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College By 12 -- Not Sure if they are Fundy


Ralar

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The article doesn't talk about the family's religious values, but they have 10 kids and the father is listed on "By the Sword" website as a homeschool consultant.

The Harding family in Montgomery, Ala., decided to make studying fun by cultivating their kids’ natural curiosity and passions. They acheived amazing results: six children who started taking college classes before they were even teens. http://www.today.com/news/meet-family-who-sent-six-kids-college-age-12-1C9316706

1C6889774-tdy-130401-harding-family-2.blocks_desktop_medium.jpg

Their business website: http://collegeby12.wix.com/collegebytwelve#!

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They were on the Today show (I think that's what I was watching) this morning. The oldest daughter is in the military and about to become the youngest medical doctor at 21. Doesn't sound fundie to me.

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Ugh.

College course content is not developmentally appropriate for 12 year olds no matter how smart they are. Kids that young are rarely capable of the analytical and critical thinking that college level coursework should require. Faster is not always better when it comes to learning. I was once forced to have an 11 year old supposed "genius" in an 11th grade American history course. When given critical thinking assignments, my average 11th graders could answer more coherently than he could even though his test scores were much better than theirs.

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Ugh.

College course content is not developmentally appropriate for 12 year olds no matter how smart they are. Kids that young are rarely capable of the analytical and critical thinking that college level coursework should require. Faster is not always better when it comes to learning. I was once forced to have an 11 year old supposed "genius" in an 11th grade American history course. When given critical thinking assignments, my average 11th graders could answer more coherently than he could even though his test scores were much better than theirs.

My family is pretty much opposed to "skipping grades" (something that has been suggested on and off for several of us over the years) The developmental issues were one aspect and the social issues another. My husband lived in a dorm with a 14 year old premed student, who was scheduled to be out of medical school by 20-21. I don't know that he was picked on, per se, but he couldn't do anything with the guys. Even the dorm boys were reluctant to give him alcohol or tobacco (or who knows what), college girls had no interest in him. His parents did him no favors by sending him to college that young.

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Ugh.

College course content is not developmentally appropriate for 12 year olds no matter how smart they are. Kids that young are rarely capable of the analytical and critical thinking that college level coursework should require. Faster is not always better when it comes to learning. I was once forced to have an 11 year old supposed "genius" in an 11th grade American history course. When given critical thinking assignments, my average 11th graders could answer more coherently than he could even though his test scores were much better than theirs.

This was my first thought too. I'd have to read more about their approach to form an opinion, but my instinct is to wonder whether a teenager (I mean the girl who is becoming a doctor at 21) is equipped emotionally, psychologically, etc. to go through the rigors of med school and begin treating patients. Even if she mastered all the skills, I would just worry about her having to deal with some major issues later on in life from having basically skipped her childhood. I dunno, I'll have to think about it more.

I think that having an 11 y/o in a high school history class, or other humanities, sounds crazy because these topics generally require a certain amount of maturity and an ability to reason that even the most intellectually gifted child just doesn't have the background to practice. On the other hand, I would guess that math, the hard sciences, and languages would be fine. I am teaching elementary Russian this year, and I think that as long as s/he behaved, it would be fine to have a kid in my class if they could keep up with the work. But definitely not in a Tolstoy seminar!

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This was my first thought too. I'd have to read more about their approach to form an opinion, but my instinct is to wonder whether a teenager (I mean the girl who is becoming a doctor at 21) is equipped emotionally, psychologically, etc. to go through the rigors of med school and begin treating patients. Even if she mastered all the skills, I would just worry about her having to deal with some major issues later on in life from having basically skipped her childhood. I dunno, I'll have to think about it more.

I think that having an 11 y/o in a high school history class, or other humanities, sounds crazy because these topics generally require a certain amount of maturity and an ability to reason that even the most intellectually gifted child just doesn't have the background to practice. On the other hand, I would guess that math, the hard sciences, and languages would be fine. I am teaching elementary Russian this year, and I think that as long as s/he behaved, it would be fine to have a kid in my class if they could keep up with the work. But definitely not in a Tolstoy seminar!

