Homeschoolers send 6 kids to college by 12

Homeschooling has worked well for Mona Lisa and Kip Harding. Six of their 10 children in the Alabama family started college by the age of 12;  the youngest four, all under 10, also plan to start college early.

“We’re just average folks,” says the mother, who trained as a nurse. Husband Kip, a helicopter pilot, didn’t complete college till he was 25 and serving in the military.

“We find out what their passions are, what they really like to study, and we accelerate them gradually,” she says.

Seth, 12, is studying medieval history at Faulkner University. Brother Keith, 14, is completing a music degree. Heath started at age 11. Now 17, he’s finishing his master’s in computer science. Sister Serennah, 22, will complete medical school in a few weeks and serve as a Navy doctor. Hannah is a spacecraft designer with master’s degrees in math and mechanical engineering. Rosannah became an architect at 18.

The family has an e-book on how to accelerate learning on their College by 12 site.

About Joanne


  1. Yes well, that’s all very well but do they enjoy the inestimable benefit of “socialization” that’s part of the public education experience?

    I think not!

    • GEORGE LARSON says:

      It depends what you mean by benefit. Maybe they got their dose of abuse, assaults and bullying at home.

    • Melinda says:

      The “inestimable benefit of socialization that’s part of the public education experience.” It’s because of that “socialization” I chose to homeschool. I wanted them to be socialized to be polite, think outside the box, not be distracted by peer pressure, to be able to focus on their education and be confident in different social situations that they will encounter in their daily activity of their lives. There is this misconception that homeschooled kids are “isolated.” My kids did many social activities including soccer and karate, went on field trips with other homeschooled kids and had the luxury of being able to interact with the museum staff on a more personal level that wouldn’t have been possible in a group with 30 or more kids in a typical school field trip. Homeschooled kids statistically outperform on standardized testing which is ironic in that most parents do not focus their teaching around these standardized tests, while many public school teachers are forced to do so because funding for their school will be affected by the students’ scores.
      Homeschooled kids are usually more aware of what is going on in their community because they are living and interacting in their community, not in an artificial environment where kids are segregated in large numbers according to age.

  2. Stacy in NJ says:

    I love that none of these kids seem to be aiming for a perfect SAT or an Ivy league school. I’m sure if they did achieve those things it would be fine with them, but their overall goal is happiness through personal growth and accomplishment not credentialism and status seeking. Wonderful.

  3. Mark Roulo says:

    Colin: “They’re NOT average folks. That’s why they’re superior at home-schooling.”
    Stacy: “I love that none of these kids seem to be aiming for a perfect SAT or an Ivy league school.”


    I like feel-good stories like this, too, but there is some evidence that Faulkner University is not *quite* as difficult to get into as your typical directional state university.


    SAT Math scores for the incoming freshman seem to be:
        *) Avg: 363
        *) 25%/75%: 254/472
    Average SAT Verbal score for the incoming freshman seem to be: 382


    So the typical incoming freshman student has a SAT M+V score of 363+382 = 745. After the 1995 recentering. For those of us who took the SAT pre-1995, this would be equivalent to a M+V score of 625. And ½ the freshmen score below that.


    I suspect that a lot of the students who get into Ivy League schools, UMich, Cal, Stanford, etc could also attend this college at age 12.


    • The kids live at home as undergrads, so they all go to local colleges and universities. That said, I’m sure many kids are smart enough to handle college work at 12; some have the maturity and motivation.

    • I see conflicting data from, which gets its information from IPEDS. They report V/M average scores of 505/485. They also report a six-year graduation rate of 37%, so presumably a lot of the people on the lower end are gone by the time students are taking more advanced classes.

      • Mark Roulo says:

        ~1000 M+V is not bad. This would be comparable to a mid-range Cal State school (to pick a system with which I have some familiarity).

        And yes, the 37% in 6 years suggests a lot of drop outs. So the upper division classes might be reasonably rigorous.

        I dunno …

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    “They’re not THAT good,” as a theme in the comments is interesting. Enlightening, even.
    Some discomfort in the Guild, perhaps?

  5. A blogger actually bought their book:

    Apparently, they’re more about credentials than love of learning. And a lot of community college courses are actually LESS rigourous than a high-end high school course, because the students aren’t as academically inclined.

  6. I mean, if you’re in a class with people who had 1000 M+V, keep in mind that a lot of exam schools require a 1200 M+V for ENTERING 9th graders…..

  7. The results don’t necessarily warrant that conclusion.

    For instance, what’s reasonable to expect of kids has been depressed by the public education system. The Hardings might then simply be ignoring those widely-held assumptions by not holding their children back to the pace considered proper in the public education system.