The brainy bunch - 6 siblings begin college by age 12!

The brainy bunch - 6 siblings begin college by age 12!

While the trend has picked up over the years, still not very many parents, Singaporeans included, give homeschooling much thought. But now there just might be reason to. Find out why!

College by 12! Find out how homeschooling helps prepare your kid for college

According to a report by UK’s DailyMail, an American family in Montgomery, Alabama comprising Kip, Mona Lisa and their 10 children, known as the Hardings, has seen six of the lot, all homeschooled, enroll in college by the age of 12.

RELATED: Promoting early childhood education in Singapore

Average Joes or child prodigies?

Child genius

The four who have graduated, have stepped into professional fields—one a doctor, another an architect, spacecraft designer, and Master’s level student.  The other two, Keith and Seth – aged 14 (Finite Mathematics) and 12 (has an interest in military archaeology and studies the Middle Ages at Faulkner University) respectively, are in the midst of completing their degrees.

Hannah was the first to take her college entrance exams at 12, not expecting to pass. But at just 17 years old, she became the youngest graduate of Auburn University Montgomery with a BS in Mathematics, following which she completed her Master’s degree in Math and Mechanical Engineering. At 22, she was already designing spacecraft.

Driven to match their older sister’s success with strong encouragement from their parents, the other siblings were quick to fall into step without skipping a beat.

Twenty-two-year-old Serenneh is well on her way to becoming a Navy doctor - which will make her one of the youngest physicians in American history. Rosannah, now 20 became a full-on architect at only 18. Meanwhile, Heath, who graduated from Huntingdon College at 15, will have completed his master's in Computer Science just after 17.

Close behind, ten-year-old Katrinnah has expressed her desire to take her college exams next year.

Shaping geniuses at home      

Meanwhile, the remaining four, currently aged 10 and below are homeschooled as well. Like their older siblings, they too endeavour to attain the same benchmark. One might think the Hardings the luckiest family in the world but Mona, the mother of these kids, insists that her offspring are neither geniuses, nor brilliant children.

The brainy bunch - 6 siblings begin college by age 12!

The stay-at-home mum was quoted as saying: “I don't have any brilliant children. I'm not brilliant. We're just average folks”. The father, Kip Harding—an army helicopter pilot, who didn’t graduate until he was 25, echoes his wife sentiment. Mona studied nursing but opted to stay home to educate the kids.

RELATED: Taking the classroom outdoors

Involvement and individual attention

So, what’s their big secret? Nothing special really!

Opening up on the matter, the couple shares that each of their kids was homeschooled and taught to hone their inner passions from early on.  Both husband and wife suggested that a large part of their kids’ success stemmed from discovering where their strengths and interests rested and moving to accelerate their learning in those areas to aid with their personal growth, development and education.

An ethical dilemma?

Some parents reading this might be quick to argue that these children are being placed under extreme pressure to perform academically and excel ahead of their time. Others yet, might take comfort in the fact that the efforts of a dedicated parent does churn out results.

According to the Hardings, learning is a regular and fun affair for their brood! College may sound like too much pressure for pre-teens, but the parents insist their kids are thriving instead of suffering.

“All our children would have to tell us is – this isn't fun anymore – and we’d do something about that,” says Mona Lisa notes, adding that despite their accelerated education, all their children lead normal lives. The couple is sold on the idea that all kids have the capacity to learn at the rate theirs have. They have written a book titled College by 12 and launched a website detailing their unique approach.

What do you say? Share with us your thoughts on this!

RELATED: Making homeschooling fun for kids

For some key benefits of homeschooling from a mum's perspective, watch this video:

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Written by

Felicia Chin

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