I generally agree with both of you, but tend to somewhat disagree with the bolded. Now, I'm no natural sciences whizz by any stretch of the imagination, but I live with one. His line of work requires a lot of innovative and analytical thinking, which I don't think an 11 year-old is capable of. Learning facts is one thing, learning how to think outside the box is another. And that's also one of my main gripes with a lot of fundie homeschooling. It seems to be all about learning "facts" by heart, instead of engaging with them. It's like learning that the American revolution happened in 1775/6 - 83, without ever learning what it was all about and engaging with it critically. So, yes to the facts, no to the critical thinking, and I absolutely agree on the Tolstoy seminar.

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I think what would concern me is not the level of the work, but the pressure the kids are under. Yes, the parents can say they let their children study what they love and seem all relaxed about it, but that is not the whole story. The mother does mention deliberately accelerating their learning, and doubtless, there is a lot of pressure to follow in the footsteps of one's siblings. The eldest girl crying over whether she passed the entrance exam at 12 and wondering "now what?" Don't tell me there wasn't parental pressure involved in that. :(

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I generally agree with both of you, but tend to somewhat disagree with the bolded. Now, I'm no natural sciences whizz by any stretch of the imagination, but I live with one. His line of work requires a lot of innovative and analytical thinking, which I don't think an 11 year-old is capable of. Learning facts is one thing, learning how to think outside the box is another. And that's also one of my main gripes with a lot of fundie homeschooling. It seems to be all about learning "facts" by heart, instead of engaging with them. It's like learning that the American revolution happened in 1775/6 - 83, without ever learning what it was all about and engaging with it critically. So, yes to the facts, no to the critical thinking, and I absolutely agree on the Tolstoy seminar.

I don't know. I guess it would depend on what type of hard sciences is being discussed. I don't think it takes that much emotional maturity to master calculus or the Kreb Cycle. I was an engineering student and there's a lot of logic and some math involved in my field. I felt mastering the content taught at the college level required more rational thinking than emotional responses. I didn't feel like I got better at the solution as I grew older. We had a 10 year old in one of my graduate comp sci class and he was just as quick about finding good solutions to problems set given by the professor.

Now, one could argue that this young mind may not understand the proper usage of his acquired skills and think it's ok to hack for fun or whatever. That, I can see, may require more emotional maturity. The actual knowledge? I think people overthink how much deep thinking is involved in accomplishing work set by a professor. When I worked as a programmer, I used what I learned to figure out how to churn out software. Maybe that's something a young teen would have a harder time at. But what I learned in college? It's guided enough that a smart kid could probably pick up on it.

Med school is an interesting situation. The first two years would be a piece of cake for a child prodigy. It's just memorization and fact retention. The last two years? That will take some emotional maturity to handle. As far as I know, no US med school in modern times have taken anyone who will graduate with an MD before age 21. I guess it would create a weird ethical dilemma if the young doc could prescribe powerful narcotics and still be unable to buy alcohol. I'm sure that would end well....The youngest MD in the country in modern times was, I think 21? In my med school class, we had a 14 year old who was in the MD/PhD program. He wouldn't start clinicals until at least 18. I'm not sure I'd encourage any child that young to enter such an intense program. However, gifted children can be very self-motivated and they don't always want to learn at the pace set for the average student.

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We don't drop them off at school, 16 credit hours first semester, 'bye, I'll see you,'" Kip says. These are not itty-bitty adults. They play with kids their own age, but they don’t wait until they're older to figure out what they love in life.

As long as they have friends their own age or at least on their maturity level, I think that a balance can be reached between being advanced academically and still at a preteen maturity level.

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I went to medical school straight from college and I am one of the youngest in my class because lots of people are now entering medicine as a second career, or after a year or more break from college (to do graduate work, get a job and save money, to volunteer, to build their resume, etc.). To be graduating and entering residency when the next youngest graduates tend to be four to five years older than you (I'll graduate when I'm 26)... I don't know. I am sure she is probably used to being around people older than her, but at the least I feel like she may have missed out on some things. I worked hard in college, but I also had time to take classes I was interested in just for the fun of it and study abroad and who knows if she got to do things like that. We actually have a younger student in our class and it's hard because he can't even get into bars, where a lot of people hang out.

