion that this is for the bragging rights of the parents and doesn't reflect the needs or wants of the children at all.

    That being said, my 12 year old daughter has a plan for her future and has asked to take college level courses this year. I told her no....although she could probably handle the course load, she should still be having a childhood in our opinion, and our overall parenting/educating plan reflects that.

  4. Yes! On all counts. This article was circulating everywhere and while so many seemed impressed, it made me sort of cringe.


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