Also, I really hate to judge a situation like this where I haven't met the girl, but speaking strictly as a patient and not as a med student, I do tend to be critical of who's taking care of me. And yes, I agree you need some emotional maturity and life experience to be a good doctor. I am not sure I would have been a good resident at 21 myself. I'm not saying I think I am super mature now but the opposite, I am glad I have three more years of school before I am released into the wild, so to speak.

ETA: I also remember in high school, there was a girl in the grade below me who was 3 years advanced, I think. She had a really hard time socially. I think a year probably wouldn't make a huge difference but get much bigger than that with kids and it's just a fact that there are huge developmental leaps in short periods of time, compared to that age difference in adults. I am not sure what the alternative would be because I am sure children who are truly that advanced (not pushed by their parents) would probably be bored or not challenged in even a regular gifted class for their age group. Maybe it would be to make sure they have some outside activities, like a sport, where they can interact with other kids who are their age.

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Back in the late 1980s or early 1990s, there was a 10-year-old college graduate who made the talk show rounds and experienced the usual 15 minutes of fame. Turns out, the kid's mother went to class with him every day, took notes for him, and helped him with his assignments. I think a lot of bright kids could get through college with that kind of help!

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I don't know, I would have given ANYTHING to be in these kid's shoes. I barely got an education, now i'm struggling though college as an adult. I'm in my twenties, and I am terrible with reading and other language skills. These kids have legitimate careers ahead of them, and i'll be shocked if I graduate.

I wish my dad would have cared as much about school as these parents did, even if it meant him pushing me too hard. The grass is always greener I suppose.

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To his defense, some kids have difficulty writing things. It doesn't make them less intelligent. Children who are dyslexic are poor note takers, and way back when was not the time of pocket MP3 players, web cams, or smart phones where you could record everything. Children who are dyslexic can also frequently have issues with dysgraphia, which is a disorder of handwriting. We're pretty sure my son has both, though he's not going to college at 10 and hasn't been identified as gifted yet because his learning disabilities have been very difficult for him to overcome. I still have to read nearly every word of print to him and write translations of his work for his teachers. (He's in an e-school, and this is allowed on his IEP). His sister, 11 mo. his senior, has overcome her learning disabilities quite well, though she still has writing issues. I'm not sure if dysgraphia or other fine motor problems were his issue, just throwing that out there from personal experience.

I don't have a problem with gifted kids starting college early. A child that is truly profoundly gifted enough to start college that young is most likely very capable of the work and critical thinking skills. My oldest has possessed analytic and critical thinking skills that far surpass her chronological age for many years. She is 12.5, and I don't doubt the fact that she has many more such skills than most of the kids I graduated with! She was advanced a grade and could honestly probably be advanced another 1 or 2 easily. She doesn't like to bother herself with busy work, so her underachievement complex has kept her from advancing further than she has. She does fully plan on pursuing PSEO when she's in high school as soon as she's able. She'll still be 13 when she starts high school.

I know it really sounds hard to believe, but unless you've personally dealt with children who are actually exceptionally/profoundly gifted, you just can't understand it. I would have still been disbelieving had I not been experiencing it every day for the last 12 years. Negotiating life with a gifted child is a truly unique situation to experience. Personally, I think it's much easier to deal with my kids with learning disabilities than the gifted one. Frankly, she wears me out! It's a constant barrage of questions and theories and debating, not to mention the insomnia because she just can't shut her brain off at night. And no, we didn't push her to be this way. All of our children have been enriched in the same way. She started talking at 6 months and had full adult conversations by 18 months, was reading chapter books at age 4. My 2nd daughter had the same environment but didn't really start talking until she was 3 and still struggles with chapter books in 4th grade. My son is in 3rd and can't read anything more difficult than Dick and Jane or Green Eggs and Ham by himself.

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My 12 year old is doing collegiate level work in all but his language arts coursework (he prefers physics to Biology) and yes he is studying collegiate level Humanities and Social Sciences. However, he has to take them at a slower pace and I have to guide his learning. He has severe dyslexia and I had a choice to push him fast and hard or to give him time. My own mother skipped two grades in school and her immaturity at going to college at 16 was horrible. I instead decided that I would guide my child's education for now. He won't be taking actual collegiate courses until he is at least 14-16 (would prefer 16) and he does scouting to deliberately work on his social skills with his same aged peers that he would otherwise ignore.

I really just believe that the work of childhood is play. I understand an inquisitie child who is hard to hold back and I certainly don't want to bore my child. However, there is a lot more to life than just getting into college. We opted to leave this child homeschooling when we put others into school because he would be so painfully bored in his grade level. Yet, he is NOT ready to sit in a classroom with young adults, not socially and not emotionally. It's not a competition and most child prodigies never get a chance to be a child. They tend to have high anxiety levels, poor social skills and can easily burn out by the time most people are normally graduating from college. Yes, my child makes the brains of two college educated parents hurt and we long to turn his learning over to PhDs who get paid to answer his incessant questions about everything and anything. I just don't think it's in the best interest of children to be in college at 12.

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There is natural intelligence, genius level stuff that doesn't require anything from the parent. Those kinds of people are just going to be ADVANCED and SMART no matter what. Then there are those who are forced into the role, sometimes at a great cost. I have no idea what type these kids are but I wouldn't hold the parents up on a pedestal under any circumstances. Not that they may not be very good parents but still, the kids brain is doing the heavy lifting.

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(snip)

I don't know. I guess it would depend on what type of hard sciences is being discussed. I don't think it takes that much emotional maturity to master calculus or the Kreb Cycle. I was an engineering student and there's a lot of logic and some math involved in my field. I felt mastering the content taught at the college level required more rational thinking than emotional responses. I didn't feel like I got better at the solution as I grew older. We had a 10 year old in one of my graduate comp sci class and he was just as quick about finding good solutions to problems set given by the professor.

Now, one could argue that this young mind may not understand the proper usage of his acquired skills and think it's ok to hack for fun or whatever. That, I can see, may require more emotional maturity. The actual knowledge? I think people overthink how much deep thinking is involved in accomplishing work set by a professor. When I worked as a programmer, I used what I learned to figure out how to churn out software. Maybe that's something a young teen would have a harder time at. But what I learned in college? It's guided enough that a smart kid could probably pick up on it.

Med school is an interesting situation. The first two years would be a piece of cake for a child prodigy. It's just memorization and fact retention. The last two years? That will take some emotional maturity to handle. As far as I know, no US med school in modern times have taken anyone who will graduate with an MD before age 21. I guess it would create a weird ethical dilemma if the young doc could prescribe powerful narcotics and still be unable to buy alcohol. I'm sure that would end well....The youngest MD in the country in modern times was, I think 21? In my med school class, we had a 14 year old who was in the MD/PhD program. He wouldn't start clinicals until at least 18. I'm not sure I'd encourage any child that young to enter such an intense program. However, gifted children can be very self-motivated and they don't always want to learn at the pace set for the average student.

That's what I meant when I said that I somewhat disagreed. :) But there is a difference between knowing how to perform certain tasks, and actually understanding all the ins and outs.

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My cousins dad started uni at 16 and said it was way too young.

My dad was 17 when he moved 400km away from home to go to uni. He hasn't said anything bad about it, but this might be because he could freely smoke marijuana. My grandfather was pretty against alcohol so marijuana would have made him go completely berserk.

Having a high level degree at 20 isn't going to mean success if you haven't developed the social skills required to interact with clients or patients.

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I was in a service organization in college with a girl who started at fourteen although she was fifteen when I met her. She was very smart and excelled in her classes. Overall socially she did well enough but every once in awhile there were moments where you would be reminded just how much younger she was then everyone else.

My issue with this family wouldn't so much be if they had one or two children that were working at a college level so young but six of them sounds like there must be some parental preasure even if the parents deny it.

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I have really mixed feelings about this. Two of my children were very gifted. One taught herself to read at 3 and would have been on the older end of her grade to her birthdate. We chose to send her to a private school for gifted children a year ahead of schedule(with a scholarship ) , it was great in the very young grades - but by 3rd grade the pressure the kids were starting to feel was very, very, very intense and many of the kids seemed to be extremely stressed. There was also a high profile extremely gifted child at the school who started university at some insanely young age and then had a huge burnout/blowout with a great deal of drama due to the parents. So my daughter decided to transfer to the regular public school for 4th grade and did fine through the remainder of school and went on to get her masters at a normal age.

My son on the other hand was the incredibly smart but incredibly lazy AND incredibly stubborn sort. He would blow his teachers away with his abstract thought capabilities in early elementary (public school ) - but would NOT do the 20 minute homework assignment he could of done in his sleep. He was determined to graduate high school without doing ANY homework, and without going even 1 credit over. He didn't go to college and still manages to make a good enough living to support his family, in a field he enjoys, in his mid-twenties in an extremely expensive area. I often wonder if he would have done better or worse scholastically if he had been the one who went to the high pressure private school. I could see it going either way.

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They were on the Today show (I think that's what I was watching) this morning. The oldest daughter is in the military and about to become the youngest medical doctor at 21. Doesn't sound fundie to me.

I saw them too! I don't think they r Fundy. If they were their kids wouldn't have gone to college!

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I saw them too! I don't think they r Fundy. If they were their kids wouldn't have gone to college!

That's exactly what I thought when I saw the title of the thread!

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I wouldn't send a 12yo to college, but American students tend to be way behind students from other countries. When you look at the test scores of our best and brightest , they rank much lower than the best and brightest students in the international community. My goal for my own high school students would be fluency in three or four languages, competence in algebra, geometry, and calculus, competence in both American lit and English lit, and thorough study in American history, world history, philosophy, rhetoric, and economics.

I tutor math at the local community college and a huge number of American high school grads cannot do basic math. Really.

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According to google, they are guided by their faith in god, blahblahblahfundietalkblahblahblah. They also teach their kids strict young-earth creationism. Faulkner, is a fundie-lite Christian bible college: .faulkner.edu/aboutfaulkner/default.aspx their "about me" is in pure fundie speak. I don't know how one could reconcile a belief in intelligent design with a medical degree. Young earth creationists shouldn't even be allowed in med school because they obviously don't get the nature of the human body, how and why it functions the way it does - its actually kinda creepy how much med school always points back to Darwin - my profs love to start lectures with info on why certain traits and processes evolved, what happens when they mutate, and what adaptations to our environment and origin certain morphologies come from. I see any young earth creationist being completely lost at my med school.

Sigh. And I hope they were a beacon of hope in homeschool world.

At least they are letting their kids move on and nurturing their curiosities, including their son's interest in archaeology, which should for sure quash any belief in young earth creationism (and it's not like they offer it in bible college).

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Ugh.

College course content is not developmentally appropriate for 12 year olds no matter how smart they are. Kids that young are rarely capable of the analytical and critical thinking that college level coursework should require. Faster is not always better when it comes to learning. I was once forced to have an 11 year old supposed "genius" in an 11th grade American history course. When given critical thinking assignments, my average 11th graders could answer more coherently than he could even though his test scores were much better than theirs.

That was my first thought. I skipped a year at school and, because my birthday's near the beginning of the year, this wasn't a problem for most of my schooling; in fact I was a straight-A student with some of the highest grades in my class. I'm not saying this to boast, just to establish that I was a smart kid and did well in school.

Then I entered the IB programme and, because of the way it was organised at my school, we did a lot of classes a year earlier than normal. For some courses (like Chemistry) this was fine, but doing grade 12-level Theory of Knowledge at the age of 15? Yeah, not so fine. I got a D and a lasting hatred for philosophy.

If this was one or two children in the family I would assume that they were just exceptionally gifted, not only in understanding academic concepts but also in critical thinking. But six of them? I know these things tend to run in families, but I question the likelihood of all six of the oldest children in a single family being exceedingly gifted, so I can't help thinking a part of this is parental pressure, and that these kids are being pushed to do things before they're developmentally ready.

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